Heating oil is heating oil, right? Well, not really. There are differences in the grades and blends that are available and you need to understand the differences so that you get the right one for your needs. During the different seasons throughout the year, you may want to change what you are using in your furnace or boiler and there are reasons that will make sense shortly. Here are some tips that can help you make the right choice for your situation.
Heating Oil For Summer
It might sound funny, buying heating oil in the summer. But if you heat your house and your water with a boiler, you need to be able to run the unit for domestic hot water all year. In the summer months, you don't need a blend of oil, you simply need to have #2 heating oil available in the tank to run the boiler a few times a day. Since the price is often lower in the summer, it is a good time to fill the tank and you should use enough that when cooler weather comes, you can top it off again.
Winter Cold and an Outdoor Tank
If your oil tank is outdoors which is often the case with mobile homes, garages, and some homes, you need to pay attention to the weather. Once the cold weather sets in, the oil in the outside tank can gel in the cold. The simple solution to this problem is to add a blended oil. The company that delivers your oil with add kerosene to the oil to help counteract the gelling but if you filled up with #2 during the summer, you might want to have them just add the K1 (kerosene) to the oil already in the tank.
Indoor Tanks and Cold Weather
Tanks that are located inside the home, in a basement or garage for instance, are not as prone to gelling and can typically use straight #2 oil all year but talk to the dealer that sells your oil because if your space is not heated, they may recommend a blend that has less K1 in it. If the tank or fuel lines are exposed to cold temperatures, it is better to add the blended fuel as a safety precaution.
Fuel that does gel in the lines and filter can do a lot of damage. The lines can become blocked, the fuel nozzle in the boiler or furnace can be clogged, and the burner may not run at all. When it is cold enough outside to cause this, having the heat off while repairs are completed will be very uncomfortable and other damage like pipes freezing can result. Take a time to talk to the oil company about your situation and they can help you select the oil that is right for your situation.
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