The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

How To Prevent Heating Oil Sludge in Your Tank

Avoid heating headaches this winter!

oil tank sludge maineHeating oil remains one of the most efficient ways to heat your Seacoast Region home, getting your home warm fast and keeping it warm. However, you need to be aware of heating oil sludge and the damage it can do to your heating oil tank and heating system.

Sludge in your heating oil tank is a mix of dirt, rust, and oxidized fuel that has settled at the bottom. The fuel is oxidized by bacteria that thrive owing to water in the tank, caused by condensation created on the walls of the empty part of your tank.

If you look at your heating system, you’ll see that the pick-up line for your oil-fired furnace or boiler is several inches higher than the bottom of the heating oil tank. This is done to prevent sludge from entering the supply line. Occasionally, getting your tank filled might create stir up what’s already in your tank, causing sludge to be drawn into the fuel and getting taken into the supply line.

Heating oil sludge can cause damage

If sludge enters your supply line, it can become partially or fully clogged. This will reduce the efficiency of your system. If that sludge buildup is not dealt with, your heating system could seize, shutting it down and leaving you without heat. Repairs for this can get very expensive.

How to prevent sludge damage

Get your heating system maintained annually. An annual maintenance tune-up allows the P. Gagnon & Son knowledgeable, experienced service technicians the opportunity to detect and repair any sludge concerns before they become a problem. A tune-up is included in all our service plans.

Sign up for TankSure®. With our TankSure tank protection plan, you get an annual tank inspection as well as a $1,800 tank replacement warranty.

Use top-quality heating oil.  With P. Gagnon & Son, you only get our premium heating oil with biofuels and UltraGuard, which protect your heating oil tank and your heating system!

Keep an eye on your heating oil tank. If you have an older heating oil tank, watch for signs that your tank is at risk of failing. These signs include rust, pinhole leaks, and condensation on the outside of the tank long after a heating oil delivery. If your tank is more than 20 years old, it’s time to start planning for replacement.

Keep the tank filled all year, even in summer. When your heating oil tank has more air than oil, it develops condensation. Because of the warmer temperatures in the spring and summer, condensation is more likely. That’s why we recommend topping up your heating oil tank at the end of each winter, usually around March or April!

You can count on P. Gagnon & Son for dependable heating oil delivery. Contact us today to become a customer, and don’t forget to ask about Automatic Delivery!