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Old 12-17-2009, 06:54 AM   #1
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Humming Oil Tank


Hey guys,

I just moved into a new house, which is heated with Oil. Every time the heater runs, I hear this weird humming sound. It's very evident in the living room (which is directly above the oil tank).

Also, when i'm in the basement and get next to the tank its at it's loudest. It's weird because I thought the problem might be the whistle that the Oil companies have on the air vent pipe, but outside it's not as loud as next to the tank in the basement.

Any ideas?
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Old 12-17-2009, 07:14 AM   #2
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Humming Oil Tank


Press on the tank here and there. Maybe one of the surfaces of the tank is resonating with the sound of the oil burner.

This is apt to change as the level of oil in the tank goes down. I would think that gluing a piece of wood (section of 2x4) to the vibrating panel will change the resonant frequency and cure the problem.

If the lead in pipe from the tank to the furnace is in mid-air that could be transmitting vibration to the tank. Cover it with tightly fitting foam or even wrap duct tape around it to damp out the vibration. Modern codes require that the pipe be buried for that short distance. Check water pipes up above for vibration (transmitted to the floor joists) too.

Or maybe just the dimensions of the basement in the vicinity of the furnace amplify the furnace noise. Hanging some curtains (no window required) should help here.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 12-17-2009 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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Humming Oil Tank


I don't live in an area which uses fuel oil for heating, we have our own problems, but have heard of this problem. When you are stating "when the heater runs" are you talking about an actual fuel oil fired heater or a boiler unit? The story I have knowledge of was a boiler unit with the fuel oil tank under the home. The boiler had a pump at/near the boiler which pulled fuel oil from the tank, then pumped through a filter and into the boiler. The piping from the tank to pump was 1/2" copper tubing, all the way to the tank. The copper tubing was hard connected at the tank fitting, which was on top. The running pump was causing a vibration to be carried via the copper tubing to the tank which was acting as a big bass drum, so to speak. "AlanJ" is right about the tank level also. As the level in the tank changed, very slowly, the tone of the vibration changed. The solution was to secure the copper tubing near the boiler unit, add a flex hose between the copper tubing and pump (they had to consider a hose which would not collapse) and secure the pump unit itself. This essentially created a "vibration damper", and reduced the vibration to something so minimal it was no longer noticeable. Just a thought on your problem, David
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