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What's the correct Way to test an Oil Line?

Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
What is the correct way to test an oil line? Lets say you just cleared a plugged oil line back to the tank and it runs under a concrete floor. You can't be sure you just didn't damage the line in doing so. Well, you might know when you tank is empty in 2 days. Pressure test or Vacuum test ?


  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Posts: 3,025Member

    Vacuum is the way it's done
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member

    If in doubt, install an OSV at the tank. It is vacuum operated, so if there is an air leak, it won't open. You can also do a vacuum test. That will tell you short term. Here in Mass, we have until Sept to upgrade them all. Might not be a bad idea for that one if it can't be seen.
  • Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
    Oil Line

    Are you saying you have upgrade all the oil lines in your area.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member

    If they are bare copper and have contact with cement or earth, then it's gotta be upgraded to a sleeved line, or OSV. Return lines also
  • Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
    Oil Line

    Yes. I was just reading about that MGL, Chapter 453 Home Owner Heating Safety.  What do you customers think of that?
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member
    oil lines

    It comes at a bad time economically. What might seem like a small amount of money to the powers that be, is more like a fortune to people that are struggling in this poor economy. I keep the costs as low as possible, but still does not go over well to those who are now unemployed and barely keeping their heads above water. This is a revenue thing no matter how they present it as a "good" thing 
  • Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
    oil lines

    I can see the problems with new oil lines. Besides the costs the problem of installing them. The old lines that are in the concrete, behind walls etc. Its time consuming and sometimes takes 2 techs.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member

    lines that are in good condition, and it may be a pain in the ##$ to run, the OSV is a way out. We trench them in if they cross a threshold, or in a pathway. They can be cemented over if they are protected
  • Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
    oil lines

    How about running them over head? Is that a possiblity?
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Oil lines:

    It may be said somewhere that you should test oil lines with a vacuum. Maybe so. I've never seen it. A pipe is a cylinder. You  put vacuum relief valves on water heaters so they don't collapse under a vacuum. A guy I knew was draining his water tank truck for his well truck. He forgot to open the air admittance valve on the top and atmospheric pressure collapsed the tank.

    I regularly blow the snots out of oil lines with my portable air compressor set at 10#. If the lie can't take 10#, it needs to be replaced.

    As far as the line needing to be replaced in MA, they had to be protected" on new installs for some time. The "replace/protect" rule is new. Forced no doubt by the insurance companies. If you think it is too expensive to replace a little copper line, you will NEVER be able to afford a leaking oil spill. As far as needing two techs to change the line, I would be ashamed to make that statement. I'm 67 years old and I have never had a problem running new lines by my self. On the floor or overhead. I got a letter the other day from the company I buy my oil from. They want to come and inspect to see if I am in compliance. The oil companies must not deliver oil to accounts not in compliance because if they do and there is a problem, their insurance carriers will not cover them for a claim. I have no customers that do not have protected oil lines. None under floors etc. If I had one that didn't comply, and they wouldn't, I would give them a notarized letter about it and drop them from my customer base.  don't carry enough insurance to protect myself.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member

    will I run an overhead line. It makes for a noisy room up above. The noise will travel. It is also unnecessary higher vacuum and stress on the fuel pump that I have no desire to create. I can usually find a path from here to there along the floor.
  • Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
    Oil lInes

    So you say you pressure test the oil line @10 psi. I guess you would plug one end and fill the line with air and see if the pressure holds.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Overhead Vacuum


    How can you have high vacuum when the tank is on the same level as the burner and you "suck" the product up to the highest level and it then flows down by gravity by a syphon? There is no vacuum pressure. Once established, it will show the same +/- pressure on a gauge if it is direct gravity or overhead gravity/syphon.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member

    as the filter starts to clog, throw a few loops in at both ends of the line, throw in the OSV, and burner not always on the same level as tank, there will be a vacuum reading. If the burner ends up same level or below the tank, then yes I know what you are talking about. A lot of burners here on the coast have to be off the floor-that flood zone thingy. The tank can be cabled down as installed as usual, but not the heating unit. I prefer not to run overhead lines for a lot of reasons. Besides the pump noise that travels, they make good hangers
  • Tony MassiTony Massi Posts: 86Member
    Testing Oil lInes

    I think Vacuum test the oil line is the safest way to test an oil line. I did one today plugged one end , hooked up oil watcher , and push pull pump. Pulled 25 in of Vacuum and held it for 20 minutes. I tired a  filter vac bolt but  it kept dropping , also tank bottom outlet valve had a small drip.

