What Do Heating Oil Additives Do?

Around 5.5 million Americans call for oil deliveries, utilizing fuel oil for home heating, with 81% of them living in the Northeast. Households that use oil already know the care needed for their oil tank. However, you may also wonder how you can extend your oil tank’s service life. You may have heard of heating oil additives or are even using them already and wonder what exactly they are for. Read on to learn all you need to know regarding fuel oil additives.

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Types of Heating Oil Additives

image of a heating oil drop depicting home heating oil additivesHeating oil additives are chemicals that assist in improving the efficiency of the ignition of your tank. Putting additives in your fuel can alter some of its specifications, including its thickness and its required temperature to create a spark.

Additives for heating oil have four primary types: water controllers, biocides, stabilizers, and line and oil nozzle cleaners. Water controller is used to control any excess condensation (in summer) in your tank, while biocides are for treating the tank’s microbial growth. On the other hand, heating oil stabilizers help in fuel stabilization from outdoor environmental factors, including antioxidants. The last type cleans the fuel delivery line, which transports the oil from the tank to the burners. The line and oil nozzle cleaners also clean sludge that accumulated over time at the base of the tank.

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What Are Fuel Oil Additives Used For?

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Now that we know what additives are, you may wonder what it is used for. Firstly, we must determine why we need additives. Fuel for home heating is crude oil. Its refining process has had some changes over the past decades to take into account the low-sulfur diesel demand and environmental factors.

This change has resulted in a less stable fuel with a high carbon residue. Additives have an upgraded chemical makeup to help with this change and improve the characteristics of your fuel.

You can benefit from using heating oil additives if you experience issues such as oil tank freezing, sludge build-up, high consumption rates, and clogged fuel lines.

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How Heating Oil Additives Work

The refining process of oil changes its characteristics, which can cause impurities. These tank impurities can contain contaminants like soot, dirt, or moisture, which can mess with your oil tank. Your system becomes less efficient the more impurities are present in your tank.

Additives assist in removing these impurities so your HVAC system can be as efficient as it used to be. Additives can also emulsify water droplets, keeping bacteria from growing in your tank. The chemical makeup of additives lets you break down soot or dirt, so they can pass through the tank’s filter smoothly and not clog it. Additives can also shrink contaminants, allowing them to get burned off, so they are eliminated from your system completely.

Common Problems That Home Oil Additives Fix

new oil tankListed below are some problems you may face and how additives can resolve them.

Clogged Burner Nozzle

If you have a carbon or other chemical build-up, the burner nozzle of your tank may get blocked. This prevents efficient fuel combustion in your tank, as the burner nozzle is needed for the oil spray.

Most additives feature cleaning components that help dissolve chemical accumulations, so the burner nozzle can efficiently do its job again.

Excess Condensation

If your tank has excess condensation, its internal components may corrode. Moisture in your tank also leads to bacterial growth. Additives can emulsify water droplets, so bacterial growth is prevented. Other additives can remove large amounts of water from your system, which helps keep rust at bay.

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Heating Oil Gelling

Low outdoor temperatures are the likely cause of oil gelling. When this happens, oil cannot flow smoothly through the tank, resulting in problems with the nozzle, delivery line, and filters of the tank.

Anti-gelling additives help lower the temperature of the oil as it flows. This feature greatly benefits homeowners who live in areas that get colder winters.

Oil Tank Sludge Buildup

If there is sludge build-up at the base of your tank, the home heating system likely has a clogged line and filters. This prevents your tank from generating as much heat as possible. It can even stop your tank from working completely.
An additive created to dissolve sludge helps your heating oil break down or reabsorb the sludge. This way, the sludge will eventually be burnt off, and your tank will work at optimal efficiency again.

Cons of Heating Oil Additives

image of a radiator depicting hydronic home heating


  • The benefits of healing oil additives far exceed their cons, but you should still be aware of their potential downfalls.
  • Oil additives will not get rid of all the water that may be causing issues with your heating system. If you utilize an additive and it doesn’t eliminate all the water you need, the best course of action is to call a professional. They will help you do this task properly.
  • You should also be careful of additives with alcohol because this can cause other issues.
  • If your tank has a lot of sludge and you use a line and oil nozzle cleaner to get rid of it, the tank can get clogged. Call a professional if this happens so that no damage can happen to your tank.
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There isn’t a single additive that can resolve all your tank’s problems. You may need to use several different additives. This can be costly, but it will help make your tank more efficient. You will also have more savings down the line. Ensure that you consult a professional, as they can steer you in the right direction regarding additives and their use.

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Call Tevis Energy For Your Home Heating Oil Requirements

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Tevis Energy is a trustworthy heating oil delivery company that services central Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. Our company offers affordable and the most competitive heating oil prices in the area. Our goal is to provide you with excellent products and services. When you choose us to be your oil supplier, you can rest easy knowing that you will have correct and prompt heating oil deliveries at the best possible prices. Furthermore, we offer various heating oil delivery plans and financing options as a way to customize your oil deliveries. Be sure to call us today to learn more.

Tevis Energy has certified and highly trained HVAC technicians to cater to all your heating and cooling needs. We guarantee that each of our techs has the experience, skills, and knowledge to provide excellent HVAC services. Our team can assist you with installations, repairs, maintenance, and much more. Our superior HVAC solutions always come at affordable costs, and we back all of our work with a guarantee.

Call us today to learn more about the products and services our company offers. We provide free, in-home estimates. Click the link to view our service area.

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