Can Heating Oil Spoil in My Tank?

Heating Oil Lasts Much Longer than Gasoline

heating oil expiration wisconsin If you ended the season with plenty of heating oil in your tank, you may be wondering if your fuel will still be good when you turn your oil boiler or oil furnace on again in the fall.

No worries. Your heating oil will be fine. The average life span of home heating oil ranges between 18 and 24 months. In comparison, regular gasoline only has a shelf life of three to six months.
However, if you ended winter with a near-empty tank (a quarter full or less), you should get a fill-up as soon as possible. Here’s why.

A lot of empty space inside your oil tank causes trouble. It’s best to keep your tank at least half-full (preferably more) during the warm months.

Condensation is the reason for the trouble. Empty space in your tank is space where water condensation can form. Condensation is more common during the summer. Hot, humid days and cool nights create the perfect atmosphere for condensation buildup to accelerate inside your tank. And if your tank is aboveground, outdoors and in an unshaded area, it’s especially prone to condensation.

What Happens After Oil Tank Condensation

After water forms on the bare walls on the empty area of the tank, it drips down and sinks to the bottom of the tank because it is denser than heating oil. There, it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms. Over time, these become sediment that can create problems with your oil tank. One problem is that sediment, also known as sludge, can get into your fuel lines and clog them up. This will cause your heating oil system to shut down.

Keeping your heating oil tank full during the summer months 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.

More Benefits of Filling Your Heating Oil Tank Now

Knowing you’re protecting your investment in a heating oil tank should give you plenty of motivation to get a summer fill. But there are other benefits to filling your heating oil tank now, rather than later.

  • A full oil tank guarantees you’ll have fuel for your heating oil system on hand when you need it. Cold weather can sneak up on us, so don’t be caught without enough heating oil to get you through the first surprise cold snap next fall.
  • You’ll have more flexibility for scheduling a home heating oil delivery at your convenience now, rather than waiting until fall to order fuel—when everyone else gets around to doing that. You don’t want to be delaying until the last minute and having to schedule an inconvenient – and more expensive – emergency heating oil delivery.

If you call for your fuel, reach out to your local Wisconsin heating oil provider to schedule a heating oil delivery soon. After that, you can get back to enjoying some warm weather fun without worrying about your heating oil tank—or the heating oil inside of it.