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Heating Oils in Ireland – What’s the Difference

A picture of an oil spill displaying the typical oil-slick of colours. It is mostly pink and blue and it appears almost shiny.

Heating Oils in Ireland are considerably cheaper than electricity currently. If you’ve gotten yourself a home oil or Paraffin Heater, you’ll already know that you’re saving a small-fortune. But can you can save more with cheaper oil? Well, that depends. Lets see where you can be saving the dosh and what’s a waste of your time. 

Not all heating oils are created equal

Different fuels are (unsurprisingly) different. While they might all appear to be visually similar, their chemical make-up can vary wildly. 

It’s important to note that regardless of what heater you have, you should only use the fuel that the manufacturer advises. And sure, while you’ll read online or hear from your friends that ‘ah hun, stop, that’s just so they can get more money off you’, there is a whole lot more to it than that.

Manufacturers know what fuels can and cannot be burned in their heaters. They’ve built the things, sure! Different fuels burn at different temperatures. Some will require more ventilation than others. Others will produce a hell of a lot of soot and in some cases even noxious fumes. Not every heater can accomodate all these different requirements, so not any fuel can go into any heater. 

Regardless of whether you buy your new heater from us or not, please only use the recommended fuel. (But hey, if you don’t want to do that that’s cool – we’ll see you this time next year to sell you your new heater!)

A €50 note which has been dipped in oil and is being held aloft by a white hand. The oil drips down the note and it is particularly heavy at the bottom of the note. There is nothing of note in the background, it is entirely grey.

Comparing Fuels

Right, now that we’ve gotten the important disclaimer bit out of the way, we need to get down to comparing the common home heating oils used in Ireland. 

We’ll be looking at Kerosene, Gas Oil, Paraffin and Tozane. 
We will look at cost (upfront and long-term), safety and odour, specifically. 

Cheap Kerosene

Kerosene is cheap, but not too cheerful. While it’s great for home heating systems, putting it in a portable home heater is asking for trouble. For a start, Kerosene has a very strong odour, you’ll know it once you smell it. It will pong out a room worse than a hungover stag party that were on the Guinness. 

While Kerosene burns it also produces a lot of soot. This increased by-product can clog up mechanisms in portable heaters and reduce their effectiveness, which will eventually lead to the unit breaking. Kerosense might be cheap initially, but not in the long-run. Don’t get suckered in!

This is not to say that Kerosene won’t work, it will – but for it to be effective it would need to be monitored more closely than a toddler in in a fireworks factory. You’d need to be servicing it about once a week or once a fortnight at least. And that’s before you consider how dirty Kerosene is and how bad it is for your lungs (and especially for children’s lungs). Kerosene is not safe for indoor use. Don’t use it in a portable heater. 

Gas Oil

A picture of Kerosene being poured. There is light behind the bottle, so there is a slight brownish hue to the oil

Gas Oil is essentially just Diesel. It might have had a dye added to it to distinguish it from Diesel, but they share the same chemical makeup otherwise. When you hear the stories of motorists being caught with ‘dyed Diesel’, they were just using cheaper Gas Oil to fuel their motor. Cheeky divils. 

It should go without saying, but burning Diesel in a portable heater is insane. Gas Oil/Diesel is not at all safe for indoor use at all. It has over ten times more sulphur in it than Kerosene. It can only be burned openly in a very-well ventilated area (which, if you’re trying to heat makes it completely pointless). Failure to do so can lead to repetitive coughing, shortness of breath, dizziness and even blurred vision. There are countless studies and personal accounts which link long term Diesel inhalation with Lung Cancer, Kidney Disease and Heart complications. 

In the grand scheme of things, it hardly seems worth it.

Paraffin Oil

Paraffin is Kerosene that has been purified. It’s refined several times over, removing well over 99.9% of the impurities in it, making it much safer for home use. This means it’s considerably less odourous than Kerosene (though it does have a minor smell) and it produces a hell of a lot less soot too. It’s got a lot less sulphur in it as well, making it considerably safer on lungs, both young and old. It’s safe for indoor use.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out differencebetween.com‘s take on it. They’re a website that, as the name would suggest, gives impartial differences between two products. 

Up until recent years, Paraffin was the safest option for portable heating units. 

Tozane

 Two bottles of Tozane Fuel standing beside each other. The containers are red and squat, with large black handles

Tozane is a ROLF. That’s a Reduced Odour Liquid Fuel. It’s the modern replacement to Paraffin and becoming increasingly popular in Ireland. It’s virtually odourless, meaning that while it does still have an odour, it’s considerably less pongy than even Paraffin.

There are 3-5 parts of sulphur per million in most ROLFs, Tozane included, meaning it’s perfectly safe for indoor use. In fact, they’re so clean and pure, they’ve become the fuel of choice for fire-breathers. So don’t take my word for it – if someone is breathing fire at a festival and trying to get the shift later on in the night, they’re going to want the safest, cleanest fuel they can (or a whole load of chewing gum). 

Tozane also has a higher flashpoint than Paraffin too, meaning that it safer to store. Unsurprisingly, when you take all these into account ROLFs are the choice for anyone with a bit of sense.

Paraffin Extra and Zibrio are other ROLFs, which are identical to Tozane. However the ‘name recognition’ of paraffin in ‘Paraffin Extra’ means that it’s going for €2.44 a litre. Zibrio is going for €1.95 a litre, whereas Tozane is €1.65 a litre. It’s fairly apparent that Tozane is the most cost-effective, safe fuel that won’t damage your heating unit. It’s why we stock it above all other fuels. 

If you’re interested, you can check out our heater range here or read more about Tozane here

Summary

A close up photo of a Paraffin Heater. There is a circular burner in which the wick sits. It has many repetitive and parallel holes in it. The whole unit is reflective and shiny.

So hypothetically you can save on fuel by using a cheaper alternative. However the time required for regular maintenance as well as the health risks involved offset this price. Similarly, using the wrong fuel will void any warranty the unit offers.
 
It’s easy to assume ‘the man’ is out to get you, but sometimes the man is sound and is just trying to be helpful. 
 
So don’t be stupid, don’t be a fool,
read the instructions and use the right fuel. 

 

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