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What Do I Do If My Furnace Runs Out of Oil?

So, it’s finally happened—the winter months are upon us, and it’s time to crank up the heat, cozy up in front of the fireplace, and get the furnace going. Preparing for winter is important to staying warm and comfortable through the entire season. Depending on how long the winter cold lasts, how big your home is, and how much heat you’re using, you may find yourself running out of heating oil in the middle of frosty winter night.

As long as you’re properly prepared, though, there’s no need to panic—or resign yourself to a night huddled under a mountain of blankets. Read on to make sure you’re prepared when your furnace runs out of oil!

First, Double Check You’re Out of Oil

First off, make sure a lack of oil is the issue at hand. We’ve seen cases from time to time of a supposed empty tank that turned out to be a bungled gauge paired with a different problem entirely. This can mean a lot of frustration and stress for you as a homeowner, so familiarize yourself with how to read your tank accurately!

Notify Your Fuel Supplier

If you work with an automated or scheduled delivery then your first order of business is to get into contact with them and set up a delivery as soon as possible. Getting this sorted as soon as possible reduces the time your tank sits empty, which avoids needing to bleed the line and reduces the possibility of sludge buildup. On that note we would also like to say we do not recommend bleeding the line on your own! This can be very dangerous and expose you to health and home hazards. If you want to be self-sufficient then get trained by a professional to learn how to bleed your line. It’s not something we would leave up to some online tutorials!

Can I Use Kerosene or Diesel Fuel?

In a pinch you sure can! Both of these fuel types are very safe, and in fact diesel is quite close to your standard heating oil. It’s wise to keep a set of blue (kerosene) or yellow (diesel) fuel containers for this purpose specifically. Go ahead and get a fair bit of fuel, since you can’t be certain when your supplier can get back to you.

You can keep alternative fuels on-hand for the winter months, but avoid keeping these fuels for more than six months—a year with fuel additives—because they will degrade over time.

The alternative fuel can simply be added to your tank. Give it about ten to fifteen minutes to settle, and then fire up your oil furnace. If all is right then you should get heat just like normal until your supplier can get there.

Furnace Services in Allentown, PA with Jack Lehr

Having some trouble with your oil furnace, or need some trained experts to provide oil furnace maintenance after a tank run out? Give us a call at any time or contact us online today to get trusted service that puts your needs first!

Registered Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor :: PA HIC#: 000013

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