Reusing Used Oil Tank

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Old 10-05-15, 09:47 AM
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Reusing Used Oil Tank

With the dropping price of oil, I went ahead and picked up a free used oil tank on CL from a contractor who switched someone to natural gas. The tank is in pretty good shape near as I can tell, as it was in a basement. Has some flaking paint but nothing alarming. It is an older tank since the pickup is on the end and not the bottom. I am going to try and get a date off the label plate tonight.

My question is, anything I should be worried about/looking for before I go ahead and install it? I planned on looking inside with a flashlight to see the amount of sludge buildup and get an idea on the condition of the inside. I know its impossible to really tell without UT but...
 
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Old 10-05-15, 10:26 AM
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Sludge will often contain bacteria that thrives in fuel oil. That bacteria can cause the oil to gel or create a slimy mess that plugs filters and nozzles. It will also hold water in intimate contact with the steel and cause internal corrosion.

I personally would not use any tank that had not been properly steam-cleaned.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 02:37 PM
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Date says 11/90.

Here are some pics of the inside. It looks surprisingly clean.



 
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Old 10-05-15, 03:58 PM
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Your date and pictures are meaningless. Some tanks will look almost brand new 50 years after they were manufactured and others may be on the verge of the bottom falling out in less than 10 years. If you have any trace of bacterial-contaminated sludge in the tank it will serve as a feedstock for additional bacterial growth. You need to steam-clean the tank interior to the point of removing ALL the sludge or at the very least, raising the temperature of the sludge to more than 250 degrees to sterilize the sludge. This is why residential-sized fuel oil tanks are rarely reused but are simply scrapped.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 04:14 PM
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Wouldn't there already be bacteria/sludge in my existing tank, therefore making extreme cleaning of this tank a moot point since it will be getting filled via the existing tank?

Just trying to make sense of all this.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 04:29 PM
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Wouldn't there already be bacteria/sludge in my existing tank
Probably. Which is why it's generally considered unacceptable to pump old tanks into new... but ppl do it anyway.

therefore making extreme cleaning of this tank a moot point since it will be getting filled via the existing tank?
You mean you are going to somehow pump the existing tank into the new one?

Is this tank a REPLACEMENT? or an ADDITION to warehouse more cheap oil?

Is that liquid in the bottom of the tank? Old oil?
 
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Old 10-05-15, 04:35 PM
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It's an additional tank. And yes there is a little bit of oil remaining in the tank that I was going to try and get out when my buddy comes with a tractor so we can lift it and hold it on end. The tank was pumped by the contractor. I estimate maybe a few gallons left in the bottom.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 04:49 PM
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What are your plans for plumbing the two tanks together? I've never done it myself but do know that there are generally accepted practices for doing so.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 04:57 PM
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So that is a 25 year old tank. Me.... personally..... I wouldn't reuse it without at least having it cleaned and electronically checked for rust thru.

Many insurance companies will balk if there is an issue with a tank over 25 years old. You may want to read your policies fine print.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 04:59 PM
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Connecting two tops with 2", 1.5 fill to first tank then 1.5 vent out second tank. Filters on each outlet teed together to main line to boiler.
 
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Old 10-05-15, 05:11 PM
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If you "turn over" your fuel oil inventory often enough you most likely won't have any serious problems with bacterial contamination. However, having a second tank of oil will mean deliveries of new oil will happen far less often.

For the fill pipe and vent I would strongly recommend it to be completely separate from the existing tank. It is okay to pipe both tanks to a common suction as long as both tanks are about the same size with the tops of the two tanks approximately the same height.

You should also check with your homeowner's insurance company and get their blessing on the additional tank.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 05:35 AM
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I burn about 800-900 gallons of oil a year which would mean filling them just about twice. I think what I am going to do for right now is try and sell this one I got for free, and use that money to buy a newer tank with a bottom pickup.

