How Long Is Heating Oil Good For?

Boy drawing on the floor

If you’re like most people, the heating oil you buy is stored until it’s ready to be used – sometimes several months after you purchase it. But are there any consequences to burning it once it has sat in your tank for that long?

The short answer is probably not. No. 2 heating oil (the heating oil you probably use in your home) has an average shelf life of about 18-24 months – which leaves some wiggle room if you have heating oil left over from the prior winter.

If your heating oil is nearing that 18-24 month period (if you own a second home that you don’t use every year, for example), you can still use it – although it will more than likely be less combustible (meaning that it won’t produce as much heat when it’s burned); if the heating oil can’t reach your furnace’s minimum temperature range when it’s burned, the furnace will automatically shut off, and you’ll need to call for service. If you’re unsure if the heating oil is still good – or if you’re sure it has been sitting in the tank for more than two years – it’s probably better to err on the side of caution and have your tank professionally drained and refilled.

Now it’s important to keep in mind is that 18-24 months is an average shelf life for No. 2 heating oil. Several factors can influence that number, including:

  • The amount of bacteria (the foremost cause of fuel breakdown) in your heating oil;
  • The amount of corrosion in your tank; and
  • Life-extending additives in your heating oil.

Starting out with quality oil helps, too – a big reason to get your heating oil from us rather than a fly-by-night supplier.

The bottom line: if you get your heating oil from a qualified supplier, maintain your heating oil tank, and haven’t left your heating oil sitting unused for two years or more, you should be in good shape when it comes time to run your heating system next winter.

For dependable delivery of quality heating oil anywhere in Northeastern Pennyslvania, trust the pros at Ace-Robbins. Contact us to join our family of customers today! Serving Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Susquehanna, Sullivan, and Wyoming Counties.