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Suggestions on how to pull oil 12 feet vertical

chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
I just installed a oil furnace in my garage. Oil tank sits outside about 12' lower then furnace and about 15' away. My buddy who helped me with this and does it for a living told me to run one oil line from bottom of tank to furnace. We tried to fire it the other night with no success. We used a vacuum pump to prime and once it was primed it would fire but then shortly go out and lose its prime.. so here's some details the furnace is older but was removed working. Oil line is new and air tight.oil filter is at furnace not on tank( new). From what I read I might need a tiger loop? Or a supply and return oil line with a 2 stage pump? Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated
Thanks, chris
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Comments

  • rjheaterrjheater Posts: 6Member
    Are there any fittings from tank to pump? And if so are they flared or compression
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    There are 2 fittings one at each end and they are compression fittings. Also I forgot to mention in original post that oil burner had complete service done before we tried to test fire it
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,306Member
    Compression fittings are a no no on oil. If your buddy does this for a living he should know this.

    with 12' of lift, 15' horizontal pipe, filter and firomatic valves you may have more resistance than the pump can pull against. Can't fool mother nature. Your looking at a good 15" of vacuum at least

    If you really have 12' of lift from the lowest oil level the tank will see to the burner pump you will need a booster pump in my opinion.
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    12 foot is a high estimate it's probally more like 10 ft. And he has only been doing this for 3 years. I've read about booster pumps as well.from what I understand they move way more gph then a 2 stage pump that's why I thought a 2 stage might be better ? But this is not my area of expertise. Thanks chris
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member
    You exceeding the requirements from any fuel pump manufacturer. You're lucky if you didn't destroy the pump.
    As stated, you just can't have compression fittings. They just aren't always going to be 'air tight'.

    I agree with Ed. Only a booster pump will work.

    I wouldn't even try a Tiger Loop, or 2 line.

    I also don't think your friend is knowledgeable enough to properly install a booster pump correctly. And it has to be installed correctly.
    steve
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Yea I have to agree with you about my friend here. The problem is the shop is finished and need to move forward to get this to work. I will be changing the fittings out this weekend to flare. I had no idea. Thanks for the advise guys any way someone can send a link to direct me to a forum or website for a proper booster pump. Thanks Chris
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member
    edited December 2018
    I wouldn't bother with the fittings, it still won't work and the whole thing will need to be re-done anyway. The oil is separating due to extreme vacuum.
    Call an oil company with a full-service, service department. If you tell them you need a booster pump and tank, they (should) know what to do.

    http://www.suntecpumps.com/PDFs/US Form Bst Pmps - Install Info, Boost Pumps Bx-xxxxCM_03-23-15.pdf

    Here's an article that may explain why:
    https://fueloilnews.com/2012/08/30/oil-booster-pumps-revisited/

    In the meantime is there any way to SAFELY, put a small drum up there (at least 5' away), or a 5 gal jug and run an oil line to the burner by gravity/minimal lift? Short-term emergency only.

    Edit:
    Maybe you could try a 2 stage pump with a properly installed Tiger Loop at the burner (flare fittings). They claim they can do 17" of vacuum. Don't forget bypass plug for 2-pipe to/from Tiger Loop.
    http://www.suntecpumps.com/PDFs/Installation and Service Manual.pdf
    But if it doesn't work, you spent almost the same amount in materials for a booster set-up.
    steve
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Thank you for your help. There is no great way to temporarily fuel this this. As u can from photo but thank you for all suggestions
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 729Member
    edited December 2018
    Looks like #2 heating oil has a density of 51-59 #/ft^3
    That means to hold it at 12 vertical feet you need a Vacuum that is 4.25 to 4.9 psi less than atmospheric pressure. ( that's 7.2 to 10 inches of mercury, as a MINIMUM )
    https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/fuels-densities-specific-volumes-d_166.html

    To get oil to flow will take extra vacuum to overcome friction flow resistance of the pipe, ( and some amount more as oil gets more viscous at cold temps)

    I have no idea how good burner pumps are at pulling a vacuum, but you'll have to plug every air leak in the system or pump will have to try to purge the air that leaked in when furnace starts. And given enough air you can time out on fire safety before it does.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,306Member
    You could try any # of fixes but IMHO you could spend a lot of$ and get an unreliable system.

    I agree with @STEVEusaPA , I think a booster pump is the only real fix. You really need to look at how much lift you really have a couple of feet can make the difference between needing a booster pump and getting by without one.

    I always felt that 15" of vacuum is max and that may be pushing it. 1 ft of lift=1" of vacuum. The you add the oil filter, valves etc.

