Heating oil has long been the heating fuel of choice for homes all over Maine, and most of New England as well.
For one thing, it appeals to our thrifty nature. Heating oil is the most cost-effective fuel source for keeping our homes warm and comfortable through the long, cold Maine winters. And unlike natural gas, you don’t need to be connected to a local utility’s gas lines.
It starts with the fuel itself. Firstly, it’s not highly flammable at room temperature, unlike natural gas. Drop a lit match into heating oil, and it would go out. Yes, really!
Heating oil must be heated to 140˚ Fahrenheit and then it’s vaporized. That’s also the combustion that happens in your furnace or boiler to run it and heat your home.
Today’s heating oil tanks also play a role in heating oil’s overall safety. Modern tanks are made with double wall steel, and plastic or fiberglass, which makes them virtually leak-proof. Almost all heating oil tanks today also come with a built-in alarm to prevent the tank from being overfilled, which dually helps to prevent any spills and leaks. Natural gas relies on lines being properly installed as well as maintained by third-parties, which, as evidenced in the Merrimack Valley Gas explosions in 2018, doesn’t always happen.
Furthermore, with each passing year, more and more progress is made with creating advanced biofuels made with a combination of heating oil, as well as renewable products made from used cooking oil, algae, animal fats, tallow and plant oils such as sunflower, corn and soybean, making this fuel not only clean, but very green!
But while heating oil is safe, you need to properly maintain your home’s oil heating system to ensure it runs safely.
That proper maintenance starts with the annual tune-up of your heating system. That tune-up should include a thorough inspection, which will allow your technician to find early trouble signs before they become bigger and more expensive.
The next part of the annual tune-up of your furnace or boiler is a thorough cleaning. That cleaning removes dust and debris that’s accumulated over the last year and can damage parts. Then there will be several tests to detect any issues that affect the safety, performance or efficiency of your furnace or boiler.