How To Help A Struggling Oil Heating System In Freezing Weather


If your heating system is one that runs on home heating oil, then you are likely used to experiencing constant and consistent heat during the winter months. However, if the temperatures drop much lower than normal and you notice that your heating system is struggling more than it should, then you have a serious issue on your hands. A struggling system will rumble, vibrate, and cycle on and off more quickly than usual. If you notice these problems, then there are a few things you should do within a timely manner to make sure the boiler doesn't stop working completely. 

Secure A Line Warmer

If you have an above ground or exposed heating oil tank, then the fuel line will run outdoors from the tank to the foundation wall. The small pipe will run through your basement and all the way to your furnace. Since the supply tank and the oil line will be exposed, they will become quite cold. The cold temperatures can cause the heating oil to become thick and dense. Specifically, the fuel forms small balls of wax, and the process is called waxing or clouding. If the oil stays cold, then the wax will continue to build. Your boiler may then struggle to pull the fuel through the oil line. 

If oil remains in the small fuel line without moving, it can solidify and clog the fuel line completely. You want to prevent this from happening or you may have difficulty freeing the clog during the cold spell. The best way to prevent a clog and to also force the fuel to run freely again is to warm the outdoor fuel line slowly, safely, and consistently. A run of electric outdoor heat tape can help with this. Heat tape contains a low voltage trace cable that releases heat in a regulated manner to keep pipes from freezing. Purchase a tape with an automatic sensor to reduce overheating concerns and place the sensor directly against the side of the oil line. The sensor will sense the temperature of the line and turn the heat tape on when there is a need. 

Wrap the tape around the entire length of the outdoor fuel line making sure it sits tight against the steel pipe. Plug in the cord when you are done. 

Buy An Additive Fluid

The oil inside your supply tank can become quite cold before it is pulled into the fuel line. This means that the fuel can begin to solidify while it is still held in the oil tank. Gelling will occur much more quickly if your fuel tank is close to empty, so make sure to invest in a regularly scheduled fuel delivery so the tank is at least between one-half and two-thirds of the way full. If the weather has become cold and the heater has started to struggle, then you may be using more fuel than normal. Check the gauge on your fuel tank to make sure you are not running out of oil. If the fuel level is low, then contact your fuel oil supplier for an emergency oil delivery.

While you wait for your oil delivery, you do not want the oil left in the tank to harden or gel. You can prevent this with an anti-gel additive. These additives are commonly used for diesel vehicles. Since heating oil is similar or identical to diesel fuel in most cases, you can use the same types of anti-gel additive for your oil tank that commercial trucks use for their vehicles. Go to your local automotive or home store to find the additive. Add one quart of the fluid to your fuel tank immediately. Once your oil tank is filled, add the second quart. For more help, contact an HVAC service.

About Me

Remaining Comfortable In Your Home after Completing a Major Renovation

In a few, short months, my spouse and I will begin the construction process to build a much needed addition onto our small home. The addition will include a den and a master suite. But because our home will be much larger after the building process is complete, we will need to update our HVAC system. After speaking with our knowledgeable HVAC contractor, we’ve decided to purchase a second heating and air conditioning unit for our home. This additional unit will be considerably smaller than our current one. It will only heat and cool the new addition to our house. On this blog, I hope you will discover the best options for heating and cooling a home after building an addition onto it.

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