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Home Heating Oil Grade Guide

As a homeowner, you’re trying to keep your utility bills as low as possible. You’re trying to keep your house warm and maintenance costs down. This mindset can lead homeowners to purchase heating oil from the first supplier with the lowest bid. But does heating oil grade matter? Is there a difference in heating oil quality? What are the different types and grades of heating oil? Find out now.

How is Heating Oil Graded?

Heating oil is categorized by weight, since the weight is dependent on its viscosity, boiling point, additives, and more important factors. In general, the higher the grade, the cleaner the oil and the more efficiently it burns. But with that, the more expensive it’s going to be. For the average homeowner, it’s about striking a careful balance between price and oil quality to get the most out of your dollar.

Fuel Oil #1

Heating oil Grade #1 is a light distillate fuel oil often used for outdoor stoves and portable heaters, given its heavy body and impurities. Compared to kerosene, fuel oil #1 is thicker and has a higher boiling point. Fuel oil #1 is ultimately just kerosene with more impurities and higher viscosity, being that kerosene is just fuel oil #1 that’s been further cleansed and processed. These impurities burn off into the air when using it, so it’s best to keep heating oil #1 to outdoor use only.


As was mentioned, kerosene is a further processed and refined version of fuel oil #1. This results in an oil with a lower boiling point, lower viscosity, and a cleaner burn. Kerosene is typically used for lamps, camping, or as another portable heat source. While it is cleaner than fuel oil #1, it’s typically used indoors for emergency situations like blackouts or construction sites.

Fuel Oil #2

Fuel oil #2 is a distillate fuel oil that has almost the exact same chemical composition as diesel. Fuel oil #2 is the best choice for residential heating, given its high efficiency and low level of impurities. That’s why Bucks County Fuel only offers heating oil #2. The primary difference between heating oil #2 and diesel is that heating oil is untaxed. Staying warm in the winter is a necessity, so heating oil #2 is untaxed since its purpose is to supply your boiler or furnace. Supplying your vehicle with fuel oil #2 is illegal and could result in you facing charges.

What Type of Heating Oil Should You Use?

If you’ve just moved into a home that uses heating oil, you might not k what type of heating oil you should use. Look for a label on your heater that indicates what type of oil should be used or was used previously. If you can’t find anything, it’s best to work with a heating oil professional to assess the situation. We only offer heating oil #2 as it is generally the best option for residential heating. By paying for a more refined heating oil, you’re paying for higher efficiency, less sludge, and easier maintenance down the line. You’ll also need to evaluate what types of heating oil are available near you. For example, if you live near a big city like Philadelphia, you’re likely going to have a lot more options available to you than more rural parts of Pennsylvania. Follow our guide for finding the best oil provider near you and get your home warmed up today.