Many of the home heating oil dealers pour a small bottle of fuel additive into the heating oil tank with each fill, many times without explaining what the additive does, or why you need it. It is better to ask your fuel oil dealer for specifics about the additives they use, or ask for an empty bottle so you can check the manufacturers’ claims about the product.
All of the home heating oil additives are the same, and below is a description of some of the benefits offered by different additives.
· Cleaning Agent – A lot of the home heating oil additives contain a cleaning agent that actually dissolves built up carbon, varnish and other chemical deposits from your furnace’s burner nozzles and pumps. This will allow the oil burner to operate more efficiently and can save on overall heating fuel costs. Heating oil is atomized into a fine spray so it can be burned by your furnace.
· Water Eliminating Agent – Because of the condensation in your home heating oil tank and the chemical decomposition of fuel oil excess water could accumulate in the tank and subsequently introduced into your burner. Excess water can cause rust problems in the tank, lines and some other parts of your home heating system, foul your furnaces filters, and possible lead to rust-through and leaks in the oil tank. Additionally, water in your oil tank can lead to the growth of bacteria that can also cause buildup of slime which clogs heating system parts.
· Anti-Gel Agent- A home heating oil has a tendency to gel at low temperatures (below 35 degrees Fahrenheit) causing it to flow poorly through the delivery line, filter and nozzles. Several oil fired furnaces have an automatic shut-off which will cause your oil burner to shut down if in case fuel is not supplied, causing your furnace to go off on very cold winter nights.
· Oxidation Reducer – Oxidation is the chemical effect of oxygen interacting with other substances. In the case of home heating oil, oxidation can de-stabilize the fuel and cause it to break down and be less combustible, (harder to burn). Slowing oxidation insures that your heating oil remains “fresh” and provides the most heating energy.
· Sludge Dissolver – Certain older home heating oil tanks could have a buildup of sludge that has settled out of the oil over the years and accumulated at the bottom of the tank. Sludge dissolving agents will cause the heating oil to dissolve and re-absorb the sludge so it can be burned reducing the possibility that the tank will clog and need to drained and cleaned.
There are many other benefits to increased burner efficiency, like the reduction or elimination of environmentally damaging emissions. Chimneys, vents and filters should stay cleaner longer reducing home maintenance costs. New formulations of organic based heating fuel additives that do not contain alcohol are available and will prevent damage that alcohol based additives can cause to gaskets and seals in your oil burner.
For your next home renovation project, you may want to consider adding oil heat to your house.