I also have an email out to my insurance agent regarding my policy.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 08:44 AM
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I'm going to state again that trying to fill the second tank by overflow through the intended vent fitting on the first is a VERY POOR IDEA! These tanks are not made to be subjected to any pressure during filling or use. Each tank should have its own vent (with whistle) and its own fill pipe. In some installations I might advise a manifold arrangement for filling but never in a residential situation as there is just too much chance of error.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 09:48 AM
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In addition, it is imperative that you pull permits and have inspections done!
 
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Old 10-06-15, 10:32 AM
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I'm going to state again that trying to fill the second tank by overflow through the intended vent fitting on the first is a VERY POOR IDEA! These tanks are not made to be subjected to any pressure during filling or use. Each tank should have its own vent (with whistle) and its own fill pipe. In some installations I might advise a manifold arrangement for filling but never in a residential situation as there is just too much chance of error.
I understand what you are saying, but why is it allowed per code?

Also, there would be no vent fitting on the first tank, just the fill and overflow connection to the second tank. Vent would be on the second tank.

In addition, it is imperative that you pull permits and have inspections done!
I do plan on having the delivery company check out the installation, but I am not aware that Maine has an permit or inspection requirements for oil tank installation. At least I have not seen or found any. Coworker plumbed 3 together as I planned on doing with the crossovers with no permit or inspection.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:21 AM
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If you REALLY want the complete lowdown on the subject I suggest that you register for the free access to NFPA 31.

NFPA 31: Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment

And remember, just because someone else has done it does NOT make it either correct or legal.

BTW, I assure you that Maine DOES have rules on this subject albeit not exactly easy to access on line.

Google search: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...fuel+oil+tanks
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:22 AM
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Please tell me if I am misinterpreting everything. Per 18104.7 (pg. 6 of the PDF) of the following PDF, individuals can install equipment in their own home as long as it is within the standards and rules of the board.
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legi...tle32ch139.pdf

Then, per NFPA31, Chapter 8, Figure 8.9.1, tanks can be cross-connected. See pg. 29 of the following PDF.

http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/abo...statements.pdf

I tried adding the picture from the actual NFPA31 but I was having a hard time with the attachment...
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:25 AM
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If you REALLY want the complete lowdown on the subject I suggest that you register for the free access to NFPA 31.

NFPA 31: Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment

And remember, just because someone else has done it does NOT make it either correct or legal.

BTW, I assure you that Maine DOES have rules on this subject albeit not exactly easy to access on line.

Google search: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...fuel+oil+tanks
Thanks for the links, I was compiling my follow on post as you were typing.
Google search: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q...fuel+oil+tanks
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:43 AM
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You seem to have covered all bases so have at it. I wouldn't do it that way but you are not me.
 
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Old 10-06-15, 11:52 AM
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You seem to have covered all bases so have at it. I wouldn't do it that way but you are not me.
I haven't decided yet whether I want to do the cross-connect or add a separate fill/vent.
 
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Old 10-07-15, 08:07 AM
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Going to look at a "newer" tank tonight which is from 2000 with a bottom pickup. Guy wants $100 for it.

Still haven't heard from the insurance company yet...
 
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Old 10-07-15, 10:49 AM
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According to my insurance agent, there are no issues with my current policy.
 
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Old 10-26-15, 11:15 AM
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What is the best sealant for use on tank fittings? I was going to use Gasoila, or something similar. Any preferences out there, or ones to stay away from?

Also any tips on ensuring there are no leaks. I read to try and bury 8 threads.
 
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Old 10-26-15, 03:20 PM
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Clean the threads, both in the tank and on the fitting, with a fast evaporating spray solvent. Use Number 2 Permatex on the male threads only. Tighten moderately tight, not so tight that you may break the fitting. Do NOT use Teflon tape under any circumstances!

Use only flared fittings, no compression fittings as the latter will all too often leak air even if they don't leak oil.
 
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Old 10-28-15, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for the tips. I knew about the Teflon tape and flared fittings. Good info on the torqueing and sealant.
 
