The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

Protect your heating oil tank: keep it at least half-full during the offseason

heating oil tank protectionYour oil-fired heating system might not be top-of-mind now that we’re closer to May than we are to March here in southern Maine and New Hampshire, but before your abandon your thoughts about your heating system altogether, we suggest doing two things to avoid problems down the road.

The first thing is to get your annual heating system service out of the way now rather than waiting until the late summer or fall. Early spring is a “shoulder season,” which means that you are more likely to find a qualified technician available at a time that’s convenient for you. It also means you will enjoy better efficiency for the remainder of the season now and from day one of next heating season in the late summer/early fall.

The second thing to do is to schedule a heating oil delivery now so your tank is at least half full (preferably more) during the offseason months.

Why do you need that much heating oil in a tank when you’re not using your oil-fired furnace or boiler, you ask? It’s all about preventing condensation inside your tank, which can create big problems for your equipment (and you) if left unaddressed.

As you might guess, steel heating oil tanks don’t like water – and a tank that contains more air than fuel is more likely to accumulate condensation (water) on its interior walls as temperatures shift during your tank’s offseason hiatus.

Condensation creates two problems for your heating oil tank: first, it encourages bacteria growth in your fuel, which will eventually cause system-jamming, efficiency-sapping sludge to accumulate in your tank. Second, since water is heavier than oil, it will sink to the bottom of your tank where it will speed corrosion, which could eventually lead to a disastrous tank failure.

The bottom line: condensation is bad for your heating oil tank, but you can minimize risks from it by keeping your tank at least half full during the offseason. Topping off your tank now could be a good way to save some money, too, since heating oil prices are often lowest during periods of minimal demand.

Need an offseason heating oil delivery to top off your tank? Contact us today. And while you’re at it, why not sign up for TankSure® protection for your heating oil tank? You’ll get an annual tank inspection, protection against corrosion, and a $1,000 tank replacement warranty. Contact us today for details.