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Should I replace my oil tank?

scott_homeowner
scott_homeowner Member Posts: 5
edited October 2014 in Oil Heating
Contractors have given me conflicting information about my Cardinal 275 gal tank - installed in my basement in 1970. Does the rust on the bottom indicate it is time to replace this tank or is that rust superficial and not an indication of a problem? Given the age of the tank, do I go ahead and replace it anyway? (Photos are linked above.)

Comments

  • scott_homeowner
    scott_homeowner Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2014
    Thank you Jamie and bc3510 for your input!
  • scott_homeowner
    scott_homeowner Member Posts: 5
    edited October 2014
    Bob, We may opt for the "peace-of-mind" strategy.
  • ww
    ww Member Posts: 270
    edited October 2014
    scott..don't forget..the fuel line going to the oil burner is a few inches higher from the bottom of the tank. we all try to listen to the old timers and the information left by the dead men.

    I was told by an old timer that once you start with cleaning and messing with the sludge on the bottom of the tank you could cause trouble and leaks.

    I was thinking about doing that but didn't. i put in some of that antisludge once in awhile, turn off the ball valve and emergency switch for an hour or so when oil is being delivered.

    i tune up the boiler myself, vacuum it out and monitor it as well.

    when you put a new tank in the sludge will be on the bottom below the pipe as well unless they changed that. I sealed all the piping with the good blue sealant and all is fine. Put an inline filter as well and ball valve on the oil tank. i changed all the copper lines and fittings as well.

    you can also change the way the pump is set up with a two pipe system so you won't have to bleed it and have much of a sludge problem.

    I basically take care of the boiler and burner like an engine in a car.

    you will have to take in all the information and based on what you think will do what you feel is right. don't forget if ihave problems at midnight i don't call anyone else in..and take care of things myself.

    i personally just change parts when they are broken or i feel they are on the way out...that's just the way it is with me. if i have to change my oil tank at some point..i'll make sure who makes the tank, what material it's made of,etc,etc..

    looking at the photos most just look like surface rust...maybe from water dripping or something too.. i see the bottom pan under there...is this leaking and if so from where?

    it seems if this tank were rusted through there would be leaks all over the place.

    good luck in whatever decision you make.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    edited October 2014
    Ww, if I may I just correct a couple of things in your otherwise great post? :)

    Never ever would it be good to pump over oil from an old tank to a new one-the bacteria/algea in the old oil would make a premature sludge factory. Out with the old, in with the new!

    2 line systems make a sludge problem WORSE for filters etc. bc the pump flows it's full capacity thru them. Then there's the return line environmental hazard if it should leak. Not desirable. The solution is an oil deaerator that would accomplish self bleeding and overcome lift or high pull scenarios. I even use them on 1 pipe gravity fed jobs for convenience at times. The Tiger Loop Ultra with it's spin on filter is my go-to.

    My preference for above ground steel tank delivery piping is one pipe, off the bottom of the tank, tank pitched to the outlet, whenever possible to minimize build up in the tank.
    scott_homeowner
  • scott_homeowner
    scott_homeowner Member Posts: 5
    We currently have 1/2 a tank of oil and we were encouraged to have that oil pumped out of the old tank and back into the new tank. Thanks Bob for suggesting that isn't the best way to go. Some of you are recommending Tigerloops. None of the local service guys have mentioned this. I get that it addresses air in the fuel line; what's not clear is why I need this if the burner functions without it. (I have a System 2000 boiler.)
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Hi Scott, burn up that old oil, don't transfer! No one can say precisely where the "good" stuff ends and where the junk starts :) Start fresh with new oil. Plan the changeout related to your usage. Worse case the oil co can put you on 5 gall cans while the swap happens.

    Tiger Loops can be exotic for some outfits- but they've been around a long time. It's a sure way the burner gets solid oil to burn clean, they prime the pump and are convenient for service, and the Ultra model has a top shelf car type spin on filter built into it.

    The Loop will ensure your EK is getting the cleanest and best oil supply. The burner may run now, but is it running to it's best efficiency?
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    edited October 2014
    How were you filling the Garber? Something doesn't sound right.

    Running 2 line thru oil filters does NOT clean a tank, I can assure you of that.

    We are striving to not have to change filters 2x a year here.

    You want to run a single line top feed direct to burner, it can be fraught with issues.

    Completely disagree with the statement that bottom feed is not the best solution. Pitch the tank, reduce sludge build up.
    icesailor
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Really BC? You go right ahead and dump that old oil into a new tank. Customers will really love that and will be amazed at what you deem "acceptable" color oil to be viable vs what isn't. Give me a break.

    That Tiger Loop "contraption" is standard equipment on Buderus Blue Flame units. Why do you suppose that is? To jack up the price of an unjustifiable costly boiler in your eyes?

    Nice way to bash trade practices/people.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Replace the tank, bottom fed, and pitched towards the supply line per code. No need for Tiger Loops, and more important no 2 pipe, as Bob is dead on with high vacuum, and trying to filter all the oil, and crapping up the filter/strainer for no good reason. Also key, run a new sleeved supply line, and still put an additive in first fill up. Transfered oil or not, the inside of a new steel tank has been coated with oil that helps prevent rusting until filled for the first time. That will liquify
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Again, I will do a TL on a gravity fed just for the convenience, and the filter setup on it, on occasion. Mounted at the burner location where it should be.