    So if your lift is 12' your in booster territory. 10' you may be ok if properly installed.
    Just my opinion
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    I just went out and measured it. From bottem of oil tank where line comes out to highest point is 11ft. Then line goes horizontal 14ft and then downward 4ft to oil furnace.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,306Member
    So you only have 7' of lift (11'-4').
    #1Get rid of the compression fittings
    #2 And @STEVEusaPA & I will respectfully disagree and others will disagree with me. I am a two pipe guy. Others will recommend a Tiger loop. Either one should work.
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    So what do u think I should try? Just to remove fittings and install a tiger loop? And you think that would pull the initial 11ft upward ?
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Lol sorry I just re read that.. I'm all doped up on antibiotics this week. So u feel just a simple 2 line system with proper fittings should work?
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,306Member
    Either a Tiger loop or a two pipe system. The joints have to be air tight which they will be if made properly.

    You have 11' up and the 4' down cancels out 4' of the up leaving you with a 7' lift.
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Ok cool. thanks again to everyone responding. I will definitely remove all compression fittings. I didn't know that the 4 ft coming back downward canceled out towards the 11ft. Thanks for the knowledge
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 729Member
    edited December 2018
    I don't really know oil equipment , but I wonder if a GOOD check valve at the tank would stop oil from draining back into tank if you have air leaks. This might keep air out of the line back to tank, won't do anything for line to burner though if leak is at top of lines

    Seems would need a filter between tank and that check valve to keep stray partials of junk from preventing that valve from fully seating.

    But seems with age at some point the check valve seal may fail and you'll have air, then no-fire.
  • kevink1955kevink1955 Posts: 64Member
    I would also move the filter out of the furnace and put it at the tank that would eliminate any leak at the filter gaskets as a cause for loss of prime. Not only does that 4' drop subtract from the lift but if you have a full tank you could take another 3' off the lift but only when the tank is full. You should be able to make this work.
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Ok great point. Yea I had no idea about all that I'm just a stupid fire protection pipe fitter lol. Being as the frame is old would you guys think I should just throw a new pump in as well ?
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Sorry typo pump is older ..not " frame "
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member
    edited December 2018
    No check valve, period.
    Either a 2 stage pump with Tiger loop, or with 2 pipe oil line. Or a booster pump.
    In this case I’d rather do tiger loop than 2 pipe just to save the aggravation of running the second line. I’d actually would rather see the booster pump, with a nice small tank so the oil warms up before being fired.
    Filter should be at the tank, but considering tank is outside/underground, firomatic then filter where pipe enters the building, then firomatic on the burner.
    Regarding fuel pump, and to make sure we are on the same page, they can be single stage or 2 stage. And either pump can be piped one pipe or two pipe.
    steve
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Yes tank is outside above ground. Pipe enters pole barn and runs vertical inside a wall bay
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member

    I would also move the filter out of the furnace and put it at the tank that would eliminate any leak at the filter gaskets as a cause for loss of prime. Not only does that 4' drop subtract from the lift but if you have a full tank you could take another 3' off the lift but only when the tank is full. You should be able to make this work.

    I don’t agree with any of this.
    Filter needs to be inside. Closer to the tank the better for keeping crud out of the oil line. It has nothing to do with eliminating a leak at the filter gasket. Any vacuum leak will cause a lack of prime.
    Maximum lift (vacuum) is a measured height from where oil enters oil line vertically to the center of the fuel pump. Leave amount in tank out of the equation.

    steve
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,306Member
    If you decide on 2 pipe the oil filter should be indoors where the lines enter the building so that any water from oil tank condensation cannot freeze. Also with 2 pipe the suction (obviously) and the return line should be submerged in oil. Once the system is primed and air free air can only enter the system through a fitting leak as both suction and return are submerged in oil.
  • rjheaterrjheater Posts: 6Member
    I would flare everything first and see where you’re at with it. Pull the pump strainer and make sure it’s clean.
  • rick in Alaskarick in Alaska Posts: 809Member
    Since you already have a single line run, just change the fittings to flare, and add in a Tigerloop at the burner. I had the same situation with a Riello burner, and they do not like vacuum at all, and it worked just fine. I actually had to use a vacuum cleaner to "pull" the fuel up to get it started, but it ran for years just fine after I did.
    The Tigerloop will also keep you from having to run a second line, and will help pre-heat the fuel.
    Also, I was sprinkler fitter for 6 years, but I came around and became a plumber/heating guy. So, you too can be saved B)
    Rick
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Ok will do. yea we used a air powered brake vacuum to pull fuel to burner and it worked and fired but like I said it would then go out and then we would try just using the pump and bleeder and it seemed like either 1 the pump wouldn't pull that hard.or 2 it had more air in line every time. Now flarring these lines can i use a automotive flare tool? And where can I get the fittings? Like a home depot or lowes? Or supply house .. Thanks. Chris
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,306Member
    I would go to an HVAC or plumbing supply you have to get a dreaded Tiger Lop anyhow. Pick up the flare fittings and a flaring tool. Get one of the new & good ones that burnish the flares they are the best
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Ok will do I guess one last question . Should I install the tiger loop before or after the inside oil filter?
  • captaincocaptainco Posts: 424Member
    Two stage pump is the answer. If there are no leaks a tiger loop isn't necessary. It gets installed after the filter. I have had many jobs in excess of 15' of lift and a two stage pump and single line did the job 100% of the time.

