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Oil Fuel meter to "police" home heating oil delivery

Post in 'The Green Room' started by antioil, Dec 1, 2009.

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  1. antioil

    antioil Member

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    It's possible for "less than honest" home oil delivery companies to increase the actual delivery of oil by 10 to 20% and fly under the radar so to speak.
    I am asking if anyone has installed an interior oil fuel meter to use to compare the gallons of oil actually delivered. It would be used on a standard 225 residential home heating oil tank and would be capable of being re-set after each delivery. Any thoughts would be welcomed...Thanks

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  2. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    If you know the dimensions of the tank and when they are coming, a stick before and after is an inexpensive way to keep them honest.
  3. antioil

    antioil Member

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    I'm aware of the different methods by way of a measuring stick etc. However I really am looking for a flow meter similar a water meter that attaches to a garden hose but for home fuel oil to attach to the intake pipe so that there can be no doubt as to the exact measurement.
    Thanks for replying
  4. treehackers

    treehackers Member

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    Ok - how about the other side of the question. Is it possible to put a locking cap on the oil fill pipe? I swear I had a fillup and the gauge was right on full. I burn wood and pellets so oil right now is for DHW. 2 days later the tank was at 7/8!

    Does oil settle? :) - kidding

    Always wondered what could prevent someone from stealing - or prevent the delivery man from an unauthorized oil fill.
  5. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    They aren't as cheap as a stick, but such a thing does exist. Though I believe you'd need a tight seal between the filling nozzle and this meter (ie - it won't work under gravity)

    National Tool Warehouse Meter

    Attached Files:

  6. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    Those meters won't repeat. A tank chart made by the tank manufacturer and a stick are the best ways to tell how much was delivered.Electronic tank gauging is available and will spit out a print out upon delivery but very expensive. Veeder Root or Incon are 2 manufacturers that I service on a regular basis.Never seen one in a 275 though
  7. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    check out www.oiltanklock.com

    mike
  8. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    The float in the tank is very unreliable. I've got a hour meter on my burner and can tell there's at least 100 gallons left in the oil tank but the gauge tells me 1/4 left. I wouldn't mind the stick method, but the open bung on my tank is TIGHT! I don't think it's comming off.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Not to pick a fight over this, as I don't have any evidence either way, but I'm wondering if you have anything to show this is actually happening? It's my understanding that oil delivery trucks have to get regular calibration checks from the Weights & Measures types, and have the appropriate seals applied to the meters - which then print out the before and after gallon count...

    Obviously anybody can beat such a system if they try hard enough, but I'd think it wouldn't be worth the risks for most operators...

    Gooserider
  10. antioil

    antioil Member

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    When I switched to COD instead of "automatic" delivery I began to experience a significant decrease in "use". I have kept a record the past 2 years and was able to get the previous 2 years before that plus this year for 5 years. My former company was sold and there are discrepancies ( I'm not making any accusations) during the 2 years before the company was sold. Especially over the summers.

    When I began to ask questions it was mentioned that this goes on more than people know.

    Let me ask you if you know...Are delivery trucks inspected by the state, by the municipality where they have their business, or in each municipality they deliver oil?
    I don't believe it's the state and if you delivery in an adjacent city or town where you are situated you then can have a "funky" meter and that city or town doesn't bother to check because your not a "resident company".

    I'm "researching" as I believe this goes on more than folks want to admit and if it turns out that it does then legislation needs to be adopted to close this "opportunity" to exploit by less than honest companies. My advice to everyone now is to go COD and keep track as best they can.

    I think storage tank manufacturers should be required to provide accurate measuring devices. Those devices can be massed produced and add a minimal cost to the production of the tank. It may be a selling point for tank companies to add one now or as an option...I'm going to copyright that last idea @ copyright @ 2009
  11. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    That is a good point - the meters themselves are usually calibrated/certified, temperature corrected and fairly accurate. If the end user actually gets the original printed receipt all should be good. Though nothing indicates all the oil pumped through the meter actually went into the customers tank, or if he gets a hand written 'ticket' there wouldn't be anything keeping someone from seeing '100 gallons' on the meter and writing '120 gallons' on the ticket, etc.

