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remove sludge

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rgar98
rgar98 Member Posts: 59
Hello,
I have a 45 year old tank with "normal" amount of sludge (I'm guessing here).

Is it feasible to pump sludge out of tank through the bung at the top of tank?

Is there a better way?

Should I even bother; I have two filters in the fuel line and no apparent problems... yet?

Thanks.
Richard

Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    No amount is 'normal'. 45 years old, may be time to change the tank. The sludge may be keeping it from leaking.
    Every time I've ever took an old tank out that had 'one' pinhole leak, the following always happens.
    -Cut the tank in 1/2.
    -Scrape out all the sludge.
    -After the tank was clean, there were at least dozens of pinholes that weren't leaking only held back by the sludge.

    Run the tank almost dry. Hand pump the oil line from the burner back to the tank. Replace the tank. If the oil line is the same age, upgrade to jacketed oil line and install to code.

    Basement tank, treat once a year with proper additive. Outside tank, depending on climate, 1/2 bottle every delivery, keep tank full thru the summer.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Robert O'Brien
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    I agree , If you have a sludge problem the tank was installed wrong from the start . Which was normal . The sludge is acidic ,so by the age it's best to start with a new tank correctly install .The tank needs to have a 1/4" pitch to the bottom tank valve with a filter at the tank . What works is 13" legs on the far side and 12" legs on the valve side , the extra hight gives you space to install a filter at the valve . With a 1/4" pitch any water would collect in the filter can . The collection of water and oil, breeds an algae which lives between the layer . The algae eats the oil and poops out sludge . That is where sludge comes from ...The algae can't digest the sulphur in the oil and poops out sulfuric acid which eats out the bottom of the tank .

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    PC7060
  • Ctoilman
    Ctoilman Member Posts: 105
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    If you're not having fuel related burner issues, leave the tank alone.  Don't add another filter either, it'll just add a fuel line restriction with no added benefit.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    edited April 2021
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    Since when is double filtration not beneficial? General, then spin on.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    SuperTechRobert O'Brien
  • Ctoilman
    Ctoilman Member Posts: 105
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    Don't like spin-ons, they are a **** to get off when someone will overtighten it.  Biggest issue is you can't see what's in the spin on, I want to see what's being filtered.  No issues with a single General at the tank.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,205
    edited April 2021
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    An oil filter wrench makes getting the spin on filters off easy. Diagonal cutting pliers can be used to free a spin on filter as well. 
    I can usually see whats collecting in the spin on filter by looking in it when I take it off.  A bad one will have junk at the top of it, you can also see the contents when its dumped out into the oil bucket. Another benefit is not having to clean sludge out of the filter canister.  

    Double filtration is the way to go.  Never had a problem with it. Buderus even specifies it in the installation manual.  General filter at the tank helps prevent plugged oil lines, spin on filter at the burner protects the oil pump and burner nozzle. 
    Concerned about the possibility of a restriction? Install a vacuum gauge.  
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,827
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    I like a general filter at the tank and a spin on at the burner . Yes the spin on is only 1 micron more but in the design there is no bypassing like a general . A vacuum gauge would be a handy tool . Yes ,even I over tighten spin on filters for fear of a leak . The proper way is oil the gasket and hand tighten . Then a oil wrench to get off ...

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,544
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    No amount is 'normal'. 45 years old, may be time to change the tank. The sludge may be keeping it from leaking.
    Every time I've ever took an old tank out that had 'one' pinhole leak, the following always happens.
    -Cut the tank in 1/2.
    -Scrape out all the sludge.
    -After the tank was clean, there were at least dozens of pinholes that weren't leaking only held back by the sludge.

    Run the tank almost dry. Hand pump the oil line from the burner back to the tank. Replace the tank. If the oil line is the same age, upgrade to jacketed oil line and install to code.

    Basement tank, treat once a year with proper additive. Outside tank, depending on climate, 1/2 bottle every delivery, keep tank full thru the summer.

    Agree. At 45 years old, it's better to change it a year too soon than a day too late. 2 micron filters are available
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