The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

What Causes Sludge in My Heating Oil Tank?

Tips to prevent sludge and what to do if you have it

oil sludge Kittery, me Heating oil tank sludge, a combination of dirt, rust, and oxidized fuel, is the primary cause of heating system problems. The sludge is thick and black and can clog filters, increasing the strain on the equipment to produce heat, resulting in reduced efficiency and higher energy expenses.

Neglecting to remove sludge buildup in your heating system can cause blockages in your furnace or boiler’s supply line. This can lower the efficiency of your system and cause it to malfunction. If left untreated, the sludge buildup could lead to an expensive heating system repair.

With time, the accumulation inside your tank can result in corrosion and eventually cause the tank to fail. Between an emergency tank replacement and remediation costs for any spilled heating oil, that could be extremely expensive.

The cause of sludge

If your heating oil tank is not full during the summer, the inner walls might collect moisture. The water is heavier than oil and will drip down, creating a good environment for microorganisms to turn it into sediment. This sediment can corrode your tank.

Removing the sludge

To avoid expensive repairs and bigger problems, it’s advisable to consult with a waste-oil contractor for the efficient and safe removal of sludge from your tank. They can drain your tank promptly and enhance its performance.

If your tank is old, it is advisable to replace it with a new one because older tanks made of steel with varying thicknesses and single-wall construction are more susceptible to corrosion. On the other hand, newer tanks made of no-weld galvanized steel, plastic and fiberglass are less vulnerable to damage caused by sludge, and can remain in good condition for up to 50 years or more.

A full tank is a protected tank

Filling your heating oil tank now can prevent condensation from developing during the summer, as condensation tends to accelerate in warmer weather.

By filling your heating oil tank now, you can ensure that you have enough fuel to start the heating season. This will prevent any concerns during an early cold snap. Additionally, filling your tank now may save you money, as the demand is lower, and heating oil prices are historically not as high as they are during the heating season.

How to prevent heating oil sludge

Have a tune-up done of your heating system every year. By opting for professional maintenance from P. Gagnon & Sons, you can ensure that skilled service technicians can identify and resolve any potential sludge-related problems before they turn into major issues. Please note that an annual maintenance tune-up is included in all our heating oil service plans.

Regularly inspect your heating oil tank. You should be alert for any signs that your old heating oil tank might fail soon. These signs include rust, pinhole leaks, and condensation on the tank’s exterior, even a considerable time after a heating oil delivery. It is advised to start planning to replace your tank if it is over two decades old.

Get your heating oil from P. Gagnon & Son. Our top-quality heating oil includes UltraGuard, an additive that helps protect your tank from sludge buildup.

From heating oil delivery to tank installation to equipment service, trust P. Gagnon & Son with all your home’s heating oil needs! Become a customer today.