If you have just recently moved into a residence that uses oil heat during the winter, then you may be confused about your new heating system. Your system will need to pull oil into the heater from an oil tank, and this oil is burned to create heat. The movement of this fuel through the oil line and to the spray nozzle inside the heater is essential. There are certain things that can interrupt this process, and the freezing of the home heating oil is one of them. If you want to prevent this issue and the loss of heat in your home, then keep reading.
Choose The Right Fuel
Most homeowners will work with an oil delivery business or an HVAC professional so that fuel is trucked directly to the home. If you do this, then you will need to ask for the right type of home heating oil. Oil varieties will differ depending on the location of your oil tank. For example, an outside tank will need oil that contains an additive that will keep the fuel from freezing. An inside tank does not need this extra additive. Heating oil for indoor use is called #2 heating oil and it is basically the same as diesel fuel. However, this fuel can gel when it gets too cold and this can clog your oil lines.
To reduce this concern, you will need to order a winter mix oil for your outdoor tank. This type of oil is a mixture of diesel fuel with a small amount of either kerosene or #1 fuel oil. Both kerosene and #1 fuel oil are more refined and have a much lower freezing point than #2 heating oil. This helps to greatly reduce the chances of wax solidifying in the fuel lines.
If for some reason your home heating oil delivery company does not offer a winter mix of heating oil, you can add kerosene to your heating oil to help reduce heating concerns. About 10% to 20% of the winter mix is typically made up of the more refined fuel. Purchase some kerosene and place it into the oil tank and make sure that at least 10% of the tank contents are kerosene. For example, if you ask for an oil delivery of about 100 gallons of fuel, then add at least 10 gallons of kerosene into the tank. The kerosene can be easily poured through the top opening of the tank where the fuel oil is typically added.
Consider An Additive And Insulation
If you notice that your winter forecast calls for extremely cold temperatures, then fuel oil may still start to gel within the fuel lines, even if you have the right mixture. If you know that a cold spell is coming through your area, then add at least a few extra gallons of kerosene to the tank. You can also invest in an additive to add to the heating oil as well. The best additive to add to your tank is called an anti-gel additive. This type of material helps to disperse water through the fuel more evenly so it is less likely to cause gel and ice crystals to form within the fuel. This water will then burn as the heating system draws the fuel into the burner.
While an additive will greatly reduce oil freezing issues, oil can become quite cold as it moves through the thin oil lines that are attached to the fuel tank. It is best to keep the fuel as warm as possible as it moves to keep it from gelling. A basic piece of pipe insulation over the exposed outdoor fuel line can help with this. Purchase insulation material with a small opening in the middle to fit the lines. Copper water pipes are typically the smallest pipes that need insulation, so purchase material for this type of pipe. Find an insulation sleeve that is meant for a one-half inch copper pipe. Fit the oil line inside the insulation and overlap the material a bit at the opening so the fuel line sits snug inside. Use duct tape to secure the overlapped area of the insulation.
For more information, contact an HVAC service like Shakley Mechanical Inc.