Sulfur is Not Good for Your Heating System
As stated in our home page, the sulfur content of #2 Heating Oil is 3000 PPM, the maximum
allowed by the State of Maryland. Approximately 99% of the sulfur in
fuel is oxidized to sulfur dioxide during combustion and emitted from
the stack or chimney.
The remaining 1% of the sulfur in fuel converts to sulfur trioxide in
the flame. This then reacts to form sulfuric acid, which condenses on
any boiler or furnace surface below the dewpoint of the acid/water
system – about 220 F. The acid reacts with iron from the wall to form
iron sulfate scale (a corrosive product) on heat exchanger surfaces.
Iron sulfate scale contributes significantly to the process of heat
exchanger fouling. The efficiency of Oil-Fired Heating Systems degrades
over time as heat exchanger surfaces become fouled. The rate of
degradation is estimated at 2% per year and annual cleaning of the heat
exchanger is required to maintain equipment performance.
these findings have been conducted by Brookhaven National Laboratory
(BNL) funded by the US Department of Energy, and by the CANMET Energy
Technology Center (CETC) in Ottawa under sponsorship of the American
Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers
(ASHRAE). The findings of these studies were documented by the New York State Premium Low-Sulfur
Heating Fuel Marketplace Demonstration, a project funded by the New York
State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
These photos show iron sulfate scale on boiler heat exchangers of the
same make using heating fuel with different sulfur content as
identified. Approximately 400 gallons were consumed.
As you can see, High Sulfur #2 Fuel has produced considerable scale
build up, thereby decreasing the efficiency of the boiler. Additionally,
the heat exchanger now requires frequent cleaning. Otherwise the scale
deposits shown in the photo will continue to build, further reducing
boiler efficiency and eventually the scale deposits will corrode the
heat exchanger. Excessive corrosion of the heat exchanger results in
premature replacement of the heat exchanger or worse yet, entire heating system.
ULTRA LS Heating Oil ™ leaves virtually no scale deposits on the heat
exchanger because of the extremely low sulfur content. We are seeing very positive results first hand. Systems we installed 3-5 years ago still look brand
new and have required no cleaning.
Some studies have indicated consumers can save as much as $.14 per gallon because of the reduced maintenance requirements and increased fuel efficiency of heating systems.
What Consumers Can Do