Surveys have shown that while heating oil customers have exceptionally high levels of satisfaction with the service they receive, most don’t realize all the ways today’s oil heat can enhance their comfort and save them money.
Oil heat: a pathway into the future
The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) continues to research and develop oil heating equipment and biofuel that’s cleaner and more efficient than before. The overall goal is to transition to even higher levels of biodiesel fuel that can be matched to highly efficient, groundbreaking equipment.
One ongoing research project involves transforming wood waste into a liquid for use in heating oil. A field test of this renewable fuel was just conducted last winter in Maine.
In terms of equipment, one initiative the industry is working on is the development of an oil-fired heat pump that uses cutting-edge technology. Research is currently being conducted on this project by a team led by Dr. Thomas Butcher, director of the NORA Research & Education Center in Plainview, N.Y.
“We have a pathway into the future. We’re not an old fuel that has had its time in the sun… we can be more of a solution than you ever thought we could be.”
—John Huber, President, National Oilheat Research Alliance
Oil heat “techs” it to the limit
Technology has improved efficiency so much that it has reduced annual fuel consumption by as much as 40%, saving oil heat consumers a lot of money on fuel. And because new systems burn cleanly and don’t need as much fuel, they do not pose a hazard to the environment.
Additionally, sulfur levels have been reduced dramatically, improving heating system efficiency and cleanliness and reducing emissions. This reformulated fuel also eliminates the source of most equipment breakdowns. The advent of heating oil with low sulfur content has paved the way for the next generation of compact, super-efficient boilers and furnaces.
This is only the beginning. The quality of heating oil will get even better in the years ahead. And that’s good news for the environment!
In contrast, serious concerns are being raised about the aging infrastructure of natural gas pipelines, which are being strained to capacity, especially during extreme cold spells. Many of these old pipelines are also leaking methane — a damaging greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere.
And that’s bad news for the environment!
Cold winter, warm oil-heated homes
Shortly after the official start to winter, hundreds of records were broken along the Eastern Seaboard when a historic cold spell numbed millions of people from the Florida Panhandle all the way up into Maine.
Looking on the bright side
The silver lining is that such frigid temperatures reinforced the value of owning an oil-heated home. That’s because oil generates nearly 140,000 Btu’s of heat for every gallon burned and warms a home evenly and efficiently. To put that in perspective, you would have to burn about 40% more natural gas to receive the heating equivalent of heating oil. That’s just one reason fewer people are switching to natural gas!
Because of oil heat’s impressive efficiency, homeowners enjoy high comfort levels and great value — no matter how cold it gets. If someone is looking to find the warmest homes in your neighborhood next winter, chances are good it will be the ones heated with oil.
Of course, homeowners who take advantage of the latest oil heat technology increase their odds of having the warmest, most comfortable home on the block..
How efficient is oil heat?
Oil heat is efficient and more economical than ever! The latest oil heating systems are small, smart and super-efficient and can save you, on average, about 30% on your annual heating costs. Here are six more quick points about oil heat efficiency.
- New oil heat systems have efficiency ratings as high as 95%! This provides oil-heated homes with more warmth for less fuel.
- Compared with 25 years ago, homeowners now need an average of 500 gallons less oil to heat their homes each year. That’s because new oil heating systems are much more efficient than those from a generation ago.
- New oil heating systems are much smaller than older ones. The average boilers and furnaces today are powerful, yet compact — similar in size to a three-drawer filing cabinet.
- Oil-fired water heaters provide unlimited hot water at low cost. Not only does an oil water heater save huge amounts of money over its lifetime, it is also perfect for homes with a high demand for hot water.
- Many new oil boilers use energy-saving controls that greatly reduce fuel usage during mildly cold weather and provide a more even heat with fewer temperature swings.
- High-efficiency oil furnaces feature variable speed motors that use about 80% less electricity than older motors and provide more consistent airflow and temperatures.