How To Avoid Heating Oil Sludge Headaches

We’ve got enough on our plates this year without having to deal with a heating system problem—but that’s exactly what you could end up with if you don’t pay attention to heating oil sludge!

Heating oil sludge is a combination of dirt, rust, and oxidized fuel that settles to the bottom of your oil tank (the fuel is oxidized by bacteria that grows in the presence of water in the tank, which accumulates as condensation when the tank warms and cools during temperature changes).

Typically the pick up line for an oil furnace rests several inches higher than the bottom of the tank to avoid sucking this sludge into the supply line. But a tank filling can stir sludge into the fuel mix, clogging filters and causing problems for your heating system.

What Problems Does Tank Sludge Cause?

Tank sludge robs your heating oil system of efficiency by clogging the supply line. If sludge build up is left untreated, it can even cause your heating system to seize, leaving you without heat—and with an expensive heating repair bill to go along with it.

Steps To Prevent Heating Oil Sludge

  1. Have your heating system serviced annually by a qualified technician (annual maintenance includes a filter change—a must for your heating oil system and included in our Gold Service Plan!)
  2. If you have an outdoor heating tank, consider installing one indoors—or at least enclosing it in a shed to reduce daily temperature swings that cause condensation build up. If your tank is in a cold basement, ask for oil treated with an “anti-gelling” agent to keep the oil flowing.  
  3. If you have an older tank, consider having it drained by a waste oil contractor (or, if it’s older than 20 years old, consider having it replaced outright. Removing years of built-up sludge this way can save you money on repairs and help your heating system to perform better.
  4. Avoid purchasing your heating oil from second-rate discount fuel companies. Instead, stick with reputable dealers like Southville Petroleum that source their fuel from quality suppliers and treat their fuel with sludge-busting additives. Always remember: “you get what you pay for”!

Contact Southville Petroleum today to schedule maintenance for your heating oil system—or to learn more about our heating oil delivery in Suffolk County or Nassau County, NY!