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How often do you exercise your back up?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by hiker88, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    Well, file this under "problems to have" I guess.

    With my schedule, storage capacity etc. my oil furnace hasn't had to come on since about September. I've turned it on a couple times after I made some tweaks to the system and had to get some air out, but that's about it. I leave it on, and the controller is in "auto backup', but storage has never been cold enough for it to fire.

    The aquastat on the backup (tankless coil oil furnace) stays at about 67-70f. There have been no leaks or anything.

    So, what's the consensus on running it and how often?

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  2. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I think the Wod Gun owner manual says to run the oil burner as part of the regular cleaning procedure. I run mine when I remember to...probably once monthly for about a minute or so. I can't bring myself to run it for any longer period of time :)
  3. I run mine once a week or so. Just long enough to let it get up to temp. Don't know if I need to or if thats often enough. But it 'feels' right.
  4. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    It varies for me. Once every two months? Hard to say. But i do run it a bit in the fall season. I need it to work, if the wood goes down. Also I do use it when I get behind.......like tonight. The tank was on the low end of good heat, it's below zero, mild winds, house is going to get cold. Got home, started a fire, fired up oil system. Let the oil run about an hour. Roll some good quick heat thru the baseboards, took the chill off.
  5. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I haven't hooked mine up yet. Been running since November with NO backup.

    ac
  6. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    I thought I would revive this thread today to see if there are any more thoughts.

    I have two questions:
    1) will my oil go bad?
    I had 65 gallons of oil delivered 6/27/2012 to use up the last of my payment plan with the oil company. Right now the oil tank is halfway between 1/4 and 1/2 and it is a 275 gallon tank
    2) do I need to worry about the tank rusting out since it is not full?

    I plan on making dhw all summer with the Froling. I'll have withdrawals if I don't get to have a fire at least every couple days or so.
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Where is your tank? If its in a dry basement I wouldn't worry a whole lot about rust. Mine was in my basement for 18 years, when I pumped the oil out it was clean as a whistle.

    Ours always got used very regularly (way too regularly) for summer DHW - I think if I was in an infrequent or seldom used situation, I might add some diesel conditioner to the tank, especially if I had an outside tank. But it should last quite a long while in a heated dry basement.
  8. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Mine hasn't had over 10 inches of oil in it for 5 years and I don't see any oil on the floor as of yet. I don't want my oil to go bad so I just pour 5 or 10 gallons at a time of "off road" diesel in it periodically to satisfy my DHW needs in the summer or in case the wood boiler goes off line.
  9. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    I am fortunate to have a very dry basement and the oil tank is inside. It's up on legs of course. Humidity levels are about 30%. I have a dehumidifier set at 35% and it only comes on when we get a humid spell which does happen occasionally here in Maine.

    I kind of feel like I'm in a catch 22 you know? The oil company only wants to deliver 100 gallons at a time which is way to much for me now.

    I'm not too knowledgeable about additives or diesel.

    I called the oil company about it, and apparently if I don't get it filled every couple or days or so, the world is going to end.
  10. VT_Bubba

    VT_Bubba Member

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    I'm very interested in this thread. I'm not an expert in this field, but will share my personal experience and opinion(s) :

    1) I have Qty=3 275gal Oil Tanks in my basement. I use about 20gals/yr for my Oil Heating Back-up and the occasional DHW in the summer months when my pellet boiler is offline and my solar DHW can't keep-up (2 or more Cloudy Days).
    2) I use about 40-60gal/yr from these tanks in my Kubota tractor.
    3) My 3 tanks are currently about 1/2 full and I have NOT put any oil in those tanks for over 3yrs. I have had no problems with my oil boiler or tractor, and see no signs of rust in my 20yr old tanks.
    4) I also have some friends in the Fuel Oil Business, one tells me 10yrs no-worries, the other tells me to add fuel additive on every fill-up. I have never used any additives, but may on the next fill-up.
    5) I once unload a #2 Oil Tank at my fathers house, which had 10yr old fuel in it, which was all used in a tractor without any problems.

    My personal conclusion is, if the oil tank(s) are kept dry and inside with relatively stable temperatures, then #2 Fuel Oil tankf-life is largely a non-issue.

    If somebody has some real data to show otherwise, please share your knowledge and reshape my head.

