Can You Burn Furnace Oil In A Diesel Engine? Need To Know

Can Furnace Oil be burned in Diesel Engines? Yes or no? Let’s find out! Research suggests that if the sulfur content of furnace oil (home heating oil) and diesel fuel differ by over 500 ppm, it could lead to damage in the engine and operational issues. Most heavy oils and crude oils have more sulfur than diesel, which results in polluting emissions from combustion. So, switching fuels without proper testing can result in fines and loss of warranty.

Can You Burn Furnace Oil In A Diesel Engine

Farm machinery owners often use heating oil during winter when it’s cheaper. Some suggest gasoline or lighter fuel gases as an alternative to getting a cleaner burn. 

In New York, red dye mixed with home heating oil makes it illegal for road use, as it is only for home heating. John Deere excavator engines allow substitutes like kerosene or vegetable oil, but they must meet certain specs in the manuals.

Using furnace oil is cheaper, but one should consider risks and the sediment that can build up and damage fuel pumps or burners.

A 40-gallon tank of diesel for HP New Holland tractors costs around $121.2 (as of April 2021). 

Heating oil and diesel may seem similar, but the differences could mean a warm home or a broken engine!

Differences Between Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel

As an alternative fuel option, some people consider using heating oil in diesel engines. However, using heating oil in place of diesel fuel could have harmful consequences on the engine. Here are some key differences between heating oil and diesel fuel:

CriteriaHeating OilDiesel Fuel
Sulfur ContentUp to 5000 ppm15 ppm (Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel Fuel)
ViscosityHigher viscosityLower viscosity (especially in cold weather)
ColorRed dye added for tax purposesNo coloring added
Intended UseHome heating fuelRoad use fuel for vehicles and farm machinery

It is also important to note that heating oil may contain more contaminants and sediments than diesel fuel. These differences can lead to various engine problems, ranging from damage to the fuel pump to clogged fuel injectors. 

Using heating oil as a substitute for diesel fuel is not recommended, as it could lead to costly repairs, voided warranties, and fines for using non-taxed fuel. A better option would be to use a cleaner-burning alternative fuel, such as biodiesel, which can be safely used in diesel engines with only minor modifications. 

Another option is to properly maintain the engine and fuel system by regularly checking and replacing filters, additives, and fuel tanks. Can you smell the sulfur? Because that’s what’s at stake when it comes to burning furnace oil in a diesel engine.

The Sulfur Content in Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel

Sulfur content is key when distinguishing Heating Oil from Diesel Fuel. The table below shows the difference:

FuelSulfur Content
Heating Oil0.05% or less
Diesel Fuel15-500 ppm

Heating Oil has less sulfur so it’s better for the environment. Homeowners often use it in boilers and furnaces. Some countries need low sulfur content in fuel oils to keep air quality up.

Know your needs and consult experts before settling on a fuel type for your equipment. Viscosity is why your furnace won’t work with diesel fuel.

The Viscosity of  Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel

Maintaining fuel viscosity is key for the optimal performance of any heating system or engine. Viscosity is measured in centistokes (cSt) at a set temperature. Heating oil & diesel fuel have different viscosity levels, affecting their applications.

See below for the viscosity comparison between heating oil & diesel fuel at 40°C, 50°C & 60°C.

Temperature (°C)Heating Oil Viscosity (cSt)Diesel Fuel Viscosity (cSt)
402.0 – 3.42.0 – 5.7
501.9 – 3.12.2 – 6.6
601.7 – 2.82.4 -10

Heating oil is more viscous than diesel fuel at all temperatures. High viscosity can cause clogging & damage to the system due to poor lubrication on moving parts.

Always check manufacturer specs before purchasing fuels. Additives can add something extra to the mix.

Additives Added in Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel

Heating oil and diesel fuel need different types of additives to improve their performance. These are substances added to the fuel to boost its quality and performance. See the Table below for the various types of additives used in Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel:

Type of AdditiveHeating OilDiesel Fuel
Cetane boostersX
Anti-icing agents
  • Anti-oxidants prevent sludge from forming, which can block filters and fuel lines. 
  • Cetane boosters control emissions and improve diesel performance. 
  • Anti-icing agents stop ice crystals from forming, which could cause blockages in heating oil. 
  • Detergents help clean diesel engine components and maintain their efficiency.

Cesium was used in both heating oil and diesel fuel, but worries about radioactive contamination caused its discontinuation.

In conclusion, anti-oxidants and anti-icing agents enhance heating oil while detergents improve diesel performance. Both fuels have their own unique requirements for optimal performance. 

Upgrade your heating oil by adding diesel components and save money while protecting the environment.

Substitution of Heating Oil with Diesel Fuel

Substituting heating oil with diesel fuel in your home heating system or furnace could be a good idea provided it meets the sulfur content limits. However, it is important to note that there are differences between the two fuels that may affect their use in certain applications.

The following table shows the comparison between the Substitution of Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel:

AspectHeating OilDiesel Fuel
Sulfur contentUp to 5000 ppmUp to 15 ppm
Red dyeYesNo

It is essential to ensure your tank can accommodate changes in fuel type and delivery. Substitution is not an option for vehicles or machinery that are logged model and a warranty may also prevent change.

It must be considered, that while diesel fuel is cleaner burning, it does not mean that substituting heating oil with diesel fuel will not lead to problems like sediment and fines.

With changing regulations and heavy fines, not taking advantage of alternative heat sources like diesel, vegetable oil, cooking oil, and kerosene can cost a lot in the long run. Ensure compliance with sulfur content limits and check the manufacturer’s instructions before substitution.

Burning furnace oil in a diesel engine is like trying to fit a cat through a hand crank – not a good idea.

Compatibility of Heating Oil and Diesel Fuel

Heating Oil:

  • Heating oil has a density of 840-860 kg/m³ and sulfur content of 500 – 2000+ ppm
  • It contains no or minimal amounts of additives or detergents, unlike diesel fuel which may have them. 
  • Furthermore, it should not be mixed with kerosene in home heating tanks.

Diesel Fuel:

  • Conversely, diesel fuel has a density of 820-860 kg/m³ and a sulfur content of 15-500+ ppm
  • It is suitable for most engines due to the presence of additives or detergents. 
  • Additionally, it is possible to mix up to 5% biodiesel into heating oil without any equipment issues.

Don’t just settle for harming the environment – why not damage your engine too?

Sediment and Damage to the Engine

Diesel fuel can be an alternative to heating oil in certain cases, but it’s important to realize the potential consequences. Diesel leaves more residue than heating oil, which can accumulate and jam fuel lines, reducing efficiency and causing costly repairs. 

Additionally, the engine may not be designed to handle diesel’s higher viscosity.

Before substituting, ensure that the equipment is compatible with diesel. Regular maintenance and cleaning of tanks and lines are recommended to prevent sediment build-up and extend system life.

There was a farmer who changed to diesel for its lower cost. He soon found out his furnace was having issues due to sediment. He realized he needed specialized equipment for diesel fuel and, in the end, returned to using heating oil. 

Beware, swapping heating oil for diesel may get you in hot water with the law!

Swapping heating oil for diesel fuel has legal implications to consider. 

  • Composition and environmental requirements differ, and the use of diesel may be allowed or prohibited depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Taxes and regulations for storage, transport, and disposal may also vary.
  • Using diesel instead of oil can affect manufacturer warranties, as equipment designed for heating oil may not work properly with diesel and could increase maintenance costs.

Regulatory agencies have worried about the impact on public health and the environment, and in 2013, scientists found that burning diesel in residential boilers led to higher emissions of particulate matter than burning heating oil. 

To reduce emissions, some states have implemented stricter measures.

Substitution of Diesel Fuel with Heating Oil

Substituting Diesel Fuel with Heating Oil is a common practice that people often consider. However, using heating oil as a substitute for diesel fuel in engines and vehicles is not recommended. Below is a table that highlights the differences between heating oil and diesel fuel.

