Oil tank cleaning

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  • Oil tank cleaning
  • Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    Anyone with a domestic oil tank ever had it cleaned? If so, what’s involved and what did it cost?

    We’ve had a problem with lock outs on our boiler. The engineer says that we’ve got water in the tank, probably just from years of condensation, and that it needs to be pumped out and cleaned. Says it might be expensive 🙁

    Thanks

    paton
    Member

    How old is the tank?

    Is it an old steel one?

    Probably much less hassle to get a new tank.

    Rules & Regulations for Oil Storage Tanks

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    It’s a single skin plastic tank and about 15 years old.

    Premier Icon fettlin
    Subscriber

    depending on how much water (and how much oil) i would try something like THIS, soak up any water left in the tank then you may need to purge the feed pipe (and re-bleed as necessary).

    trail_rat
    Member

    know anyone with a kerosene space heater ?

    disposing of the oily/water mix is the bulk of the cost of cleaning.

    kero heaters much more tollerant of watery fuel

    mine went in a mates kero space heater went when i drained it for similar reasons.

    Just pumped into 25l drums – let it settle and poured away. Remainder of mostly water went straight to the oil point at the dump.

    Premier Icon rt60
    Subscriber

    Where about in the country are you?

    15 years from a Single skin plastic is good going, keep an eye out for cracks.

    You can tie plastic pipe to a stick so it will go all the way to the bottom then siphon out the water from the bottom. That will receive the water but sludge is a proper pump out job

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Just drop a match in and the water will evaporate off?

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Subscriber

    If there’s water in the tank, you should be able to see it when you look inside (may need to shine a torch into the oil). It gathers in pools at the bottom of the tank. The outlets on plastic tanks are usually raised from the bottom of the tank, so it would take quite a lot of water before it started coming through the tank outlet.

    Do you have an in-line filter fitted? If so, water should accumulate in that first. Ones with clear bowls make it easy to check for water, otherwise you can (usually) open the drain screw and see how much, if any water comes out. In line filters are <£10 if you haven’t already got one, or fit a dedicated water trap for a few £s more (as @paton posted above).

    If there isn’t any water in the filter, then it probably isn’t what’s causing problems with the boiler…

    If you have a small amount of water in the tank, there are water dispersant additives that you can use to get rid of it – e.g:

    https://www.comstarproducts.com/water-absorber-tm-water-dispersant-for-fuel-oil-1-pint-68

    (I haven’t used them on heating oil, but have used something similar to clean up a diesel tank in a boat).

    If there is a significant amount of water in the tank, you might be able to remove much of it with a vacuum extractor and a long pipe to reach through the oil to the water (and then treat the remainder with a dispersant), or, I believe there are water absorbent ‘pigs’ that can be used.

    We’ve had a problem with lock outs on our boiler.

    We had random lock-outs on our oil boiler (a Riello burner). It always fired up again first time when reset. Water or dirt in the oil was suspected, but when the pipe supplying the burner was disconnected (gravity feed) the oil flowed freely and what was drawn off was clean and water free. It turned out to be the motor run capacitor that had degraded, resulting in the burner failing to start every once in a while. What should have been a 4.5uF capacitor measured at 2.7uF. Replacing the capacitor (about £20) cured the problem completely. It turns out that this is quite a common problem, so I would hope that your engineer has considered this.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    So how often should a single skinned plastic tank be changed?

    trail_rat
    Member

    guideline life span is 20-25 years.

    Im changing mine this year coming as we have building work going on and need to move both boiler and tank – seems silly not to swap it while the systems drained down and i know its at least 10 years old in my time being here – and going by the boiler i had removed back then …it probably wasnt new then.

    Premier Icon richmars
    Subscriber

    Thanks, mine must be about 20 years, so I should start planning. There a good layer of crap at the bottom, but still seems to run ok.

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Subscriber

    If you have a small amount of water in the tank, there are water dispersant additives that you can use to get rid of it – e.g:

    https://www.comstarproducts.com/water-absorber-tm-water-dispersant-for-fuel-oil-1-pint-68

    Doh! Hadn’t spotted that was a US supplier (in my desire to avoid linking to Boiler Juice’s promoted product)

    Try ‘Fuel Set’ (they confirmed on the phone to me that it was OK for use in kerosene).

    Fuel Set

    Interesting test of the efficacy of these things (in diesel, but kerosene should be similar). They are not all the same…

    12 diesel bug treatments tested

    sharkbait
    Member

    Biggest problem for plastic tanks is exposure to sunlight – this degrades that plastic which becomes brittle and can split – usually when you’ve just had a delivery as the tank is under more pressure.

    Premier Icon grizedaleforest
    Subscriber

    Biggest problem for plastic tanks is exposure to sunlight

    I’m in Dentdale – western Yorkshire Dales – so sunlight not the biggest issue 🙂 Thanks for all the info above – lots of stuff I didn’t know about.

    stumpy_m4
    Member

    Interesting reading , as we’ve just bought a house in yorkshire with an oil tank etc , first for us so happy to read this advise 🙂
    Our tanks from 2006 when the house was built so should be ok for a few more years

    The most common age range I see on plastic single skinned ASTs is between 12 and 16 to.

    The consequences of a failed tank and fuel spill can be horrendous.

    At 15 yo, I’d spend some time inspecting the tank. Look for cracks that go deeper than the surface, bleached looking areas and parting mould lines. The main isolation valve and filter bowls can often be pretty tired after 15 years too.

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