Americans have been using oil to heat their homes for more than 100 years – which isn’t surprising considering how effective it is at pumping out the BTUs. But how safe is heating oil as a source of home energy?
As it turns out, it ranks at the top on that score, too.
Unlike natural gas or propane, heating oil will not burn under conditions you would normally find in your home: to burn, heating oil must be vaporized and ignited in a specific way – a process that happens inside your boiler or furnace.
That doesn’t mean that you can simply fill your tank with heating oil and run your furnace or boiler year after year without giving it at least some TLC. When you get an annual heating tune-up from a qualified technician, he will test your heating equipment to make sure everything is functioning as it should.
Great strides have also been made in the area of oil storage tank designs, where double wall heating oil tanks have virtually eliminated oil leaks. Older, single wall steel oil tanks were prone to corrosion – a problem that could lead to leaks or even tank failures. Now, with inner tanks made from plastic or fiberglass, the chance of an oil leak is near zero if the tank is properly installed and maintained.
Although burning heating oil produces some carbon monoxide as exhaust, oil holds a big advantage over gas when it comes to carbon monoxide detection: if an oil burner is not functioning properly, it will produce smoke – a natural warning sign. A gas burner, on the other hand, will produce only colorless, odorless carbon monoxide; this makes a CO buildup harder to notice without a sensitive and working carbon monoxide detector.
If your oil furnace is producing black smoke or soot, contact a heating professional 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 – the best and safest way to heat your Hudson Valley home! Contact us today to become a Valley Oil customer and get reliable heating oil deliveries in Dutchess and Ulster counties.
Please note: At Valley Oil, your safety and comfort are always our priority. Please contact us to learn more about how we are working to keep your family and our crews safe and your heating oil deliveries coming through this challenging time.