    VT_Bubba
  11. AroostookDave

    AroostookDave Member

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    I use my gasser all year round with an oil furnace backup. Since over the last two years I have used very little oil, I did some research. Feul oil is not like gas...it does not go bad. If you have an inside tank on cement floor, I wouldn't worry about it. Change the oil filter every few years. Like a generator, it is probably important to run the oil furnace occasionally for a while.
  12. Paver56

    Paver56 Member

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    One thing I would be concerned about with heating oil is if your supplier uses bio heating oil. They started using it in my area. If it is anything like biodiesel, it will go bad. One of my dumptrucks sat for a while and the biodiesel actually grew algae and clogged the fuel filter. Does anyone have any experience, good or bad with bio heating oil?
  13. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    The invoice just shows #2 heating oil, so I shouldn't have to be concerned I would hope?
  14. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't count on that. We have had our diesel fired construction heaters plug up solid when bio diesel has been part of the mix. It's gonna depend on regs where you are, do they have to disclose the presence of bio additives in diesel? Or what % biodiesel may have been added? Up here no, just a sticker on the pump that says may contain up to X %. Now we just drain everything when the season is over. Saves the headache.
  15. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    That's bad information. There is bacteria that grows od regular fuel oil and diesel. Let it set long enough and you will see a fine black material in the oil that is fine enough to go through your filter but still will not stay in suspension. Those are the dead bodies of the bug that's growing in there. I have had this problem twice. It was impossible to filter it out. I tried to save some fuel by letting the stuff settle out and just pump off the top of the tank and dispose of the stuff on the bottom.

    The fuel burned in the gun burner but I detected a lower efficiency.
  16. VT_Bubba

    VT_Bubba Member

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    Fred61,

    In the two cases that you had problems, How old was the Fuel and how was it stored ? I can accept that there is a reasonable tank-life on #2 Oil, but is it 6Months, 1yr, 5yr, 10yr, etc... ? Thanks for sharing your experience !

    VT_Bubba
  17. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I don't really have a number but I'm going to guess four plus years is when I noticed the invasion. The fuel was right in my 275 gallon tank in the basement.
  18. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    How did you see the black material in the oil if it was inside your tank? And you said it burned with no problem so what problem did you have twice?
  19. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    This is exactly why most backup generators (with little expected use) are propane. Large high wattage are diesel and end up useing (or wasteing depending on how you look at it) most of the diesel during their 20min/week excersise routine. LPG has pretty much an indefinite shelf life, due to it being in a sealed enviroment. I've heard it said that gasoline does too if it's in a metal sealed container ie. 55gal drums and 100% airtight. Don't know if there is truth in this or not.

    TS
  20. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    If the oil company makes me buy 100 gall minimum delivery...
    Let's say we say 4 years tank life, so 25 gallons\year I need to burn to be safe.
    nozzle is rated at .75 gallons an hour or 33 hours to burn 25 gallons
    33 hours divided by 52 weeks =.63 of an hour each week so call it 30 mins exercise\week
    Change the filter twice a year to be safe, look into an additive maybe and call it good?
  21. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    Biodiesel and waste vegetable oil are prone to algae, especially in a steel container. Most vegetable burning vehicle systems use aluminum tanks to avoid the issue. Diesel fuel will grow algae also when in a steel container and stagnant, but there are additives to prevent algae.
  22. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    The first time I noticed it was when I was pumping out the last 60 to 75 gallons in order to change out my horizontal (and old) tank for a new vertical one. The second time was while bleeding the pump into a Cool Whip container after cleaning, replacing nozzle and re-adjusting the electrodes.
  23. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    Just as little as I can...been several weeks now
  24. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    My garage and domestic hot water is heated off the boiler so it runs I'd guess at least once or twice a day. Use 30-40$ of natural gas a month.

    As far as fuel oil, I wouldn't worry much about it until it's 10-15+ years old, and honestly in an oil burner, they are pretty crude pumps anyhow... it's not like it's a 30,000psi injection system on a diesel engine. As long as it doesn't clog the filter it will burn it.

    One of my friends used an oil burner fed with waste engine oil. It did ash up the nozzle and eye a bit so had to clean it up every week or two, but fuel oil, even old stuff, is gonna be much cleaner than that!


    The bacteria lives off the water that is in the fuel. Keep the fuel dry, it will stay clean.

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