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Dirty Oil Problem?

Trish Member Posts: 1
We recently (4 months ago) had a new Buderus boiler installed (professionally) in our home, and since then we've had 3 instances where the boiler shut off and we lost heat, due to a blockage in the oil line. We never had this problem with our older boiler (about 20 years old!), and I'm wondering if the Buderus boiler is more 'sensitive' about dirty oil, perhaps has a smaller valve feeding it than older boilers, gets clogged easier? If so, what can be done to prevent this from happening?
Or is my oil company just selling me crappy, dirty oil? And if the oil is the problem, how does one go about finding an oil company that will sell you cleaner oil? What do you ask them?


  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    More than likely it is not the oil being delivered to the house. If your old unit was 40 years old, my guess is the tank is at least that old since you didn't mention changing it. Oil has bacteria in it that breeds and produces waste. Over time this waste, commonly referred to as sludge, builds up in the tank. It also coats the inside of the oil lines and causes an increase in vacuum as the unit tries to draw oil. When the resistance to flow is too great, the unit shuts down because it just can't get the oil.

    This problem may have been building for some time. It is possible that your old unit drew less oil than the new one. Not that it burned more, but rather that the pump pulled more oil through it. This has cased the problem to rear it's ugly head.

    Where is your tank located (basement, underground, outside above ground) and how many oil lines go to the tank, 1 or 2? What has your oil company done or suggested in order to fix the problem?
  • Ken_40
    Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320

    The boiler is not the problem, the way the installer connecetd the oil line(s) may be.

    You don't mention why you bought the new boiler. Let's assume it was not because someone condemned the old one for a some mistaken issue of fuel, when in fact your tank was "bad" from jump-street?

    There is either one or two fuel lines coming from the tank and going to the burner. The bruner is a somewhat independent component of the boiler. The boiler handles the flame and water. The bruner creates the flame and burns the oil required to do so. Sort of like the engine in the car - and the car itself. The burner is the engine.

    If you have two pipes going to the burner, the installer may have switched them by accident. That in-an-of-itself is not usually the cause of what you mention as a problem, but could be.

    It is imperative that an oil filter be installed on the incoming fuel line. This keeps the oil inside the bruner and somewhat delicate parts, clean and free of contaminants that can occur over time.

    If the system was two-pipe, and it's now one-pipe, that can create nightmares as well. A product called a "Tiger Loop" can overcome this problem, but is a leap, given what we know so far.

    Also, "blockage of the oil line" by what? Water? Sludge? Rust/scale? Slime?

    We may assume the tank is a 550 or 1,000 gallon UST (underground storage tank) or is it a 275 in the basement?

    Let's hope you did not replace an "only" 20-year old boiler because of "problems" alleged to be the former boiler's - when in fact your oil tank was to "blame" all along!

    Tell me that's NOT WHAT HAPPENED!!!
  • Big Ed
    Big Ed Member Posts: 1,117
    Product has Changed

    I have seen a difference in the product this past year. Vent alarms have been growing beards on the whisle tubes . I had to use different then normal nozzles to achieve a good fire on some units. I noticed filters plugging faster. That worm like slime draining from oil lines is back. I had a strange one a few weeks ago also a Buderus where a general filter with a micron filer cartage was clean and a Gerber filter after it was plugged .. Brand new oil tank ,1/2" oil lines and boiler...

    Depends on where you live but in my area they been adding Bio Fuel to home heating oil...Is Bio fuel the problem ? Or maybe percentage changes in how they mix it ? I am just a grunt but there is a change in product..Whats odd is the problem in not in every unit ...

    What I would recommend to you is replace the oil lines to 1/2" .A new tank is due also if its over 25 years.. Install a filter near the tank also ....

    The oil companys know of the problems and are raising questions . Samples are being taken from the field ....

    Bio Fuel is political issue ...Since Iowa is a caucus state ..Tax insentives ..... We will see
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    Ive heard the same stories too, Ed

    With off-road/taxable diesel as well as #2. Even the gas is junk. I had to replace the filter/fuel line in one of my Stihl chainsaws, softened up the rubber line, caused it to collapse and stall the saw. and yes, it had Sta-bil in it.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,307

    The simpleiest fix may be additional and better filters installed in the oil line. Try this first. It may not be the complete fix.

  • Scram Bulleggs
    Scram Bulleggs Member Posts: 12
    Change in product

    I also have noticed some odd oil issues in only the past year. Something an employee of mine pointed out and I have noticed since is the color can be dramatically diffrent even from the same supplier. Any chance the dye has been changing?
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 418


    Fellow homeowner here. I'd get to the source of the dirty oil - check the oil tank, have it cleaned, make sure there is no sludge in there. If the tank is very old and/or the oil line was not replaced when you got a new boiler, then I would seriously consider getting both replaced sooner than later. After all, even if you manage to get the old tank cleaned (and it'll cost $$$ to do so), most tanks have finite lives. Putting the money towards a quality tank like Roth, Schütz, etc. may be a better investment.

    Also important is proper filtration of the oil. Wall participants have reportedly up to 3 filters. I happen to be a big fan of the Garber filter system - they have a model that has a vaccuum gage on it, which allows you to monitor the vaccuum pressure on the line. Once the dial indicator starts to move, you know it's time to change the filter.

    Another neat product is the Oventrop Tigerloop. It obviates the need for a return line to the tank, which means that the oil only flows in one direction. This is better for the tank since any returning oil will usually be warmer than the tank, potentially causing condensation (and hence sludge) inside the tank. The tigerloop also acts as a minor filter. My model has a clear body, so it acts like a sightglass. If the oil in there were dirty or filled with water, it would not have a clear appearance.

    But most importantly, get to the source of the problem. It is not normal for you boiler to lock out like this... and I would look beyond the oil and ensure that the boiler is set up properly (i.e. combustion test with an electronic analyzer, draft, firing rate, oil pressure, etc.), that the chimney is in good shape, and so on. There are many reasons why heating equipment may fail, which is why proper installation and maintenance is so necessary.

    Even the best equipment will become unreliable if its neglected, poorly installed, or fed bad fuel.
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • The Wire Nut
    The Wire Nut Member Posts: 418
    Hi Ed,

    I have not noticed any slime in my Tigerloop, even though I have been using B5 for over a year now. Granted, the upstream Garber probably takes care of everything, but it hasn't clogged either.

    Is the oil quality a factor? I.e. are there any patterns re: funny fuel that can be traced back to a particular supplier, or is it random?
    "Let me control you"

    Lost in SOHO NYC and Balmy Whites Valley PA
  • mikea23
    mikea23 Member Posts: 224

    Lets not blame anyone for condeming a twenty year old boiler that was proably 3 sizes to big. Last time I checked we buy new cars every 5 years who wants a break down.
    Did you ever think that maybe the old gun was a becket and the new a reillo. The older becket guns would almost burn water. The newer guns to optimize effi are far more sensative.

    But the installed did do one thing very wrong not recomending a new oil tank

    The mentality that it last forever is a huge injustice to the customer oils no 10 cents per gallon anymore

    Mike A
    Mike A
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,537

    oil quality has been horrendous on Long Island since late last year.Tigerloops,better filtration and treatments have been necessary.

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