Everyone who heats their home with oil knows that an empty oil tank means bad news in the winter. Obviously, an empty tank means no heat. But many people don’t realize that having an empty heating oil storage tank in the summer can also cause problems—although for a totally different reason.
Condensation is the reason. Empty space in your tank is space where water condensation can form. And condensation is common during the summer. Hot, humid days and cooler nights create the right atmosphere for condensation buildup to accelerate inside your tank. And if your tank is aboveground, outdoors and in an unshaded area, it’s especially prone to condensation.
That’s why it’s best to keep your tank at least half-full (preferably more) during the warm months.
After water forms on the bare walls on the empty area of the tank, it drips down and sinks to the bottom of the tank because water is denser than heating oil. There, it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms.
Over time, these organisms accumulate and turn into sediment. This can create problems with your oil tank. One problem is that sediment, also known as sludge, can get into your fuel lines and clog them up. This will cause your heating system to shut down.
Keeping your tank full during the summer also prolongs its life. That’s because the same condensation that results in sludge can also corrode your tank from the inside out – a big problem that could be difficult to see coming and costly to resolve.
Knowing you’re protecting your investment in a home heating oil storage tank should give you plenty of motivation to get a summer fill. But there are other benefits to filling your oil tank now, instead of waiting for the cold weather to return.
Remember, condensation inside your oil tank is a problem, but an avoidable one. If you’re not on any delivery schedule and you call in your fuel order, reach out to your local Michigan heating oil provider to schedule a heating oil delivery soon. After that, get back to enjoying some summer fun in Michigan!