What this all means is that the heavier fuels have longer hydrocarbon chains, higher BTU content, are thicker and are more tolerant of contamination (also they are allowed to contain more sulfur).
K-1 Kerosene, #1 diesel, and jet fuel (JP4) are
closely related to each other. #1 and JP4 have higher allowable sulfur
than K-1 (kerosene is also called coal oil by old timers). Since #1 is
a shorter hydrocarbon blend it has better solvent properties than
#2. (We used to clean out our armored vehicle engine compartments with
diesel fuel in the Army, also gasoline used to be sold as petroleum naphtha
as a cleaning solvent before it became a motor fuel.) It also has a lower
gel point, which means that it takes a colder temperature to turn it to
a molasses like thickness. Because these fuels are blends they don't
freeze like water, they act more like Jell-O slowly getting thicker until they set. This is why in cold climates it is suggested that #2 be blended with kerosene to keep it from gelling to soon. (Mercedes suggests using up to 30% gasoline in very cold climates).
In the US fuel oils are blended according to climate and location and there are also additives that control gel point, contamination (like water), change the flash point, to identify different uses (dyes) etc.
There is no real benefit to using kerosene /#1 over #2 unless you need to because of cold temperatures or you just want to clean out your system. If you switch to #1 please change your fuel filter to avoid clogging from any gunk removed. As it has been pointed out #2 has the higher heat (BTU) content.
All of this is good to know as in a pinch you can
use diesel (or kerosene) in your furnace as a correspondent in Florida
recently did during a cold spell when he couldn't get a delivery of fuel
oil right away. (Conversely you can use fuel oil in your diesel car but
the Feds don't like that as it is not taxed as
motor fuel, Several times I have put motor oil in diesel engines when I have run out of fuel.) Personally I would use whatever is cheapest for that area, temperature range and manufacturers recommendation. This means #2 for the most part.
I hope this helps more than confuses.
If you have air conditioning or a forced air furnace consider adding a
pump also known as a fossil
fuel kit to save you money if oil prices get high this winter (the
same goes for natural gas). Sold mainly on Rheem
and Ruud. but can be used on other brands of heaters such as York and
If you have gas furnace questions try this page. More to come...
Written By: Scott Meenen
G&S MECHANICAL SERVICES.
Specializing in Mechanical, Controls and Electrical Modifications Of
Heating, Air conditioning, Refrigeration, Cold storage,
Ice Production and Food preservation.
Anything having to do with Heat and Energy.
Serving MD, DC, and Northern VA.
Contact us by pager: 1-877-467-2914
Page us by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 240Chrs max.
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This text written by: Scott Meenen * G & S Mechanical