Kerosene is a type of oil, that is the UK's most common heating fuel for homes not connected to the main gas network. As well as being an extremely versatile oil with many uses, there are a number of reasons why it's the most popular choice for off-grid homes using oil-fired boilers.
In the UK, kerosene is often known as heating oil or paraffin. However, it can also be referred to as kerosine, 28 second oil, fuel oil and lamp oil.
Kerosene oil is light in colour, a thin and clear liquid with a density of around 0.81 g/cm3 (gram per cubic centimetre). Colour dye is often used to identify kerosene against gas oil.
1,084,200 barrels of kerosene oil are used worldwide every single day**
Cheaper than gas
Not only is kerosene cheap to produce, but low prices have helped heating oil become cheaper than gas, officially making kerosene the cheapest way to heat your home***.
Choice of suppliers
There are hundreds of UK heating oil suppliers, making it easier for you to compare local prices and find a great deal.
With a clean burn and a low risk of carbon monoxide emission, kerosene is one of the safest fuels available.
More environmentally friendly
Due to the lack of fumes produced, kerosene is considered more environmentally friendly than wood or coal. Additionally, grouped orders reduce CO2 emissions from delivery tankers.
Greater heat efficiency
The estimated efficiency level of domestic kerosene is 90%, compared to 77% for gas and 31% for electricity. This means more heat is released compared to other energy sources.
There are two grades of kero oil; class 1 (lighter) can be used in lanterns whereas class 2 (heavier) has uses for domestic heating oil. This adds to the versatility of the oil. See below for some popular uses.
One of the original uses was as a source of light within oil lamps. Backpackers still use kerosene now for lamps and liquid stoves.
Acting as a cleaning liquid, it can be used on bike chains or rims to remove lubricant.
The high flash point of kerosene makes it the safer option in entertainment. Useful for firebreathing!
Kerosene is a safer component in Jet A1 Kero. Compared to gasoline, it's less prone to freezing and doesn't burn too quickly at high temperatures.
In the 19th century, kerosene was a vital commodity of light from oil lamps. It was extracted from coal, oil shale and wood. After the introduction of electricity, which become widely available in the UK during the 1920s and quickly became the most popular source of light, the use of oil lamps dwindled.
Later in the 20th century, millions of UK homes were connected to natural gas to heat homes. These developments for light and home heating have led kerosene to become more commonly associated with rural home heating.
Petroleum, latin for rock oil, is a natural oil found beneath the earth's surface. After being obtained through drilling, it is separated via the process of fractional distillation.
Using high temperatures, the petroleum is broken down into a variety of fuels. This includes; butane & propane, petrol, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil and lubricating oil. The kerosene is then extracted and delivered as home heating oil.
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*http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140402142426/http:/www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/market-studies/off-grid/OFT1380.pdf **http://www.indexmundi.com/energy/?product=kerosene&graph=consumption ***http://www.oilsave.org.uk/news-article-content/~news/11269/17-Jun-2016/IT%E2%80%99S-OFFICIAL-HEATING-OIL-IS-THE-CHEAPEST-FORM-OF-ENERGY