Refining Crude Oil Into Heating Oil

Heating oil is used by roughly 5-6 million Americans to stay warm in the winter. The liquid is packed full of energy and burns surprisingly clean and efficiently.

A burner heats a relatively small amount of oil to a very high temperature and causes it to combust, releasing stored energy. The energy used in a chamber will heat the unit. A fan then blows air over the unit causing it to become superheated. At no point does the air come into contact with the fuel or its vapors. It is separated fully.

So, how do we get heating oil from crude? The process takes approximately 2-4 weeks to occur and is done at a refinery. The process looks like this:

  1. Crude oil is transported to a refinery.

  2. Crude oil is heated to a high temperature.

  3. The heated crude oil is distilled to separate it into different fractions.

  4. The fraction that contains heating oil is further processed to remove impurities.

  5. The refined heating oil is then stored in tanks and shipped to customers.

As you can see the process is simple enough, on paper anyway. The actual science of the refinery is a bit more complicated but you get the picture.

Heating oil is in demand throughout the United States but especially on the east coast and southern states. For example, Heating Oil in Lynchburg Va. accounts for 10% of all heated homes there. And don’t kid yourself, states in the south can get very cold in the winter. A heating source is definitely needed.


There are multiple ways you can heat your home. Wood stove, kerosene heater, electric heat pump and electric blower, natural gas and even coal stove. Heating oil is one of the more safe and efficient ways to keep your home warm and safe in the winter.