Heating Oil Background

We can only look at some of the highlights of the history of heating oil in one article as the whole history would be just too long. People have been using petroleum for thousands of years. The Chinese may have been the first to ever use oil for heating, but it wasn’t until a fuel crisis in 16th Century England that a search for an alternative fuel source really began. Previous to this crisis the main sources of fuel were coal and wood but these became quite scarce when the industrial revolution led to an increased demand as well as the fact that cities were growing.


During the 18th century there were attempts to use vegetable and whale oil for light but they didn’t prove very effective. It was during this century that an industrialist named George Bissel began to investigate the usefulness of rock oil as a potential fuel source. And the heating oil that we use today to heat our homes was evolved from this rock oil.


Kerosene was the first really successful coal oil. Once people began drilling instead of digging for oil the use of this fuel increased dramatically. The first successful drilling operation occurred in 1859 in Pennsylvania in the United States. High demand meant that people now began referring to oil as ‘black gold’. Although many people carried on using coal as the main source of fuel in their homes, it soon became apparent that oil was much more convenient. There was work such as shovelling involved in using coal as well as having to have somewhere to store it. Heating oil involved far less work.


The oil burner first appeared in the 1920s and this was quickly followed by the arrival of the thermostat. Everything was now in place for the adoption of heating oil as a way to heat the home. And more and more people have begun to realise the advantages that heating oil brings since that time.


Heating ones home in the cold months of winter can cost a fair packet. Electricity and gas prices are very high and show no signs of coming down any time soon. Clever people are switching to heating oil as a fuel though. After the changeover they have to make sure that the storage tanks are always full of cheap heating oil to make sure they don’t run dry in the cold weather.