What’s That Sludge in My Heating Oil Tank?

Q-Dog can help you keep your oil tank, equipment and fuel safe.

oil sludge Anne Arundel county, md We talk to many customers about the best way to keep their home heating equipment running efficiently and with fewer breakdowns. One of the significant pitfalls homeowners with oilheat systems face is sludge build-up. We recommend you take the opportunity this summer to make sure your heating system is protected from sludge.

Sludge is a serious concern of oil-fired heating systems.

Oil tank sludge is made of dirt, debris, water, rust flakes, and microorganisms like mold and bacteria. It forms when moisture and leftover oil sit in your tank for a long time. The warmer months, when you aren’t using as much oil, are when your tank is especially vulnerable to sludge accumulation.

You’ll notice that the pickup line that connects your oil tank to your heating system is a few inches from the bottom of your tank. This is to prevent sludge from entering the fuel line, where it can cause clogs. If sludge reaches your furnace or boiler, it can reduce efficiency or cause a breakdown.

Unfortunately, sludge can be churned up when oil is added to your tank, making it more likely to enter your fuel lines.

Don’t leave your oil tank near-empty through the summer.

The most crucial thing you can do to prevent sludge formation is to keep a mostly-full tank over the warm months. If you finished the heating season with less than a quarter-full tank, it’s a good idea to get a heating oil delivery.

Empty space in a tank leads to condensation on the inner wall. This moisture will drift to the bottom of the tank, promoting sludge formation. If you fill your tank this summer, you can stymy the sludge and be ready for winter extra-early. And don’t worry — heating oil has a long shelf life (between 18 and 24 months).

Heating oil quality matters.

The better the quality of your heating fuel is, the less likely it will be to foster bacterial growth. As a Q-Dog customer, you can be confident that you’re receiving a premium product. This will go a long way toward keeping your oil tank secure.

Pay attention to the warning signs of oil tank failure.

Sludge can be an indicator of other issues with an aging oil tank. A tank can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years, but it‘s a severe concern when one fails. Oil spills can be expensive and disruptive to remedy.
We suggest that you take a moment this summer to look over your tank for these warning signs of corrosion:

  1. Rust, warping or dents on the tank body.
  2. Wet spots on the tank.
  3. Oil on the floor around the tank.
  4. Pinhole oil leaks.

If your tank shows any of these warning signs, Q-Dog can refer you to a service company from our fully-vetted “Recommended Service Provider” list. These reliable companies can inspect your tank, make needed repairs and suggest a replacement model if necessary.

Q-Dog proudly serves households in Calvert, Charles, St. Mary’s, Southern Anne Arundel and Southern Prince George’s counties. If you need an off-season oil tank fill to prevent condensation, order your fuel from us today!