Heating OilDiesel Fuel
Primarily used for home heating purposesIntended for use in diesel-powered vehicles and equipment
Higher sulfur contentLower sulfur content
No road taxSubject to road tax
Red dye added for customs purposesNo dye added
Thicker viscosityThinner viscosity

Using heating oil as a substitute for diesel fuel can lead to serious problems, including damage to the engine and fines for non-compliance with government regulations.  It is essential to stick to the recommended type of fuel for each vehicle or piece of equipment.

If you are looking to make a switch to a cleaner-burning fuel, there are other options available, such as biodiesel or vegetable oil. However, it is crucial to ensure that the type of fuel you choose is compatible with the engine and is approved by the manufacturer. 

Making changes to the fuel system can also affect the warranty and the overall operation of the engine. Therefore, it is best to consult with a professional before making any fuel substitutions.

Heating oil in a diesel engine? You might as well try to fit a cat in a handbag.

Compatibility of Diesel Fuel and Heating Oil

Diesel fuel and heating oil are sometimes used in the same way. So, to help understand the differences between them, we’ve made a table.

PropertyDiesel FuelHeating Oil
Density (kg/L)0.8 – 0.950.84 – 0.90
Cetane Number40 – 55N/A
Sulfur Content (ppm)15 – 500<15 (Ultra-Low Sulfur Heating Oil)

These fuels have some similarities. But, heating oil usually has higher density and no cetane number. Plus, heating oil normally has less sulfur, making it better for the environment. Tip: Before substituting diesel fuel with heating oil, make sure your equipment is compatible. Get help from a pro if you’re not sure. 

Clogged-up engines are like wearing concrete shoes: it ain’t good!

Substitution of Diesel Fuel and Heating Oil Causing Sediment and Damage to the Engine

Switching diesel fuel for heating oil can cause sediment and engine damage. The build-up in the fuel system is a common issue that affects engine performance, as heating oil has different additives than diesel. 

Over time, this sediment can lead to clogged filters, reduced efficiency, and even engine failure.

To avoid damage, maintain the fuel system by changing filters frequently and checking for sediment in the tank. You can also use a special cleaning agent designed for engines exposed to heating oil. This removes existing sediment and provides ongoing protection.

Get professional advice before changing your fuel type. They can suggest alternatives that won’t harm your engine. Think about downtime during the transition period, too. Remember, to burn cleaner with heating oil. Plus, you don’t want any nasty surprises from downtime during fuel switching.

Cleaner Burning and Fines of Heating Oil

Are you looking for an inexpensive and less polluting fuel source? Heating oil could be a smart replacement for diesel!

  • Many trucks and machines can easily run on both oils.
  • Heating oil burns cleaner, emitting fewer harmful pollutants.
  • You can dodge fines due to diesel regulations by switching.
  • Plus, heating oil’s lower sulfur content means easier maintenance and longer engine life.

Switching to heating oil is a cinch! The EIA states that in 2019, heating oil use was under 1% of highway fuel.

Let’s take small steps towards decreasing our carbon footprint and improving the air quality for a cleaner environment. Why not choose heating oil?

Substitution of Diesel Fuel with Other Fuels

As the world is moving towards sustainable energy, people are exploring options for the substitution of diesel fuel with other fuels. Exploring different fuels can help in decreasing emissions and provide a cleaner and greener environment.

A comparison table between diesel fuel and its substitutes can give clarity on whether a substitute is a right decision. Below is a table that shows the differences between diesel fuel and its substitute fuels like kerosene, cooking oil, vegetable oil, and heating oil.

