OIL TANK WATER REMOVAL - CONTENTS: How to get water out of a buried oil tank, How to get water out of an above ground oil storage tank, How to get water and sludge out of heating oil piping and fittings, How to remove water from an oil storage tank: water absorbing pads, Pumping out water from an oil tank, how, when, where
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Oil tank water contamination:
This article explains how we remove un-wanted water contamination from oil storage tanks in order to avoid oil tank corrosion, leaks, or loss of heat.
This heating oil storage tank article series provides detailed information about underground (buried) oil storage tanks (USTs),
aboveground oil storage tanks (ASTs), above ground fuel storage tanks, reporting and cleaning up oil tank leaks, and choosing among oil tank leak testing methods.
Dispersant / Bactericide Oil Tank Additives: small amounts of water contamination in an oil tank
can be absorbed by alcohol products and moved through the heating system
by adding "4 in one hot" or similar additives available from HVAC suppliers or through your oil company. See details about heating oil additives and chemicals at Additives for Outdoor Oil Tanks.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Small amounts of water contamination in an oil tank can be removed from the oil tank using products like
the H2O Water Worm from H2O Control Products, Inc.
Quoting from the company's product literature:
The H2OWater Worm is a 36" x 1.5" cloth tube containing a small amount of our water absorbing desiccant.
You simply drop the Water Worm into the tank via any convenient opening, being sure to hold onto the attached 7' string. Secure the string outside of the tank. After settling to the bottom of the tank, the Water Worm will absorb any water that collects or has collected in the tank.
To check or remove the sock, simply use the attached string to pull the Water Worm out. If it is full and firm, it's spent; if not, put the Water Worm back in to collect more water. [Photo courtesy of H2O Control Products Inc.]
Pump Out Large amounts of water in an oil tank such as several inches or more in the tank bottom
(water will stay at the bottom of the tank as water and oil don't mix), have to be pumped out by your oil company.
They will leave the heating oil behind and intact. Simply call your oil delivery company or heating service company to arrange for them to check and pump water out of the tank. It's a straight-forward procedure that most oil companies know quite well.
Clean oil supply and return piping that may have become soiled with sludge or water accumulating by using the CO2 cartridge oil line "blow-out" tool that is carried by oil heat service technicians. Alternatively it may be possible to clean the oil line by disconnecting it at both ends (you'll have to have the proper fitting on hand to plug the oil storage tank to avoid leakage), then blowing out the oil line with compressed air.
Watch out: don't try blowing compressed air through oil piping that is connected to your oil tank. Blowing compressed air directly into your oil storage tank risks that you over pressurize the tank, causing it to leak - a catastrophe.
Clean the oil filter canister of water, sludge, rust, muck as part of normal heating oil service or when you are removing water from the oil storage tank.
Test the oil burner fuel unit (fuel pump assembly) to be sure that the fuel unit has not been damaged by water. This is a good time to replace the screen found inside the fuel unit too.
Aboveground Oil Storage Tank Water Contamination Articles
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my oil company delivered sub-standard heating oil
(Feb 11, 2015) dirty heating oil said:
It's my belief that my oil company delivered sub-standard heating oil. The tank was installed new about 12 years ago and filters changed at regualr intervals. We've had no problems or reasons for concern until the last fuel delivery. Now we have solids in the fuel as well as water.
The solids appear to be rust like particles and have completely clogged the fuel piping. I spent several hours last evening working on the burner and associated piping to get my heat back on. I had a dirty oil filter, clogged piping and the pump screen needed to be changed as well as the nozzle. Does my oil company have any obligation to deliver me clean, burnable fuel and how do I approach them about it? How do I go about cleaning out the tank with 250 gallons of oil in it?
I can't know what was delivered to you of course - you'd need to have an oil sample properly collected and analyzed. But there have been occasional reports of oil companies delivering mixes of fuels other than what the consumer thought s/.he was buying and paying for.
Question: I don't think the product is anything other than dirty oil.
(Feb 11, 2015) Randy said:
Thanks Dan, I don't think the product is anything other than dirty oil. It almsot appears that the oil was from the bottom of their tank or another tank that they removed oil from.
Other factors that can make oil tank sludge suddenly appear in the oil lines or at the oil filter and burner include receiving an oil delivery when the tank is nearly empty and while the oil burner is running. The delivery of oil stirs up sludge at the tank bottom. If the burner is running that dirty oil is then drawn out of the tank. Some oil heating delivery companies have advised that when filling a nearly-empty tank it'd be smart to leave the burner turned off for an hour or few: something folks may not enjoy during freezing weather.
Elsewhere in this article series I suggested getting past this problem by using a large capacity or double pair of oil filters at the burner, possibly combined with an oil tank additive that will with use over time help break up sludge. See OIL TANK TREATMENTS in More Reading above.
But if an oil tank is old and has accumulated a lot of sludge the best approach is to have it cleaned or replaced.
Question: my guage cap has fallen off and a small amount of water may have got in the tank
x (Mar 27, 2015) WAYNE said:
i noticed my guage cap has fallen off and a small amount of water may have got in the tank is there any harm in a small amount and is there any additives that will help like there ids for gas email@example.com looking forward to a reply
above at More Reading see OIL TANK TREATMENTS for an additive that can remove small amounts of water from the tank.
If needed your oil company can actually measure the water level and if there is a significant amount it can be pumped out.
Small amounts of water in the bottom of the oil tank should not be picked up by the heating system except if it is run right after the water is mixed in with the oil by the agitation caused during an oil delivery.
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"Preventing Water from Entering the [oil heating] Fuel System", Technical Information Bulletin, 10/15/1990, R.W. Beckett Corporation, 38251 Center Ridge Road, PO Box 1289, Elyria OH 44036, Tel: 440-327-1060, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
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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
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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