Frequently Asked Questions
Where does heating oil come from?
Why is heating oil pink?
Is oilheat clean?
I currently use oil to heat my home. Is it smart to switch to Natural Gas?
What does the AFUE number on my appliance mean?
What are heating degree days?
- Where does heating oil come from?
- The majority of today’s heating oil comes directly from the USA, with Maine receiving roughly 50% of its oil by truck and marine transportation from Canada. Waterborne deliveries are made to Maine harbors via coastal terminals in Portland, South Portland, Searsport, Bucksport, Yarmouth and Bangor.
- Why is heating oil pink?
- No. 2 heating oil is the color of champagne after refining, but is dyed pink before it’s sold. This is so authorities can tell the difference between on-road diesel fuel and heating oil.
- Is oilheat clean?
- Today’s oil has been blended with biodiesel (much of which is made up of waste soybean oil) in producing a cleaner, more efficient energy resource. New federal guidelines in Maine will require ultra-low amounts of sulfur in fuel oils by 2018 at the latest, reducing emissions to near zero. So, yes – oilheat burns cleanly – 95% cleaner than in 1970.
- I currently use oil to heat my home. Is it smart to switch to Natural Gas?
There are a number of factors to consider before making a change to natural gas. Right now, the price of oil is at an all-time low, with industry analysts predicting prices will remain low for the foreseeable future. On price alone, switching to Natural Gas isn’t a wise choice.
Some other things to consider:
- The environment. Natural Gas isn’t “natural.” It is comprised almost exclusively from methane – a potent greenhouse gas.
- The cost of conversion. Newer heating systems can be converted to natural gas for $5,000 to $10,000, with older systems costing even more to convert. You’d have to save $500 a year, for at least 7 years, just to break even. That’s an expensive gamble.
- Renewables. With advancements in solar, wind and geothermal energy around the corner, why not use oilheat until it makes sense to switch to a truly renewable resource? Most environmental advocates would rather see people transition to truly renewable heating sources.
- Your right to choose. There are well over 100 oil dealers in the state of Maine, so if you’re comparing prices or looking for a new service plan, feel free to shop around. If you switch to natural gas, you’re stuck with 1 supplier.
Still considering a switch? Get in touch with your local oil dealer to get more information.
- What does the AFUE number on my appliance mean?
- AFUE stands for Annual fuel utilization efficiency. It tells you how efficient your boiler or furnace is at converting energy to heat, including the amount of fossil fuel energy consumed per year. The higher the number, the more efficient the equipment is. New high-efficiency oilheat equipment can have AFUE ratings as high as 95%.
- What are heating degree days?
Heating degree days are a measure of how much (in degrees), and for how long (in days), the outside air temperature was below a certain level. The degree day system relates each day’s temperatures to the demand for fuel to heat buildings. The amount of energy that your heating system uses will vary from one week to the next, just like the outside air temperature does, and heating degree days are a simple way to quantify this.
To calculate the heating degree days value for a specific day, oil dealers find the day’s average temperature (day’s high temperature + day’s low temperature divided by 2). If the number is above 65, there is no heating degree days value that day. If the number is less than 65, dealers subtract it from 65 to find the number of heating degree days.