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What Fuel Do Radiators Use?

Date: February 5, 2024

Boiler heating systems provide excellent cold-weather comfort.

boiler radiator boston, ma

Homes in greater Boston have a range of different heating systems. These systems use various equipment, heat delivery pathways and energy sources. Some run on electricity, while others rely on gas or heating oil.

If you recently moved into or purchased a home with radiators, then you are in a boiler-heated property. We are happy to lay out how boilers work, what radiators do and what fuel these systems use.

How do boilers and radiators keep you warm?

Essentially, a boiler is a large, closed container to warm water. It is also the central heating equipment of a household with radiators.

When your thermostat signals to the boiler that a room’s temperature has dropped below a preset level, the boiler begins to heat water. Either steam or hot water leaves the boiler, travels through your home’s plumbing and circulates through the radiator.

The metal that comprises radiators tends to be heavily folded so that, as it heats up, the metal comes into contact with the most air possible. This warms up your room.

When the water or steam cools and condenses, it returns to the boiler to be heated and circulated again. This process continues until your thermostat detects that the room is at your desired temperature.

What fuel powers radiators?

The system described above requires a boiler with a burner for heating water. Most burners are fueled with heating oil, natural gas or propane. There are also electric boilers. Additionally, there are plug-in electric radiators that do not use plumbing. They contain fluid that warms and expands as electricity is sent through the system.

What are the benefits of heating oil boiler systems?

At Cubby Oil & Energy, we sell, install and service oil-fired boilers, and our customers love them.

To begin, radiators emit a robust heat that is slightly humid. This makes your rooms feel warmer and more comfortable than with a forced air system. Because boilers don’t circulate air through ducts, they run relatively quietly and don’t transfer dust, debris, mold or other airborne pollutants. And modern boilers have fuel efficiency ratings approaching 90%. Almost all the fuel you use goes to heating your home, and very little energy is wasted.

Today’s heating oil is a wonderful way to power your boiler. Unlike natural gas or propane, it doesn’t present an explosion risk in its liquid form. If you were to drop a lit match into a bucket of heating oil, it would go out immediately. Your boiler’s burner needs to vaporize and heat the oil quite a bit for combustion. But heating oil still generates a lot of heat energy — 138,500 Btu per gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The heating oil that Cubby delivers is more renewable and clean-burning than almost any other home fuel. Our Bioheat SuperPlus® fuel is equal parts ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and organic biodiesel. This blend burns cleaner than natural gas. That’s great for the planet and your equipment. This fuel significantly reduces how often you need boiler maintenance!

Interested in exploring options for a new, high-efficiency boiler? Contact Cubby Oil & Energy to get started.

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