It’s always good to be prepared. For a home heating system that means regular inspections and cleanings, and keeping your oil tank filled. That way, if an emergency happens, like a snowstorm or a hurricane, you won’t have to worry about staying warm. But you can’t plan for everything. So what do you do if you’re left without heat in an emergency? Can you use something other than heating oil in your home heating system?
Ideally you never want your oil tank to be so low your system can’t run at all. A very low or empty oil tank can cause issues like rusting and sludge at the bottom which can shorten the lifespan of the tank. (Read more about that here.) But forgetting to fill your tank, especially during the warmer months, can happen to anyone and you may find yourself in an emergency some day with a need for heat and no oil. Some people may wonder, is there something else I can use if no heating oil is available? Diesel fuel may be a short-term option!
Here are some important safety considerations if you do need to use diesel in your home heating system:
- Diesel can only be used short-term, no more than a few days. It burns much hotter than heating oil and your system isn’t designed to withstand higher temperatures for a long amount of time. Longer use can affect the lifespan of your system.
- Handle diesel carefully, making sure not to spill it on yourself or the ground around you as that is a fire hazard.
- Store your diesel properly. Diesel is stored in yellow containers with clear labelling. You can store it for up to six months before it degrades and becomes unusable.
- If you no longer need diesel after using it in your heating system make sure to dispose of the excess properly at a local hazardous waste disposal centre.
Using diesel in your heating system isn’t as simple as just pouring it in and turning on your heat however. Here are the steps you’ll want to take:
- Turn off your oil tank completely via the tank’s thermostat control.
- Add the diesel fuel to your tank. If there’s still some oil in there it’s okay to let it mix with the diesel. It also means you won’t have to take extra steps like bleeding the lines of air, and making sure everything is free from sludge as the tank wasn’t completely empty.
- Wait for the fuel to settle for at least 10 minutes. You want to make sure any sediments settle to the bottom of the tank before turning it on.
- Turn the tank back on and restart your heating system.
West Nova Fuels & Superline Fuels always does our best to ensure all our customers are taken care of even in emergencies. Our certified technicians are available 24/7 and when you call, you will speak with a real person, not an automated switchboard or answering system. But if you get really stuck, diesel can be a temporary option to make sure you and your family stays warm in an emergency.