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Can anyone recommend an oil tank additive?

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Kelly Gilbert
Kelly Gilbert Member Posts: 86
Just found out our eight year old oil tank has sludge.  Our oil maintenance guy blew out a badly clogged line.  We can't afford to replace the tank right now and he suggested using an additive before the next fill-up.  Can anyone recommend a good one?

He said our Megasteam is burning super clean and looks great.

Thank you for your help.

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  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,443
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    FuelRite....

    products are very good. What do you have for a filer at the tank?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Additives:

    Sure can, It's called a Spin-On Filter (like a Gar-Ber) at the tank. No sludge will get by.

    My old auto shop teacher used to say "You can't buy a mechanic in a can". But a filter will do the same thing or be as close to one as you will find.

    There are some who have a love of installing what they call "Sludge Pots", a form of "Chamber Pot" where the sludge can accumulate and be filtered. My experience is that the sludge passes through the filter and accumulates downstream of the chamber pot, clogging the line and the next filter (if one is used) or the burner.

    I have found that two spin-on filters, one at the tank and one at the burner pump, will eliminate any call backs due to clogged nozzle strainer and pump strainer.

    My tank is 12 years old. It has sludge. I live with it. I change filters every two years. It doesn't need it but I do it anyway.  I have a restriction/vacuum gauge on the second filter at the pump. The other day, I heard the burner cycling so I checked it out. It would start, run for a few minutes and trip out on safety. Then, retry and run for a while. I didn't have any Garber filters at home so I went to a supplier that had another brand. Which are 3/8" longer than standard Garbers so I couldn't get my strap wrench on the canister. After changing the filters, I couldn't get oil to flow. I tried sucking it through the fuel pump. The vacuum went into the red. I removed the filter at the tank and had to blow the sludge out of the Firomatic bottom tank fitting with air. Three shots to get it clear. It runs fine now.

    So you see, sludge is something that happens. Like meadow muffins. If you don't have a spin-on filter at the tank, have one installed. If they won't put one in that is not a spin-on, find someone else to do it. In my almost too many years of doing all things like this, canister filters suck, and will allow the pump to suck about anything that will go through them to do so and cause a pump shut down. Which obviously happened to you or you wouldn't be asking this question.

    I have sludge. My customers have sludge. We deal with it. What was the recommendation? A new tank?

    A quality filter will solve the problem. Two spin-ons. Nothing else. NOTHING!!!
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 270
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    respectfully disagree

    2 spin on filters not needed, I find a cartridge type at the tank will catch the heavy sediment, and whatever passes thru will be trapped by the spin-on at the burner.  I have yet to find a dirty pump strainer when a burner was installed with a spin on filter  What passes thru the spin on also passes thru pump and nozzle,so by the same logic what goes   thru one spin on will pass thru the second. Sometimes the oil line will plug up, but I usually gravity flush when servicing.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
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    Multipliers:

    For me, is one spin-on is better than one cannister, then two are better.

    Some find the experience of cleaning out the crud of a cannister enjoyable, but I consider it like changing baby diapers. Spin-on's can get just as cruddy as a cannister. I like being able to spin it off and drop it into a container, draining out the oil and throwing it away.

    Spin-On-s will catch all the sludge you want. Here is an application with a UST that had to filtration on the primary pumps. I made this up to protect them. Notice the install dates on the left hand filters, then, the filters on the right. Those dates are when they were next changed.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
    edited October 2012
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    For the record

    Icy operates in an area with horrible fuel quality. And, as seen in the pics, does some fine work.



    But no one will need filters when the gas company gets serious about running lines to there..............



    Kelly, a filter at the tank will keep the line from plugging up. But if the tank is outside, install the filter inside, where the line enters the basement. This way it will protect as much of the line as possible, but won't freeze up if water gets into it.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
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    Parallel

    Those filters are parallel,not in series. Just adding more sq/in of filter area. That setup will not flow evenly through both filters until the one with the least resistance loads up enough to equal the higher resistance one. Those 500 sq/in each,why not just use one 700 sq/in cartridge?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
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    Right, that's a higher-capacity job

    "a UST that had (no) filtration on the primary pumps. I made this up to protect them".



    In this case a single spin-on would not have had enough flow capacity. I would have done the same thing.



    If things were bad enough that the spin-ons kept clogging, I'd put the biggest standard filter I could find before the spin-ons to catch the larger stuff. Icy's point about spin-ons being less messy to change is a good one, but the objective here would be to not have to change any of the filters too frequently.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Kelly Gilbert
    Kelly Gilbert Member Posts: 86
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    Thanks for your all your suggestions.

    We have a Gar-ber filter at the tank that our oil maintenance guy put on.  I did a lot of research about sludge in oil tanks since I last posted.  Our oil tank is only five years old.  I dumped my old oil company about six  years ago because of issues I was having with them (paying for yearly tune-ups that weren't actually getting done and a few other things I wasn't happy with)  and we have been purchasing oil from the cheapest vendor since then.  I was wondering if the oil we were paying for might be bad. Clean Harbors told me that it all comes from the same place, but some oil companies don't keep their trucks clean and can pass on sludge to customers.  However, I found out from a guy I spoke to at a 'reputable' oil company they referred me to that oil that has been drained from old tanks (lots of people converting to gas lately around here)  is being sold for $1 a gallon and some unscrupulous dealers are buying it and re-selling it and dumping the dirty and sludge-filled oil into people's oil tanks without their knowledge.  Has anyone heard of this?   Anyway, we are not in a position to replace our tank right now.  It's not leaking and I put a can of oil treatment in the tank and hopefully it will help some. Our oil maintenance guy doesn't think we should have any more problems for the time being.  Thank you so much for all the information and good advice.  I will save this thread for further reference.
  • Kelly Gilbert
    Kelly Gilbert Member Posts: 86
    edited October 2012
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    Thanks again.

This discussion has been closed.