Can Heating Oil Freeze?

What is the freezing point of heating oil?

While water begins to freeze and solidify at 32°F, heating oil freezes at 16°F. Instead of turning into a hard substance like ice, heating oil turns into a thick, gel-like wax. This occurrence is also referred to as “gelling”.

Heating oil for homes is more valuable during the winter months than any other time of the year. But because this oil is purchased and used during the coldest season so often, it can raise a few concerns about the effects of the cold on this important commodity. One of the most common concerns that customers raise during winter is whether heating oil can freeze and become useless?

Knowing the truth of this situation can really be a lifesaver because no one wants their reserves of heating oil to suddenly become useless in the middle of an especially cold night. Now, let us take a closer look at the possibility of a heating oil freeze.


How Heating Oil Freezes

It is true that heating oil can freeze if the storage tank gets too cold. The good news is that heating oil has a lower freezing point than water, but the bad news is that it is not that much lower.

While water begins to freeze and solidify at 32°F, heating oil typically freezes at around 16 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you should watch out for the weather and for days that drop to 16°F or below. This type of weather in New Jersey is rare, but it does happen.

Heating Oil Gelling

The way heating oil freezes is also different from that of water. Instead of turning into a hard substance like ice, it turns into a thick, gel-like wax. This waxy substance makes it very difficult for the heating oil to move through your heating system’s pipes and can cause damage to the heating oil system.

This frozen gel can get stuck in and subsequently clog the tank, the oil lines, the nozzles and the oil filter. If this happens, you may need to pay extra for repairs or entire replacements of parts.

How to Prevent Heating Oil From Freezing

Avoiding heating oil freeze is easy to do if your heating oil tank is placed indoors. If the tank is outdoors, however, then you will have to take some extra preventative measures to make sure your heating oil will always be ready to go.

Heating Oil Additives

One of the best ways to protect your heating oil from freezing is to add a specific fuel additive that will mix with your heating oil to keep it from reaching freezing points. This will preserve the quality of the heating oil as well and fortify it from temperatures that are below 16°F.

Oil Tank Insulation

Another proactive step you can take is to make sure all the piping of your heating system is properly insulated and has no cracks. These kinds of damages to the system will allow cold drafts to seep in which will put your heating oil at a greater risk of freezing.

heating oil freezing temperature
Heating Oil begins freezing at 16°F.

Contact Us

Seek Professional Help from Van Doren to Avoid Heating Oil Freezing

While dealing with heating oil freeze may be a huge inconvenience, there are ways to make things much easier on your end. When it comes to inspecting your heating oil system to make sure it’s in good condition or getting the right heating oil additive to protect it from gelling and freezing, Van Doren will help you with whatever heating oil concern you bring to us.

The heating oil we sell at Van Doren comes pre-treated with an anti-gelling agent.

Get in touch with us today for help protecting your heating oil.