  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Noisy pumps:


    I love those flexible oil lines they sell for connecting fuel pumps to Tigerloops. You can disconnect the from the pump and swing out the door of new boilers with swing open burners.

    They take out all vibration from the pump out of the system.
  • SLO-115SLO-115 Posts: 196Member
    I find it more cost effective

    to smash up the floor and double sleeve the line, then cement over it. Rather then the cost of running 2 lines overhead, or using a tiger loop. We started to use tiger loops in 2000 when we needed to upgrade all oil tanks older then 20years and replace all bare copper line with protected line. In my life time i have see 3 tigar loops fail and need to be replaced( all where first generation loops). My mind set is the less junk that can go wrong the further ahead we are.

    In a world gone crazy with energy efficency, no one thinks about the serivce side of things. We laugh, guys are installing direct drive DC motors...........we still install furnaces with 1/3 hp belt drive. Whats easier to change at 2am? What will cost the customer less when its time to replace? 

    Oil line upgrades are a tough sell, been there done through that. You boys are going to have a hell of time (its a different type of economy now)
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member
    Where are you located Slo?

    Did your state pass a similar law? Here in Mass, any heating unit or oil tank replacement done had to get oil line upgrade, 1995 started the underground tank crack down. I have also removed bad tiger loops, and they were early generation. I also agree that less is more when it comes to oil lines, and gadgets. The only heating unit I have run across that a tiger loop would help warm the oil is a mobile home furnace, and there is no place to safely/legally mount it . I do use OSV's where I can
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Overhead oil lines/Tigerloops:

    Some older Tigerloops had problems. They had long warranties. Most older ones I replaced were done under warranty. I have never had a problem with them on any one I replaced.


    Gas lines are tested at 5# maximum. If it drops at all, there's a leak. Copper tube when new is good to over 1200#. I'd test to 100# if I wanted to. I probably should, If the line can't take 10# and blows, it would have leaked soon. So, change it. Last one to touch it could own it.

    Replacing underfloor lines:

    It is far cheaper and faster to run a new line than to cut up the floor and patch it. In the time it takes to cut the floor and patch it, I could replace the line. By myself. I switch off between the covered copper and the 3/4" blue NMT conduit. You can use it as a bending form and push it into corners for a tight bend. And 3/4" HW one hole conduit clamps do a nice job of holding it in place. The 3/8" OD is nice because a 1/2" OD lever bender bends it nicely and when you are done, it looks like you knew what you were doing. And 3/8" EMT one hole clips do a nice job. With one hand on the tubing and the other in a battery drill, you can hang by by yourself.


    A Tigerloop is a PUMP. Nothing more, nothing less. They have been used all over the world for years What's the big problem? If something works, and it gets me out of a problem, I'm going to use it. Some of you don't remember all those old days when you were frustrated by lock outs due to leaking shaft seals and loss of suction on two pipe systems. Since they got rid of underground tanks, that went away.

    Using a Tigerloop is like always wearing a PFD when on the water. You only need it if you end up in the water. Then you wish you had it on. If you always wear it, you have no problem when you go in.

    You don't know how well it is working when you don't have a problem. You don't know how well they work if you never use one.
  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 536Member
    edited February 2011
    Tigerloop is a pump ?

    Never heard that word used to describe it before . The box it comes in says it's a de-aerator . I tend to think of it as an oil booster .................  A convenient way to convert a pump to 2 pipe with one oil line . All the benefits of 2 pipe ( more capacity and lift ) , with none of the bad ( filtering a ton more oil than needed , and a return pipe that flows oil back to the tank with potential to leak ) .  The burner pump is what does the " pumping "  .

