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Oil lines frozen help

Ken63Ken63 Member Posts: 3

i have a house in Fairfield Oh and like everyone we are not have a normal Winter Extreme cold now well heres my dilemma i rent this home out and the previous tenants let the oil run low well i filled the 275gall tank but inside my house when i went to bleed the line no oil and my oil filter is on the inside by the way and i have changed the nozzle,filter so i went outside unscewed the fitting under the tank its 3/8 by the way and it has frozen solid i called the oil suppler they said add a additive so i put to bottles of 911 diesel in yesterday and used a heat gun and UN-thawed the valve to where oil was liquid and dripping also the copper line about a foot before it goes underground for 15 ft and into the house and i don't know how deep it is under ground the temp was 15 below by the way and today it is a balmy 34 then it is going to drop back to 9 below any help would be appreciated thank you .


  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 1,506

    One sentence.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Frozen Help:

    With frost in the ground and the oil line going in to the ground and going through the wall, you have a problem. Its sort of like running your oil line through your deep freezer while it is running.

    If you have an outside tank, the oil in the outside tank is the same as the outside air temperature.

    Two things you can do. First is that the valve at the tank is probably a "Globe Type" where the fluid doesn't travel straight through but takes a circuitous path through. I always install them with the stem in a horizontal plane so that the condensate water always has a level path through the valve. However, you do NOT have enough money to pay me to fool with any part of that tank when it is that cold. Metal gets brittle and can break.

    The other thing is to take Frostex heating wire (NOT the flat 2-wire heat tape) and wrap it around the oil line from the tank to the ground. Wrap it with fiberglass or mineral wool blanket insulation or whatever type of insulation is recommended by the manufacturer. Do NOT use rubber covering type insulation under any circumstances. It can catch fire.

    I personally would be leery of tenants. You never know what they are going to do. A long term solution is for the valve to be flipped on its side so the ice doesn't dam up.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Where is the supply line connected?

    Top or bottom? You also need either "Hot", or "Superheat" additive. If it frozen and not gelling, you have a water problem
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Furry Nuts:

     ""so i went outside unscewed the fitting under the tank its 3/8 by the way and it has frozen solid "".

    You have some seriously furry nuts to have done that and got away with it. If I had done that, the oil would have started flowing and I would be calling Clean Harbors for a Haz Mat cleanup for a oil spill.

    Those of us who are experienced in such things usually feel that the odds of getting a 3/8" plug back into the bottom of a oil tank with 10 degree oil spraying all over us as slim to none.

    Next time, put a quartz light close to the bottom of the oil tank and let the heat from the light warm the oil and the oil line. At the very least, use a hair dryer. But DON"T disconnect anything.

    I'd be putting my oil soaked clothes in a third world suitcase ( 3 Mil Contractor Bags, doubled) for a one way ride to the recycling center. You can never get that oil smell out of oil soaked work clothes.
  • Ken63Ken63 Member Posts: 3
    Got it working!


    i got it working it was froze for about 2 feet in the line i blew it out from inside and to Fury Nuts there is a shut off valve under the tank at any rate she fired right up i bled the line and its worked every since
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Furry Nuts ll:

    Your words:

    "" i went outside unscewed the fitting under the tank its 3/8 by the way and it has frozen solid ""

    It sounded like you removed a 3/8" plug from the bottom of the tank. You didn't say that there was a valve between the plug and the tank. I also said in a post that if the valve stem is in a vertical position, water can gather in the valve, freeze and stop the flow. Flop it over to the horizontal position.

    I personally, NEVER touch very cold (well below freezing) without using a heat gun to heat up the piping and the fluid in it. Metal gets cold and brittle when it is that cold, it can break. That's where the furry nuts come in.

    I used to have nightmares about breaking off a oil line on a oil tank and no one was around. I held my finger over the hole and no one came to help. Those of us who always worked alone have scary thoughts like that.
  • Pughie1Pughie1 Member Posts: 116


    I too had the same nightmares! I used to carry a short broom handle whittled to a point right with me when I was forced into those situations. If it broke off I could jam the broomstick in to slow down the flow enough to figure out my next move.

    Actually came in handy once years ago, An oil driver accidentally stepped on the valve on the bottom of an old "end outlet" tank which was buried in the snow. We carried portable radios then and the call came over that he was in trouble. As luck would have it I was just around the corner, there he was with his hand over the outlet trying to stem the flow. It was in the low teens that day and he got severe frostbite out of it. But the old broomstick came in handy.

    John Pughe
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    WInter Experiences:

    Then, there was the customer that adopted a boy from Korea. He was supposed to be 3 YO but looked to be 6. He was very helpful. He watched everyone intently. When you weren't looking, he would take a tool from out of your tray and replace it with another that he had acquired. Like crows "borrowing" things. He never stole anything. Just swapped things.

    He watched the oil man make deliveries. He went around to some of the houses and played oil delivery man. He put the garden hose into the fill pipe and topped off the oil tanks. One tank was in a crawl space and disconnected. The tank didn't fill so he left it. He came back later and it was still filling. The owners came home and heard water running in the crawl space. They got a water bill for 10,000 gallons of water.

    Then, the "No Heat Call". The Engineers died. Three starlings fell down the chimney flue and blocked the vent outlet.

    Then, there was the time when I had to defend myself from a mother snake who's babies crawled into a 1 HP water pump motor and the pump jammed stopped. The mother snake met me at the bottom of the ladder to object. The crunching noise when I tried to spin the motor and the cooking snake flesh were a dead giveaway that the motor needed to be changed.

    The good old days.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Wooden Dowel Plugs:

    I made a few of those. But I knew that when I needed one (I never did) I wouldn't be able to find it in my truck in the heat of the action. I could be looking right at it and not see it.

    But I'd see something else that would work.
  • Pughie1Pughie1 Member Posts: 116

    Boy Ice - great stories - you missed your calling,you should have been a writer. to bad we couldn't get together for a cocktail, sure would be fun to rehash old memories.

    I'm a slow typer or I'd try to relate some stories my self. Talk about tools,once had an account that had a pet racoon living in the cellar. He was harmless but, every call you made there he'd  sneek around behind you and steal your bright colored tools & run up in the rafters with them. Had to get the owner to retrieve them.

  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited February 2014
    Customer's Pets

    I once had a doctor customer that had a Coati Mundi for a pet. They are really weird looking. A Central/South American ant-eater like animal with a ringed tail like a raccoon.

  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    roam the woods around here, but the wild ones are rather shy critters.
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,457
    edited February 2014

    the ones caring a rifle with a flask in their hip pocket!

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • kalimkhan0900kalimkhan0900 Member Posts: 1
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  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Outside tanks suck. Especially when the temperature gets in the single numbers or lower.
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