Fuel TypeSulfur ContentViscosityPrice per GallonAdditives Needed
Diesel Fuel500 ppm2.7 – 3.0 cSt$2.50 – $3.50Yes
Kerosene<15 ppm2.7 – 3.0 cSt$3.00 – $4.50No
Cooking Oil0 ppm68 cSt$3.50 – $4.50Some
Vegetable Oil0 ppm65 cSt$5.00 – $6.50Yes
Heating Oil0 – 500 ppm16 – 28 cSt$2.50 – $4.00No

It is advisable to do a comprehensive research before switching to a substitute fuel. It is crucial to consider factors such as cost, the impact of fuel on machinery, and the region’s climate before making the decision.

Consideration of unique details such as the sulfur content, viscosity, additives needed, and price per gallon can help in determining if substitution is the right choice. Do not miss out on the benefits of sustainable and cleaner fuel. Choose the right substitute and experience the difference.

Why cook with vegetable oil when you can burn it in your diesel engine and save on heating costs?

Vegetable Oil as A Substitute to Diesel Fuel

Vegetable oil, also known as SVO, is a great replacement for diesel fuel. It has lower emissions and a smaller carbon footprint. Sources for SVO include palm, soybean, canola, sunflower, and rapeseed oils.

To use this biofuel option, specific adjustments to traditional diesel engines are necessary. Injection and heating systems must be added for proper performance. Guidelines should be followed carefully, as adjustments vary for each vehicle.

If you want to use vegetable oil, here are some tips: 

  • Use only 100% pure veggie oil, not blends
  • Opt for oils with low nutritional value, like used fryer oils; and 
  • Heat the fuel correctly for optimum performance.

Substituting diesel with veggie oil reduces the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels, and it decreases carbon footprints. Will kerosene be able to take on the challenge?

Kerosene as A Substitute to Diesel Fuel

Kerosene is not only cheaper than diesel, but it also has reduced emissions. This makes it a green choice for organizations wanting to shrink their carbon footprint. Plus, kerosene is free from sulfur and has low vapor pressure, making it easy to store and ship.

Surprisingly, kerosene was discovered in the middle of the 19th century by Abraham Gesner, as he was looking for a fuel created from coal. He realized that using petroleum instead made a liquid that could be used as a lamp and stove fuel. This inspired the creation of the kerosene lamp which became a popular light source around the world.

Even though there are drawbacks to using kerosene instead of diesel, such as its lower energy content per unit volume which can have a negative effect on engine performance, many industries will benefit from this alternative fuel source. 

Who knew cooking oil could power more than just heart attacks?

Cooking Oil as A Substitute for Diesel Fuel

When it comes to alternative fuels, cooking oil has become popular. It’s available and renewable and some vehicles and machines already use it. Check out this table for more info:

FuelEnergy Content (BTU/gallon)Price per gallon
Cooking Oil118,000$2.50

Energy content can vary depending on the type of oil used.

Using cooking oil instead of diesel is cost-effective and helps reduce emissions. But, not all machines or vehicles can use it. So, consult an expert before making any changes.

Did you know that McDonald’s in the UK recycles their cooking oil into biodiesel for their delivery trucks? Amazing! Source:

Swapping fuels in diesel engines is like putting a square peg in a round hole – it just won’t work.

Limitations of Substituting Fuels in Diesel Engines

As a diesel engine owner, it is important to understand the limitations of substituting fuels in diesel engines. While diesel fuel is the standard fuel for diesel engines, it is often tempting to use other fuels such as home heating oil, kerosene, cooking oil, or even gasoline as a substitute. Unfortunately, substituting one fuel for another in a diesel engine can come with limitations and risks.

  1. When considering a fuel substitution, it is crucial to take into account the differences in sulfur content, viscosity, and additives between the fuels. 
  2. Heavy oils like furnace oil or home heating oil may contain more sulfur and sediment than diesel fuel, which can damage the engine. 
  3. Moreover, using gasoline in a diesel engine could result in fines or damage to the engine due to its lack of lubrication.
  4. Although some owners may have successfully used alternative fuels in their diesel engines, it may not be a wise idea in the long term. 
  5. Manufacturer warranties on diesel engines often have specific terms on fuel, and the effects of using alternative fuels may not always be apparent until later. 
  6. Additionally, using alternative fuels may violate laws and regulations, including road tax laws.

