Emergency Heating Oil Alternatives

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Handle diesel carefully, making sure not to spill it on yourself or the ground around you as that is a fire hazard.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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:

  1. Turn off your oil tank completely via the tank’s thermostat control. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

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West Nova Fuels Bridgewater

570 Logan Road
Wileville, Nova Scotia
B4V 9C7
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Propane Bridgewater

65 MacCulloch Rd
Cookville, Nova Scotia
B4V 7P1
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

Commercial Lubricants

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick

West Nova Fuels Digby

218 Victoria Street
Digby, Nova Scotia
B0V 1A0
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

Superline Fuels Halifax

3451 Barrington St
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3K 2X8
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Propane - Kentville

909 Park St
Kentville, Nova Scotia
B4N 5H3
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Lunenburg

73 Falkland St
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
B0J 2C0
Burner Service: 902-634-4700
Chester: 902-275-4775
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

Superline Fuels Parrsboro

3306 Highway 2
Parrsboro, Nova Scotia
B0M 1S0
Springhill: 902-763-3303
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Port Williams

28 Highway 358 Greenwich
Port Williams, Nova Scotia
B4P 2R2
Hantsport: 902-684-3324
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Shelburne

91 Falls Lane Rd.
Shelburne, Nova Scotia
B0T 1W0
Propane: 902-530-3150
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

Superline Fuels Truro

208 Industrial Ave
Truro, Nova Scotia
B2N 6V4
North Shore: 902-548-2991
Springhill: 902-763-3303
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Wilmot

RR2; 15048 Highway 1
Kingston, Nova Scotia
B0P 1R0
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Windsor

6006 Highway 14,
Garlands Crossing
Windsor, Nova Scotia
B0N 2T0
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Woods Harbour

20 Falls Point Rd
Woods Harbour, Nova Scotia
B0W 2E0
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

West Nova Fuels Yarmouth

211 Water St
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
B5A 1L9
Open: 8am – 4:30pm

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