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How Long is Heating Oil Good for?

Since most products have a shelf life, it’s not surprising that some people wonder about the heating oil in their tank, especially when it sits unused during the warm months. So, the question is, will the heating oil you have right now still be good to use once you turn your heat on again in the fall?

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

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.

If you want to top off your heating tank this summer, just contact your local oilheat company and they’ll be glad to set you up with an easy offseason heating oil delivery. And when the cold weather returns later this year, you’ll have plenty of quality oil in storage to keep you warm.