Posted: January 2, 2017
Posted by: SOS Xtreme Comfort
While many types of fuel are capable of heating commercial and residential buildings, heating oil is among the most popular across the country. This heating oil, sometimes referred to as #2 heating oil, derives its popularity from its high calorific value, a fancy way of saying that it produces a lot of heat per unit. It is stored in oil tanks to use until a refill is needed again.
The storage of #2 heating oil usually goes without problems, but it can freeze if the temperature gets too low. The fuel begins to appear cloudy at around 35 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the altered appearance makes no impact on the oil’s ability to flow in your heating system. Should the temperature dip below 20 degrees, however, paraffin (an important component of heating oil) begins to crystallize and cling to nearby solid surfaces such as fuel lines and the oil filter’s surface. The resulting wax buildup clogs the system to the point that it ceases to function. If this happens during the winter months, you and your family are going to be the next ones to freeze.
The best way to fix frozen oil is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While most oil filters are located outside or underground, moving them indoors can help keep their surrounding environment warm enough to prevent oil freezing. Inside is always warmer than outside during the winter, after all. You should also make sure that all of your fuel lines are properly insulated. Oil flowing through a fuel line has a great deal of surface area exposed to the elements, so freezing is almost a certainty without the proper insulation. The insulation used should be waterproof so that rain or snow cannot compromise the integrity of the system, too.
Other steps you can take require the assistance of a trained professional in order to implement. Various different fuels can be blended into a heating fuel with a lower freezing point than #2 heating oil. For example, kerosene and diesel fuel combine into very effective heating oil. Mixing the substances can be hazardous, however, so you should leave the exact ratio used and actual mixing to an expert. Likewise, a heating specialist can advise you on moving your fuel lines underground (where they are less exposed to the elements) and sheltering your fuel tank.
When you suspect your heater is already clogged due to oil freezing, the first thing you need to do is call a heating specialist for an emergency repair service. While the technician will understand the urgency of your appointment, it will still take time for him or her to reach your address. You should set up an alternate way of keeping warm in the interim. Electric heaters, burning wood in your fireplace, and/or putting on your family’s warmest clothes are all great ideas. In order to be proactive, set things up for the technician. You can do this by melting some of the wax clogging your oil tank. Use the hot air from a hairdryer. Remember to be careful with the resulting moisture if there is snow or ice in the area. Electric appliances and water do not mix!
While a technician can get a clogged heating system running again, the surcharge applied to emergency calls make prevention very much the best cure. With a few simple steps such as insulating your fuel lines and storing your heating oil indoors, you can ensure that you and your family are toasty warm all winter long!
When your heating oil freezes, you will need professional help to get your heating system back in working order again. Be sure to contact SOS XTREME Comfort.
Give us a call so that we can get your system up and running again. Furthermore, we can also tune it up so that your heater is working at maximum efficiency. Doing this also keeps your home more comfortable.
We service Orange County, NY, Rockland County, NY, Sullivan County, NY, Ulster County, NY, Bergen County, NJ, Passaic County, NJ, Sussex County, NJ, and Pike County, PA.