History of Oil Heat
Did you know…
In 1883, the most prolific oil field in Pennsylvania, the Bradford Oil Field, produced an incredible 83% of the U.S.A.’s total oil output. Today, Pennsylvania still produces oil. According to the Department of Energy, in 2001, Pennsylvania produced 1.6 million barrels of oil, and its proved reserves were 10 million barrels, ranking Pennsylvania 23rd in the nation in this category, and accounting for less than 1% of U.S. crude oil reserves.
In early 17th-century America, Native Americans routinely collected oil from pools that had formed on the surface. Using crude oil for fuel and medicinal purposes, the Native Americans may have also dug underground to reach fuel deposits.
During the excavation of salt mines in the 18th century, miners often found oil. Although it wasn’t what they were looking for, a few creative individuals realized the fuel’s value. In addition to being used as a lubricant and to cure ailments, crude oil led to a major breakthrough in the 1840s, when Canadian geologist Abraham Gesner discovered that kerosene could be distilled from coal or oil and used for lamp lighting.
The oil industry was now taking shape. In 1859, a retired railroad conductor named Edwin Drake drilled a well near Titusville, Pennsylvania. The well proved a success, and other prospectors drilled wells in the area. The industry was thriving by the 1860s, and soon river barges and railroads were transporting oil throughout the region. The first successful oil pipeline was constructed in 1865, and went from Pithole, Pennsylvania to Miller Farm on Oil Creek about five miles away. Just ten years later a 60-mile pipeline from the oil region to Pittsburgh was in operation.
By the 1880s, oil exploration had traveled to Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. America finally struck its first “gusher” in 1901, at the Spindletop field in eastern Texas. At the turn of the century, Texas, California and Oklahoma were the top oil-producing states in the nation.
The Oil Industry Travels the Globe
Oil Heat and Home Heating
Along with being cheaper than coal there were other benefits of heating oil. The large and unsightly coal bin was no longer needed, so homeowners could reclaim their space in the basement. Oil heat provided a more even heat with fewer drafts, which meant fewer health risks. Oil burners were clean — there was no soot seeping through the house to ruin clothes and furniture, and no ashes to haul away. In addition, the homeowner could control the temperature simply by touching the thermostat in the living room. Oil heat was dependable, too — the family could leave the house for weeks and return to find reliable, warm comfort.
1 Source: National Oilheat Research Alliance
Information in this section is quoted from oilheatamerica.com
Is oilheat expensive?
Heating oil actually costs less than it did in 1980, when adjusted for inflation, and serves about 23 million Americans in 8.6 million households.
Source: Oilheat America
Does oilheat produce as much energy as other fuel sources?
Each gallon of heating oil contains approximately 139,000 units of thermal energy (BTUs), making it an economically competitive energy source.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Heating with oil is inefficient?
Oilheating systems in use today use substantially less fuel than they did just 20 years ago. For example, an average home that used more than 1,200 gallons of heating oil in 1989 now uses only 900 gallons, or 25% less. This decrease in usage is attributable to advances in equipment efficiency and household conservation. New heating oil systems boast energy efficiency ratings from 83 to 94 percent.
Source: National Oilheat Research Alliance, America Petroleum Institute