Nov 28

Can Diesel Be Used As A Temporary Heating Fuel In Your Home?

image of a diesel gas pump used as a home heating oil alternative

If you live in central New Jersey, you have lived through cold winters and know how treacherous it can be. Unfortunately, even long-term residents in central New Jersey face unexpected setbacks because of the weather. The one problem that scares everyone is running out of fuel in the home heating oil tank. On regular days, expect delivery of your heating oil within three business days. However, you can request same-day delivery from local oil distributors, like Skylands Energy Service, but this delivery depends on the situation. Road conditions, weather, and other unforeseen events could impact your ability to get heating oil. Sometimes you have to look at heating oil alternatives when you don’t have access to fuel oil.

If you are facing erratic weather and your family is at home, you will have no alternative but to rush fuel delivery. During these periods, switch to diesel fuel to keep your home warm. Unfortunately, switching to diesel fuel is not as simple as you think. We share below a comprehensive guide on what you need to be aware of before you put diesel in your home’s heating oil tank.

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Can You Use Diesel Fuel in a Home Heating Oil Tank?

Continue reading to learn what you must do if your fuel supply depletes during the winter.

Know How to Inspect the Heating Oil Tank in Your Home

image of a residential heating oil tank

Diesel, unfortunately, is more expensive than heating oil because it attracts higher taxation. Therefore, you must inspect the heating oil tank before you worry about using a fuel alternative such as diesel. Examine the oil level in the home oil system by checking the floating gauge. The gauge floats on the fuel to measure the fuel quantity in the tank. Gauge the accuracy of the float by ensuring that you remove its plastic cover. Then push the float downward with your hand. The gauge will return to the original oil level if its tank contains fuel. If the float stays down, you have no more oil.

Another option is to check the oil levels manually, which entails putting a yardstick through the tank’s fill tube. Consider that every tank, depending on its size, has a different measurement for when fuel reaches its critical level. Learn more about your tank’s must-fill level by verifying with the manufacturer. We suggest you order oil as soon as your tank dips to one-quarter to one-third capacity.

If your home heating oil supply depletes, start filling the tank with diesel. Alternatively, let the sediment settle at the bottom of the tank. Then, reset the burner to get it started. In some instances, you may have to bleed the lines to allow any air in the system to escape to get the tank restarted. It is a messy and complicated procedure; therefore, we suggest you contact a knowledgeable professional to assist you.

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Related Article: How Much Heating Oil Will I Use In A Day?

Some Dangers of Running Your System with Low Oil

image of a cold adult woman covered with clothes freezing sitting on the sofa depicting running out of home heating oil

Your most critical risk in running your tank with low oil is a furnace or boiler shutdown, and you may be surprised at how quickly these occur. Most tanks shut down at the critical level to prevent the system from running out of heating oil.

Your system shutdown may happen for different reasons. One issue may be sediment buildup at the bottom of your tank. A tank that does not get proper cleaning accumulates sediment, which becomes problematic over time.

Also, some tanks run lines from the top of the tank down in the system. If the pipes cannot reach the base, your system may be unable to tap the remaining fuel in the tank.

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Using Diesel as an Alternative Heating Fuel: Safety & Usage

image of a paper cut family depicting heating fuel safety

Once you are sure that your home’s tank is critically low or empty, you can start using diesel for fuel. While diesel is an alternative, you should only use it temporarily. Heating oil should be your choice, and this is why.

Firstly, diesel is more expensive than heating fuel, and it burns hotter than heating fuel. You can safely use diesel as a temporary fuel source for a couple of days. However, people should never use it as a long-term solution. Using diesel over a lengthy period damages your system because these systems cannot operate at high temperatures. Diesel use of five to ten gallons per day for a few days should maintain your tank’s lifespan.

The amount of diesel your system consumes depends on how long you have to wait to get heating oil delivered. Therefore, ten gallons daily should be enough to keep your system running.

When you are working with diesel, store it in designated colored containers. Yellow is ideal for diesel storage. Be sure to label the container clearly. While diesel is a temporary solution for any heating oil shortage, you can store it for six months before it degrades. Degradation makes diesel unsafe for use. You can put additives in diesel to prolong its life, but these chemicals have limits and prescribed treatments. Therefore, you should never have diesel stored for long periods.

If you have no further use for leftover diesel fuel after using it in the heating oil tank, contact your local waste disposal agency through your hazardous collection or recycling centers.

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How You Should Use Diesel Fuel in Your Home Heating Oil Tank

After collecting your diesel in your labeled yellow containers, you can start filling the tank for your home.

  • Shut off the Heating System: Your first step is to turn the furnace or hydronic heating system (boiler) off by using the thermostat.
  • Fuel the Tank: Once your heating unit is off, add ten gallons, or however many you need, of diesel to the tank. Do not worry about any residual heating oil mixing with the diesel. It is better when the diesel mixes with the oil because it ensures that your tank is not dry. Unfortunately, if you find your tank depleted of fuel, bleed the lines to remove any air. Then you must evaluate the nozzle, oil pump, and filter to ensure that you have no sludge in your system. Even though you may not be technically inclined to assess these problems by yourself, spotting these issues is an important step. Catching this before the tank runs dry can reduce your stress by reducing downtime.
  • Wait for it to Settle: The tank should sit for ten minutes after you fill it so that any sediments or impurities settle at the bottom,
  • Turn on the Heating System: You can restart your system to enjoy warmth in your home. Use the system with the diesel until you can return to using heating oil.
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Request Emergency Fuel Delivery  From Skylands Energy Service

If your oil tank runs low on fuel and you have no other fuel options, you can count on Skylands Energy Service. We assist residents of central New Jersey with emergency oil services. Property owners never have to worry about fuel supply because Skylands Energy Service has an onsite storage terminal with more than enough fuel to meet all of our client’s needs. If you need urgent assistance, call us for a quick turnaround. Our emergency oil delivery team responds within 24 hours, so you never have to use diesel to heat your home for long periods.

Prevent your tank from emptying below the critical level and earn discounts on heating oil by utilizing our automatic delivery services. Keep your tank full and cut the costs of maintenance.

Call Skylands Energy Service For Reliable Oil Deliveries

image of skylands energy service logoSkylands Energy Service offers reliable and affordable heating oil delivery services throughout Central New Jersey. We have many delivery plans and financing options available to meet your needs. Click here to view our service area.

Likewise, our family-owned company has many different types of home comfort services. This includes heating oil delivery, on/off-road diesel delivery, plumbing services, heater repair, heating system maintenance, heater installations, and more. Be sure to give Skylands Energy Service a call today to see what we can do for you. All of our services come with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. Call now!

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