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Dangers of Oil Tank Sludge and How To Prevent It

Written on: June 26, 2023

Important information from AFC to protect your home

oil sludge help Clinton, me During your most recent boiler or furnace tune-up, did the service technician observe any indications of heating oil sludge? If so, ignoring it and hoping for it to go away is not a good game plan.

Sludge in your heating oil tank is a top reason for heating system issues. It is a combination of dirt, rust, and oxidized fuel, and it looks dark and viscous. It may clog filters, causing your equipment to work harder to produce heat, resulting in reduced efficiency and higher energy bills.

If you ignore sludge buildup in your heating system, it could cause blockages and significantly reduce efficiency. Eventually, the buildup may cause your furnace or boiler supply line to block completely, causing your heating system to fail. This could leave you without heat, and fixing the issue could be expensive.

Over time, the buildup inside your tank can cause corrosion and lead to the tank failing. If this happens, it could result in costly emergency tank replacements and remediation expenses for any spilled heating oil.

Causes of heating oil sludge

If your heating oil tank is not filled up during the summer, moisture may condense on the inner walls of the tank. This water is denser than oil and can drip down to the tank’s bottom. As a result, bacteria and other microorganisms can turn it into sediment or sludge, which can cause corrosion in your tank over time.

How sludge removal works

For safe and effective removal of sludge from your tank and to prevent expensive repairs, it is advisable to seek the services of a waste-oil contractor. They can promptly drain your tank and enhance its performance.

It is recommended to replace the old tanks with new ones because older tanks made of steel with different thicknesses and single-wall construction are more likely to get corroded. On the other hand, newer tanks made of plastic and fiberglass are less likely to get damaged by sludge and can last for 50 years or more.

Tips to help prevent heating oil sludge buildup

Get an annual tune-up of your furnace or boiler. AFC’s licensed and knowledgeable service technicians can detect and solve any sludge-related issues through annual maintenance to spot problems before they can lead to trouble. A tune-up is included in our Comfort Plans.

Inspect heating oil tank regularly. Be alert for any signs that your old heating oil tank may soon fail, such as rust, small holes, or moisture on the outside of the tank, even after an oil delivery. If your tank is more than 20 years old, it is suggested that you start planning to replace it.

Keep your tank full year-round. We recommend getting a heating oil delivery before summer to prevent condensation, as tanks with more air than oil tend to develop condensation in warmer temperatures during those seasons.

Get reliable heating oil delivery and expert oil-fired equipment service from AFC! Become a customer today.