In fact, a friend of mine in New York once substituted home heating fuel for diesel oil in his John Deere excavator engine. After a few days of operation, the engine stopped working due to sediment and water in the delivered fuel. The delivery facility had mistakenly filled the excavator’s diesel fuel tank with the home heating fuel. The cost of repairs was higher than the cost of the excavator engine, as he had to replace the fuel tank, fuel lines, and the fuel pump.

I may burn my furnace oil in a diesel engine, but I definitely won’t be covered by the warranty or insurance.

Warranty and Insurance Issues on Substituting Fuel

In some cases, policies may contain clauses that restrict coverage even if the policy is not voided. Plus, replacing parts or making modifications to fit a different fuel type can affect coverage. 

Insurance providers may even demand additional premiums or fees for using alternative fuels. Before an issue arises, make sure to inform your insurance company about any fuel changes. To prevent the loss of coverage, proper maintenance and following manufacturer guidelines are essential.

It is paramount to review your policy completely before making any fuel substitutes. As policies may have distinct conditions that may lead to a grey area of coverage, it’s important to speak to experts familiar with such situations

Lastly, be cognizant of how changing fuels impacts your insurance and warranty policies and take necessary measures to maintain coverage.

Be aware that using unapproved fuels can void your warranty or insurance policy! 

Operation and Maintenance of Diesel Engine

For the longevity and performance of your diesel engine, efficient operation, and proper maintenance are essential. Here’s a 5-step guide to help:

  1. Check the oil level and quality, air filter, fuel filter, and coolant level regularly.
  2. Keep the fuel tank clean.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing oil, filters, and consumables.
  4. Check the battery and maintain charge levels.
  5. Avoid overloading or overheating the engine.

For better performance in the long run, use high-quality fuel that meets recommended standards. Plus, regular checks on electrical components like alternators, starter motors, and sensors are important to minimize downtime.

To conclude, following the manufacturer’s guidelines is key for proper diesel engine maintenance. Regular checks on components such as filters, oil levels, and batteries lead to a well-maintained engine with good performance. Ensuring perfect running conditions is vital to keep it functioning at all times!

Cost and Availability Of Alternative Fuels for Diesel Engines

The cost and accessibility of alternative fuels for diesel engines are essential to replacing traditional diesel fuel. We have to look at the market prices and availability of these fuels.

Here is a data table with the estimated cost per gallon and availability of three alternative fuels – biodiesel, hydrogen, and electricity, compared to diesel fuel.

Fuel TypeCost per GallonAvailability
Hydrogen$1.50-$2.50Extremely limited
Diesel$2.45Widely available

Besides costs and availability, infrastructure requirements, technical capability, regulatory compliance, and environmental standards also have an impact.

A National Renewable Energy Laboratory study found that although biodiesel is widely available in the US, its production capacity is low when compared to traditional diesel fuel due to raw material sourcing problems.

We must realize that overcoming these limitations needs a lot of investment in alternative fuel infrastructures beyond carbon-neutral benefits.

In conclusion, it’s difficult to switch over completely; we must take into account the factors these limitations provide: decreased affordability or decreased availability of renewable fuel options for diesel engines might keep on restricting large-scale transit works around the world for a long time.

So, before using furnace oil in a diesel engine, remember, two wrongs don’t make a right.


Can furnace oil be burned in a diesel engine? This has been debated for years. Both fuels have similarities, but differences exist. For example, sulfur levels vary. Plus, price, sulfur content, and grade must be considered. Yet, furnace oil is still used as a substitute for diesel fuel. Using off-specification fuels (e.g., cooking oils) can cause problems in vehicles or machines. The buildup of sediment may damage injectors or engines. So, additives are necessary to protect parts, maintain performance, and avoid malfunctions. Mixing kerosene with gasoline is a long-standing practice. But, the petroleum industry is always changing. Therefore, substitute methods may have more risks than benefits.