Just how safe IS heating oil nowadays?

heating oil safetyPeople have been using heating oil to ride out the winter in their Vermont homes for nearly a century, and for good reason – oil burns hotter and warms homes faster than just about any heating fuel around.

It’s probably the safest way to heat a home, too. Unlike natural gas, heating oil doesn’t explode; in fact, heating oil doesn’t even burn until you heat it to 140 degrees and vaporize the fuel, which is exactly the process that happens inside your furnace. Drop a lit match into a can of heating oil and it will go out, just as if you dropped it in a can of water.

Maintenance: the key to heating system safety

The key to keeping your oil-fired heating system running safely and reliably year after year is the same as it is with any piece of home comfort equipment: take care of it properly.

Properly, in this case, includes having your heating oil furnace or boiler professionally serviced every year. An annual tune-up and inspection for your heating system will help technicians detect early signs of trouble that can lead to safety risks and other issues down the road.

Modern storage tanks also contribute to heating oil safety: today’s double wall steel and plastic or fiberglass heating oil tanks are virtually leak-proof, and nearly all tanks include a built-in alarm that alerts the heating oil delivery technician if the tank has been overfilled, helping to minimize spills and leaks.

Of course, it’s still important keep an eye on your oil storage tank for signs of a leak – just remember that you won’t always be able to tell if your heating oil tank is compromised without a professional ultrasound heating oil storage tank inspection, since heating oil tank corrosion typically begins inside the tank.

A note about carbon monoxide risk

Although heating oil poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide leaks, they are possible in an improperly maintained or malfunctioning heating system. If your oil furnace is producing black smoke or soot, contact us right away — this is a sign your equipment is not functioning properly and the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning exists. 

It’s also critical to have tested and working carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and to know the telltale symptoms of CO poisoning, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.

Heating oil is a great way to heat your Bennington, Windham or Rutland County home. Contact us today to become a Dorr Oil customer and keep the reliable heating oil deliveries coming all fall and winter long.