If you use heating oil in your Fredericksburg home, keeping your tank full is an essential part of maintenance. Not only is this the best way to protect your furnace, but it’s also important for keeping everyone in your household safe and warm. Most furnace and tank manufacturers recommend scheduling heating oil delivery when fuel levels are at 33% of a tank’s capacity. If you wait longer than this, your furnace isn’t likely to sustain serious damage, but it is more likely to experience accelerated wear.

Your Furnace Will Start Drawing Oil From the Tank Bottom

Modern oil-fired furnaces are designed to protect themselves. When their available oil supplies run out, they’ll simply turn off. Thus, you don’t have to worry about having your furnace outright fail simply because you forgot to schedule an oil delivery.

However, as fuel levels in heating oil tanks decline, furnaces start using the oil that lies at their tank bottoms. This oil is often filled with sediment and other impurities. If too much of this gunk finds its way into your tank’s supply line, you may need to have the line bled. This service removes air and sludge so that the furnace will start back up again. It’s a costly and wholly preventable repair.

Using Diesel as a Temporary Alternative Has Consequences

Whether due to fuel shortages, inclement weather, or negligence, when heating oil supplies run out, many homeowners turn to diesel. Diesel is often reported as being chemically identical to heating oil. According to some sources, the biggest differences between diesel and home heating oil are the rates at which each of these fuels is taxed and the special dye that gives diesel its distinctive red hue.

However, when it comes to your furnace, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although it’s perfectly safe to put diesel in heating oil tanks, this alternative fuel source should only be used on a sporadic and very short-term basis. This is because diesel burns significantly hotter than standard heating oil. Using more than 10 gallons a day and using diesel for more than just two to three days at a time can drastically shorten the lifespan of your home heating equipment. Thus, although running out of heating oil won’t ruin your furnace, certain steps that you might take to meet the urgent heating needs of your family can.

At Complete Heating and Cooling, we proudly serve residents of Fredericksburg, VA and the surrounding areas. We offer heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also provide indoor air quality services and whole-house humidifiers. If you’re ready to upgrade your oil-fired furnace, we’ve got you covered. Call us today!

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