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Old 12-15-15, 08:48 AM
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So I got everything on the second tank piped in. I ended up doing a separate fill with a common vent. My question now is, in order to complete the installation, I had to get two pieces of pipe cut/threaded at Home Depot for the fill pipe....

One piece is on my vertical run up to the outdoor exit height (I have one length about 31", then a coupling and the 7 1/2" HD section then an elbow). The other piece is my horizontal piece going from the elbow I just mentioned to the outside.

The factory threads as well as the threads on the pipes I had gotten with the tank, I can thread and tighten them to about 5/8" is buried into the fitting which is about what it should be. With the HD threaded pipes, I am able to burry just about the entire threaded portion into the fitting which is leading me to believe the threads aren't quite right.

With that said, the short section I had done at HD has one factory end and the other end is HD thread. To avoid issues, I put the HD thread facing down into the coupling towards the tank, to avoid that joint being directly in the flow and hopefully avoid possible leaks/weeping.

Because of the orientation I just mentioned, the horizontal run is the one I am more worried about, with that one I have the HD end threaded into the elbow on the vertical run, and the factory end threaded into the scully fill again to try and get the HD threads out of the direct flow. However, the horizontal run will have more turbulent flow as it splashes back from the elbow joint.

I have everything tightened together with pipe dope etc.

I am going to be home the first time they come fill it just to make sure everything is OK. My question is, should I take those two lengths back to HD and have them adjust the machine and rethread it to the point where it behaves more like all the other pipe I used and threads in about 5/8" before they come fill it, or do I just have them come fill it and see if it leaks first.

Obviously this isn't a pressurized system, so I don't have to worry about it holding sustained pressure but...

Do you think the threads they made are ok and I will be fine?
 
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Old 12-15-15, 09:08 AM
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If you're going to be worried about leaks, I don't suppose you could check it for leaks with water BEFORE they come to fill it with $2.00 a Gallon #2 Heating Oil ?
 
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Old 12-15-15, 09:52 AM
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One more reason NOT to have a big box mega-mart homecenter cut and thread your pipe. If it isn't dull dies then it is a person that doesn't know how to run the machine.

Your nipples have the threads cut too long. If you used a fair amount of the Permatex #2 you should be okay in that configuration. If you think you can get them to cut two new pieces without charging you then that would be preferable.
 
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Old 12-15-15, 10:11 AM
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Vermont No - it’s only $1.48/gal in SE Pa. ……YeeeHaaaa!!! (but yes maybe it’s much higher in Maine, hope not)

hi NorthMaine –

I found this one time and I think the experts here said it was pretty good. Maybe it would be helpful.

https://sizes.com/materials/pipeThrd.htm#Standard_Taper

I assume you are using 1 ¼ for the vent pipe. I think code changed one time to increase the vent pipe to 1 ½, but then that was reversed and 1 ¼ is OK. That’s my understanding anyway.

I have 2 tanks with a cross-over pipe as you can see in this picture. It was set up this way long before I bought the house. It was pointed out to me the copper is the wrong material for the vent pipe. The cross-over piping is 1 ½. You can see the fill on the left tank and the copper vent pipe on the right tank.

At the bottom oil flows between both tanks on a tee and the tee supplies the burner about 18 feet away. The oil gauge is on the right tank.

I used to buy enough oil so that on a fill oil would be forced over into the right tank via the cross-over pipe. But I don’t do that anymore because as was pointed out that puts a great deal of pressure on the tank. So I buy about 225 gals at a time and let it run down fairly low (not too low) and then refill.

 
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Old 12-15-15, 10:22 AM
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Vermont No - it’s only $1.48/gal in SE Pa. ……YeeeHaaaa!!! (but yes maybe it’s much higher in Maine, hope not)

hi NorthernMaine –

I found this one time and I think the experts here said it was pretty good. Maybe it would be helpful.

https://sizes.com/materials/pipeThrd.htm#Standard_Taper

I assume you are using 1 ¼ for the vent pipe. I think code changed one time to increase the vent pipe to 1 ½, but then that was reversed and 1 ¼ is OK. That’s my understanding anyway.

