What Do Heating Oil Additives Do?

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About 5.5 million people in the country rely on oil to heat their homes. 81% live in the Northeast. For these individuals, having an oil tank is a crucial part of their heating system. Heating oil additives are a familiar topic to most heating oil users. This discussion delves into the world of heating oil additives in more detail.

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Different Kinds of Heating Oil Additives

Heating oil additives are specially formulated substances designed to enhance the efficiency of heating oil burners or furnaces. These additives improve combustion, resulting in a cleaner and more efficient operation of your heating system. 

There are four main types of home heating oil additives:

  1. Stabilizers: These additives protect the heating oil from degradation caused by external environmental factors, including antioxidants. 
  2. Water Controllers: Water emulsifiers help reduce issues from water condensation in the oil tank.
  3. Biocides: These additives treat microbial growth inside the tank.
  4. Line and Oil Nozzle Cleaners: They purify the fuel delivery line, which transports oil from the tank to the burners. They remove any accumulated sludge that may have developed over time at the bottom of your tank.
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What Do We Use  Heating Oil Additives For?

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To understand the importance of additives, let’s first consider the evolution of oil processing. 

In the past, crude oil processing differed from today’s methods due to environmental concerns and the rising demand for low-sulfur diesel. These changes in the refining process impacted the fuel’s stability and carbon residue content.

Manufacturers responded by enhancing and modifying the chemical composition of additives to counteract these effects and improve fuel attributes. As a result, heating oil additives have become essential. 

If you have encountered any of the following issues, consider using additives:

  • Oil tank freezing
  • High fuel consumption rates
  • Accumulation of sludge
  • Clogging of fuel lines
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How Do Fuel Oil Additives Work?

As crude oil goes through the refining process, its characteristics change. This leads to the development of impurities in the fuel. These impurities, such as soot, water droplets, dirt, and other particles, can adversely affect the performance of your oil tank and heating system.

Additives play a crucial role in addressing these issues. Additives help eliminate impurities and restore your system’s efficiency. They promote the emulsification of water droplets, preventing and reducing bacterial growth.

The chemical composition of additives enables them to break down soot or dirt, allowing these impurities to pass through the tank’s filter without causing clogs. Additives can reduce the size of pollutants, making it possible for these impurities to be burned off and expelled from the system. 

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Common Issues Fixed by Heating Oil Additives

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The key question is whether oil additives offer cost-effective solutions. Let’s explore some common challenges you may encounter and the corresponding solutions to address these issues. 

  • Burner Nozzle Clogged: If the burner nozzle in your tank is clogged due to the accumulation of chemical components like carbon, it can impede the effective burning of fuel in your heating system. This is because the burner nozzle is responsible for spraying the oil. Many additives contain cleaning components designed to dissolve the buildup of such chemicals. Using additives can enhance the efficiency of your burner nozzle.
  • Oil Tank Condensation: When a tank experiences excessive condensation, its internal components begin to rust. The heating oil tank becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Additives are effective at emulsifying water droplets and preventing bacterial growth. Certain additives can help remove larger amounts of water from the system. They reduce the risk of rusting and other moisture-related issues.
  • Gelling of Heating Oil: Low temperatures can lead to oil gelling. This hinders the smooth flow of oil from the tank to the burner, resulting in clogs in the fuel line, filters, and nozzles. Anti-gelling additives reduce the temperature at which gelling occurs within the fuel. This is particularly beneficial for people living in colder regions.
  • Build-up of Sludge in the Oil Tank: Sludge accumulation can result in clogged lines and filters. They ultimately diminish the tank’s heat production capabilities and cause malfunctions or shutdowns. If you have to turn off your heat to prevent line clogs during a fuel delivery, it indicates a sludge issue in your tank. Applying an additive designed to dissolve sludge buildup can help heating oil break down and reabsorb sludge, allowing it to burn off. This process enables the tank to return to its regular function.
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Disadvantages of Using Heating Oil Additives

While the benefits of using heating oil additives outweigh the drawbacks, it is important to be aware of potential issues:

  • Incomplete Water Removal: Additives may not remove all water droplets in your system. If an additive does not remove all the water, seek professional assistance.
  • Beware of Additives with Alcohol: Some additives containing alcohol can lead to additional problems. Be cautious when selecting additives.
  • Sludge-Buildup: If your tank has a significant sludge buildup, using a line and oil nozzle cleaner can lead to clogs. Contact a professional HVAC technician right away to prevent further damage.

There is no one-size-fits-all additive that can address all issues. You may need to use a combination of additives, which can be a bit costly. Consult with a professional to ensure you follow the guidelines for optimal tank performance.

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Contact Townsend Energy for Your HVAC Needs

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Townsend Energy is proud to be a trusted, affordable heating oil supplier in the area. We offer different delivery plans and financing options. This way, you can customize your oil deliveries by choosing which option works best for you. By working with us, you can expect affordable oil prices and fast and reliable fuel deliveries.

Also, when you need maintenance service or repair for your heating system, our professionally certified technicians can help you. Our home heating services aim to improve efficiency, comfort while reducing your energy costs. Call Townsend Energy today to schedule your appointment.

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