    Not sure if it's code in the Wild West of Long Island , but we replace every oil line with every install ( if it's accesible ) . The pre-coated type . Have seen only 3 or 4 OSVs on oil tanks in my working lifetime .

    As to the original question , vacuum is the best test on oil lines , in my opinion . We just switched to spin-on filters with vacuum gauges . Makes it real easy to see if the oil filter needs replacement or if the line is clogged or leaky . Couldn't replace this oil line . Runs though a pipe to the outside about 3 feet down .
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Tigerloop: It's a pump.

    It's a pump. Plain and simple. You are thinking circulating pumps like a Taco 007.

    If you understand how "jet" pumps work, the motor drives an impeller. The impeller spins the water and forces pressure. The pressure/volume is restricted from leaving the pump body by a restriction spring/regulator. It has no where to go. So, the liquid (water) is forced through a passage that leads it to the suction end of the front of the pump. The recirculation of the impeller forced the water through a nozzle that opens into a chamber where the water is accelerated and allowed to expand. It then goes through a venturi and into the impeller center. The space between the nozzle and the venturi are a higher vacuum/drop in pressure zone. This vacuum zone is connected to the inlet of the front. When the lift/suction pressure is high enough, water flows up and into the pump. For every 4 gallons of water that flow through the nozzle, 5 gallons come out of the venturi. The pressure is raised. With single stage jet pumps, the discharge is limited to a practical 50#. It will only develop a practical vacuum lift of 27 feet. As the vacuum needs go up, the pressure/volume goes down. If you have the pump on the ground and the ejector package down in a well, you circulate the water through the ejector to "push" the water up high enough for the pump to "suck" the water up the rest of the way so the pump can deliver volume and pressure.

    I can explain more if you wish.

    The fuel pump takes the place of the water pump motor and impeller and the Tigerloop becomes the ejector part of the pump. They work together. When the fuel pump circulates the oil through the Tigerloop, it goes through a restriction/venturi which creates a vacuum. The vacuum will be only as high as it needs to be to "lift" the product. The higher the lift or restriction, the higher the suction/vacuum lift will be. In the case of oil, the higher the restriction, the greater the chance of the oil out-gassing giving oil bubbles.

    The best thing about Tigerloops is that when they shut off, they will have some amount of oil inside them. With that amount of oil in the Tigerloop/pump circuit, the lesser chance you will have a problem with the burner not firing on start up for lack of oil like you might with a straight two pipe system when you have a vacuum leak or leaking shaft seal.

    Tigerloops Rock!!!
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Tigerloops/Pumps: Oil Filters

    By the way,

    Nice filter.

    If that isn't a "Model R" by Garber, they work better than some aftermarket units I see. The one that comes with Tigerloop Ultras isn't  Gar-Ber and I find that they don't filter as well as the first one I install. I now swap them in install and throw the old one away.

    Cheap filters cost money

    Model "R" filters are 10 Micron. Model "M", the long ones are 40 Microns. I think that the Model "R" filters are rated tor 12 GPH. Unless you are running a burner over that, a Model "R" is all you need. And with the crap oil I've seen this year, although I have seen a lot of gooey sludge in the inlet side of the filter but the outlet is clean to the bottom. The first filter is always a lot heavier with sludge than the second.  
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Posts: 2,385Member
    noone is knocking anyone

    My motto is whatever works for someone, God bless. No 2 of anything will be the "same". Each case is different, and will be remedied as such. I have nothing against tiger loops, just never needed one to solve a problem. I would rather replace a bad fuel pump, repair an air leak, or any restrictions causing a fuel supply problem. They have been around a while like a lot of other gadgets. Some are a hit, some are not. I'd like to think that other countries have seen what we had years ago and say that is clever too!! 
  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 536Member
    Plain and simple ............

    A Tigerloop is not a pump .

    Will a Tigerloop pump oil on it's own ? Or does it need assistance from another integral part of an oil burner to work ?

    You can go into detail all you wish . But a tigerloop is a de-aerator . Plain and simple . It vents air from the return side of the oil burner pump into a separate chamber with a float . Once the oil from the return port raises the float , it shuts down the vent opening and recirculates the return oil with the oil coming from the tank . In essence , creating a 2 pipe system from one pipe .

