In the UK most domestic installations use kerosene to BS 2869 Class C2 fuel whereas commercial applications generally use gas oil BS 2869 Class D. When gas oil is exchanged for kerosene in commercial applications without giving any thought to possible consequences, significant problems can arise that may affect the operation of the burner and the storage of the fuel.
Non-residential users of oil fired equipment are often unaware of any potential issues that may be caused by exchanging fuels from gas oil to kerosene. Therefore, before exchanging fuels, the following questions must be answered in order to maintain the effective operation of the burner:
- Is the equipment suitable for kerosene? Often the answer is no. The UK is unique when compared to the rest of Europe where gas oil is used on both domestic and non-residential installations. Most commercial oil fired burners are not designed and tested to be run on kerosene so in all instances the burner manufacturers should be consulted before going ahead and changing fuels.
- Has the burner been recommissioned? Should the burner be deemed suitable by the manufacturer for kerosene, the burner must then be commissioned to run on this particular fuel. Kerosene is less viscous than gas oil so the nozzle selection needs recalculating and advice taken from the burner manufacturer on pump pressures and settings.
- Why is the fuel being changed? This is often due to price from the oil supply company and the perception that kerosene provides cleaner burning. Unfortunately the end user is not made aware of the implications of what may appear on paper as a simple exchange.
By addressing the points above, users can avoid significant problems with the operation of their heating systems as a result of swapping the fuel used. It is also recommended that guidance from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) on flammable fuel storage is also taken into consideration.