Plumb Heating Oil Tank to Draw From Top

sofaspudApril 16, 2010

Hi. I am looking to get a number that the pros here might charge to change my bottom-plumbed heating oil tank to draw from the top. Also, would the method be to run a new home-run across the overhead to the furnace and hot-water heater (separate appliances), or would it be to merely plumb in into the existing line which runs along the basement floor? I live in the US in Massachusetts.

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What is the purpose of top plumbing on the oil tank?

It still has to go to the bottom of the tank to draw the oil.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 8:27PM
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Because it won't go all the way to the bottom. I have a problem with sludge clogging the bottom outlet that will get solved by drawing from the top.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 9:57AM
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What happens when your new line fills with air?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 10:17AM
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"I have a problem with sludge clogging the bottom outlet ..."

Might be time to drain the tank and flush the crud out.

If the sludge contains any moisture it will start to corrode the tank (and possibly has already).

    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Where I live, it costs almost as much to clean out a tank as it does to replace it, so I am looking to extend the life prior to going through that big expense. The tank is only 9 years old.

The issue I am having is that sometimes, I do not get enough oil flow from the tank to support both the furnace and the (separate) hot water heater, and the furnace starts to sputter. The only remedy that has worked is to have the lines blown backward into the tank. We are therefore assuming a bad fill at some point in the past and a collection of sludge on the bottom of the tank.

More than one of the heating oil guys I deal with have recommended this replumbing effort, so i am trying to get some idea of average cost so I know I'm not getting gouged.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:20AM
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You are going to have a problem with air lock.

Do it right clean/fix or replace the tank.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 11:21AM
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Drawing from the top is an OK procedure, but always difficult to know how far to stick the inlet pipe down, if your wishing to stay off the sludge.

The complications are that the oil pump(s) now has to have that additional suction capability to draw it up.

My advice would be to leave it on the bottom, convert or change your oil pump(s) to 2-line, meaning there is a return, recycling oil back through the top of the tank, which promotes oil turn over & filtration. Then if you have adequate filters, you can get that tank cleaned up at the same time with frequent filter changes.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 12:20PM
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I'm unclear how filtration would be improved with a return line when I have only one filter at the outlet on the bottom of the tank. Would the return line also be filtered? (It would seem to me that any flow back into the top would have negligible effect on 200 gallons of oil pushing out through the bottom.)

Would I have any luck staying as I am and changing the bottom filter, say, once per month during the heating season?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 1:51PM
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No, just the oil would flow more turning over and mixing the tank as the excess returns versus just draw and use what the burner needs. Certainly if you are finding dirt or gelled oil (oil & water) in the filter I would change it more often.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 3:16PM
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