Safely Capping heating oil lines

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Old 08-02-15, 06:26 AM
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Safely Capping heating oil lines

Long time lurker, first time poster. You guys (and gals) rock.

The situation:
I've got an older home with an oil-fired boiler for baseboard radiators, and an oil-fired tank water heater for DHW. At some point in the past, the previous owner bypassed the tank hw and spliced the baseboard boiler into the DHW. It all works fine, I suppose, though the water gets H-O-T.
My oil tank is underground, outside the basement wall. There are a pair of flexible copper lines coming in from it near the top of the block wall, running down to the floor where each line is T'd - with one side of each T heading to the boiler and wh.
The tank WH is being pulled out and replaced with a Propane on-demand unit. I'm having this done professionally, however the company won't touch anything to do with Oil heaters/lines, so I'm going to pull the old oil-fired Tank water heater myself in prep for their job. Thus...

The Question:
How do I safely cut and cap the ~1/4" flexible copper lines coming to the now-defunct water heater? There are no valves in the lines to speak of, and I can't just remove ALL of them, as the radiator-boiler still needs supply.
My thought had been to crimp the lines shut about 5" north of where I'd cut them, then cut them cleanly and use press-on 'sharkbite' style caps. I live in fear of doing it, then having it leak and empty hundreds of gallons of #2 all over my basement.

Oil-fired anything is rare over here in WNC and I can't find anybody professional to come deal with it.

Halp!
 
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Old 08-02-15, 07:19 AM
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I don't believe you can use a shark bite imo. A flare and a male flare plug would be used here. Would have to be well made flares.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 08:35 AM
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There are no valves in the lines to speak of,
What do you mean "to speak of"? There has to be a valve & it has to be close to where the lines enter the house.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 08:46 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

There has to be a valve & it has to be close to where the lines enter the house.
I agree but I rarely see valves. I'm working in two old house now and neither has valves.
One thing to be concerned with is...... is the tank above or below were the lines come in the house.

Please a post a picture of the tee fittings. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rt-images.html

The best way to disconnect the second set of lines is to remove the tees and use straight fittings.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 08:59 AM
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If there really isn't a valve, what about inserting a needle valve? By needle valve, I mean the valves that are used for ice maker tubing.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 11:56 AM
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I promise, there really is no valve.
I can't tell exactly where the tank is in the vertical dimension, as it's under ground, but I'd wager it's below where the lines enter horizontally in through the wall. The oil burners must have a pump of some kind to draw it up and in.

I'd thought about pulling the T's and going to straights, but I'm not sure how I'd disassemble the T's without getting fuel everywhere. And say I did try, are fuel lines the same nominal sizes as other flexible copper and compatible will that class of fitting? Or are they some honky fuel-grade fitting?

I should mention that this solution doesn't have to be a super-long term fix, as we're pulling the remainder of the oil system in the fall (along with the tank), so it's only gotta last ~2 months.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 12:26 PM
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Hi aXett, your tubing is more then likely 3/8th. Yes it has a oil pump on the left hand side of burner where the oil line or lines enter. Does it have one or two lines going to the hot water heater pump? If short term only have you thought about just unbolting the pump and disconnecting the nozzle line after the pump. There is some give in the lines most of the time.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 01:44 PM
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There are two lines coming from the tank, BOTH of which are T'd, sending a pair of lines to both the boiler and WH. I'd thought about taking the pump/mechanical assembly off the side of the tank, leaving the lines attached to it. If I did that, would there be any chance of it leaking? Or is there some sort of valve within the burner/pump that is normally-shut?
 
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Old 08-02-15, 03:08 PM
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Yes, most times there is a shut off valve for incoming oil at the burner pump itself. You would spin the round cap right off and then give the stem a good tap. The very small line would then be detached from the burner and you could leave the other two on the pump and remove the pump.Small amount of oil would come out at the nozzle line.
 
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Old 08-09-15, 05:29 AM
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Well, it is done. Old tank/boiler removed.

I found two straight and accessible sections of each pipe and cleaned them with 600g paper, wiped they down with mineral spirits to get clean connections. Then used a small pipe cutter to cut both lines cleanly in the middle of the scrubbed sections. I had a pair of sharkbite caps on hand and quickly capped them.
My basement floor is painted, so I spread some clay cat litter around the floor where I leaked fuel oil. After pulling the tank out, I went back and swept it up and it did a near-perfect job of cleaning up the oil.

So, long story short: cut pipes, capped with sharkbites, pretty successful.

Thanks for all the help!
 
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