Can You Use Diesel Oil for a Home Furnace?

Many homeowners want to know if any other fuels can be burned in their oil furnaces.  They are asking, “Can I use diesel oil for a home furnace?”  The quick answer is yes! Most oil furnaces that use #1 or #2 heating oil are also capable of burning diesel fuel.  Home heating oil and diesel fuel are functionally interchangeable.  Home heating oil is also known as off-road diesel fuel since it is legal for use in off-road vehicles and equipment.

A second question arises for some of you that have oil furnaces or are considering their use, and that is, “why would you want to use diesel oil fuel instead of heating oil?”  In most cases, and in most regions of the country, the road taxes added to diesel fuel costs make it an expensive alternative to home heating oil. In fact, the lower cost of home heating fuel has tempted more than one trucker to run his rig on home fuel oil, risking heavy fines if caught.

Road taxes added to diesel fuel often increase the price by 10% to 20% over the cost of home heating oil, which generally is not taxed.  So for price alone, diesel fuel is not a good alternative for use in oil furnaces on a consistent basis.  However, since diesel fuel is easy to access, most homeowners with oil furnaces want to know if they are at least an option.  There are times when the fuel oil tank goes dry between scheduled deliveries – or the homeowner forgets to order fuel oil and wakes up with a cold house and an empty tank.  Keeping 10-15 gallons of diesel fuel on hand can save you the extra expense of having an emergency delivery of home heating oil made.  And it can keep your home warm while you are waiting for the heating oil to arrive.

In truth, home heating oil is a fairly generic term and may be applied to a wide range of fuels that also include K-1 kerosene, agricultural diesel #2, Jet Fuel, JP-1 and standard road diesel #2.    It’s good to know that options are available that can keep your home and family warm in a pinch!

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