Can Electric Oil Heaters Explode?

An electric oil heater cannot explode because liquid heating oil does not burn, according to the Better Home Heat Council.

Oil Heating Systems

Leaking oil does not explode like natural gas, which is highly combustible.

In large or central oil heating systems, oil must be vaporized in specific proportions with air inside a combustion chamber in order for the mixture to ignite. The heated air is then quickly circulated through the building. The design of the system has an excellent safety record.

Portable heaters

Some small, portable electric heaters use circulating oil to heat a small area. The oil is not ignitable in such heaters, and they do not explode either. Their surface temperatures are lower compared to other portable electric heaters and they are generally safer, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Additional Information

Circumstances at large storage facilities may result in combustion of heating oil, according to Inspectapedia. However, the chances of an explosion associated with home heating oil and electric oil heaters within a residence are unlikely,

About the Author

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.