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Encountering problems with your oil-fired home heating system may require home oil tank cleaning. Over time, sludge can collect in the tank, clogging the fuel filter or the fuel line. Most of the time, the technician who fills your tank and changes the system’s oil filter will discover the sludge.

What Is Sludge?

home oil tank

Sludge is a by-product of condensation that occurs when the tank is filled with oil that’s a different temperature than the tank. The thermal difference will cause water vapor to condense and form sludge. The sludge in an oil tank acts just like sludge in a vehicle’s gas tank. It can clog anything it passes through, slowing the fuel delivery. It may even shut down the heating system.

Both above- and below-ground tanks are susceptible to sludge formation that can be controlled to some degree. An outside tank should be painted white or silver to reflect the sun’s heat, which reduces the tank’s thermal load year-round. Topping off the tank in the spring will also prevent sludge formation as the weather warms.

During the winter, filling an oil tank located in the basement hastens sludge formation because the tank will be warmer than the colder incoming oil.

When Is It Time for a Home Oil Tank Cleaning?

To avoid problems associated with sludge, plan on scheduling home oil tank cleaning every three to five years, depending on how much oil you use annually.

Other issues that prompt more frequent tank cleaning are loose vent caps that let in air, moisture and insects. Not letting the oil level fall too low also prevents sludge from entering the oil filter or supply line.

Not only does sludge impede the oil furnace’s performance, it also shortens the life of your tank. The technician who cleans the tank will be able to tell you its interior condition, and when a replacement may be necessary.

Learn more about Griffith Energy Services’ home oil tank cleaning, or contact us today at 888-474-3391 to schedule an appointment for your home comfort needs!

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