    And the answer to the Buderus question is that they want the cleanest, most airfree oil at the lowest Hg for high burner performance. Those proprietary burners can see 350 pump pressure plus. Oil "stretch" is not acceptable.

    4-5 years a certified Buderus BF contractor here.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    BC. You prefer top fed lines. Do you drain the sludge/condensation from the bottom outlet, or do you wait until there is a foot of crap in the bottom of a tank?
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Sure, the potential for clogging at the tank valve can occur. But I would much rather that then a level or back pitched tank holding nasties and etc that will eat the tank much faster. If there's getting to be plugged up tank valves, it's time for at minimum some feel good tank treatment or tank replacement. Nothing lasts forever.

    The oil industry is not in good shape. Who wants to deal with no go's from post delivery sludge ups, fuel quality issues leading to soot ups, problematic delivery to the burners etc, noise, smell...
    Gas looks real good....

    We need timely replacements, and to take advantage of products that exist to make these things as troublefree as possible
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    But 2 pipe won't clean a tank. That was never the intention of the design. The return piping is subjected to pitting and erosion by the fuel and that "reaction" gets carried back to the tank. The return dumps the oil back into the tank, further stirring and agitating the algea bugs.

    Sludge is gonna win no matter what.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Pitting and erosion of the copper lines will happen regardless 1 or 2 pipe and where the filter is.. All you can do is protect the burner components. One can put a filter at the tank, even do a "sludge pot", but from there to the appliance it's still fuel deterioration.

    Again, the better of the scenarios is to pitch the tank to a bottom outlet to try to extend the tank life.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,021
    edited October 2014
    Bob Bona said:

    Sure, the potential for clogging at the tank valve can occur. But I would much rather that then a level or back pitched tank holding nasties and etc that will eat the tank much faster. If there's getting to be plugged up tank valves, it's time for at minimum some feel good tank treatment or tank replacement. Nothing lasts forever.



    The oil industry is not in good shape. Who wants to deal with no go's from post delivery sludge ups, fuel quality issues leading to soot ups, problematic delivery to the burners etc, noise, smell...

    Gas looks real good....


    Most people would switch to gas- either natural or propane, so for them none of this is an issue.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    icesailor
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,021
    That's not the whole picture- besides the aforementioned tank issues, there's inconsistent delivery, poor maintenance (if any maintenance at all) odors, puffbacks- the list goes on.

    People switch to propane because it isn't oil.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Bob Bona_4
  • ww
    ww Member Posts: 270
    ok great bob..i have a one pipe but figured would put that in since i read that it was an option and works in other cases...will do more reading on the subject...

    i was interested in that since it said in my readings that you wouldn't have to prime the pump again and you will have no sludge..as far as putting the old oil in the tank..that's not what i meant..i meant that if you put a new tank in eventually the sludge will be below the pipe anyway.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    The TL is an upgrade to any system. Some require it due to difficult piping configurations, others, it's an enhancement. And having the spin on filter as part of the unit is sweet.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Where are you located Scott? A couple of things here. First is The fill should not be larger in diameter than the vent pipe. Code here in Mass, maybe not where you are, but common sense just the same. Next is I hope the new tank will not have that shameful one piece valve under the tank. These are an accident waiting to happen. Have them go iron fittings, out to a positive shut off, an inline thermal valve, filter, and all flared fitting with a protected/sleeved oil line. I would also have all new piping and a new screened vent cap outside. Just some food for thought
  • scott_homeowner
    scott_homeowner Member Posts: 5
    BIlltwocase - I'm in NYS. I'll certainly pass along your comments re: fittings and valves to our installer. Thank you again for everyone's detailed comments re: proper tank installations. I've jotted down some notes to go over with our installer.
    Bob Bona_4
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Send your installer to this site, It's a great place to learn!
    Bob Bona_4
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    What a show.

    A Tigerloop at the burner with a spin on filter into the Tigerloop, and a spin on filter at the tank, gets rid of all the sludge issues. The pump strainer and nozzle never get dirty and can go for years. When you service the burner, there is usually a valve at the tank before the filter. A container under the filter with the filter removed, and the valve opened until the sludgies leave and the oil runs clear is a good way to get rid of sludge in the tank.

    When you return to the tank, you just run the oil around, expose it to air, and allow aerobic bacteria to grow and feed on the oxygen in the oil. Kind of like an aerator in an aquarium.

    A Tigerloop is just a 2 pipe oil system. Required in many countries in Europe. Like a lot of things that work well over there. Some feel that the USA is a different part of the universe with different laws of physics.
    Bob Bona_4scott_homeowner
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,083
    edited October 2014
    I don't know how old my tank was but when we pulled it out of the crawl space it certainly didn't look new.

    All it had on it was a UL number with "Underwriters laboratories" spelled out in script which to me screamed 1940s. No leaks or anything. I was told it previously didn't have a vent and that was added sometime in the 2000s along with the whistle. It had a valve on the bottom which had it's copper tube crimped off and then a modern single pipe top feed installed.




    This info may or may not help you, but I figured it couldn't hurt. If it was mine, and in my basement I would likely have it changed if I had any doubt. I know little to nothing about oil tanks or how often they rott out but what I do know is I highly doubt it waits until a convenient time to do it.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    That tank is late 50's, early 60's