If you've recently moved into a home that uses oil for heating fuel, you may be wondering how to handle tank refills. Oil heat can keep you warm all winter, but if you are new to this fuel type, then the first delivery can be a bit confusing. Follow these steps to ensure your delivery goes smoothly.
1. Schedule a Tank Inspection
It's a good idea to have the oil tank and supply lines inspected before filling your tank for the first time, especially if you haven't used the furnace since moving into the home. This way you can be sure there are no leaks or sludge present. Filling a tank with oil when leaks are present can lead to a big mess and wasted fuel. Sludge in the tank can cause line blockages and furnace failure.
If leaks are present, then they can be repaired. In some cases the fuel lines or tank may need to be replaced. As for sludge, this will need to be cleaned out before you add more oil. Otherwise, the fresh oil coming into the tank will stir up the sludge, which can clog the fuel lines.
2. Find Your Fill Tube
Whether the oil tank is in your basement or buried outside, there will be a fill tube. Above-ground tanks typically have a fill valve on top of the tank, so these are easy to spot. Basement tanks have a fuel tube just outside your home next to the tank location, so these are also relatively easy to find.
If your tank is buried, you will have to walk the property to find the fuel tube. It may be hiding under a utility box or a ground-level lid. In some cases, people plant shrubs or flowers around the tube to disguise it. If all else fails, the delivery service can send out a technician to help you locate the tank and tube.
3. Set Up a Delivery Schedule
Once you know the tank is ready for filling, you can schedule your first delivery. As a general rule, it is often less expensive to get on a delivery plan so that your tank is refilled at regular intervals throughout the heating season. Many companies will provide a discount or lock in the fuel rate if you choose this option.
Your service provider can help you determine how often to schedule refills depending on the size of your home and the size of the oil tank. The key is to refill the tank before it is more than 2/3 empty, as this will prevent stirring up any sludge on the bottom.
Contact a fuel oil delivery service for more assistance with your first tank fill.