Help! Freezing Oil Tank


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Old 02-06-07, 01:29 PM
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Help! Freezing Oil Tank

I am hoping someone can help me here. My mothers oil tank keeps freezing everytime it hit below 20. We have had the tank cleaned out we also had it re-piped and we are still having this problem. The tank is 10 yrs old and started happening about 3 yrs ago. I am not sure if it is just we did not have cold winters for the first 7 yrs. Does anyone know anything we can do to stop this from happening. Is there something we can add to the tank to stop it from freezing. It is costing a fortune everytime she calls the fuel company to come out and fix the freeze. Thanks
 
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Old 02-07-07, 02:55 AM
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Is this tank underground or above ground? If above ground where does the oil line leave the tank, top or bottom?
 
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Old 02-07-07, 07:01 AM
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it now goes out the top, it used to go out the bottom. When it went out the bottom it froze a lot more than it does now so when they moved it out the top it was much better. The tank is above ground. Is there something I can put in the tank to stop this?
 
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Old 02-07-07, 06:27 PM
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Yes, they have specialized anti-freeze fluids for fuel oil tanks but you can usually get the same results from just adding denatured alcohol. About a cup to a pint for a 275 gallon tank.

When the fuel outlet was changed to the top did 'they" leave a shut-off valve in the tank bottom fitting? I don't like top withdrawal because it allows water to accumulate in the tank and that will eventually cause the tank to rust out from the inside.

I like to have an above ground tank set up so that all of the contents can drain out of the bottom fitting. Slope the tank if necessary to do this. The bottom fitting should have a valve on it and then a water trap. There are various ways to construct a water trap but if you do not have the mneans to drill and tap pipe threads then it can be constructed from ordinary plumbing parts. If you would like me to detail a water trap then post back.
 
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Old 02-07-07, 07:01 PM
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To clarify, if the problem could be water or wax. Parrafin is a component of heating oil but is invisible until it gets cold and all the microscopic particles stick together. I pulled an oil filter out the other night that could have passed for a caramel apple. It was all wax covering the element. Alcohol will absorb water but will not help for wax. A cold flow improver will help for wax but not water. What a cold flow improver does is modify the wax crystallization characteristics of the oil. So the wax still gels but will not stick to other wax molecules so it does not form the coating and clog filters and lines. Go to a good auto store or truck stop and look for a product called Diesel 911. It should do wh at you want done. However, as I learned the hard way, The treatment won't work nearly as well after the problem has started. It will work better if you add it to oil above freezing and then when it gets cold, you won't have a problem. You can add it now and when it warms up, it will mix better and prevent the problem when it gets cold again. If it is a water problem, it only takes a small amount. The best solution is to have the fuel line pitch downward the whole way from the tank to the heated space. Any dips in the line will hold water and when it freezes, it will block the line.

Ken
 
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Old 02-09-07, 01:30 AM
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Will this diesal stuff hurt the furnace? I also heard of adding Kerosene to it and it will stop it but I am worried that mixing the fuels will hurt the furnance or start a fire.
 
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Old 02-09-07, 06:44 AM
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Gasoline will cause problems but kerosene or other fuel treatments will not affect the operation of the burner. Mixing kerosene is fine but it is usually about 10 cents more per gallon than heating oil and contains less energy. If one pint of treatment will do the job, it doesn't get much easier than that. Your fuel company should know what to do in the winter and if your problem is water, there is no solution but to get the water out. If the problem is wax, the fuel company should help solve that one.

Ken
 
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Old 02-09-07, 07:24 AM
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they are saying it is gelled up, they like to come and rip off my mom and charge the fee. She said they come and pour some stuff in and then it is fine. They seem to not be very knowledgeable or helpful with my Mom. I will also check all the seals and make sure there is no way water is getting in. I will also add that diesal stuff you reccomend.
 
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Old 02-09-07, 07:44 AM
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I re-read your first post and if you are calling the fuerl company and they are charging you for oil that is 'gelling' and then charging you to 'un-gel' it, that is not fair. I have been using cold flow improver in my customers outside tanks for over 15 years and although I don't charge extra for it, I would never stop using it. We start adding it in November and stop in March. I have NEVER had a wax clog breakdown since 1992. That says something. I don't mix kerosene and some of the outside tanks we service are on the windward sides of the houses and really take a beating from cold and wind. I know wind chill does not affect anything but skin but I'm trying to prove a point about treatment and its success. Some acounts I have I got strictly because I promised not to have freeze ups.


Ken
 
 

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