How Does An Oil Heating System Work?

Heating systems that are powered by heating oil offer clean and environmentally-safe operations, with a lifespan that is twice as long as other fuel systems. They are worthy investments for your home as they are highly efficient and cost-effective, especially newer models that boast impressive Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings. In this article, we answer the question, “How does an oil heating system work?”.

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Common Myths Regarding Oil Heating Systems

Let’s begin with dispelling a few misconceptions regarding oil heating systems.

  • Heating Oil Safety: A common misconception about heating oil is that it is not safe. This is completely untrue. Heating oil is safe in its natural state, much like diesel fuel. Heating oil doesn’t explode or be a cause of concern when stored correctly.
  • Oil-Fired Heating System Lifetime: Heating oil systems generally have a service life of around 30 years longer than natural gas and propane and natural gas, which have a lifespan of about 11 to 14 years.
  • Environment: Most people think that, compared to other heating systems, oil heating is worse for the environment. However, this is not the case. Fuel oil has a cleaner burn due to new technology, making it one of the best heating systems for the environment. It comes well within the air pollution standards that the EPA has set.
  • Heating Oil Price: Heating oil systems are good investments because they are cheaper and last twice as long as other heating units. Using an oil heater saves you 5% on your fuel cost.
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How Does An Oil Heating System Work?

image of a person holding up a sign how does it work depicting how does a heating oil system workHeating oil systems can warm your home in one of three ways, including radiators, vents, and baseboards. This system works when the thermostat temperature drops to a certain level. This signals your heater to begin home heating.

When the oil heats, a pump moves the oil from the tank to the burner. The oil turns into a warm mist at this point. It mixes with the air, and this mixture goes into the burner, where it creates fire in the combustion chamber.

The oil heats the water and air that provides warmth to your home, depending on the kind of heating system you have installed. Air systems are known as central forced-air systems. This system uses ductwork and vents for warm air circulation throughout your home. On the other hand, water systems are called hydronic heating systems. Depending on your home’s setup, these systems heat water and send it to baseboards or radiators.

Two types of heating oil systems are available for you to choose from: a boiler and a furnace. These two have some differences, but their common trait is that the newer the model, the higher its efficiency. After all, HVAC technology has been focused on producing heating systems with impressive energy efficiency.

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Oil-Fired Boilers


image of a boiler room and vent pipes

Hydronic heating systems, such as boilers, warm water, and the hot water travels around the house for home heating via the baseboards or radiators. When the water cools down, it cycles back to the boiler to be reheated.
A steam boiler is another kind of heating oil system. It is less common and works when the steam from the boiling water moves through its system and heats via the radiators.

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Oil-Heat Furnaces

Modern furnaces with minimum efficiency still operate better and more efficiently than older atmospheric models. A fan pushes the exhaust air through a heat exchanger.
The best oil-heat furnaces are the newer condensing furnaces. Less heat escapes outdoors with these furnaces. They also cool the gasses first before venting the hot exhaust immediately. This means the water vapor condenses, and the exhaust is released outside via a plastic pipe located on the side.

The primary difference furnaces and boilers have is that the former utilizes air for home heating, while the latter uses water. They both have a similar process regarding the heated oil, ensuring the system remains warm so that the cold air or water can cycle through for reheating.

Both these systems utilize oil to heat homes. It begins in the combustion chamber, where the oil turns into flames. The heat exchanger then warms the gasses or water flowing through the system.

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Oil Heating System Maintenance

Oil-heat systems need to be maintained, like other heaters. This way, you can be sure that it works properly and efficiently. The first step in this process is cleaning the thermostat before the start of the heating season. This helps you in regulating your home’s temperatures.

Your oil heating system’s blower and the stack parts monitor the burner. Proper upkeep of these components helps get rid of contaminants and debris that can slow down your heater’s operations.
Homeowners can do some maintenance tasks, but it is always better to have a professional assist you in ensuring that your system is in good condition before the winter season begins. If you haven’t had your system tuned up yet, book HVAC services today. Annual cleaning is all your heating system needs to operate more efficiently, increase your home comfort, improve air quality, and lower your heating expenses.

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Environmental Benefits Of Using Oil Heating Systems

Oil heating systems generate clean heat, with new systems emitting nearly zero levels of smoke and combustion debris in your home and into the air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), oil burners are one of the sources of the cleanest combustion.

Oil tank storage shouldn’t pose a risk to the environment or your health. Tanks that are properly taken care of can last for many decades. Heating oil is non-toxic, meaning it doesn’t have carcinogens and is biodegradable.

The benefits it has on the environment are a great reason to invest in oil heater systems. Aside from being more cost-effective and having a long lifespan, using these systems is better for the environment as it releases almost no debris or smoke into the air.

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Related Article: The Fundamentals Of A Heating Oil Tank Gauge



If you are considering getting a new heating system, you now know all benefits and how oil heating systems operate. Modern systems are more environmentally-friendly and will save you more money down the line.

Have an HVAC professional help you ensure that your heating system works properly before the start of the cold season. An HVAC technician can help keep your home warm and comfortable. You don’t have to worry about your system because you are sure that it works and won’t break down when you need it the most. Book a heating system cleaning service for your unit today!

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Call Tevis Energy For Your Home Heating Oil Requirements

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Tevis Energy is a trustworthy heating oil delivery company that services central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Our company offers affordable and the most competitive heating oil prices in the area. Our goal is to provide you with excellent products and services. When you choose us to be your oil supplier, you can rest easy knowing that you will have correct and prompt heating oil deliveries at the best possible prices. Furthermore, we offer various heating oil delivery plans and financing options as a way to customize your oil deliveries. Be sure to call us today to learn more.

Tevis Energy has certified and highly trained HVAC technicians to cater to all your heating and cooling needs. We guarantee that each of our techs has the experience, skills, and knowledge to provide excellent HVAC services. Our team can assist you with installations, repairs, maintenance, and much more. Our superior HVAC solutions always come at affordable costs, and we back all of our work with a guarantee.

Call us today to learn more about the products and services our company offers. We provide free, in-home estimates. Click the link to view our service area.

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