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Old 08-26-2015, 10:00 AM   #1
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Oil Tank Whistle


I have a 500 gallon heating oil tank buried below ground and under a porch so getting to the top of the tank is pretty much impossible.
The tank does not have a whistle.
Ive been getting oil delivered for 20 years with this situation and the drivers always complain that there is no whistle but fill it anyway.
This tank has a vent pipe that has a cap and a screen. It also has TWO fill pipes that Tee into one pipe on top of the tank. One fill pipe goes out from under the porch and is 3 feet away from the vent pipe. The other fill pipe is under a trap door in the porch and is a straight drop into the tank for dipping.
Is there anyway to add a whistle to the tank in this situation?

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Old 08-26-2015, 10:10 AM   #2
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Did you ask the guys who service the equipment? If the vent is exposed, why can't you just put it on top?
Photos would help.
How old is this tank? Is it time to replace this?

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Old 08-26-2015, 10:19 AM   #3
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The oil tank is 20 years old and is Polycarbonate with a 50 year warranty.
I do my own boiler maintenance.
I was wondering the same thing....can I just unscrew the vent cap and screw in a tank whistle when getting a delivery? Would it work the same way?
Ive asked oil delivery guys and usually get the "Im not a plumber" answer.
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Old 08-26-2015, 10:44 AM   #4
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In always thought you just screw it to the top of the vent. Look up the part on the internet to see what it looks like.
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Old 08-26-2015, 11:05 AM   #5
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Here are some pics to help everyone understand:
Attached Thumbnails
Oil Tank Whistle-1440604229_picsay-1440604229.jpg   Oil Tank Whistle-1440604297_picsay-1440604297.jpg   Oil Tank Whistle-1440604576_picsay-1440604576.jpg   Oil Tank Whistle-1440604350_picsay-1440604350.jpg  
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Old 08-26-2015, 11:10 AM   #6
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A vent alarm whistle must screwed into the tank in order to work properly.

That said. They can use their fill stick in that second fill

Their fill stick has its own whistle
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Old 08-26-2015, 11:29 AM   #7
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@beenthere ...if its that simple why have I been hearing complaints for 20 years? Ive yet to see anyone use a fill stick in the 2nd fill.
Is there any other permanent solution to this problem?
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:05 PM   #8
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The vent pipe is where the whistle goes so change the vent cap to a whistle its that simple.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:11 PM   #9
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Well, I should have asked how high is the area above the second fill. The fill stick is about 5 foot long, and it is inserted into the fill pipe. And then the nozzle is connected to it, and they fill unit the whistle stops. Do the drivers know about the second fill.

Other then digging up the tank and installing a whistle, no other options. Under ground tanks with a whistle, are far and few between. Fill stick is the normal method used to fill an under ground tank. I drove delivery trunk for fill in work back in the late 70s and early 80s.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky90 View Post
The vent pipe is where the whistle goes so change the vent cap to a whistle its that simple.

Afraid not. If the whistle was on the top of the vent pipe. Then when the oil foam hit and stopped the whistle from whistling. oil would come out the vent pipe before the driver could shut off the nozzle. The oil is going into the tank at a rate of up to 60 gallons a minute. Even if the driver was doing slow fill of 20 gallons a minute. A 1-1/4" vent pipe 10 foot long, would only take 3 seconds. The average whistle is 6", so it would only take .15 of a second for the oil to travel from the bottom of the whistle to the vent opening, at 20 gallons a minute.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:04 PM   #11
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Then he could get sprayed with oil and injured and you would be liable.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:13 PM   #12
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Then he could get sprayed with oil and injured and you would be liable.

Plus clean up cost. Plus either having an oil tank installed inside the house, plus decommissioning the current under ground tank. Or switching to a different heat source.

Since hey would refuse to ever put oil in it again. And so would any other oil company once they smelled and saw the after math.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:40 PM   #13
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Yeah, I saw a dis ole house hr show where the old tank leaked. Had to remove all the dirt and decontaminate and get tests done while the EPA hovered. NOT a experience anyone wants to go thru.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:42 AM   #14
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Way back in the day (30+ years ago) I worked for an oil co too. Never did fuel oil, only gas and motor oil. I do recall one fuel customer though who had a whistle on their vent pipe. It was about 6" below the top of the fill (it did not work too well though). The driver had to be quick on the switch with that one. No way to stick the tank either as it was inside the basement. Customer actually had a steel drip pan made up to put under the fill pipe in case any oil spilled. the whole thing worked "pretty" good until...

the cust. was on automatic delivery. Contract stated that the tank was to be topped off at the end of each Sept and regular deliveries each month during the winter based on prior years usage. Driver showed up to the house and noted that the pan was under the fill pipe. He inserted the nozzle and based on his experience at this house figured the tank would take about 400 gallons (500 gallon tank). Around 395 he realizes that the whistle was not working so he shuts off the flow (the whistle never really worked too well in this one due to the number of bends). Figuring the tank was close enough to being filled he hangs the ticket on the door and leaves. About a week later we get a frantic call from the cust. It seems they had been out of town for two weeks and just got home to a basement full of oil. Appearantly, they had switched over to gas that summer and never told us about it. The computer (Don) printed up the ticket for delivery based on the contract and sent the driver. It seems that when they pulled the furnace they also had the tank removed. However, they left the piping in the wall and never marked it as out of service. That one went thru the courts for quite while.
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Old 08-29-2015, 11:21 AM   #15
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an update


Just in case anyone is following my story....I spoke with Frank Scully of Scully Signal Company, a leader in fuel delivery equipment, tank monitoring and overfill protection.
Mr Scully called me and we spoke at length about my situation. What a gentleman.
Scully does make a device that could be placed into my fill port #2 and would whistle and probably work in my situation. But I would lose my ability to dip the tank. It also looks too tall and would stick out above the porch.
Mr. Scully stated that if it were his house he would most likely dig out to the top of the tank and put in a proper whistle. A whistle that goes into the top of the take will not work if just placed in the top of the existing vent pipe.
So now my plan is to remove part of the porch decking (I built the darn thing anyway) and dig out the tank and do it properly.

Yesterday I got an oil delivery. A 22 year old kid made the delivery and didn't bat an eye at my situation of no whistle. What a great guy he was! Happy go lucky and I could tell a hard worker and a hustler. Qualities that seem lost on todays youth. But anyway...He used a fill stick with a whistle in port #2. At first it didn't work. Then he took the vent cap off and turned it over to seal the vent pipe, I pushed down on the cap to give it a good seal. Then the whistle stick worked...it was low but it worked well enough to fill me up and give me 373 gallons.

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