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Shelf Life of Heating Oil

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bcnu, May 29, 2008.

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  1. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Have a 250 gal. oil tank almost full. At $4.40 a gal - today only - I want it to last s long as possible. Considering I probably used 20-30 gallons this heating season I'm wondering if it will still be good in 4-5 years. On the other hand, I may sell it now for my retirement fund. :lol:

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  2. LONDONDERRY

    LONDONDERRY Member

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    One of properties of home heating oil sulfur, over time, this will react with iron properties of the oil tank. Even oil stabilizers will not help

    Frank
  3. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    So, am I good for 2 years? 3 years? 4 years? Or is the clock ticking?
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    bcnu I haven't bought heating oil in 20 years. I have a 175 gal tank in our basement thats' more than half full. Last year twice I siphoned off fuel for my Kubota and it ran fine. Of course I was siphoning off the top half of the tank so I can't tell you what the bottoms like...seems to me fuel will stratify only in the cold. But stagnet in a tank...I dunno it seems to me it would settle out after a few years... but I'm no expert.
  5. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    My parents had an oil burner in their summer home that was only used occasionally in the winter. They used to drain all the plumbing and completely shut down the house in the coldest part of the year. Their oil was still decent after about 10 years with no special treatment. Just get yourself a few spare filter cartridges and nozzles and you'll be OK.

    Chris
  6. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    ^ yeah nozzles are very reasonable and something you can replace yourself. Take your old one out and you'll see a 3 digit metric # on it (Example --->.035) and buy a few extra cause they don't cost diddly. Also there's a fuel conditioner you can add to you tank besides replacing the fuel filter which is always a good idea. You do that and burn wood and your grand kids can go to college on that tank.
  7. Beanscoot

    Beanscoot Member

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    When I bought my house ten years ago the former owner hadn't used the oil furnace in fourteen years, and what little oil was in it seemed to cause no problem. Since then I have used about a tank a year, and try to buy salvaged fuel at that, and add the old crankcase oil from my cars, etc. etc. and haven't had any problems. I got spare filters and took out the old one expecting it to be almost clogged with junk, but behold, it looked excellent after five years.

    The numbers on the nozzles are (US) gallons of oil it will flow per hour at 100 psi, commonly about .75 to 2.00 for domestic oil furnaces, plus the spray pattern and angle. I have a few of these and every year I check the spray pattern from the one in use and if it's bad I swap in a cleaned one, and then clean the old one I took out and insure its spray pattern is then good. Yes I'm thrifty.

    My tank was old when I got it and it's even older now. Remember that despite the scare mongering, leaks start slowly so just keep an eye on your tank and if it ever did start to leak put a drain pan under and then pump it out.
  8. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Thanks for all the info. I'll definitely take some proactive steps. The tank must be the original from 1966 although I can find out, and no leaks. Had no idea about nozzles etc. I called the oil co. just to see about prices and wow - I might even buy some wood just to add to what I have, especially if I have trouble finding it for "free".
  9. BJN644

    BJN644 Feeling the Heat

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    And I've seen 275 gallons of oil spilled in a basement, it ain't pretty and you won't be living in your house for several days due to the smell. The clean up cost will average $10,000.00 or so, assuming it doesn't contaminate your well or your neighbor's.

    I should add that they don't all start leaking slowly, it can happen overnight or when your away for the weekend. They rust from the inside and can fester a fair size hole inside before letting go, sometimes getting a delivery is all it takes to pop.
  10. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    My tank is outside but I hear what u r saying about cleanup costs. I'll give it a good old once over and begin to monitor it more closely. How would u check for problems?
  11. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    With 250 gallons and the associated risk, I recommend using it some each year, maybe 25-35 gallons. This will bring the risk level down each year, as the tank ages, and you'll get use/warmth, not a clean-up mess/expense out of the oil. At that rate you'll use it all up in less than 10 years....seems to be to be a more balanced plan than just letting the oil sit there until the tank leaks...that will happen some day.
  12. BJN644

    BJN644 Feeling the Heat

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    Look for wet spots on the bottom, if it looks damp don't touch it ! that could be all it takes to poke a hole through it as the hole starts to form on the inside. If the filter is mounted on the bottom outlet of the tank find a way to protect it from snow and ice, falling objects, kids, ect. that is the weak link in the system and is easily broken off draining the tank in minutes. Outside tanks should be painted a light color to minimize condensation build up in the tank. Make sure the base for the tank is secure so it is not easily toppled over by frost, kids, falling limbs, ect. If your tank is over 20 years old replacing it could be considered cheap insurance.
  13. Beanscoot

    Beanscoot Member

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    Tank replacement is a tough call. As said, it's hard to determine condition, they can be fine overall and start corroding in a small place. Unfortunately new tanks seem to be much thinner than the old ones, at least in my part of the world. Also the old ones have nice recurved ends which increases strength.

    So should one replace an unknown but well made old tank with a new thin crappy tank?

    At least when wood stacks fall over or rot it's not such a mess.
  14. bcnu

    bcnu New Member

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    Jerry...my plan(hope) was to do just what u talk about - use some oil each year but stretch it out. Hence, the reason for my original post. I've learned a whole lot that is very helpful...as is usually the case on this website. I've been using some oil this past month now that we've buttoned up the soapstove stove. In fact, it's cool and drizzly today so the stove will be on for 10-15 minutes.
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