Chances are you several times a year, then store it until it’s ready to be used. But how long can heating oil stay “fresh” for, and what happens if you burn heating oil that has been sitting in your tank for too long?
The good news is that common No. 2 heating oil has a typical shelf life of about 18-24 months, so there is no need to panic if you didn’t finish up all your fuel after last heating season.
Although older oil can still be used, over time its ability to generate heat diminishes; if burning your older oil can’t meet your furnace’s minimum requirement for heat, the furnace will shut off, and you will probably need to call for service to get it up and running again.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the 18-24 months number is simply an average shelf life for No. 2 heating oil; several factors can influence that number up or down, including:
Having quality oil helps, too – a big reason to buy your heating oil from us.
The bottom line: if you get your heating oil from a reputable supplier, maintain your heating oil system and tank, and haven’t waited two years between heating oil deliveries, you should be fine. If you’re not sure how old the heating oil in your tank is, or if you know it’s more than two years old (if it’s been sitting in an unused vacation home, for example), it’s probably best to have your tank professionally drained and start with a fresh new supply of heating oil.