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How Long Is Heating Oil Good For?

How Long Is Heating Oil Good For?

Long story short, most heating oil is good for 18 to 24 months before it is considered old. No. 2 heating oil is the most commonly used type of heating oil in homes across the country. It’s important to remember that additives should be added to the oil upon delivery to your home. Once your oil starts degrading, there is nothing you can add to slow or stop the process.

If your oil is nearing the end of its shelf life and you’re wondering if you can still use it, don’t worry; you can. However, it will be less combustible, which means that it will produce less heat than usual. Remember, if the heating oil can’t reach your furnace’s minimum temperature range when it’s burned, the furnace will automatically shut off, and you’ll need to call for service.

Ultimately, if you’re unsure about the age of your heating oil, the best thing to do is err on the side of caution and have a professional drain and refill your tank.

So, by now, you think you’ve learned everything you’ve needed to learn about the shelf life of heating oil, and you’d be wrong. There’s much more you need to know. So, stick around and find out.

What Degrades Your Heating Oil?

Several factors go into how your heating oil degrades over time. The most common cause of oil degradation is bacterial actions. Some bacteria are always present in your oil that will actively spoil it. So, there’s not much you can do to stop it from happening. 

Water can also cause heating oil to go bad prematurely. Pure water is terrible as is because it impedes combustibility. However, there are chemicals and minerals in most water that will remain in your oil tank even after the water itself has been removed. These chemicals and minerals will continue to degrade your oil.

Rust, sludge, and other contaminants present in your oil tank can also contribute to oil breakdown.

Finally, heating oil can congeal in extremely low temperatures. This can clog your filters and lines. However, once the oil is warmed back to above-freezing temps, the oil should become usable once again.

Proper Equipment for Your Heating Oil

If you believe something else is inhibiting your oil’s shelf life, it may be the overall condition of your oil tank.

First things first, it’s essential to know that your oil tank has never been used for motor oil storage. You may save money buying a used tank, but a contaminated tank will drastically reduce your heating oil’s shelf life.

You should also have your heating oil tank periodically inspected. A corroded or leaky oil tank will pose some problems. It will degrade your oil faster as outside contaminants can penetrate your oil.

Believe it or not, you should also listen and smell for normal sounds and smells, as others are cause for concern. If you hear a loud bang instead of a roaring sound, it means oil is collecting in the ignition chamber. When it finally ignites, it’s causing a more significant combustion event than the system is designed to handle. If this occurs, call a service professional immediately, as this could be a sign that your furnace has become unsafe.

Going hand-in-hand with the sound, call a service professional immediately if you smell a new or strong odor, especially if it’s accompanied by smoke or soot.

In conclusion, several factors can reduce the shelf life of your heating oil. However, if you have the proper service professional deliver your oil and fill your oil tank, and your oil tank is in the appropriate condition to contain your oil, then your oil should have a shelf life of anywhere between 18 and 24 months.

Home Service Oil

Contact Home Service Oil for all your oil and fuel needs. We provide bulk fuel and oil delivery to those who need it. Our professional team ensures that you’re getting the best money can buy. So, make your life easier and submit a delivery request today!




6910 Front Street. Barnhart, Missouri 63012

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