Heating oil happens to be one of the most popular sources of energy for domestic and industrial heating purposes. Now, there are various types of heating oil from which you need to pick the right one. Heating oils of different standards are applicable for different applications. Using the wrong type of oil would be rather counterproductive and even harmful. For instance, it would not be wise to use industrial heating oil for domestic heating.
Different grades of heating oil
Besides kerosene and diesel, heating oil is available in six different grades. The grading system uses the composition and properties of different types of heating oil to identify them separately. There are six grades of healing oil, among which, only two are applicable for domestic heating.
- Grade 1 fuel
Grade 1 heating oil is similar to a heavier version of kerosene. Thus, it is less refined and more viscous in nature, with a higher boiling point. The small amount of oil that burns off just before gasoline production during the distillation of petroleum turns into grade 1 heating oil. Grade 1 heating fuel is applicable for domestic use. However, it is more popular for outdoor heating purposes. As this type of fuel releases various impurities into the air, it can become harmful over time.
- Grade 2 fuel
Grade 2 heating fuel shares most characteristics with diesel, as a result of which people often confuse the two as the same. However, the chemical composition between the two differs, making them applicable for different purposes. Grade 2 heating oil is perfect for residential heating purposes and finds application in furnaces and boilers. You might also find a slightly different variant of grade 2 fuel, which is lighter and less viscous.
- Grade 3 fuel
Grade 3 heating oil is another fuel that was very popular for heating purposes. It is relatively less viscous, which makes this type of oil suitable for burners. However, ASTM International has now merged Grade 2 and Grade 3, thus phasing out the latter. Grade 2 oil started becoming more popular since around the mid-1900s. Nowadays, you would rarely notice the application or even the mention of grade 3 oil.
- Grade 4 fuel
This type of heating oil is not very suitable for residential heating as it leaves behind Sulphur, nickel and other contaminants. Instead, it finds application in stationary engines, power plants and commercial heating boilers that do not have preheaters. Grade 4 heating oil is rather a transitional fuel, lying somewhere between distillate and residual oils.
- Grade 5 fuel
The application of grade 5 heating oil is similar to that of grade 4. However, it requires proper atomization in order to combust, which calls for preheating. People also know grade 5 heating oil by other names such as ‘furnace fuel oil’ and ‘Navy special’.
- Grade 6 fuel
Grade 6 oil is a residual oil that forms at the end of the petroleum distillation process. It is useful while creating asphalt and for running heavy-duty engines and generating electricity in commercial generators.
How can you find the right oil for your heating system?
Ideally, you would want to use grade 1 or grade 2 oil for residential heating, with grade 2 heating oil being the better choice. The best way to ensure that you get the right oil is to purchase it from a supplier that you can trust. You can always enquire with different heating oil companies to check which type of oil they sell. Using heating oil of the right standard is necessary for the sake of safety, the environment and your equipment.