How Heating Oil is Made

Science / Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Rix Petroleum are UK fuel suppliers with a long-running history in the oil industry. This family-owned business has been established since 1870, giving them a valuable insight into the world of oil. Heating oil is a type of fuel used to heat homes in the UK, particularly those not on the national gas network. This alternative fuel is used by approximately 1.5 million homes in the UK and can be cheaper than mains gas and electricity if bought at the right times.

Rix explain the process in which different types of oil are made in this infographic:


Fuel oil, which is used for home heating oil, condenses at a higher temperature than Kerosene, making it a thicker substance which is more difficult to ignite. Heating oil is also darker in colour than Kerosene, which has a lighter, runnier appearance. The type of oil your home requires depends on the type of boiler you have installed. Most homes that are off the national grid tend to have a oil fired boiler which requires heating oil, but Kerosene-fuelled boilers are typically more efficient to run and cleaner to use.

The History of Heating Oil

Heating oil is created from Petroleum, which is created from the decay of living things over millions of years. When these living things decay, the heat and pressure of the earth transforms the, into carbon based minerals. In 1852, Abraham Gesner discovered that Kerosene (and therefore heating oil in years to come) could be made from crude petroleum oil. From then on, this method was used to light candles and oil burners which had previously used whale oil. Kerosene helped the lamps and burners to burn for longer periods of time. Today, heating oil and Kerosene is widely used in the UK, for domestic, commercial and agricultural use. Due to seasonal demands for fuel oil now, heating oil prices are constantly changing which make it a somewhat unreliable heating source if not paid attention to. Homeowners who do their research and understand these price fluctuations know that the best time to buy is in the summer, ensuring they get the best prices for their heating oil.