Surveys have shown that while heating oil customers have exceptionally high levels of satisfaction with the service they receive, many people have big misconceptions about the safety of heating a home with oil.*
The truth is heating oil has always been a remarkably safe fuel.
People who understand this say this is a big reason why they choose to stay with oilheat instead of switching to another fuel.
Heating oil cannot explode
The oil in your tank is as likely to explode as the water in your backyard swimming pool. It’s that safe. With an oil tank on your property, you can always count on having a secure, on-site supply at your home. Heating oil is easily transported and handled by highly trained professionals using equipment and techniques that keep safety at the forefront.
In contrast to heating oil delivery, if an underground natural gas pipeline gets damaged, customers may lose their supply until repairs get done. And if a serious problem occurs with a gas pipeline, such as excessive pressure, explosions can occur. This was the cause of a tragedy in Massachusetts.
Safe in the home and safe in your tank:
Heating oil is biodegradable, nontoxic and nonflammable. It cannot burn in its liquid state. It takes an advanced high-tech burner to ignite the oil. Before combustion can occur, heating oil must first be vaporized by an oil burner at temperatures above 140°.
Modern heating oil storage tanks have been designed to be virtually leak-proof. Whether your oil storage tank is located in your basement or outside your home, the tanks being installed today are designed with corrosion-resistant materials. Today’s tanks can last for decades. New technology allows for remote monitoring to protect against the rare event of a leak and guarantees that you will always have a sufficient supply of heating oil on hand.
Carbon monoxide safety
Unlike natural gas, an oil heating system poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If an oil burner malfunctions (most often due to a lack of maintenance), the safety devices in the unit will typically shut the furnace or boiler off.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that oilheat consumers shouldn’t have working carbon monoxide detectors inside their homes, especially near all bedrooms. Besides a malfunctioning boiler or furnace, there are many other sources for carbon monoxide leaks, including:
- operating unvented appliances for long periods of time
- back drafts caused by pressure imbalances near the heating system
- leaving a vehicle idling in an attached garage
- running a gasoline-powered generator in a basement or attached garage
- a blocked flue
Make sure you check your carbon monoxide (and smoke) detectors regularly to confirm they operate properly!
*Based on the NORA-funded NJ Oilheat Consumer Research Study
You will be able to enhance heating oil safety even further by having your heating oil company perform system maintenance regularly. This will ensure that your oil boiler or oil furnace operates with optimum safety and efficiency.