If you’re like most people, you probably buy your heating oil a few times a year and store it until it’s ready to be used. But for how long can heating oil stay “fresh” – and what are the consequences of using it after it has sat in your tank for a while?
Well the good news is that No. 2 heating oil (the heating oil most people use to heat their home) has a typical shelf life of 18-24 months – which leaves you plenty of leeway if you have heating oil left over from the previous winter (which, as we talked about in our last blog, is a good idea).
If your heating oil is nearing that 18-24 month period (if you own a vacation home that you don’t use every year, for example), you can still use it – although it probably won’t produce as much heat when you burn it. If the oil is so old that it can’t reach your furnace’s minimum temperature range when it’s burned, the furnace will automatically shut off, and you’ll need to call for service.
If you’re not sure if the heating oil in your tank is still good, or if you know the oil has been sitting in the tank for more than two years – it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and have your tank professionally drained and refilled; contact us to learn more.
Of course it’s important to keep in mind is that 18-24 months is simply an average shelf life for No. 2 heating oil. Several factors can raise or lower that number, including:
Starting out with quality oil helps, too – a big reason to get your heating oil from us rather than a “here today, gone tomorrow” supplier.
The bottom line: if you get your fuel from a qualified heating oil supplier, properly maintain your heating system, and haven’t left your heating oil sitting unused for ages, you should be in good shape when it comes time to run your heating system next winter.