How Does An Oil Heating System Work?

image of a person holding up a sign how does it work depicting how does a heating oil system work

Systems that use heating oil are smart acquisitions for homeowners. They are cleaner, safer, and tougher compared to other fuel-powered heaters. With oil heating systems, you can get more bang for your buck. Their high energy efficiency makes them cost-effective to operate. New models are particularly impressive with their record-breaking AFUE ratings. In this article, we answer the question, “How does an oil heating system work?”.

We will start the discussion by uncovering the truth behind persistent myths.

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Common Myths About Oil Heating Systems

Keep reading to explore some common myths that surround home heating oil.

  • Environment: Many people believe that heating oil is detrimental to the environment. They think that it performs poorly compared to other fuel types, but that is a false assumption. Data suggests that fuel oil delivers a clean burn. Emissions and other byproducts fall within the EPA air pollution standards, all thanks to technological advancements in equipment design. If you want a green heating system, this is a viable option for your household.
  • Price: Are you worried about the price? Some say that heating oil systems are expensive, but that is a myth when you study the numbers. These are cheaper in comparison with other systems. They even have double the lifespan of their rivals, thus stretching your dollars. Operation is also cheap, with fuel costs roughly 5% lower than other energy sources.
  • Lifetime: Propane and natural gas are the other popular fuels used in heating systems. You can expect these heating units to last for around 11 to 14 years on average. On the other hand, heating oil systems are known to serve homes for as long as 30 years.
  • Safety: Do you feel anxious about installing an oil heating system? Don’t be. The equipment is safe to install and operate. Heating oil is not harmful in its natural state. It will not explode or do anything dangerous with proper storage. Let professionals install your oil tank for your peace of mind.
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How Oil Heat Works

image of a boiler expansion tank

Heating oil systems can provide warmth in three ways: vents, baseboards, and radiators. The thermostat will constantly check the indoor temperature and trigger the heater to turn on if it senses a significant drop in temperature.

A pump will make fuel oil flow from the storage tank to the burner for combustion. A mixture of oil mist and air goes into the combustion chamber and create flames for heating the indoor spaces.

The heat produced can increase the temperature of air or water that is in direct contact with the system. These warm substances can then circulate around the home to spread the heat around the colder areas. In central forced-air systems, you will see a network of vents and ducts for the dispersal of hot air. In hydronic heating systems, heated water flows into radiators or baseboards across different rooms.

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Two Types of Heating Oil Systems

When acquiring a new heating system, one of the most important factors to consider is the type of equipment you will choose. Are you going to install a furnace or a boiler? New models of each type perform more efficiently than older generations. However, they have significant differences that may nudge you towards one or the other.

1. Oil Heat Furnaces

Modern furnaces, even at their lowest efficiency, can still run circles around older models. Industry standards have gotten so much higher than they were decades ago. Inside these machines, a fan pushes out exhaust air through a heat exchanger.

Heating a furnace using oil is effective. Check out the new condensing furnaces or variable-speed furnaces for the best performance. Their design reduces heat loss for greater efficiency. Instead of venting immediately, they let the gases cool first until the water vapor condenses. The exhaust moves outdoors through a plastic pipe.

2. Oil-fired Boilers

boiler radiator

With boilers, heating oil warms up water which then moves through the house. Its heat dissipates as it flows, making spaces warmer while the water gets cooler. The cold liquid goes back to the boiler for another heating cycle.

A less common kind of oil-fired boiler uses steam instead of liquid water. After boiling, the hot steam travels around the house until it reaches the radiators in each room.

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The Main Difference Between Boilers and Furnaces

As you can see, it all boils down to the heating medium. In furnaces, warm air moves around the home to spread the heat generated by the system. In boilers, warm water gets the job done. Both machines generate heat across several cycles until the thermostat senses that the home is within the range of the desired temperature.

Heating oil can provide heating through different strategies, depending on how you configure the system. After the fuel enters the combustion chamber, it produces flames that heat the chosen medium, which flows across the home.

Oil Heating System Maintenance

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All machines need maintenance. Oil heat systems are not excluded from this requirement. Regular HVAC tune-ups are essential for efficiency and performance. The first task is to clean the thermostat prior to the heating season. After all, it is the center of temperature regulation in the home.

Cleaning the blower and other parts of the system is also necessary. It will remove dirt and debris that could clog the paths and reduce equipment efficiency. The system will run better for longer.

A few maintenance tasks are suitable for homeowners. These are simple enough for anyone to perform. However, others call for professional services. Do not leave anything to chance. Do what’s best for your heating system to enjoy a stress-free winter with uninterrupted operation. Schedule annual maintenance as soon as possible. Just one professional tune-up a year can make a world of difference in terms of air quality, indoor comfort, and heating costs.

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Environmental Benefits of Heating Oil

With oil heating systems, you can make your home warm without guilt. Modern equipment can run with insignificant levels of smoke and debris from combustion. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, oil burners offer cleaner combustion than most other fuels.

Are you concerned about having to store an oil tank in your backyard? Millions of households do this without incident. It isn’t detrimental to the health of your family. It is unlikely to harm your immediate environment, either. If you take good care of your oil tank, it can last for decades. Remember that heating oil is not a toxic substance. It is biodegradable and non-carcinogenic.

Choose oil heaters if you wish to help the environment. They can reduce your impact while providing efficient heating. They will lower your energy costs and serve you for a long time. They even have low emissions for healthier surroundings.



A new heating system requires a large investment. Weigh your options carefully. Study the pros and cons of each option to figure out which one suits you best. Now that you know how oil heating systems work, you are in a better position to evaluate their ability to serve you and your family.

Whichever you decide to get, make sure to have it installed by professional HVAC technicians. Don’t stop there. Schedule annual maintenance before the cold months to fix brewing problems and prevent equipment failure. Call now to secure your preferred date.

Call Point Bay Fuel For Superior Home Comfort Solutions


Point Bay Fuel offers superior heating oil deliveries and HVAC services in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, New Jersey. Our heating oil deliveries are fast, reliable, and affordable, and we always keep your safety in mind. We offer various heating oil delivery plans and financing options. This way, you can customize your fuel deliveries to meet your needs. Likewise, we hire the best-certified HVAC technicians who can provide you with excellent HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each of our techs has the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

Point Bay Fuel guarantees the most competitive home comfort service costs in the area. Our maintenance services can improve your comfort and energy efficiency while reducing your home HVAC costs. If you are interested in improving your indoor air quality, then look no further. Our experts know the most advanced solutions to achieve all of your home comfort needs. All of our services are backed with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. To schedule an appointment, give Point Bay Fuel a call today.

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