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Can I Use Kerosene To Heat My Home?

kerosene heating service massachusettsWhen it comes to heating your southeastern Massachusetts home, there are many fuel options – two of which are kerosene and heating oil. But can you use them interchangeably? Let’s take a look.

Heating Oil

There are many reasons why people have been turning to heating oil to keep their families safe and warm for more than a century. For one thing, oil outputs more BTUs than any other fuel, so oil-fired heating equipment warms your space quickly and cost effectively. For another, oil is considered by many to be the safest type of fuel because it will not explode or catch fire. In fact, heating oil will not burn at all in a liquid state: it must first be vaporized in order to ignite inside your furnace or boiler.

The one problem with heating oil is that it “gels” (freezes) at a temperature of 16°F (heating oil doesn’t turn to “ice” like water does; it turns into a gummy liquid that can jam your fuel lines and eventually break down your heating system). This makes using heating oil problematic in cold areas where tanks are outdoors (in mobile home communities, for example).


Kerosene (sometimes called “lamp oil”) is a hydrocarbon liquid that is used to power everything from space heaters to jet engines. Kerosene burns cleaner and more efficiently than heating oil due to its refining process, and it doesn’t gel in the winter.

However, when it comes to heating a home, kerosene does present several problems compared to heating oil. For example, kerosene has a lower flash point, meaning that it poses a greater risk for a fire than heating oil. Burning kerosene also produces more carbon monoxide than burning heating oil, making it a higher safety risk.

Choosing your fuel

Choosing between heating oil and kerosene basically comes down to where you’re using it: if you are using it in a mobile home, kerosene is typically your better bet. If you are using it in a stationary home with an indoor tank, always use heating oil. If your oil tank is outdoors, consider a heating oil/kerosene blend, or a heating oil treated with an anti-gelling agent. Note: W.H. Riley & Son only provides kerosene to mobile home customers.

Need K-1 kerosene delivery or heating oil delivery in the southeastern MA? Count on W.H. Riley & Son! Contact us today to learn more.