    With the oil burner "pump " doing the pumping .

    Without the oil burner pump , all you got is a fancy plastic part with 3 openings and see-through casing to see the guts :)

  • SLO-115SLO-115 Posts: 196Member
    Its been code in ontario since 2000

    To upgrade oil lines with "approved" coated line. Underground tanks have been straight up illegal since 1993 and must be removed by 2008.

    ``Tiger loops are not pumps and do not add suction`` is what one of the head boys at tiger loop told me once. In the maufactures book it tells you the max lift a loop can handle. Even with  two stage pumps these numbers from tiger loop arent that impressive.

    Saying that i have proof of the power of a tiger loop with radiant tube heaters. Theres could be 18ft of lift plus another 50ft of horisontal line. Some of these setups are only rolling with a single stage pumps. Tiger loops are pretty sweet deal when you can eliminate a boster pump system. I do use them, and like them in some situations. Its still cheap for me to pay one of the guys a couple of hours to break the floor up and cement over it. Hell we have even rolled up carpet to trench a oil line.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member

    Will an ejector pump, pump without its ejector? No.

    Will a Tigerloop pump without being connected to a fuel pump? No

    Will a fuel pump connected to a tank that needs lift develop vacuum pressure quickly? No

    Will a fuel pump connected to a Tigerloop develop vacuum pressure quickly? Yes

    It's part of a pumping system.

    You can see it however you want. It's the Bernoulli (sp?) effect.

    If you put a pressure gauge on the two oil lines to and from the fuel pump through the Tigerloop, they are positive. It is negative on the single line inlet, from the tank and to the Tigerloop. The Tigerloop is part of a pump assembly.

    Look at it how you want. It is part of a pumping assembly. There is no other way it can work.

    How else, or what else would you call it if a fuel pump, hooked up with the pump bypass plug, will circulate 18 GPH of fuel, and pass this fuel through the tank and back, while using 1 GPH for firing the unit? A circulator pump. If you take the same situation, where the pump outlet is delivering 1 GPH to the burner, and the other end is providing 1 GPH, but the parts on either end are delivering or using 18 GPH, that part in the middle is part of a "Pump". That's how it works. It may have a stated benefit of de-aeration, but it is first a pump.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member


    FWIW, there isn't one thing in that PDF that says anything different from what I am saying. And nowhere does it say that it isn't part of a pump. But it DOES show that it is part of the fuel pump system.

    I haven't seen that brochure but from what it says, you all better get used to using Tigerloops. Because the Europeans have recognized that two pipe systems are a disaster waiting to happen, Like UST.

    Think what you want.

    Whether I say it is a "pump" or "the Tigerloop is part of a pumping system", it's still a pump.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Tigerloop Vacuum:


    If you install a Garber filter with a vacuum gauge on the inlet of the tigerloop, and connect to a tank on the same level but run overhead, the gauge starts at zero when the burner/pump is off. When you start the burner/pump, the vacuum goes way up to the level required to "lift" the oil to the highest point needed to start the syphon. Once achieved, the vacuum pressore drops to zero.

    Like syphoning gas out of a car tank. You must lift the gas over the edge to start the flow.
  • Ron Jr.Ron Jr. Posts: 536Member
    edited February 2011
    It's real hard

    to have a conversation with someone who has to always be right .  

    An oil burner pump and a Tigerloop serve 2 different functions . One will do it's job without the other ( in most circumstances ) . The other adds more capacity to the pump and will NOT pump anything without the other .

    You want to argue semantics of what a pump is or does ? Be my guest . You want to believe the .pdf file backs your claim that a Tigerloop actually does the pumping ? That's ok too , I guess ......................... I can aslo claim the oil lines are part of a "pump system " . Are the oil lines doing the pumping ? The oil filter ? Oil tank ? Of course not . 

    I'm all for using Tigerloops when needed . To assist in lift or high vacuum conditions . To assist the oil burner's pump .

    Good luck in your endeavors Icesailor .

    Sorry Tony for hijacking this thread .
This discussion has been closed.


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