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#1258187 - 10/15/08 06:58 PM Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace?
Oldswagon Offline

Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 781
Loc: ON
When I bought my house, it included an oil furnace in the garage (maybe 10-15 years old). The previous owner used to run his business out of the garage, and so he heated the garage 24/7. I use the garage for my vehicles, and I only heat it if I am doing a repair or maintenance during the winter.

Since I am not out there often, I use the furnace very little. Is it possible to buy diesel in small quantities and burn that instead of burning fuel oil? The oil delivery company specifies a minimim delivery, which is far more than I'd burn in several winters. Will there be any adverse effects, or safety hazards in doing this?

#1258193 - 10/15/08 07:07 PM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: Oldswagon]
JHZR2 Offline

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 36520
Loc: New Jersey
they are one and the same... at least historically... #2 heating oil is probably higher sulfur these days, compared to #2 diesel fuel, but at least for now, #2 heating fuel is the same as off road #2 diesel and marine diesel.


#1258204 - 10/15/08 07:20 PM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: JHZR2]
Studebaker Offline

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 192
Loc: Blue Ridge Mtns, North Carolin...
During the gas shortage of the 70's, in New England a lot of people went out and bought VW Rabbit diesels. They would pump directly from their heating oil tanks to the cars. The VW dealer sold an additive that would keep it from jelling in the winter.
I worked at a trucking company. Late at night, the oil truck would sneak down and fill all the Macks.
Now they color it red so the govt won't miss out on any of their taxes.

#1258215 - 10/15/08 07:30 PM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: Studebaker]
duaneb9729 Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 1340
Loc: minneapolis mn
its really hard on a furnace to start it up at low temps, in unit heaters we have seen the heat exchangers torn apart.

i do this for a living and dont know everything. but if you can keep from starting it up when its super cold out, that would prolong the life of your heater.

in my own garage i keep the temp at 35 degrees and i have insulated it well so when i want to work out in the garage i can heat it up quickly and not cause any damage to my heater

#1258224 - 10/15/08 07:37 PM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: duaneb9729]
duaneb9729 Offline

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 1340
Loc: minneapolis mn
i wonder if you can mix used motor oil in with the diesel fuel for your heater?

i mix two gallons of used motor oil to 28 gallons of diesel fuel for my work truck.

i dont seem to get much junk in the fuel filter or excess smoke while driving.

it was just a thought

#1258389 - 10/15/08 10:24 PM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: duaneb9729]
eljefino Offline

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 27302
Loc: ME
My furnace instructions nix the used oil idea for fear of gasoline vapors making it go kaboom. I suppose used diesel oil is "better" in that regard.

You can get off road diesel that isn't taxed and save a few cents. You can also run kerosene, it won't gel as easily.

My oil dealer charges a $5 service fee for a <100 gallon delivery, which I feel is entirely fair. If I were you and hand an existing tank I'd weigh what you think pricing of #2 and whatever else you heat with (gas?) will do, and perhaps stock up during this current blip ($2.49/gal where I am right now)

They say cold starting your furnace can lead to sulfur build up from condensation; may be worth learning how to clean one of those things... not too much to lose if you screw it up.

#1258488 - 10/16/08 02:20 AM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: eljefino]
Shannow Online   content

Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 30278
Loc: Oz
I doubt that a 1:10 used motor oil to diesel ratio would cause a BOOM...additives might cause long term deposits 'though

but an oil furnace should run on diesel no worries.
Nissan TD - Edge 5W30 A3/B4
L67 3.8 - Magnatec SP 5W40
Mower - Shannow Purple Penrite SAE 30/Rislone

#1258929 - 10/16/08 04:56 PM Re: Diesel Fuel in an Oil Furnace? [Re: Shannow]
Oldswagon Offline

Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 781
Loc: ON
Thanks for the advice. I knew that "historically" heating oil and number 2 diesel were supposed to be the same. I just wanted to be certain in this day and age with all the new regulations and such.

The used motor oil would be a good idea. I always have lots of it around, but I usually just bring it to the local recycle centre (which is a PITA because they are only open 6 months and only two days a week at that).

I will double check the local oil companies on a small delivery, but the other issue is that they'll probably require an inspection on the furnace and tank.

As far as the cold start, the garage is attached and insulated, so it doesn't get overly cold in there. I did start it a few times last year with the garage temp just below freezing and it seemed okay.