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What Happens If Water Gets into My Heating Oil Tank?

Heating oil tank condensation

The best way to deal with most problems is to prevent them from happening in the first place. It’s true in life, and it’s true for your heating oil tank.

One of the most common problems you can encounter with a heating oil tank is condensation (water) gathering on its interior walls. Condensation creates two problems for your heating system: first, it creates a damp environment inside your oil storage tank that is ideal for bacteria growth – bacteria that will eventually turn your heating oil into line-clogging, efficiency-robbing sludge.

The second problem that condensation creates is that it will eventually rot the bottom of your tank, since water is heavier than oil and will sink once it falls from the tank walls.

So how does water form inside your tank, and how can you prevent it?

Condensation forms because all air has moisture in it; once that air reaches its dew point temperature, it will release its water onto an available surface. In the case of your water tank, the air inside your tank will release its water to the tank’s interior surface.

You can prevent this problem in one of three ways:

  1. If your heating oil tank is outdoors, insulate or enclose it to protect it against large fluctuations in temperature outside your tank;
  2. Buy quality heating oil that is treated with chemicals which inhibit bacteria growth; or
  3. Keep your heating oil tank at least half full at all times, including the offseason. An empty (or mostly empty) heating oil tank will accumulate condensation (water) on its interior walls as temperatures shift between seasons.

The bottom line: Condensation build-up is bad, and inspecting and filling your tank with heating oil is the best way to prevent it. Top off your tank now and it could prevent problems down the road. It could save you money, too, since pre-season heating oil prices are often lower than in-season prices, when heating oil demand and market prices are highest.

Early fall is a good time to schedule a heating oil delivery to your Maryland home – contact Q-Dog today to keep your oil-fired heating system protected!