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Heating Oil: How Long Before It Spoils?

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Most customers buy heating oil several times a year and store that oil until it’s needed. But how long will that heating oil stay “fresh,” and what happens if you use it after that point?

The good news is that common heating oil has a shelf life of about 18-24 months. That means you don’t need to worry if you didn’t finish up all your fuel after last heating season; it will work just fine in the fall.

Within reason, “older” oil can still be used, too – it’s just won’t burn as efficiently or produce as much heat. However, you don’t really want to over-rely on this older oil if you want your furnace to function properly: if burning your older oil can’t meet your furnace’s minimum requirement for heat, the furnace will shut off, and you’ll need to call for service to get it up and running again.

Heating oil shelf life factors:

Of course 18-24 months is simply an average shelf life for No. 2 heating oil; several factors can influence that number up or down, including:

Having quality oil helps, too – a big reason why you should always buy your heating oil from a reputable supplier like Penguin Energy.

The bottom line: if you get quality heating oil, maintain your heating oil tank, and aren’t waiting two years between heating oil deliveries, you should be fine. In fact, it’s best to keep your heating oil tank at least half full in the offseason to prevent condensation build-up inside your tank, which can lead to corrosion and turn your heating oil into line-clogging sludge.

For quality heating oil delivered fresh to your home, trust the pros at Penguin Energy. Contact us for reliable heating oil delivery in Sullivan, Orange and eastern Ulster Counties.