Was your outdoor heating oil tank a victim of the recent cold weather?
When the temperature outdoors gets to a severe low, the heating oil in your tank may thicken. What happens is a gelling process where heating oil doesn’t freeze but thickens or gels like a soft wax-like material, the reason being that the paraffin or wax in heating oil starts to crystallize, separating itself from the oil compound. The recent cold snap was the coldest it has been in years. The heating oil in our region is now ultra low sulfur, and we are not sure how these changes to the actual fuel are impacted by severe cold weather. Our local refineries “winterize” fuels based on our region, and this recent cold was not the norm for our region.
With above-ground outdoor tanks, heating oil gelling is common with very low temperatures. If a homeowner isn’t aware of that potential issue and the steps they need to take to prevent it, the gelling or thickening of the heating oil in the tank can cause clogs in fuel filters and lines and also result in less heating oil going to the oil burner.
1. You can purchase fuel additive from us and we can add it during your oil delivery or it is also sold at hardware stores and you can add it after a heating oil delivery. This can prevent fuel gelling.
2. For improved oil flow to the oil burner consider installing a fuel line with a larger diameter. You can also wrap any pipes and fuel lines that are outside with a heat tape material. Make sure that all openings are well sealed in order to prevent contact with the cold air and/or ground surface.
3. Change or have your oil filter changed annually for best performance and make sure it is installed indoors which is the norm for most heating system installations. If your oil filter is outdoors the chances for it clogging and freezing are far greater. It is best if the filter is indoors close to the furnace or within a heated shed.
As always, Hillside is here to help.