Households in the US spend between $500 to $1500 on heating, with more money being spent during the winter. Households that use heating oil instead of gas experience more efficient and effective heating but have to pay a bit extra.

Although home heating oils may all seem similar and serve the same purpose, they are not all the same. There are several different heating oil types and grades. Each type and grade has it’s pros and cons and understanding them will help you make a more informed decision when you’re ready to purchase heating oil.

This guide will highlight the different types of heating oil as well as the different types of heating oil grades.


Kerosene is the most common heating oil type. It’s also known as the 28-second and is lighter and cleaner than its counterpart. This makes it a preferred choice for many homeowners.

Gas Oil

Gas oil is also known as the 35-second oil or red diesel. It’s much heavier than kerosene and not very clean. Most older generation boilers, especially commercial and agricultural units, use this type of heating oil.

The type of heating oil you use depends on your home’s heating system. For most heating systems, you’ll find a label on the boiler that tells you the type of heating oil the system uses. If there’s no label, you’ll have to call a heating oil expert or a heating system technician to figure out which heating oil you should use.

Heating Oil Grades

As mentioned earlier, besides types, heating oil is also differentiated into grades. Each grade has distinct characteristics that make it unique from the others. There are three major heating oil grades and three other intermediary grades.

Typically, the higher the grade, the more you’ll have to pay for it. However, high-grade heating oil is also cleaner, more efficient, and has minimal impact on the environment. That said, here are the heating oil grades you should know about.

Grade 1 and 2 Heating Oil

Grade 1 and 2 are the most prominent heating oil grades in most households. Grade 1 is more affordable than 2 but isn’t as clean.

Because grade 2 heating oil has the same classification as diesel, most people think they’re the same. However, this isn’t true because of the way grade 2 heating oil occurs. Unlike diesel, Grade 2 heating oil is a by-product of the oil refining process by heating, followed by condensing crude oil.

It’s also very efficient compared to other fuel sources like natural gas, propane, and even electricity. It’s thus the go-to option for residential heating in most households.

Intermediary Heating Oil

Intermediary heating oil is a blended mix of higher and lower heating oil grades. Most industrial and commercial burners use intermediary heating oil because it’s incredibly efficient. However, as you’d expect, intermediary heating oil tends to be more expensive.

Heating Oil Number 6

Heating oil number 6 is the final heating oil grade; It’s also the least expensive of the bunch, but the dirtiest too. If you opt for this heating oil grade, you’ll have to frequently clean and maintain your heating system/furnace. If you crunch the numbers, you’ll find that the amount you spend on frequent cleaning and maintenance negates the amount you saved when you use heating oil number 6.

Heating oil number 6 also has a high concentration of sulfur and other pollutants, making it detrimental to the environment. As such, most environmentalists are advocating for the phasing out of this heating oil grade.

How Much Does Heating Oil Cost?

As mentioned earlier, heating oil prices vary widely, typically with the price corresponding to quality.  Five factors determine how much you’ll spend on heating oil, and they are:

The size of the house: As you’d expect, the larger the house, the more you’ll pay for your heating oil. A 2500 square feet house will use about 550 to 1200 gallons of heating oil every at $30 per gallon. That means you’ll pay $1650 to $3600 for heating oil if you live in a 2500 square foot house.

Automatic delivery or will-call delivery: If you need your heating oil delivered on-demand, you’re a will-call customer. If the heating oil company delivers after a set period, you’re an automatic delivery customer.

Will-call customers save about $0.50 per gallon compared to automatic delivery customers. However, if you settle for a heating oil company with flexible delivery, you can pick the option best suited for your needs.

Your home’s insulation: If your home is well-insulated, you don’t have to spend as much on heating oil. That’s because your house will retain most of the heat, so you don’t use your heating system as often. A well-insulated house can reduce heating costs by up to a whopping 50%.

Which Heating Oil Is Safe for My Furnace?

The type of heating oil you should buy depends on several factors. For instance, your heating system, your budget, or questions like, which heating oil is safe for my furnace.

That said, don’t be afraid to spend on quality heating oil; the long terms benefits make it worth every penny. That’s because you’ll save a bundle on maintenance fees and also do the environment a huge solid. It’s also a good idea to consult with a home heating oil expert to get the best heating oil for your system.

Explore the Different Types of Heating Oil

Now that you know the different types of heating oil, we hope you now know which heating oil to buy. Remember to get quality heating oil not only for yourself but for the sake of your furnace.

The quality of your heating oil is only as good as where you get it from. For quality heating oil and fast delivery, contact us today.

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