What is difference between kerosene & heating oil?

Written by dees stribling | 13/05/2017

Kerosene and heating oil -- more formally called No. 2 fuel oil -- are both combustible hydrocarbon liquids, but they are chemically different because they result from different steps in the refining of crude oil. As a result, the two are generally used for different purposes.

Chemical Differences

As chemical substances, kerosene and No. 2 fuel oil have different maximum distillation temperatures: 204 degrees Celsius for kerosene and 338 degrees Celsius for No. 2 fuel oil. They also have different "flash points," or temperatures at which it's possible for the substances to ignite when mixed with air: the lowest is 37.8 degrees Celsius for kerosene and 52.2 degrees Celsius for No. 2 fuel oil.

ASTM Standards

ASTM International, which publishes industrial standards for worldwide use, classifies kerosene and fuel oil No. 2 as distinct materials. Kerosene must meet the ASTM D3699 standard, while No. 2 fuel oil is defined by ASTM D396.

Different Uses

For more than a century, kerosene has been used as a light source when burnt in small lamps. It is also used domestically in cook stoves and space heaters. No. 2 fuel oil is also used in domestic settings, but typically burnt to heat interior spaces, hence the common name "heating oil." Sometimes No. 2 fuel oil is burnt to heat smaller commercial spaces as well.

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.