What Causes Sludge in Heating Oil Tanks?

Written on: June 17, 2024

Be sure to keep your heating oil tank full over the summer.

heating oil tank Nassau County, NY As a homeowner in Queens, Nassau County, or western Suffolk County, you rely heavily on your heating system during the cold months. Ensuring that your heating oil tank and fuel lines are in good condition is crucial to maintaining a warm and comfortable home. That means keeping an eye on your oil tank even when it’s warm outside.

One common issue that can disrupt the efficiency of your heating system is the formation of sludge in your heating oil tank. In this post, we’ll delve into what heating oil sludge is, why it’s a problem, how to prevent it and what actions to take if you’re worried that there’s sludge in your tank.

What is Heating Oil Sludge?

Heating oil sludge, sometimes called sediment or gunk, is a thick substance that can accumulate at the bottom of your heating oil tank over time. It is primarily composed of dirt, rust particles, water and oxidized fuel.

Several factors contribute to the formation of sludge in heating oil tanks. Contaminated or low-quality heating oil is more likely to promote sludge accumulation. Rust inside your tank also contributes to the problem. However, the biggest contributor is probably water condensation, which leads to microbial growth and internal corrosion.

Why is Sludge Bad for Your Heating Oil Equipment?

Sludge in your heating oil tank can cause several issues that affect the efficiency and lifespan of your heating system. It can clog your filters and lines, which restricts the flow of heating oil to your burners. If sludge makes its way to the burner nozzles, it can cause blockages that prevent the proper atomization of heating oil.

Heating oil tanks are designed to minimize the chance of sludge infiltrating your fuel lines and heating system, but sludge can get churned up when more heating oil is added to the tank and still clog your equipment.

Sludge buildup in your oil tank can also foster harmful microorganisms and accelerate corrosion. Over time, this corrosion can weaken your tank walls, leading to leaks and the potential need for costly repairs, clean-ups or replacements.

How Can You Prevent Heating Oil Sludge?

Some practical steps you can take to prevent heating oil sludge include the following:

  1. Use high-quality heating oil. If you’re an OSI Comfort Specialists customer, you don’t need to worry about this. We deliver premium Bioheat® fuel that’s great for the planet and your heating equipment.
  2. Keep a full tank. Did you finish the heating season with a tank that’s less than 50% full? Please arrange a heating oil delivery now. Keeping your tank full, especially during warmer months, can reduce the amount of air and moisture inside the tank. This can help prevent condensation and minimize the risk of sludge formation.
  3. Arrange a tank inspection. While our team is delivering your fuel, ask us about a heating oil tank inspection. We can give it a thorough review and advise if you need maintenance or repairs or if your tank has come to the end of its lifespan.

OSI Comfort Specialists Knows Heating Oil Tanks!

Heating oil tanks have long service lives, but when your tank is experiencing extensive corrosion, it’s crucial that you get ahead of the game and contact our team for an inspection. We’ll do everything we can to keep your current heating oil tank in working condition. However, if it is time to update your fuel storage, we carry a range of top-quality, double-walled Roth heating oil tanks. These products have leak-prevention features and a corrosion-resistant filling system to keep your heating system running efficiently for decades to come!

Our heating oil service team is at your service every day of the year. Reach out to OSI Comfort Specialists any time.