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How to Prevent Gelling Problems With Your Oil Burner

Living in a cold weather climate has its own unique set of problems with respect to heating your personal residence or a business. When the outside temperature begins to approach or drop below thirty two degrees Fahrenheit, many home heating fuel oils begin to thicken. Although this is commonly referred to as freezing, it actually is a gelling process. The oil does not freeze, but instead gels or thickens to a soft wax substance because the wax or paraffin contained in the fuel oil begins to crystallize and separate itself from the fuel oil compound.

The buildup of wax and paraffin then begins to clog filters and fuel lines and thereby renders your home heating system inoperable. However, home owners and business owners can follow several easy steps to prevent this problem from happening and ensure that the oil burner operates at maximum efficiency during the cold weather season.

If your oil storage tank is located outdoors, freezing, gelling or a thickening of oil burner fuel during extreme cold temperatures is quite common. If a home owner is unaware of this potential problem, the thickening or gelling of the oil fuel in the storage tank can result in less oil flowing to the oil burner as well as creating blockages in both the fuel lines and the fuel filters. For assistance with clearing these blockages, never hesitate to contact the customer support number of your professional home heating oil company. The use of the company’s skilled technicians may be required to unplug and clean the gelled fuel from the filters and intake line.

To remedy this gelling problem in the future, most home heating oil companies have a special cold weather blend of oil for this purpose. This blend typically contains a percentage of kerosene that varies depending upon the cold temperature ranges in your region. Although slightly more expensive by approximately ten to twenty percent per gallon of oil, this blend ensures continued usage of the heating system and minimizes potential repair costs or additional maintenance. Optionally, commercially available additives will also help to prevent oil thickening. However, it can be a burden to remember to supplement the oil storage tank with the additive each time a fuel delivery occurs.

Reducing the oil’s exposure to cold temperatures is the best way to limit fuel freezing or gelling. One option is to build a shed around the outdoor storage tank and have the fuel line into the house buried deeper than the frost line. Building a shed is the more expensive option, but it will help to camouflage an unsightly storage tank if the exterior of the shed matches the exterior of the home or business. First ensure the storage tank has enough airflow between the home and the storage tank and then build the shed with enough airflow between the storage tank and the walls of the shed. Where possible, add a small heat source within the shed as this will also help to prevent the oil from gelling.

Other options include Installing a fuel line with a larger diameter for better fuel transmission to the oil burner. A larger diameter will allow for a less constricted flow for a longer duration of time. Also consider wrapping any fuel line that is exposed to the elements with an insulation material that is water resistant or non absorption. Ensure that all openings are sealed carefully to prevent contact with the cold ground surface, cold foundation or cold air. Ideally, it would be best if all fuel lines were inside your home or business.

In addition to a commercial additive, adding kerosene to the oil storage tank will reduce fuel thickening and gelling. Mixing in kerosene reduces the freezing point of oil fuel and allows easier fuel transmission through the fuel line. Online research will provide some guidance for the correct ratio of kerosene to oil that is best for the cold temperature ranges for your region.

Although this is quite common for most installations, the oil filter should also be indoors. If the filter is outdoors, the felt which serves as the filter material inside the oil filter oftentimes clogs with wax crystals under colder temperatures. Installing the filter indoors close to the furnace or within a heated shed will prevent filter clogging. Importantly, change the filter annually for optimal performance.

Also, the use of an adhesive electric heat sheet is another way to reduce fuel thickening or freezing. These heat sheets are usually installed at the bottom of the fuel storage tank to take advantage of the principle that heat rises. The rising heat will stir the oil with a thermal action and increase the temperature of the oil within the tank so it becomes more stable. Operational costs of electric heat sheets varies as per the size and features of sheet. Your professional home heating oil company can conduct the installation.

Taking these few precautions will guarantee that your home will be warm and comfortable throughout the winter season.

Palmer Gas/Ermer Oil has been providing Propane Gas, Oil and Kerosene delivery for residential, commercial and industrial as well as Heating system installations and repairs since 1932. 24 Hour Service. Pre-Buy and Budget options. New Hampshire. Massachusetts. Contact us at http://www.palmergasco.com, info@palmergasco.com, or 603-898-7986.

Palmer Gas/Ermer Oil has been providing Propane Gas, Oil and Kerosene delivery for residential, commercial and industrial as well as Heating system installations and repairs since 1932. 24 Hour Service. Pre-Buy and Budget options. New Hampshire. Massachusetts. Contact us at http://www.palmergasco.com, info@palmergasco.com, or 603-898-7986.

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