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Can Heating Oil Spoil?

Posted: July 15, 2019

heating oil spoil
Many items we buy have an expiration date: milk, eggs, vegetables, bread, cosmetics, medication and so on. But does home heating oil also have a “best-used-by” date?

If you’re fairly new to oilheat and you ended the heating season with one-quarter of oil still left in your tank, you may be wondering if that fuel will degrade as it sits unused for several months.

So, the question is, will your heating oil still be good to use once you turn your heat on again when the fall chill arrives?

There’s no need to worry. The average “shelf life” of heating oil ranges between 18-24 months. It can last even longer if your oilheat company delivers high-quality ultra-low sulfur fuel that has been treated with additives, which act as a preservative.

Other factors to consider

Another factor that affects the quality of heating oil is the condition of your tank. If water gets inside the tank, it can eventually break down the oil and even corrode your storage unit.

Here is a common reason this happens. During the warm months, condensation can form inside a heating oil tank that has more air in it than fuel. Because water is denser than heating oil, it will settle to the bottom of your fuel oil storage tank. The moisture will attract micro-organisms that live in water. Although these organisms will eventually die off, their remains will create sediment at the bottom of your tank. This sludge can get into your fuel line and clog it, which will cause your oil furnace or oil boiler to shut down.

That’s why most oilheat companies recommend that you go through summer with a full tank of oil. Keeping your tank full during the summer prolongs its life. That’s because the same condensation that results in sludge can also corrode your tank from the inside out – a big problem that could be difficult to see coming and costly to remediate.

Why not contact your local oilheat company now and get your tank filled before the fall delivery rush begins? By taking care of this now, you’ll have plenty of quality heating oil in storage to keep you warm when it’s time to start up your oil boiler or oil furnace again.