    Steve, I have used oil brass check valves (Firomatic) with no problem but with a Tiger loop they would not be necessary.
  • HEATthis08HEATthis08 Posts: 4Member
    Try putting a check valve at the tank
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member
    edited December 2018
    captainco said:

    ...Steve, I have used oil brass check valves (Firomatic) with no problem...

    My thinking for not using a check valve is:
    -If before the filter, risk of crud getting in there causing a restriction.
    -You can't clear a restriction with a hand pump (without removing the valve).
    -Cold fuel comes in from outside. When the burner shuts off, the fuel will heat up and expand. The fuel has no way to expand back to the tank and would either build up pressure, or force itself, unburnt, thru the nozzle.
    -Should not be needed if fuel system is properly designed, and vacuum/leak free.
    Just my thoughts.

    Of course, no check valves, shut-offs, etc. on return lines by code.
    steve
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member
    edited December 2018
    chris1984 said:

    Ok will do I guess one last question . Should I install the tiger loop before or after the inside oil filter?

    Firomatic valve right where oil line enters the building (code), followed by filter. Tiger loop at the burner. You can even get an Ultra and use a General filter at the incoming oil line, and then your second filter (spin-on) will be at the Tiger Loop.

    Better would be firomatic, General Filter, spin-on filter (where the oil line enters the building), then sleeved oil line to regular Tiger Loop (no filter) at the burner, flex hoses from Tiger Loop to 2 stage pump.

    I'd also pull the oil with a push/pull pump to the Tiger Loop before firing it up. You could pull the oil in the line to the disconnected Tiger Loop. Close your firomatic before the filter, hook up the oil line to the Tiger Loop, fire up the burner.
    Make sure you put the bypass plug in the 2 stage pump.

    Actually I would just have a competent professional do the job. But you get everything at the supply house (like Sid Harvey's). Then you can open the boxes and dry fit, to make sure you have the correct brass fittings, nuts and flex hoses with the proper ends. Proper pipe dope, no teflon.
    steve
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Thank you Steve for all the helpful insight. I wish I could find a good tech Ill gladly pay. Very hard to come across people who actually know their trade when it comes to diagnostics and trouble shooting. Most company's just want to put new systems in. Im in Bethlehem pa if anyone is interested
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Anyone interested in taking on this job? Thanks chris
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,720Member
    edited December 2018
    I'm about 1.5 hours away with no traffic, no accidents on the NE extension. If it were spring/summer I could do it. I just can't burn a whole day so far away.
    My first day off since the beginning of October was Thanksgiving. My next day off is hopefully Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, then not off again until March.
    There's a dozen oil companies up your way.
    steve
  • captaincocaptainco Posts: 424Member
    Jack Lehr in Allentown might be able to help you.
  • GBartGBart Posts: 753Member
    another crazy long thread

    only one way, 2 words

    there's also this thing called a vacuum gauge, our pumps can only pull a few inches of vac and running 2 lines is rediculous, you're pumping gear capacity which is 20gph through a 13gph when new and clean filter

    Tiger Loop
  • TomatoTomato Posts: 9Member
    Just a comment on Tiger Loop: read the instructions and follow them exactly. I have seen many broken castings on Tiger Loops. The metal is very fragile. They don't usually break when they are being installed, but they can break later which I don't need to say, makes a great big mess!
  • chris1984chris1984 Posts: 18Member
    Update: hey everyone thanks for all the in sight and suggestions. We tested the oil pump, thing was shot so replaced it.. still couldn't get a good prime so changed out all fittings to flare and added a check valve outside( easily removable for service) furnace fired instantly. So my buddy did all his smoke test and made all adjustments. Oil tank filled 2 days ago. Running like a dream so far. No more bullet heater 🤗😁
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