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Long term storage of heating oil?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by ailanthus, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    At the rate I'm going, I have a tankful of heating oil that could easily last 3-5 years (or more?)

    How long can I expect it to use it and not gum up the furnace?
    Are there additives that can help keep it in a usable state for a longer time?

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  2. woodchip

    woodchip Minister of Fire

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    I don't think heating oil is like 2 stroke, where oil mixed with gasoline seems to go off after a few months.

    Sits in the ground for millions of years, I see no reason why it should suddenly go bad in a storage tank.


    Might find some stuff settles at the bottom after a while, but that's unlikely to get past the fuel filter anyway.

    I'll be interested in what others think, must be quite a few oil tanks not being emptied these days......;)
  3. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Everyone, have your tank inspected whether your using the oil or not. Friends of mine are going through financial hell because a tank leaked 250 gal. into their basement and seeped into the creek while they were away. They are are in line to pay more in fines than BP, and have an unsaleable home.

    Ehouse
    woodchip likes this.
  4. WES999

    WES999 Minister of Fire

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  5. charly

    charly Guest

    Right before the oil guy came to top off my tank I poured a couple of cans of SeaFoam into my tank along with some Amsoil diesel fuel additive. Then by the tank being filled everything is mixed well.. Additives will keep the nozzle in the furnace clean as well as lubricating the pump and keep bacteria from growing.
  6. MaintenanceMan

    MaintenanceMan Burning Hunk

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    Condensation is a real problem with metal tanks. Plus fuel oil won't last forever. I have moved tanks that hadn't been used in years. The oil inside was worthless.
    woodchip likes this.
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I believe an algae can grow in oil left too long.

    Matt
  8. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    An oil furnace isn't super fussy on the oil it runs. I wouldn't worry much about it. If it can flow through the filter, the furnace will burn it.

    My folks burn maybe 50 gallons a year and it's never been an issue. They put a new tank in last year, the 40+ year old tank was still fine though. Not to mention built much more heavy duty. The new one is nearly beer can thin.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Correct, that's also a problem on diesel powered boats that sit for awhile.
  10. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    Yep there are additives, in fact the better fuels will already have stabilizers in it when you buy it, but to be sure you could add some more. Should have no problem lasting 3 years, but it would probably be good to regularly run your furnace just to keep the lines and furnace pump from fouling up. Oh and it should go without saying, make sure you have a filter on the tank.
  11. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks for the great info everyone! I think I'll do the additives, change the filter regularly, have a few nozzles on hand and try to make it last.

    Might be a dumb question, but can someone inspect their own tank somehow?
  12. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Of course you can, but do you know what you're looking for? My reply to your post is a general heads up to everyone who has a fuel storage tank on their property. In the instance I'm talking about, the tank was empty for a stretch, and was inspected 2 weeks prior to a fill up. The owner of the fuel co. came out and looked it over after the spill. Nothing wrong with the tank he said, and yet 250 gal. of fuel oil ended up in the basement and beyond. It's tempting to hedge one's bets and keep the old tanks and some oil just in case, but the repercussions of a spill can ruin you.

    Ehouse
  13. Lumber-Jack

    Lumber-Jack Minister of Fire

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    As long as there is a filter on the tank, and the furnace is working, there shouldn't be any reason to change it. It's only if and when the furnace stops working that you (might) have a reason to suspect the filter might be clogged. If it is clogged it would probably be because the tank is very rusty, which would mean it's time to replace it.
    I replaced a tank for a lady last year, the old tank was fine, but her insurance company, who she had been dealing with for years, started asking her questions about the tank when she went to renew her insurance. They asked her how old it was. She wasn't sure but calculated it was at least 25 years old. The insurance company said they had new standards in tank construction in the last 25 years and that they wouldn't insure her house if she didn't replace it. As I said, the old tank was fine, and as it turns out the only significant difference between the old tank and the newer tank was the newer tank had a slightly thicker steel walls, that's it.

    As far as inspecting it to see if it's leaking, just look around the tank for leaks and follow the line all the way to the furnace looking for any leaks. That's about all you, or anybody, could do.
  14. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    I would be interested to see how the fight between the homeowners insurance, the fuel oil co insurance and the DEC went.
  15. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    Oh, It'll be a doozy! The fuel load was called for by prospective buyers of the house who were allowed to live there till closing.
  16. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I bought some old oil stored 10yrs or more. I didnt have a problem with it.
  17. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    i have the biocide in mine and have added some power service - clear diesel (to mitigate water issues) .

    my concern is since the tank hasnt been full for 5 years so far, and probably wont be full for another 5 or so, What happens if it there is a problem with the tank and you dont find out until its getting filled. 250 gal is just shy of 2000lbs of fuel... thats a huge load. I will be nervous whenever the tank is filled... hope to never have more than 100 gallons in it though, not top it off. That will be a somewhat nervous day.
  18. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Lot's of folks have buried fuel tanks as well. Even harder to inspect those.
  19. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    These fuel tanks are a real sleeper, Store fronts with old buried tanks, homes for sale with unused tanks in the basement, don't want to be chicken little,
    but I've been seeing it happen. What happens with condensation in an empty tank that sits for a while?

    Ehouse
  20. ozzie88

    ozzie88 Member

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    I bought my house 4 year ago had tank and boiler inspected buy oil company said all was ok,I moved in first night smelled fuel,looked at tank had 3 littie pin holes dripping and no hot water for shower, so sued them got new tank and boiler, What I am saying even companys miss things,look good yourself your house!

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