With winter just around the corner it’s time to check your heating systems are ready for coldest time of the year. Checking for damage and wear to your tanks and pipework also water in your heating oil.
What the Association says
Federation of Petroleum Supplies (FPS), the oil distribution association has launched its campaign this month to get rural households to be prepared for winter and start thinking about their heating oil and heating systems.
Chief Executive of FPS, Mark Askew says, “By planning ahead, you can ensure you are ready for all that this winter has in store for us, including managing the additional heating costs and making sure you don’t run out of heating oil for your homes when you need it most,”
“There are 1.25 million homeowners currently using heating oil to stay warm and its these individuals we want to ensure are ready for winter this year.
As these homes are often in rural locations, when the weather turns cold it can be particularly problematic if plans are not in place to cope with the winter months. The good news is that there are many things you can do now to ensure you’re prepared for when the weather stops being mild, including checking your oil tanks and heating systems today.”
What you can do ?
Here at Fueldump we are seeing an increase in activity due to people looking to get their heating systems ready for the cold months. Now is a good time to be doing a visual inspection of your tank, pipework and boilers. Booking a heating system service if it hasn’t been done already, also check your filters and fire safety valves.
We have also seen a huge jump in the number of people with problems related to water in their heating oil tanks. This problem is due to condensation inside the tank during the summer months dripping into the oil and building up at the bottom of the tank. This can cause massive headaches for oil burners and boilers, damage to the jets and internal parts due to rusting components if the water isn’t removed from the system. This unwanted water problem can also sit in the supply pipes from the tank to the boiler and in extremely cold weather can also freeze and block the pipes all together.
Water in your heating oil
There are many products available to help stop water problems with the oil fired heating system. The damage that can be caused by ignoring this problem can be extensive. Metal tanks can rust from the inside out due to the acidic nature of the sludge that can grow because of the bacterial content of the water. Pipes can freeze and end up blocked if there is too much sat in them for long periods.
The first question most people ask is how do you find out if you have water in your heating oil? The simple answer to this would be to use something like Kolor Kut water finding paste. This paste, once applied to a dipstick and dipped into your tank until it hits the bottom will change colour if it comes into contact with water. So then remove the dipstick and see the level of water and the extent of the problem.
How do you remove water in your heating oil?
Ok so how do you get rid of the water ? There are a couple of ways to do this depending on how severe the problem is of course.
Firstly if you have a small amount of water in your heating oil use an oil tank sponge. This is a polymer sock like sponge that gets dropped into the tank on a small rope. The sponge will sit in the bottom of the tank and soak up any water that is residing there. After a day or two you can pull the sponge out and dispose of it. Be sure to check its all gone with the dipstick and paste again. The oil tank sponge works because filled with a chemical granule that only soaks up water and not fuel.
If you have a severe case of water in your heating oil, this can be overcome by using a pump. To pump out water from the tank a submersible pump can be used. These are reasonably cheap and easy to get hold of too. Here at Fueldump we supply the Amazon 12v submersible pump for exactly this purpose. The pump can be connected to a car or leisure battery and easily piped up with most common garden hoses. You would drop the pump into the tank and the pipe into a bucket. Pump the water out until the fuel starts coming through then stop.
Keeping on top of the problem
Finally once you have solved the problem how do you monitor it and keep it from building up again. We would suggest perhaps keeping a couple of the oil tank sponges handy. A couple of times during the summer pop one in and leave for a few days at a time. Another way to monitor and keep on top of it would be a water trap filter for heating oil.
This filter consists of a clear plastic bowl and a water drain tap. So regularly checking the bowl for water and draining any off that builds up in the system. These are easily retro fitted into a standard oil heating pipeline. This filter can be supplied with compression fittings. You can also replace your current filter as it will also filter particulate up to 100 microns.
All of the above products are available here in our heating oil water removal section on our website. Depending on the severity of the problem several kits are available featuring the products above.