Is It Possible To Fill The Heating Oil Tank With Diesel?

image of a diesel gas pump used as a home heating oil alternative

Frigid winters are normal for New England. Everyone expects it, but experience does not guarantee flawless preparation. Problems may still occur in the middle of the season, such as letting your heating oil tank run dry. It is a big headache for homeowners. Fortunately, they can always pick up the phone and call for heating oil delivery. The standard turnaround time is three business days, but local oil suppliers, like Townsend Energy, can do it much faster with same-day emergency oil delivery. Just remember that factors such as the weather and road conditions can affect availability. In case you need to wait a little longer, consider using heating oil alternatives.

If your family is feeling the winter chill and suffering from the cold, you may not have the patience to hang around for conditions to improve. When you want a fast fuel alternative, consider using diesel in your oil-fired furnace or boiler for home heating. Note that diesel is not something that you can fill in your tank and forget. Read on to learn more about this fuel and how you should utilize it for your oil tank.

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Is It Possible to Fill the Heating Oil Tank with Diesel?

No one wants to run out of fuel in the middle of winter, but it can happen when you least expect it. Use this guide to make the ordeal more bearable.

Examine the Fuel Oil Tank

heating oil tank

Diesel and heating oil are similar substances. However, they are taxed in different ways, which affects their prices. Diesel ends up costing a lot more than heating oil, so you probably want to hold off on buying some until you are sure that you need it. Visit your tank and examine the contents prior to making a purchase.

Heating oil tanks typically have a floating gauge. This handy mechanism will tell you the current oil level while you stand outside. It makes it easy to see whether the inside is full, empty, or somewhere in between. Do not just take a cursory glance. Remove the plastic cover and push down the float with your hand. It should float back up if there is still liquid inside. Once it settles, you will get a more accurate reading. If it does not come up, you have an empty tank.

If your tank does not have a float, try manual measurement. You can also do this if you are not certain about the accuracy of your float gauge. Look for a stick that is a little longer than the depth of the tank. It should also be thin enough to enter through the fill tube. Dip it in and pull it out to see the current oil level. If it is lower than the critical level, call for oil delivery. Heating oil suppliers usually advise home oil tank owners to schedule a fuel delivery when contents fall to one-third or one-quarter of the tank volume.

Once you verify that the tank is out of oil, you can proceed with the temporary shift to diesel. However, if you find out that there is still plenty of fuel left, allow the sediment to rest at the bottom and reset the burner. Bleed the lines to release air, if necessary. Restart the system and see if it works. If you don’t want to take any chances, call a technician for assistance.

Related Article: What You Should Know About Condensation In Home Oil Tanks

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Why You Should Avoid Low Oil Levels

image of a homeowner feeling chilly due to running out of heating oil at home

If your oil tank runs low, you may experience a sudden system shutdown. This is a built-in protective mechanism for heating systems. A sensor will always check whether the fuel is at a critical level and trigger cessation of operations before the oil is fully used up.

Keep in mind that this is only one of the possible reasons for a system shutdown. Another culprit is sediment build-up in the fuel oil tank, which is common for containers that have not undergone regular cleaning.

Homeowners should also look at the feed lines. These originate at the top of the tank and hang down to get oil. If the pipes do not reach the bottom, it is possible that you will run out of fuel for the heating system even if the tank is not fully empty.

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Diesel as Alternative Heating Fuel: Safety & Uses

image of safety and heating oil deliveryYou have done your part in isolating the problem. You have confirmed that the oil in the tank is at a critical level, making it necessary to use a temporary alternative. Diesel is a viable option. Use it while you wait for the next heating oil delivery, but not as a permanent replacement.

Diesel is not economical. The higher tax imposed on this type of fuel means that you will have to shell out more money to heat up your home. Heating oil will always be the more budget-friendly option. In terms of performance, you should also remember that diesel burns hotter than fuel oil. The heating system can take the elevated temperature for short periods, but you may see lasting damage if you let this go on for more than a few days.

How much you will need is dependent on the length of the waiting period. Call for local delivery service for an estimate. Most homes should be fine with 5 to 10 gallons of diesel per day.

It is a good idea to keep things organized. You don’t want to get confused about these potentially hazardous substances in your home. Yellow containers are typically used to store diesel, so consider following the color convention. Label this container for clarity. Use up all the diesel within six months. After this period, the liquid will begin to degrade. It will not be safe to use in your heating system. You may rely on additives to extend shelf life, but these have their limitations.

If the heating oil truck arrives before you have exhausted your diesel supply, use it for your vehicles, lawnmowers, and other machines. If you do not have any further use for it, dispose of it properly using the guidelines set by your local government. Call them to check if they have collection centers or recycling facilities.

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How to Use Diesel in Heating Oil Tanks

You now have your gallons of diesel with neat labels in separate containers. Take them to your tank.

  • Turn Your Oil-Fired System Off: Begin by shutting off the system using the thermostat control.
  • Pour the Fuel: Put the diesel into the tank bit by bit. If you expect the delivery truck to come within 24 hours, you may only need 10 gallons of fuel right now. If it is longer, add as much as necessary. Do not worry about mixing diesel with the leftover heating oil. It will not be a problem for the system. If the tank is dry, you may need to remove air in the lines and sludge in the nozzle. You do not have to get your hands dirty. Call a technician for help. Better yet, avoid drying out the tank by refilling quickly with diesel.
  • Let It Sit: Do not turn the tank on right away. Give it around 10 minutes to let the sediments settle back down to the bottom before proceeding.
  • Turn Your Home Heating System On: After a sufficient period, you can restart your system and enjoy the warmth inside your home. Everything should normally run until the next oil delivery.
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Get Emergency Fuel Delivery

Dropping to a critical oil level is not a problem when you have Townsend Energy on your side. If you are in the area, call Townsend Energy for emergency oil delivery and get your much-needed supply fast. We will be at your doorstep in 24 hours or less. Our speedy crew will prevent your tank from drying out by replenishing the fuel just in time. With our help, you will not have to depend on expensive diesel for too long.

For Superior Heating Oil Deliveries, Call Townsend Energy

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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. Click the link to view our service area.

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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