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How Do Cold Temperatures Affect My Heating Oil?

The Fuel Company has tips to protect your Cape Cod home’s heating oil supply

heating oil cape cod, Ma If you rely on heating oil to keep your Cape Cod home warm and have an outdoor oil tank, you may have concerns about the possibility of your heating oil freezing or being impacted in other ways by very cold temperatures.

At a bone-chilling temperature of -16°F, heating oil starts to freeze, but unlike water, it undergoes a unique transformation. Instead of solidifying into ice, it gradually thickens and transforms into a viscous waxy sludge, creating a state often referred to as “gelling.”

The solidification of heating oil, also known as gelling, poses significant risks as it can lead to severe complications for your heating oil tank, oil-fired heating system, and ultimately, your home. It is crucial to address this issue promptly and effectively to ensure the smooth operation and longevity of your heating system.

As heating oil gels inside your heating oil tank, it undergoes a process where the denser fuel settles at the bottom of the tank, leaving behind less combustible components floating on top. The amount of burnable oil decreases as more oil gels.

When a dense gelled oil is pumped through the heating oil pipes from the tank to your furnace or boiler, it gradually builds up on the inner walls of these lines. As a result, the amount of heating oil reaching your heating system decreases, leading to a decrease in its efficiency.

Over time, the accumulation of clogs can reach the atomizing nozzle, responsible for converting heating oil into vapor for combustion. As a result, less oil is converted into heat. Additionally, the gelled oil has the potential to obstruct the heating oil filter.

How do I prevent my heating oil from gelling?

Before delving into preventive measures, let’s first address the crucial aspect of safety. It is of utmost importance to never tamper with your heating system equipment, oil tank, or fuel. Rest assured, The Fuel Company offers exceptional and professional service in this domain.

Here are some ways to stop gelling before it starts.

Have your heating system professionally maintained. Performing regular maintenance on your heating system ensures optimal performance and enables our skilled service technicians to identify any issues resulting from previous gelling incidents.

Protect your heating oil tank. Constructing a shed around your heating oil tank offers valuable protection against the elements, safeguarding it from the harsh impact of cold winds that can elevate the risk of gelling.

Bury your heating oil line. If the line connecting your heating oil tank to your house is above ground, it becomes vulnerable to the cold and more prone to gelling. However, burying the line underground or insulating it provides a natural insulation against the cold, mitigating these issues.

With reliable delivery of Bioheat® fuel and expert furnace and boiler service from The Fuel Company, you can have peace of mind about keeping your home warm this winter! Become a customer today.

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The Fuel Company has been Cape Cod’s choice for dependable residential and commercial heating oil delivery for more than half a century, and we remain dedicated to providing outstanding service you can count on.

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