Preventing domestic heating oil from freezing

While it may be the middle of summer, it’s important to plan ahead when it comes to your home heating oil. This is crucial for many homeowners across the UK, providing heating and hot water for homes and families. But in the winter, freezing temperatures can cause significant problems.  So what are the most effective options for preventing domestic heating oil from freezing? And how can you be sure to keep your home warm in the winter months?

Does home heating oil freeze?

Home heating oil is essential for keeping your home warm and for ensuring a reliable hot water supply. However, this has a freezing point that ranges from -2°C to -5°C, which can easily be reached in cold spells during UK winters. As a result, at a time when you need to warm your home the most, you could find your heating oil frozen.

Do domestic heating oil pipes freeze?

Not only can your home heating oil freeze in the tank, but when the temperature drops below freezing point, the oil inside heating oil pipes can thicken and become sludgy. This makes it very difficult for the oil to flow through the pipes, leading to pipe blockages and potential damage to the heating system

What are the effective options for preventing domestic heating oil from freezing?

So, what can you do to prevent your domestic heating oil from freezing? Well, there are several steps you can take. These include:

  • Insulation- One effective way to prevent heating oil from freezing is to insulate the storage tank. This is because proper insulation can help to maintain a consistent temperature within the tank, reducing the risk of oil reaching its freezing point. Homeowners can consider using insulation materials like foam jackets or blankets to wrap around the tank.
  • Heating devices- Installing heating devices, such as tank heaters or immersion heaters, can provide an added layer of protection against freezing. These devices are designed to keep the oil inside the tank at a sufficient temperature, ensuring it remains in a liquid state even during severe cold spells.
  • Fuel additives- Fuel additives can be mixed with the heating oil to lower its freezing point and improve its cold-weather performance. These additives act as antifreeze agents, preventing the formation of ice crystals that could block fuel lines or damage the heating system. It is essential to use additives recommended by reputable manufacturers to avoid any adverse effects on the oil’s quality.
  • Regular inspection and maintenance- Homeowners should conduct regular inspections of their heating oil tanks and heating systems. Identifying and addressing any leaks or issues promptly can prevent water from entering the tank, as water can promote fuel degradation and increase the likelihood of freezing.
  • Keep the tank full- Leaving the heating oil tank nearly empty during periods of extremely cold weather can lead to the accumulation of condensation inside the tank. Water, being heavier than oil, tends to settle at the bottom, and if it reaches the fuel lines, it can freeze and cause blockages. As a result, keeping the tank adequately filled reduces the space available for condensation to form.
  • Positioning the tank- The location of the heating oil tank can also have an impact on its vulnerability to freezing. Placing the tank in an exposed, open area can increase the risk of extreme temperature fluctuations. Instead, the tank should be situated in a sheltered spot, shielded from harsh winds and direct exposure to extreme cold, to help reduce the chances of the heating oil freezing.

Here at Compass Fuel Oils, we are the UK’s leading provider of fuel oils like red diesel and AdBlue, as well as home heating oil. For more information about delivery within 1-3 days, barrel deliveries, or installing fuel monitors, get in touch with the leading experts today!