Heat tape on outside oil line? boom or no boom?


  #1  
Old 01-31-07, 11:29 AM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 2,313
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
Heat tape on outside oil line? boom or no boom?

Woke up to cold house, called the oil company (contract thankfully). I knew it sounded fuel starved but never thought it would freeze as we've had colder temps than 22 lately and it hasn't frozen in years. But that's what it was. He said the gauge was broken a bit and water got in the tank.

So he told me to remove all my existing insulation (most of the 25 ft is insulated), go to home depot and get heat tape and insulation to put over the line.

Some websites say this is a fire hazard and others recommend it.

Whats the real story?

I 'thought' they were supposed to put gel in every winter for me since they knew I had outside tanks and it happened before. And how long until this water gets out of my system? Does it settle on the bottom and be 'the first' thing sucked into the furnace or is it mixed throughout the batch ? Coincidentally I just got oil this week. Coincidence I wonder....
 
  #2  
Old 01-31-07, 11:52 AM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,386
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Wink

I have use a heater tape. Dont thing the insurance company will go for it. But I dont get why they dont put the stuff they have to get the water out for you. Now any and all tanks we put in. Are pitched to the bottom drain . This way any yuck water are just junk will get out of the tank right away and be in the oil filter. This will save your tank from rusting out in the bottom.
AND yes that is where the water will go or be.
 
  #3  
Old 01-31-07, 12:00 PM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 2,313
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
Is there something that I as a consumer can dump in the tank to help get rid of the water? for example with my car I'd go by 'dry gas' if I knew i had water in that tank
 
  #4  
Old 01-31-07, 12:04 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,386
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Wink

Call your oil company they will have what you need to put in the tank.
 
  #5  
Old 01-31-07, 07:12 PM
N
Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 125
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
hot shot is the additive most companies use and can be found at a nearby supply house. also you can use kerosene, a few gallons should work.
 
  #6  
Old 01-31-07, 08:54 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 14,401
Received 38 Likes on 36 Posts
Fuel additive

There are many brands on the market inclulding Hot, Hot Shot, Fuel Flow, etc, etc,. Any HVAC or plumbing supply house should have it. Initially follow the dosing instructions for a problem tank (usually twice the "routine" dose).
There is no harm in using a heat tape as long as it is approved for exposure to the weather. Some are made strictly for cold but protected areas such as a crawl space or under a mobile home.
 
  #7  
Old 02-01-07, 05:41 AM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 2,313
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
Well this morning the temp is about 24 and the it's running so I guess all the water came thru and got burnt out. The tanks have the oil coming out of the bottom. They are 10 years old and thats the way the oil company put them in. Maybe to make it easier for water to drain? lol

I'm going to forget about the heat tape for now. If it makes it thru the zero degrees this weekend i'm confident the water is gone. The stuff at home depot says water use only and i dont see anything like a thermostat on so i'm not just leaving it plugged in all the time. Scary stuff when you leave your home
 
  #8  
Old 02-01-07, 07:35 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 14,401
Received 38 Likes on 36 Posts
Water in tank

I still suggest the addition of some kind of fuel treatment. A properly installed tank should be sloped toward the outlet at the rate of 1/4" for each foot of tank length. The oil line from the tank should also slope steadily downhill toward the basement. Any flat or upsloped areas will cause water to build up & freeze.
Just FYI, here is a link to a tank installation manual from a major tank manufacturer.

http://www.granbytanks.com/usa/pdf/SI0015_a.pdf
 
  #9  
Old 02-02-07, 12:19 PM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 2,313
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Grady View Post
. Any flat or upsloped areas will cause water to build up & freeze.
\
oh no wonder i'm in trouble, it's all flat! heater is 1st level as I only have a crawlspace. So besides the few inches to the ground from the tank, it's allllll flat until it gets to the filter.
 
  #10  
Old 02-02-07, 01:27 PM
KField's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Easton, PA
Posts: 3,245
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'll bet a bird flew into the gauge and broke it.

The cold flow improver that the fuel company adds is for parrafin not ice. When water gets in it sits at the low point and since it expands when it freezes, it will push outward on the inside of the oil line and restrict flow. If you can warm it up and bleed the pump, you will probably get rid of enough of it to keep the system running. Products already mentioned and others are mostly alcohol and they will absorb water and carry it through the system. It only takes about an ounce in the right place to stop flow. I have customers who installed the self regulating heat tracer and insulated over that with foam insulation and have had it that way for years. Eventually sunlight will ruin the insulation but you can just put another piece on. If you don't insulate the heat trace uses too much electricity. It turns on around 50 degrees F. and tries to maintain that temperature.

Ken
 
  #11  
Old 02-05-07, 06:09 AM
HVAC-EMT's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: The Berkshires
Posts: 165
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Post heat tape

I don't see a problem with using heat tape unless your oil tank is leaking onto a pile of leaves that has collected under your tank and the attached "shed" that it is in is lined with styrofoam and you have rodents that like to chew on wires. (Hey, I'm sure it's happened somewhere). If there are no leaks, then the risk is very very low. The heat tape co. puts "for water lines only" to cover their butt. There are also tank heaters available too. It is basically a low voltage heating element enclosed in a solid tube that is threaded at one end that threads into a bushing that will thread into the top of the oil tank. As to the water in the tank, don't assume it is the oil co's fault. How much oil was in the tank when they filled it?
 
  #12  
Old 02-07-07, 08:08 PM
L
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 2,313
Received 8 Likes on 8 Posts
well I think it's the oil that stirred up the water at the bottom. The broken gauge is what leaked the water in so they say. It's on auto fill so i cant imagine they let it go below 1/4 plus we had hot winter so far so didnt use much

but since it didnt freeze in the total 0 degrees this week i can assume it's all burnt off
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: