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Oil fuel is a great way to heat your home. Watch this video to see how to protect your home from any adverse conditions that may come along with oil heat. It contains some great loss prevention tips to avoid leakage or spills from your home heating oil tank.

All about Heating Oil

Heating oil is defined as refined oil made from petroleum. It is a very popular source of heating (used in furnaces) in the United States, especially residential areas. As a matter of fact, heating oil is the number one source of heat in American homes, accounting for more than eight million homes. Those who live in the northeastern part of the country are the ones that utilize oil the most. They consume eighty percent of the total used heating oil every winter season.

Home Heating Oil Prices

For those who rely on oil to heat their homes in the winter, there is certainly some good reason to worry about its cost. This is because home heating oil prices, similar to all other petroleum products, can go up and down, and up again, and down again. As for heating oil, the main culprit of this instability is the cost of crude oil from which the same is made.

In general, heating oil is delivered to homes and is pumped into underground tanks. While the prices can be expensive in the winter, it can get lower during the off-season. It is rather justifiable to see expensive prices during the cold season because the demand is high. After all, heating oil delivery is business.

Compare Home Heating Oil Prices

home heating systemIf you are one of the millions of residents in the northeast no doubt that the cost of heating oil is a big factor on budgeting for you. What it means is that when oil prices are higher, it usually corresponds to lesser flexibility on your income.

In the comparison of home heating oil prices, there’s really no telling of a fixed rate in one state to the other. For example PA heating oil prices may be significantly different than NY heating oil prices due to a variety of circumstances like the delivery port, transportation costs and local oil dealer markups. The key in knowing whether you’re going to get the best price available is by picking the right and ideal payment plan. For payment plans, there are three primary types. These are fixed or capped, market price, and pre-purchase. The first type, fixed or capped, is actually locked-in pricing. A particular price per gallon is fixed or capped for one year. Since it is fixed, you will be protected against prices going up all of a sudden. Market price on the other hand happens when you pay for the market price of heating oil. There are no contracts involved or fixed prices. You’re just charging the existing market rate based on the day you want the oil to be delivered. Hence, the pricing you’ll get is based on the actual prices, regardless of them going up or down. The last option is pre-buying. When you pre-purchase your heating oil, you’re going to pay preseason. It means you will be estimating oil usage for the winter and purchase oil based on the estimate right before winter comes. The best thing about pre-purchase is that you will get a much better and affordable pricing compared to the previous two options. That’s simply because the demand is not as high to that of the demand in the middle of the winter season.

Each oil dealer will have a different pricing plan, terms and conditions. The best bet is contact you rlocal dealer to get details specific to your area and your needs. If you don’t have a local dealer in mind, there are many oil dealer directories available which will help you decide. For example, here is a regional directory of oil dealers listing companies that service a section of Pennsylvania.

Home Heating Oil Prices Chart

Based on the data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration found at, the price of residential heating oil from 1992 up to 1999 was quite steady. There are some minor increases in between months and years, but overall it was more stable. It was until early in year 2000 that oil prices began to go up and down. This doesn’t mean that oil is more expensive than ever. It’s just that the issues of peace and security in the Middle East regions are becoming major factors in oil supply. But the good news is that if you can see the chart, it shows that this year, there’s a significant decrease in prices.

Home Heating Oil Alternatives

But we’d be lying to you if we tell you that you now have no choice but to switch to a new source of heating for your home. There’s no denying the fact that home or residential heating oil is still the best and most practical source of heating today. No one can argue with that. But what if someday the price of oil suddenly increases ten folds and you’ve got no other choice but to find an alternative?

Wood or Biomass

In instances when you need a lot of heat and there is no way to get heating oil, biomass becomes a very good option when it comes to cost-effectiveness. While the capital costs can be high, you should know that the running costs are lower compared to all other alternatives.


solar heatingSolar energy is another choice that makes a lot of sense. For heating, there are four main forms of it. These are solar thermal intended for producing hot water, photovoltaic for producing electricity, photovoltaic thermal for both hot water and electricity, and passive solar for warming the house naturally. Likewise, capital costs can be high compared to an oil-fired system, but you don’t get to spend a lot for running costs, provided the sun is always up.

Home Heating Systems

While we are proponents of home heating oil to heat your homes, we also recognize that there are several types of home heating systems today that you should know about. It’s great if you get to learn them all so that you can keep your options open.

So aside from heating oil systems, there are new and sophisticated systems. But oil is generally under one category called the forced air system. It shares the same category with natural gas, propane, and electricity. But aside from forced air system, there is radiant heat which produces heat by getting energy from the sun, hydronic system that uses hot water baseboard, steam radiant, and geothermal.

Home Heating Oil versus Kerosene

heating oil vs. keroseneIn the cold winter months, American homes, especially in the northeast depend on different home heating systems. Two of the most reliable and preferred sources of heat are heating oil and kerosene.

Oil heating, being part of the general forced air system type of heating, will require some major installation costs. That’s why it is described as a main source of heat. Kerosene meanwhile is used primarily by heaters, which in turn do not really use any electricity or require major installations. Because of that, kerosene is more on emergency heating or as backup when heating oil or other sources are not available. Finally, kerosene is a bit more expensive when used as the main heating source compared to heating oil.