Is Old Heating Oil Useable? What do we do with old, unused home heating oil?
HEATING OIL OLD, USEABLE? - CONTENTS : Is Old Heating Oil Useable? What do we do with old, unused home heating oil? How old heating oil is removed from abandoned oil tanks. How to use up the heating oil in an oil tank before abandoning or removing it.
If your property has a quantity of unused heating oil and you do not plan to make use of it, the oil should be removed from the storage tank and the tank should be properly abandoned. There may be a charge to disposed of the heating oil.
See OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE.
If the heating oil stored in the tank that is to be emptied or abandoned is not old, and if you are installing a new oil storage tank, ask your heating oil company about pumping the oil out of the old tank and into the new oil tank for you.
In this case you can minimize the pumping trouble and cost by using up as much of the heating oil in the old tank as you can before changing to the new oil storage tank.
See OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE.
If you want to make use of old heating oil from an old oil storage tank, depending on its age and storage conditions that may be acceptable, but you may need to remove water or other contaminants that may be present.
See HEATING OIL SHELF LIFE and
The UFPBC also requires that underground petroleum tanks to
be closed in-place shall be made safe by removing flammable or combustible
liquids from the tank and connecting lines; disconnecting the suction inlet, gauge
and vent lines; and capping the remaining piping.
All storage tanks removed
from their location must also have flammable or combustible liquids removed,
have the same lines disconnected; have sections of connecting lines not to be
used further removed, and have inlets, outlets, and any leaks capped or plugged.
The basic procedures for meeting these requirements are defined in the State
and federal regulatory programs.
In addition to requiring the same basic procedures as the
State regulations, the federal UST regulations require that a site assessment
be performed by the owner/operator when a tank is closed. (Heating oil tanks,
and farm and residential tanks storing less than 1,100 gallons of motor fuel
are exempt from these regulations.)
For a detailed description of the steps required for proper
tank abandonment or for more information on site assessments and permanent tank
closure, contact your state department of environmental conservation. In
New York inspectors can contact
the author or the Bulk-Storage help-line 800-242-3451.
How to Use Up Heating Oil Before Removing or Replacing an Oil Tank
Oil to Gas Heat Conversion Advice - using up heating oil fuel
If you are going to convert to gas or another heating source but you first want to use up the heating oil in your oil storage tank, and provided that your oil fired heating equipment (oil fired boiler, furnace, or water heater) is good operating condition, you can choose to simply let the old, to-be-abandoned oil fired equipment keep running until you run out of oil ... almost. There are a few problems to watch out for:
If your oil tank piping lines come off of the top of the oil tank and are properly installed the lines won't pick up the sludge, water, and last few inches of oil in the tank, so you'll probably be fine just running your oil fired equipment until you run out of oil.
If your oil tank piping lines come off of the bottom of the oil tank and you run it out there is the risk of pulling sludge and crud into the oil filter, oil burner, and losing heat if those components clog. If the oil burner shuts off in that manner, it'll indeed be shut off firmly until it's repaired, so don't try this if you're still depending on the oil heat to keep working (say to avoid freezing).
Your gas heat or other new source of heating should be hooked up and ready to run. Thus you can run the oil heat until it runs out or fails on clogging without risking leaving the building with no heat source - risking frozen pipes, water damage, mold contamination, etc.
The heating service technicians will not want to remove old oil-fired heating equipment until it is completely cold. That's because they don't want to deal with hot water, burns, etc.
The old oil tank may still need to be pumped out if there's oil remaining in it - lest you get a messy leak and spill later.
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Questions & answers or comments about using old home heating oil or fuel oil that has been stored for some time..
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ABOVE GROUND OIL TANK (AST) GUIDE - "Visual Inspection of Above Ground Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks - ASTs" provides photos of common and easily seen tank leaks and defects, and
a description of some easy visual checks of the condition of a visible oil tank, things that you can do yourself
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
"How do you choose the right tank testing method?", Cynthia Johnson, Fuel Oil & Oil Heat Magazine, November 1995
National Association of Oil Heat Service Managers, PO Box 380, Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
"Homeowners Guide to Fuel Storage," Agway Energy Products, Verbank, NY, November 1990
Web Link Exchange: Contact Us to list your website or contact information for oil tank testing, tank corrosion research, oil industry experts
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