Six ways to keep your heating oil from freezing this winter
Heating oil does an amazing job at keeping us warm and safe through the long Hudson Valley winter, providing more BTUs than any other fuel when it’s burned.
But sometimes heating oil needs a little attention to make sure it “plays nice” (or plays at all) with our heating system – especially if we have a tank installed outdoors or in an un-insulated basement. That’s because when heating oil drops below 16° F, it freezes, or “gels,” into a thick, viscous sludge (unlike water, heating oil cannot turn into ice).
Gelling can wreak havoc on several parts of your heating system, including your:
- Heating oil tank — When oil gels inside your heating oil tank, the sludge settles to the bottom, shrinking available space and leaving behind less burnable oil.
- Heating oil lines — Gelled oil builds on heating oil line walls, narrowing the passage way like a clogged artery. With less fuel reaching the igniter, your heating efficiency will suffer, leading to higher energy bills.
- Atomizing nozzle — The atomizing nozzle turns liquid heating oil into a vapor that can be burned inside your heating equipment – but gelled fuel can block that nozzle, meaning that less oil will get through to convert to heat. Once again, heating efficiency suffers, leading to higher bills for you and, eventually, repairs for your heating equipment.
- Fuel filter — As gelled oil is forced through the filter, it clogs quickly and needs more frequent replacement.
So how do you keep heating oil from gelling? Here are six of the best ways:
- Use treated or blended heating oil – Kerosene blends and oil additives will lower the gel point of the heating oil. Contact us to learn more.
- Cover your heating oil tank — If your tank is outdoors, build a shed around it to insulate it against the elements.
- Bury your fuel line — If you have an aboveground heating oil line, consider burying it. The ground will naturally insulate the lines.
- Install a wider fuel line — A wider fuel line can minimize gel blockages.
- Get professional heating service every year – Professional heating system service is a key to staying on top of gelling and other winter problems. If you haven’t had your annual tune-up yet, do it soon – before winter really hits.
For quality heating oil that will stand up to any Hudson Valley weather – delivered by the most reliable fleet in our Dutchess, Columbia, Orange, Sullivan, Delaware, Greene, and Ulster County service area – trust the pros at Economy Oil. Contact us today to become an Economy Oil customer!