How Low Should You Let Your Heating Oil Tank Go?

Posted: September 16, 2019

Low heating oil

If you own a heating oil furnace or boiler, you have a heating oil storage tank somewhere in your basement, or perhaps somewhere outside your home.

But how much heating oil is in that tank right now?

It’s an important question to answer, not just because fall is just around the corner and you’ll be needing that oil to keep warm in your Pennsylvania home, but because leaving a tank empty or near empty can cause some pretty serious problems for your heating equipment down the road.

You see, an empty (or mostly empty) heating oil tank – especially an outdoor, aboveground model – will accumulate condensation (water) on its interior walls. This condensation creates ideal conditions for microorganism growth – bacteria which will eventually turn your heating oil into line-clogging, efficiency-robbing sludge.

But encouraging the spread of bacteria is only one of the problems that condensation causes: eventually, it will also rot the bottom of your steel-bottomed tank (if it doesn’t have a plastic or fiberglass inner lining like today’s virtually leak-proof heating oil tanks do), since water is heavier than oil and will sink once it falls from the tank walls.

As you can see, condensation build-up is bad and should be avoided as much as possible!

The best way to steer clear of condensation problems is to keep your heating oil tank at least half full as much as possible throughout the year, including during the offseason (don’t worry, the “shelf life” on your heating oil is a minimum of 18 months, which means you won’t have issues with oil spoilage unless don’t use your heating equipment for another year and a half).

It’s also a really good idea to have your heating oil storage tank professionally inspected every year, so technicians can spot small issues before they become bigger (and potentially extremely expensive) problems later.

Each Oehlert Brothers heating oil service plan comes with our Tank Inspection Program (OBI-TIP) coverage, which follows 25-point visual inspection guidelines set by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). Check out this link for some of the benefits of this OBI-TIP coverage.

Is your heating oil tank less than half full? Contact Oehlert Bros. today to schedule a heating oil delivery to your PA home.