Current Heating Oil Prices
as of September 23, 2014
Why, when the temperatures get into the single digits does my oil freeze and my heater turns off?
This almost always occurs with outside tanks and actually it is not the oil freezing … it’s the paraffin, or wax, coming out of solution in the oil and eventually clogging the oil line. Similar to plaque building up into your arteries, the wax begins to build on the inside of the copper oil line that supplies your oil to your burner and as temps drop the wax builds to a point where the oil can no longer flow.
SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Good question and because there are so many variables such as how long is your exposed oil line? How cold is it outside? How windy? Is the tank and line shielded from the elements? All these things will determine what measures you must take to keep the oil flowing and the heat on. The simplest and least expensive of solutions is insulating the pipe and fitting at the tank with Armacell pipe insulation and duct tape. Note: you will have to do this prior to experiencing the problem or use a hair dryer or heat gun to apply heat to the copper line to allow the product to flow prior to installing the insulation. These products are available at any of our fine building centers or from us. After applying the heat to the line, be certain your burner is operational before installing the insulation.
You can go further and add a heat tape under the insulation and plug this in to a GFI protected outlet. This will activate at cold temps and prevent the gelling. Cheap solution but costs electricity.
There are additives available through us or at many automotive stores that you can add to your tank that will lower the pour point and keep the wax from coming out of solution. This is the same product individuals add to their diesel trucks to enhance starting. Follow the instructions for the particular brand you buy to know how much to add. Note: this is a preventative measure and should be added prior to delivery to properly mix the product. Once the system is clogged, the additive will not be able to reach the copper supply line. You’re back to the heat gun or hair dryer.
IF I DO ALL THESE THINGS WILL MY FUEL BE GUARANTEED TO FLOW?
Nope. The cure all is to purchase Kerosene from us instead of No. 2 heating oil. Kerosene is recommended as the only sure-fire way to avoid the problem of the fuel gelling. It costs around thirty cents more per gallon but is headache free. Again, the solutions above may work in some cases, on certain days and at certain temperatures, but if you want a guarantee … say the word “Kero” the next time you call!
Hope this helps!