Home heating oil, also called oil heat or heating oil (abbreviated as HHO), is used as fuel for boilers or furnaces in homes and businesses. It’s a flammable liquid petroleum product with a low viscosity, and is very similar to diesel fuel. In the U.S. it is called No. 2 heating oil, and can be less expensive than natural gas or propane.
Heating oil makes up of about a quarter of the yield from each barrel of crude oil. It must conform to ASTM standard D396, which is distinct from kerosene and diesel. HHO is delivered by truck and is stored in tanks in, under, or adjacent to the home or business. Because it is classed as a hazardous material, users must follow proper transportation, storage, and burning regulations. Leaks and spills must be reported, and are environmentally damaging.
In the United States, approximately 8 million homes use oil heat. In 1997, the average use in that year was 730 gallons. Since then, the number of homes to use oil heat has continued to drop. Nearly 78 percent of the households that use oil heat are in the Northeast – in Massachusetts, 40 percent of the homes use oil heat. In Maine, about 80 percent of the homes heat with oil. A typical household in Maine uses approximately 875 gallons of oil in one year.
Heating oil is the most common method for heating homes in Northern Ireland, and is used in varying degrees in other parts of the UK and Europe. In these countries, red or yellow dye is added to the oil to make it distinguishable from other fuels.
Oil prices may change several times in one day. Generally, when crude oil prices go up, so does the price for home heating oil. Prices are set by the oil companies. In the commodity market, the HHO futures contract has a minimum fluctuation of $0.0001 per gallon, is traded in units of 1000 barrels, and is based on the price of delivery to the New York Harbor.
Heating oil furnaces have become far more efficient since the 1950s. Efficiency has increased from 60 percent to over 80 percent. Further reductions in oil usage can be attained by making the home or building more efficient considering oil prices Northern Ireland – replace old windows, seal cracks and holes, and use a proper chimney. Another important thing to consider when purchasing or replacing a furnace is its capacity – most homes have a furnace that can supply much more heat than is needed. A downgrade in furnace size will reduce the amount of oil used per season.