A typical winter in Northern Ireland is plagued with rain, mist and general drizzle, but more recently we’ve had widespread frosts and extended cold weather periods. While it hasn’t been cold enough yet to cause widespread damage or interruption to daily life, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst.
Frozen pipes are a major headache for homeowners, but when the mercury falls will your home heating oil freeze in the cold weather too? The answer is no. Even in extreme temperature changes, heating oil will not become a solid mass in your oil tank, but it may thicken into a gel-like consistency. This is unlikely to happen to your oil however, as your oil tank will also protect it from the cold – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t run into problems with your home heating in the cold weather.
Read on to find out more about how to keep your home warm and your heating oil usable this winter.
Insulate your pipes
Whilst your home heating oil won’t freeze, water can freeze very easily when the temperature plummets, so anywhere that you see exposed pipes around your home should be well insulated to protect them from frost. If there is water in your fuel pipes, this can freeze and cause a blockage – often this is what makes people think that their home heating oil has frozen, as this blockage prevents the fuel from reaching your boiler. To prevent this from happening, follow these simple steps:
- Check that all your fittings and openings on the oil tank are secure and can’t let in rain water
- Always ensure your tank cover is replaced tightly after a home heating oil top up to prevent any water getting in
- Buy insulating foam for your pipes from a DIY retailer and cut them to fit yourself. Over time they may deteriorate or become damaged so check them regularly to ensure they are offering your pipes adequate protection
Use home heating oil additives
Are you using home heating oil additives in your oil tank? If not, you should start especially in the winter when they will offer lots of benefits to you. Adding just one bottle of home heating oil additives to your tank before you get a top up (if you do it after you’ve had your tank topped up they won’t mix as well) will help remove any water build up in the tank, among other benefits. These include improving the efficiency of your heating system, reducing any sludge or grime build up in your tank (particularly useful if your oil tank is older), and it can help to stabilise your fuel using antioxidants.
Service or upgrade your boiler
You naturally rely on your boiler more during the colder months and when you use it more often without having it serviced recently, you could potentially run into some operating problems – and no one wants that on a cold morning. No matter how much home heating oil you have left in your tank, it’s useless without a functioning boiler, so in order to keep your home warm when the weather gets colder, ensure your boiler has been checked over by an engineer and that you replace any parts that they recommend in order to extend its life.