What Do Heating Oil Additives Do?

image of a heating oil drop depicting home heating oil additives

An estimated 5.5 million Americans call an oil provider for heating fuel deliveries as a means to heat their homes. Interestingly enough, 81% of that number live in the Northeast. These homes that utilize oil are equipped with a heating oil tank, a crucial part of their system. People usually ponder how they can keep their heating oil and oil tanks in good shape. Most homes that use oil heat have heard of heating oil additives, while some use them already. This article discusses all you need to know about fuel oil additives.

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Different Kinds of Heating Oil Additives

Heating oil additives are chemicals that aid in the heating oil burners’ efficiency. Additives enhance combustion, so your heating unit can enjoy a cleaner operation and more efficient performance.

Home heating oil additives have four primary types:

  • Stabilizers: Heating oil stabilizers provide oil protection from degradation caused by external environmental factors, such as antioxidants.
  • Water controller: Problems due to tank condensation can be reduced with the help of water emulsifiers.
  • Biocides: Use biocides to treat microbial growth inside the fuel tank.
  • Line and oil nozzle cleaners: This additive helps keep the fuel delivery line clean as it is where the oil from the oil tank travels to get to the burners. These cleaners also eliminate sludge at the tank’s base that may have developed over time.
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What Do We Use Fuel Additives For?


What is the heating oil additive’s role? We will first consider the reason we need additives. Keep in mind that refined crude oil is what’s used in our homes. Crude oil has a different refining process today than in the past as manufacturers consider the environmental effect and the continuous demand growth for low-sulfur diesel.

These changes affected the fuel in that it became less stable and had high carbon residue. Manufacturers have made improvements and upgraded the additives’ chemical makeup so they can counteract the changes and enhance the fuel’s attributes.

Consider using heating oil additives if you have experienced oil tank freezing, sludge accumulation, clogged fuel lines, and high-usage fuel prices.

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How Do Fuel Oil Additives Work?

The attributes of the oil change as it is refined, causing the development of impurities in the fuel. Contaminants include particles that impact the oil tank, like dirt, soot, and water droplets. A tank that has impurities causes a significant reduction in your system’s efficiency.

However, additives help eliminate impurities and make your system efficient again. Additives assist in water droplet emulsification, so the growth of bacteria is prevented and reduced.
The additives’ chemical composition lets them break down impurities so they can easily pass through the filter and not cause a clog. Therefore, additives can shrink impurities so they can be burned off and eliminated from the system.

Common Issues Fixed by Additives In Heating Oil

heating oil tank

The query everyone wants to know the answer to is whether oil additives are affordable. Here are several situations regarding the challenges that you may encounter and the solution to fix them:

Burner Nozzle Clogged

An accumulation of chemicals like carbon in the tank’s burner nozzle can cause it to clog. This issue keeps the heating system from conducting effective fuel combustion as the burner nozzle helps the oil spray.

These additives are usually incorporated in the cleaning items to dissolve the accumulation of chemicals, so your burner nozzle has more efficient operations.

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Extra Oil Tank Condensation

The tanks’ interior components can rust, and bacteria can grow if there is excess condensation. Additives can emulsify the water so that bacteria growth stops. Moreover, additives can reduce the amount of water in the system. This way, rusting and the issues that come with it are prevented.

Gelling of Heating Oil

Low temperatures can contribute to oil gelling. When this issue occurs, oil can’t smoothly flow from the tank to the burner. They also often block the fuel lines, nozzles, and filters.
Additives with anti-gelling properties help lower the temperature wherein gelling happens in the fuel. This is incredibly beneficial to homeowners living in colder areas.

The Build-up of Sludge in the Oil Tank

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If there is sludge build-up at the bottom of the tank, your filters and line can get clogged. This causes the tank to have reduced heat-producing abilities and may even result in malfunctions in your tank. Worse, your tank may completely stop working. If you need to turn off the heat to keep the lines from clogging during deliveries, your tank has a sludge issue.
Additives made to dissolve the accumulation of sludge assist the heating oil in doing this task. This way, the heating oil can reabsorb the sludge, allowing them to be burned off. The tank can then resume operating as it did before.

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Disadvantages of Using Oil Additives

The pros of using heating oil additives far outweigh the cons. However, you should still learn of the potential drawbacks.

  • Oil additives cannot remove all the moisture in your system. If you have tried using an additive, but not all the water was eliminated, call an HVAC expert to help you.
  • Be careful of additives containing alcohol, as these can cause other problems.
  • Using a line and oil nozzle cleaner to clean a tank with a lot of sludge can result in clogging. Call a professional right away if this happens, so no further damage occurs.

It is important to note that a single additive will not be able to resolve all the tank issues you may have. A combination of additives is a possible solution. This may be costly, but using various additives helps improve our tank’s efficiency while saving you money. Consult your local, trusted HVAC technician to ensure you follow the guidelines. This allows your tank to work optimally.

Call McAllister Energy For All Your Home Heating Needs

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For all your HVAC and oil delivery needs, contact McAllister Energy. We have some of the most highly qualified and professionally certified technicians in Camden County, New Jersey. Each of our friendly techs can conduct all kinds of HVAC services, such as oil tank upgrades, boiler repair, ductless installations, furnace replacements, and more. We have various oil delivery plans and financing options. This way, you can customize your fuel deliveries to meet your needs. Our heating oil delivery and HVAC services are affordable and are done accurately and promptly at all times. Click the link to view our service area.

All of our services come with a guarantee. Our HVAC maintenance services improve your energy efficiency and home comfort while decreasing your HVAC costs. We can also assist you when you need to replace your heating and cooling system. We will help you find the best make and model for your home without sacrificing your budget. Our experts have the skills, training, and experience to ensure that all your home comfort needs are met. Book an appointment with us today. Call McAllister Energy for a free, in-home estimate.

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