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Oil Delivery only filling to "3/4"

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Mobius1
Mobius1 Member Posts: 3
Hi Everyone. Just joined. Searched, but didn't find what I was looking for.

Over the last year, my last two oil deliveries my tank gauges only gets up to just less than 3/4. This time I was careful and I called in when the gauge was at 1/8 maybe even a touch lower. Anything over 170 gallons gets you special discount pricing, which in New England, helps.

Well this morning the whistle stopped at 144 gallons. My tank is only 7 years old, and I took the fuel gauge off. It's clean, no sludge, and it move freely by hand.

The gauge is facing the correct way (arrow to end of tank, away from fill and vent tube). It's not a combo unit, the gauge is separate from the vent and whistle alarm.

I was initially expecting the gauge to be visible bent, damaged, or sludged up. While I'm happy it doesn't appear that there is a lot of sludge, I'm unsure where to look next.

Could the whistler alarm be faulty? Is that even a characteristic fault, that the whistler stopes say 40 gallons early?

I was going to run out and get an aluminum meter stick and try to measure the depth of the oil today to get an estimate of whats in the tank. I thought I had one of those collapsible rulers, but I can't find it.

Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    edited December 2021
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    This isn't uncommon. It depends on a few factors. Most important, the driver has to deliver at low speed. If they are blasting it in at 90 psi, it foams up, hits the whistle early and the driver stops filling. Maybe they can either pump on low. Or after the whistle stops, wait a few seconds then start filling very slow. Slow enough to hear the whistle again until it stops. You'll easily get another 30 gallons in there.
    The other issue may be related to piping. Is the fill and the vent/whistle on the closest two bungs or separated (one on each end is best). Filling like I said, I can get about 255 into an empty 275.

    A normal whistle is about 3" long to stop the fill safely & allow room for expansion. For example, you get a delivery of 20° oil into your 65° basement. The oil will expand. Can't tell you the formula but I know from experience that in a 3000 gallon truck, 30° temperature rise will add about 42 gallons. I only know this because on the load ticket it shows gross gallons, and net gallons corrected for 60°.

    If the gauge is on the end bung, the arrow should be pointing toward the other end. Depending on the gauge, if it's one you screw in, I hope you held the float all the way up when you spun it or you'll damage it. You probably did it correctly by accident with the tank almost full. One of the other types of gauges has 4 screws, you take the sight glass off and lift the entire innards out.

    I don't recommend opening the tank in the basement. If you fail to seal it correctly it could weaken the whistle signal and could even leak. Now it's your fault because you touched it.

    Maybe explain to your oil provider what happened and ask the driver to deliver at low speed, or like I said.
    The oil company isn't trying to short you so you don't get the discount.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    HVACNUTSuperTech
  • Mobius1
    Mobius1 Member Posts: 3
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    Steve,

    Thanks for your fast reply. I did listen to the pumping today, and when the whistle stopped, he went back to the truck and turned in back on, and immediately shut it down. Now I don't know if he was doing that just to finish off the gallon so to speak to round it out.

    I never would have thought foam could cause that much. I've been using this oil company a little over 2 years now, and never had an issue until the last 2 fill-ups.

    The way my tank is piped is the fill tube comes into the first bung, the vent tube is piped into the second bung, the third bung has the fuel gauge, and the last bung has a cap with a square head on it.

    I did think about temperature, and this tank is in my garage. It's an attached garage and it usually stays around 40* minimum in the winter. It might get a smidge colder a couple of days a year, especially because the tank it next to a man door. So I checked the fuel level when it just turned off the pump, and 30 minutes later, and then at the hour mark and my gauge didn't move.

    I absolutely did hold the end of the gauge up all the way while turning out the head. It was sort of a pain because I built a 2X4 and plywood shelf over the oil tank for storage so there isn't a lot of room, but I did hold it out of the way. My fuel gauge has a clear screw off cover and then the metal bar and indicator for the level.

    When I took the gauge out to inspect it, I looked in the tank, and it's down 10 or 11" inches from the top. I wiped off an aluminum yard stick and put in it, and it didn't touch liquid for 10/11". So I would take this as the gauge is reading correctly. just below 3/4 seems pretty close to me for missing that much oil. So I didn' run out and get a new gauge.

    Next oil delivery I'll definitely ask if they can pump it slower. I'm not always home when they deliver, buy maybe they could note the account. Like I said, they delivered probably half a dozen other times before and didn't have this issue, it started the last 2 times. Usually it like 7/8 full and that was okay. No reason to push it and a little expansion is okay.

  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
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    I am in Connecticut, so I can relate. My gauge reads 7/8 full after a fill also.
    The fill pipes used to be 2" and 1-1/2" for the vent.
    Now they require 2" for both. A delivery driver explained to me that it is because the newer trucks pump faster. And no driver wants to be responsible for the clean-up after they have flooded your basement with fuel oil.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,847
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    MA used to require a 2" fill and 1 1/4" vent for years. With multiple tanks each tank had to have it's own fill pipe. No crossovers. Never had an issue if they were piped right. Many used to cheat and use an 1 1/2" fill because 1 1/2 measures about 2" OD and the Fire Dept. didn't have a clue

    Now they use crossovers for two tanks and 1 vent. Fill pipe size and vent size must match around here.

    Everyone uses 1 1/4 because it's cheaper and easier but I suspect smaller pipe =more foam. Maybe not
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    I thought you had a picture up? Yes with the fill and vent next to each other, and that long vertical drop, fast filling will foam up and hit the whistle a little early. The fact that it just started happening could simply be a different driver, trying to fill it faster.

    @MikeAmann 2" vent is not longer required by code. I do 1 1/2" supply, 1 1/2" vent. Newer trucks don't have to pump faster, they just want to get more deliveries, or so they think. Haste makes waste, or potential mess, right?

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    Robert O'Brien
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
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    Here is mine. I replaced the pipes years ago and made them both 2".