    RE: accuracy of the Fill-Rite - obviously for $140 bucks, this isn't a calibrated / lab grade instrument, though you could drop $10K on a certified coriolis force meter and peg your fuel delivery down to +/- 0.10% temperature and density corrected on the fly. The fill rite is quoted at +/- 1%:

    http://store.waterpumpsupply.com/20gpmliqflow.html

    So depending on the size/shape of the tank, you might not get much closer with a stick.
  12. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I don't have any information one way or the other on who calibrates the meters - I would imagine it wouldn't be hard to find out... I know in my town, we have an annual budget item for a "Sealer of Weights & Measures" which is apparently a service that most towns hire (as opposed to having to hire someone for a relatively small job) but I'm not sure just what devices the town is responsible for handling...

    I haven't looked it up, but I think there is a state Weights & Measures dept, probably be easy enough to find and ask what the rules are for oil trucks... I'm not going to pursue the question as I don't have a lot of interest at this point - we run on wood and NG...

    Gooserider
  13. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    In Maine the state does calibrations but there are only a few guys left in that dept so its up to outside contractors. I believe it has to be checked once a year but riding around may not help the calibration especially once frost heave season starts. They also correct to 60 degrees f so you could get some discrepancy there.
  14. CrawfordCentury

    CrawfordCentury New Member

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    I doubt you've experienced theft. Just a hunch based on experience.

    When prices plummeted last fall, I had both tanks filled. I was doing some yardwork in the vicinity of the spout while the delivery was going on and heard the whistle telling the deliveryman the tanks were full. When I went to bleed the line to start up the furnace, both tanks were at 7/8ths. I don't have a mastery of the physics of gas and liquid displacement, but I'm pretty sure there needs to be an adequate supply of air to ensure a proper flow of air.

    If there's an engineer or physicist here who can either explain better or tell me I'm full of hosspuckey, by all means. :)
  15. EKLawton

    EKLawton Member

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    in pa the state tests every year, or upon a complant from an individual. My old neighber delivers oil and you would see him pull in drop 20 gal and leave, hate to be his next customer.
  16. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    I think the most accurate way to measure would be weight. Maybe throw some straps under the tank (as long as its not that old!) and tie it to an overhead scale. Better yet, mount the tank on skids and lift it that way. You'd only have to lift the tank 1/4" to tell the weight, and because you're measuring weight the temperature of the oil wouldn't be an issue because you'd be looking for 7.2 lbs per @ 70 degrees. Of course an accurate scale measuring 1500lbs +/- a pound or two would probably be expensive.

    I think the stick is about the best you can get.
  17. antioil

    antioil Member

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    I've just added and Intellico HW and there is a reading on it of just how long the burner has been firing. I have a .85GPH nozzle and I'll be able to (I think) measure the actual oil usage. I could then just ask, like when you go to the gas station, for a specific amount of gallons of oil be delivered. This however will not work if the driver can turn his meter to add an amount that is more than actually delivered. Maybe requiring tank manufacturers to include a more accurate gauge which is entirely possible.
  18. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    The driver can't add an amount to your bill. Its possible his meter could be off, why not change companies or are all oil companies cheaters?
  19. antioil

    antioil Member

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    company I'm dealing with now seems fine. In fact going COD has made a difference. It was my former company I was suspect of and having auto delivery . But why not be able to know independently? It's not a big expense if there is a flow meter out there or a tank manufacturer that adds a more accurate gauge to the newer tanks. I think inaccurate deliveries are going on all the time and the home owner is paying...if you thought the companies were dealing with a +/- 10% they would find away to know exactly how much they are receiving. The more I think about it the more I think tank manufacturers should be required to have an accurate flow meter attached. my 2 cents...
  20. Wallyworld

    Wallyworld Member

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    If they are required to add flow meters I have to pay for it, I see no need to pay anymore for oil or its related equipment. I don't believe inaccurate deliveries are happening all the time, my belief is meters fail in the customers favor. This has been proven to me by my 30 years in servicing meters in the retail gasoline business.
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