Heating Oil System Basics: Be "In The Know" | Discount Oil Brokers

Heating Oil System Basics You Should Know

heating oil furnace facts rhode islandHeating oil is a great way to heat your home or office – it’s safe, economical, readily available, and provides more BTUs per gallon than any other home fuel source.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of inaccurate information circulating about heating oil that might prevent some people from choosing it to heat their home. The good news is that most of these doubts were caused by problems that have been solved by technology, or can otherwise easily be overcome with the help of an experienced heating contractor.

Let’s take a look at some oil heating system basics, along with some tips that will show you how to keep your equipment working as well or better than any other system on the market.

Your Oil Furnace: How It Works

A heating oil furnace is a great way to heat your Connecticut home. Here’s how It works:

  • Heating oil is pumped from the storage tank to the furnace, where it’s turned into a fine mist.
  • The mist travels to the combustion chamber, where it mixes with air and is ignited by an electrical spark.
  • As the chamber heats, a blower forces warm air through your home’s duct system and into your rooms, warming the air.
  • Harmful exhaust fumes from combustion are released harmlessly through your furnace’s ventilation system.


  • Heating oil will not ignite under normal household conditions – a big safety advantage compared to gas-powered equipment.
  • Routine professional heating system maintenance will keep your furnace working safely and efficiently for up to twenty years.

Fuel Storage Tank Basics

  • In a cold climate like we have here in New England, heating oil storage tanks are usually housed indoors or below ground – mostly because heating oil will begin to gel (freeze) at 16°F; when gelled heating oil thickens, it can clog your system and cause breakdowns.
  • Aboveground heating oil tanks are typically stored in a utility room, basement, or garage and range from 220 gallons to 1,000 gallons; the most common size used in homes is 275 gallons. Oil tanks typically come in oval and cylindrical shapes.


  • By properly sizing and placing your heating oil tank, you can avoid many heating oil system problems, including gelling, corrosion, and heating system breakdowns.

Heating Oil Tank Construction

  • In the past, oil tanks were built solely from steel, which could corrode in the presence of condensation (water) inside the tank. Steel tanks are still available today, but they are built to a much higher standard than in the past.
  • Alternative construction materials have also become more common, including fiberglass and polyethylene plastic, which are often used as the inner lining of a double-walled storage tank. When combined with leak detection technology, these materials make today’s oil storage tanks virtually leak-proof.


  • With modern high-tech, eco-friendly heating oil storage tank options, your tank could last up to 50 years!

Need heating oil equipment service or heating oil deliveries Rhode Island or southeastern Massachusetts? Trust the pros at Discount Oil Brokers. Contact us today to learn more, or to become a Discount Oil Brokers customer!

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