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Old 11-26-2010, 05:41 AM   #1
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Oil Burner & Tank Maintenance


Hello,
I just had an oil burner tuneup and the filter was changed and other parts were cleaned or replaced. Is there anything I should check during the year and what to look for?
The serviceman also checked for water in the tank. The liquid level was 25-1/2 inches and 3-1/2 inches was water. So I need to contact their pump out department to perform this.
I and my family just moved into our home and this is my first experience with oil burner heat for both hot water supply and room heating.

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Old 11-26-2010, 07:49 AM   #2
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Oil Burner & Tank Maintenance


You should have a professional suck the water out although you might be able to get most of the water out yourself. After that, pour in some approved chemical so any remaining water is absorbed into the oil.

If you do it yourself, be aware that the water you get out has some oil mixed with it and therefore is considered hazardous material. Some sludge, rust, gunk, and goo (all also hazmat) will also be sucked out or may make the sucking process more difficult than you expect. If you let the bucket(s) of material sit for several hours, most of the oil will come to the surface and can be skimmed off and re-introduced into the tank.

Since the tank has a rounded bottom, the 3-1/2 inches of water versus the 25 inches of liquid does not mean as much water as you might think.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-26-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 11-26-2010, 03:11 PM   #3
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On a 275 horizontal, thats 23 gals of water, on a 500 gal tank its 13 gals of water, and on a 1000 gal tank its 26 gals of water.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by beenthere
On a 275 horizontal, thats 23 gals of water, on a 500 gal tank its 13 gals of water, and on a 1000 gal tank its 26 gals of water.
Get a good hot fire going outside and boil off the water. All your left with is sludge and sediment. You will bave a lot less. You just made your own evaporator.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Hard to carry an oil tank with oil in it, to the outside.

If it is outside already. how do you propose that he prevent the oil fumes from igniting.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by beenthere
Hard to carry an oil tank with oil in it, to the outside.

If it is outside already. how do you propose that he prevent the oil fumes from igniting.
Well disconnect oil supply pipe after fireman vavle. And drain, or pull pipe plug on the top of tank and get a pump and pump out. How did they do it fifty years ago?

And if its out side wait until its cold enough for ice to form and then seperate the two. Using your immgination might work also.
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Old 11-26-2010, 08:40 PM   #7
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He needs to follow the techs advise and get fresh oil. Even a small amount of water will CONTINUOUSLY keep getting into the oil burner nozzle and contaminate it and prevent it from spraying properly. Won't even go one day w/o continuously replacing the nozzle. Beenthere myself with that problem.
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Old 11-26-2010, 09:36 PM   #8
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Thanks all,
The oil pumper serviceman was here today while I was working in the rear of the house and my sister answered the door. So I did not realize he was here until after he was gone. I wanted to ask him if the company had follow up visits to further check the tank to make sure water is from condensation and not a leak from the outside.

I am a retired firefighter and appreciate the answers but the suggestion to boil the water off appears foolish. I'll play it safe and let the pro handle it. This service person left an invoice but there is nothing on it to indicate that followup visits will be performed. If I get the same amount of water next year on a 275 gallon in ground tank, I'll ask about reasonable amounts of water condensation.
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Old 11-27-2010, 06:53 AM   #9
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You seemed to be worried about doing it right, get rid of the inground. Those aren't legal any more and pose an environmental hazard.
Inground/underground oil tanks are legal(may not be in a few areas). And still installed everyday.

The USA federal reserve oil is stored openly in underground caverns. Many billions of gallons.
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Old 11-27-2010, 06:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rjordan393 View Post
Thanks all,
The oil pumper serviceman was here today while I was working in the rear of the house and my sister answered the door. So I did not realize he was here until after he was gone. I wanted to ask him if the company had follow up visits to further check the tank to make sure water is from condensation and not a leak from the outside.

I am a retired firefighter and appreciate the answers but the suggestion to boil the water off appears foolish. I'll play it safe and let the pro handle it. This service person left an invoice but there is nothing on it to indicate that followup visits will be performed. If I get the same amount of water next year on a 275 gallon in ground tank, I'll ask about reasonable amounts of water condensation.
The next time they come out to fill it. Ask the driver to check the tank for water. Most drivers have the paste with them to check.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:06 AM   #11
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Actually industries use that method of boiling off hundreds of gallons of water alk the time. Foolish no, practical very. They call them evaporators and as a retired fire fighter you probaly haven't beem to many of those fires, they don't happen. Also legal.

Could you buy a new tank and put it elsewhere.

You seemed to be worried about doing it right, get rid of the inground. Those aren't legal any more and pose an environmental hazard. Though they are grandfathered in. How do you know there is no hole in the tank. Have you had it inspected???

Hydraulic systems use dessicant to control in rush of moisture. We screw them on to the tank breather. I don't know if if they make or recomend them for home oil tanks i am not a oil professional.
You seem to be confusing processes for lubricating oil, and heating oil.

Heating oil is not heated to the boiling point of water to get rid of the water.

Motor oil can not flash at 212F, heating oil can. And at 140F, it will sustain a flame.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:24 AM   #12
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Ianc435,
It must be legal in my area because the original tank was above ground. I do not know why the previous owners decided to put the replacement tank in the ground. Some neighbors opted to cover their above ground tanks to make them look part of the house.
I hope its made of non corrosive material.

Beenthere,
Good idea. The former owner I believe was not maintaining the property and may have ignored warnings by service personel.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:27 AM   #13
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You may want to have an environmental co do a soil test ASAP. It is INCREDIBLY expensive to deal with if oil is leaking into the ground and gets more expensive the larger the leak. May not be able to sell the property later with contaminated ground. Saw all this on an episode of This Old House where they had to deal with that. Apparently there are some SERIOUS liability issues if your oil leak gets into any water supply/wells/streams and kills any fish etc. EPA will go after you. Ignorance of the law/rules doesn't get you off the hook with them.

There are nice square vertical fibreglass tanks available for basement use instead of the ugly space consuming old torpedos most people have. Perhaps Beenthere has seen them/knows about them. They installed one on the tv episode mentioned earlier.
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Last edited by yuri; 11-27-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:54 AM   #14
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Yuri,
I will check with my oil company and the municipality first to address some questions only they can answer (like who put the replacement tank in and what material is it made of). I do not want to get enviromental people involved because their visit may stir up a lot of unnecessary inquirerys by government officials. This can occur even by just asking questions.
I think you may have heard the following;
Line up 30 people in single file and wisper a joke to the first. Quickly walk down to the last and tell him to repeat what he heard.
The answer will be something like: "Sally just had a baby boy".
This is what happens when bureaucrats get involved.
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Old 11-27-2010, 11:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjordan393
Yuri,
I will check with my oil company and the municipality first to address some questions only they can answer (like who put the replacement tank in and what material is it made of). I do not want to get enviromental people involved because their visit may stir up a lot of unnecessary inquirerys by government officials. This can occur even by just asking questions.
I think you may have heard the following;
Line up 30 people in single file and wisper a joke to the first. Quickly walk down to the last and tell him to repeat what he heard.
The answer will be something like: "Sally just had a baby boy".
This is what happens when bureaucrats get involved.
Well, something about burying oil in the ground just doesn't seem right. Even if its in a tank. These tanks are double walled???

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