I have 2 tanks with a cross-over pipe as you can see in this picture. It was set up this way long before I bought the house. It was pointed out to me the copper is the wrong material for the vent pipe. The cross-over piping is 1 ½. You can see the fill on the left tank and the copper vent pipe on the right tank.

At the bottom oil flows between both tanks on a tee and the tee supplies the burner about 18 feet away. The oil gauge is on the right tank.

I used to buy enough oil so that on a fill oil would be forced over into the right tank via the cross-over pipe. But I don’t do that anymore because as was pointed out that puts a great deal of pressure on the tank. So I buy about 225 gals at a time and let it run down fairly low (not too low) and then refill.
Just scheduled a delivery for $1.499 here in Maine.

Thanks for the link. That is an expensive vent pipe you have there haha.

I am using 1 1/2" fill and vent with no crossover. The vent I am sure will be fine, just the fill I am kind of worried about. I think it's "ok", just probably not a good as it "could" be.


Your nipples have the threads cut too long. If you used a fair amount of the Permatex #2 you should be okay in that configuration. If you think you can get them to cut two new pieces without charging you then that would be preferable.
I used a generous amount of sealant on all my joints, and like I said based on the orientation I put the two pipes in question in, I think I will be ok. They are coming to fill it Friday and I will be there to observe for leaks. If I have issues, I will definitely go back and have them redo the threads...

Like I said above, I think its fine, just probably not as good as it could be.


Thanks for the info guys!
 
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Old 12-16-15, 09:44 AM
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NorthMaine –

I made a mistake in my last post; my cross-over pipe is 2”. I know you wisely aren’t using a cross-over pipe but I just wanted to clarify.

I am a rank newbie so you have to suspect anything I say. But if I understand correctly I think there should be more than 5/8 inch threads buried when tightening 1 ½ inch pipe. (I guess it would be the effective thread depicted in that link in post #29).

If I understand correctly you have to use big pipe wrenches and really use tremendous muscle (leaves me out) to get them tightened properly. I think that’s the case but I could be wrong. Just thought I’d mention that so you can check to see if that is correct.
 
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Old 12-16-15, 10:08 AM
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o

Looking at those twin tanks in zoesdad's basement, I'm wondering what the pitch is towards the center . . . . like ¼" per foot or more. In the photo, they look perfectly level. It must be so slight that it's visually imperceptible ?

A couple years ago, when I swapped out my single tank, I had to use a trolley jack to lift the dead end up about 5" to get the remaining oil out (something the installers didn't want to deal with.

To avoid a build-up of sludge in the bottom of the tank(s), do you pipe it so that incoming fuel enters towards the dead ends (outer end in your case) in order to keep the bottom somewhat clear ?
 
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Old 12-16-15, 12:58 PM
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Vermont you are correct – I think. I don’t think the 2 tanks are slopped properly towards the center. But it seems to work and the last time I very carefully checked the oil level in both tanks with a stick, I didn’t seem to feel any sludge. I tried. But I have no idea if “feel” is of any value. (Maybe that trick for septic systems, where you tie a white sweat sock to a stick, and put the stick on the bottom, then remove the stick and observe the staining pattern, would work for an oil tank also. I think I’ll try that.)

I think I came across something one time that said the fill pipe should be far away from the gauge (I think that was the advice). But I don’t know much about this stuff.
 
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Old 12-20-15, 03:10 PM
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So I got an oil delivery Friday and no leaks on my fill pipe and all went well!!

I am however having weeping issues on my flare fittings. I took apart, cut and reflared thinking the flare was slightly too big, and two of the joints still want to weep ever so slightly (noticeably wet after a day or so, no drips on floor).

I took the joints back apart and used a bit of lubricant on the back of the flare and retorqued them so we will see how that goes.

Any other tips?
 
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