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Facts about the Sludge in your Heating Oil Tank

What is the Sludge in my home heating oil tank anyway?

To be straight to the point the sludge in your tank is a mixture of rust, microorganisms, and leftover oil at the bottom of your heating oil tank. This sludge is created from condensation being formed on the inside of the tank, and this condensation slowly causes rust on the inside of your heating oil tank. Slowly but surely, all of this rust and water settles at the bottom of your tank. This area consisting of water and rust is a hotbed for microorganisms which feed off of the rust and the water and create the sediment that we call ‘sludge.’

Is this due to my home heating oil supplier being dodgy and cheap?

While this is a common misconception, this isn’t always the case. It’s just something that occurs when you have a heating oil tank, and sadly enough you’re going to have to deal with this issue every so often. But do remember that we did say, this isn’t always the case, always deal with reputable companies to ensure that you’re getting the product that you paid for. It isn’t worth 3 cents per gallon when you’re going to ruin your entire home heating burner in the process.

How do I try to prevent it?

As said before, it’s not something you can entirely prevent. But there are some ways to make sure that this sludge is never a problem.

  1. Always refill your tank before it is empty – Sludge is only going to get the ability to be sucked into the oil tank when the supply line is too low — if they’re never low, then sludge never has the chance to get sucked into your burner and cost you time and money.
  2. Maintain your heater – Either through yourself or through hiring a professional, you’re going to have to maintain your heating oil tank and burner system. Make sure to contact a professional to ensure that sludge doesn’t cause you an unnecessary headache.
  3. Ensure that you’re oil lines pull from the bottom of your tank – If you’re pulling the home heating oil from the bottom of your tank, you’re never going to have sludge buildup as it cannot grow at this point.
  4. Move your tank inside where it won’t go through rapid temperature changes. These rapid temperature changes cause sweat and condensation (which is the reason for the rapid growth of the sludge)
  5. Change your home heating oil filters annually. This ensures that even if the sludge does come through the lines (and it will) that it won’t cause any issues to the heater.
  6. Don’t buy Home Heating Oil from a home heating oil supplier who is a fly by night company. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Only buy home heating oil from a trusted supplier, make sure to always order from Oilex Heating.

This is the difference between a filter that can save you money, and a filter that can cost you money. Change your filters yearly.

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