Post #1.... why else, I've got a problem
Woke up this morning and there was a chill in the air....inside the house. Kind of knew what happened as it's become an annual occurance when the cold sets in. Oil fired water heater was out as well. There was no oil getting to either the furnace or water heater. Ended up taking the line off the outside oil tank outlet and poked a wire rod through the pipe to break loose small chunks of what appeared to be ice that went into the coffee can, put it all back together, and got things running again. Was only about +20 Deg F outside and I remember having this problem except when it was colder.
Usually I have an electric heat tape wrapped on the line and turned on, but this year I forgot about it. My oil company says they put an anti-gelling additive in when they deliver oil, but this doesn't seem to be effective. They had said more can be put in (my expense) with no ill effects. They've suggested putting the oil tank in the cellar, but a small bulkhead and little room in the cellar sort of prevents this.
This problem has seemed to have worsened up in the last few years and I know the tank likely has accumulated some sludge and water. I have a setback thermostat on the heat so the furnace may not run for several hours during the night. The lack of oil flow during this period probably doensn't help.
I'm looking for some ideas to minimize or prevent this from occuring.
1) How effective is "Hot 4 in 1" or similiar additive? Is it essentially the same stuff the oil guy puts in?
2) Can an oil tank be "cleaned"? Pump out the sludge and water on the bottom?
3) The heating tape seems to help, but on occasion has burned out and lost heat and not known until the furnace quits.
4) Is the quality of heating getting worse and will a biofuel mix be worse?
Thanks in advance...