Just How Safe IS Heating Oil Today?

heating oil safety

Get familiar with how safe and dependable today’s heating oil really is

In the northeastern United States, including here in the Hudson Valley, heating oil has a history of being the most popular heating fuel for homes.

Heating oil offers several advantages: It’s the most cost-effective home heating fuel source. Heating oil gets your home warmer faster than any other fuel source – it’s true! And unlike natural gas, your supply isn’t dependent on outside utility lines. Your heating oil is right there at your home.

Heating oil is also the safest home heating fuel.

Just because it’s oil doesn’t mean it’s an immediate fire hazard. Quite the contrary. Heating oil isn’t actually highly flammable at room temperature. Drop a lit match into heating oil, and it will be extinguished. You certainly can’t say that about natural gas!

Before heating oil can be vaporized and combusted for heating in your home’s furnace or boiler, it must be heated to at least 140˚ Fahrenheit.

An additional line of safety comes from today’s heating oil tanks today, all made with double-wall steel, along with plastic and fiberglass. That makes them practically leak-proof, unlike tanks of 30-40 years ago. Built-in alarms prevent the tank from being overfilled, which reduces the risk of damaging spills and leaks.

But, there are still some things you need to do to make sure your oil-fired heating system operates safely.

  1. Maintain your heating system. Regular tune-ups of your furnace or boiler include a careful inspection. That gives your Depew Energy service technician the opportunity to find problems before they can become bigger, more expensive to fix, and more hazardous.
  2. Inspect your heating oil tank regularly. Between heating system tune-ups and heating oil deliveries, check the area around your heating oil tank for pools of oil. Also check for signs of impending tank failure like dime-sized blistering of the paint on the tank, condensation remaining on the outside of the tank long after a heating oil delivery, and pinhole leaks.
  3. Protect your home and family from carbon monoxide. Heating oil poses very little risk of carbon monoxide leaks. But, carbon monoxide leaks can happen if your oil-fired furnace or boiler isn’t properly maintained. If your furnace or boiler is producing black smoke or soot, contact Depew Energy’s service department IMMEDIATELY. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and outside all bedrooms. Test them regularly, replace the batteries frequently, and replace all detectors older than five years old.

The professionals at Depew Energy can help you with heating oil (or propane!) delivery, equipment service and more for your Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, or Putnam County home, today! Contact us today and let’s get started.