Now that winter’s at its peak, you’re probably wondering how long heating oil lasts if you use it for your home. Or, you want to know whether you can use the heating oil for the next season. For instance, if your tank is half full when the heating season comes to an end, can you use it next year? Or, can you resell your heating oil if you’re transitioning to using another heating source for your home?

Well, the good news is that home heating oil can typically last for 18 to 24 months. However, this is only true if your oil is mixed with effective additives upon delivery. 

Can Heating Oil Go Bad?

Your home heating oil can degrade over time, and there are several causes for this. 

  • Bacteria 

The most common reason for oil degeneration is bacteria that can break down the product. Just about all oil holds such bacteria, so you can’t prevent them from entering it in the first place. But, you can definitely slow down the degeneration process.

  • Water

Another substance that leads to heating oil going bad quickly is water. While pure water impedes the combustibility of oil, there are many minerals and chemicals in most water. These minerals and chemicals continue to degenerate your heating oil even after removing the water. 

  • Other Contaminants 

Contaminants such as rust or sludge can also cause the product to break down. 

The only way to avoid degeneration of your heating oil is to maintain a clean oil storage tank. Even though it is impossible to prevent oil breakdown over time, well-kept oil can last longer than its poorly-stored counterpart. 

The Typical Shelf Life of Heating Oil

18 to 24 months is the typical shelf life of home heating oil. So, you can store up your fuel and use it in the next heating season. However, a few factors can reduce or improve the life of heating oil. These are:


Additives are included in your heating oil in order to stabilize the fuel. So a year later, your fuel is just as combustible as it was at the time of tank filling. 

However, it is essential to add these additives at the same time when the heating oil is pumped into your tank. Introducing additives later won’t have the same effect. 


The state of your storage tank can significantly increase or decrease the durability of your fuel. This is due to the bacteria that may grow in it. Do not try to reuse a tank that stores water, gasoline, paint, or any other substance or product. 


You must order the correct amount of heating oil according to your home and lifestyle. If you get too much, you are more likely to have extra oil nearing its shelf life. Consider how much you use in one season and try not to get more than that. 


Since keeping your storage tank clean and free of contaminants is so important, make sure you maintain it properly. You can get in touch with our experts at Arlex Oil for oil tank maintenance and heating oil delivery services. Give us a call today or fill out our online contact form!