Can You mix Diesel or Kerosene and Home Heating Oil?

So, I ran out of heating oil what can I use? This is a common question that most of us have had to ask ourselves at one point or another. And the answer can seem complicated, given how similar home heating oil, diesel, kerosene, and other fuels can be. While similar, they are not the same, however, and mixing them can lead to some interesting and sometimes undesirable effects.

So, can you mix diesel oil, kerosene, and/or home heating oil? Additionally, can you use one in a heater designed for another? Let’s take a look.

Can I mix diesel with heating oil?

If you run out of heating oil for your home’s furnace at some point and you have diesel or you’re close to a gas station, you can use diesel fuel in your oil tank. The reason this is ok is that heating oil is essentially the same as diesel fuel. Heating oil is dyed differently – typically red – because it’s illegal to use heating oil in diesel vehicles. That’s not because of any risks or dangers, however, but simply because no road taxes are paid for heating oil.

So, if you want/have to use diesel instead of or together with heating oil, you can.

Can you mix kerosene and home heating oil?

Most homes’ heating systems can operate in both kerosene and heating oil. These two fuels are similar but not identical, however, and it’s generally not a good idea to mix them. You can, there are no laws against it, but additing too much kerosene to your home’s heating oil can start releasing dangerous fumes in your home and even pose a fire hazard.

Kerosene can be used as a heating oil anti gel additive in the winter and has been used this way for a long time. However, as the kerosene prices have been hiking up for quite some time, it’s no longer worth it to do so. Instead, it’s much better to buy a dedicated anti gel fuel treatment. Add the fact that kerosene and heating oil are not a good mix and it’s best to not mix them at all.

Can you mix diesel with kerosene?

Kerosene and diesel are so similar that they are both technically types of diesel fuel. Kerosene is called #1 diesel fuel oil while diesel is #2 diesel fuel oil. The difference between the two is that kerosene is lighter and contains less energy (~135,000 BTU per gallon of kerosene vs. 139,000 BTU for a gallon of diesel). Kerosene also contains fewer aromatic additives. So, it burns drier than diesel.

Can you mix the two, however?

You can. There are even some benefits to doing so. In the winter, cutting some kerosene into your diesel fuel can improve the cold temperature handling of diesel. It’s even believed that adding kerosene can lower the diesel’s emissions because kerosene “burns cleaner.” Doing so also reduces the energy output, however, as kerosene is lighter, so you’ll get less from your fuel.

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