During the winter months, people and businesses rely on fuel oil to provide heat for buildings. Heating oil is one of the preferred types of fuel oil because of its high calorific value, which is the amount of heat per unit that fuel oil is capable of producing.
Building owners often purchase fuel oils during the non-peak season when prices are lower. Prices are lower in the non-peak season compared the peak season because of high demand which raises prices. The purchased fuel oil is then stored underground or in reservoirs above ground for use during cold weather. As temperatures drop, fuel oil can freeze. In response to fuel oil freezing, the HVAC system will think there is a lack of oil and shut down.
Fuel oil starts to get cloudy as temperatures drop. Cloudy fuel oil does not affect the furnace since the flow of oil from the tank is not affected. When the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, problems can begin to arise. One of those problems is Paraffin, an essential component of heating oil, crystallizing and separating from the oil.
Clogging in the internal walls of the line as well as clogging at the surface of the fuel filter is caused by crystals. This clogging causes the flow of the heating oil to become partially blocked which means that the furnace does not get sufficient oil. In most cases, this causes the furnace to stop functioning properly.
Here are a few tips you can take to prevent oil from freezing.
Prevent Your Oil From Freezing
- Consider using blended heating oil. Compared to conventional fuel oils, blended heating oil has a lower freezing point. A blend of kerosene and diesel forms the best freeze-resistant fuel oil.
- Insulate the fuel lines. Usually, the fuel in the line is the first to freeze because a large surface area of the fuel line is exposed to cold temperatures. Insulate the whole fuel supply system using waterproof materials.
- Keep the oil filters indoors. Keeping fuel filters indoors reduces the likelihood of clogging because temperatures indoors will always be higher than the temperature outdoors.
Using the above tips can aid you in preventing heating oil from freezing. If the HVAC system shuts down because of frozen heating oil, contact Interstate Gas and Oil immediately. While waiting for a fix, seek alternative heating solutions, such as electric heaters, to keep the building warm.
Interstate Gas and Oil
Interstate Gas and Oil is a leading provider of oil in the Massachusetts area and is there to keep you warm during the coldest of months. For more information on our oil delivery, tank protection, and other services, contact us or give us a call at (978) 443-2300.