How to Keep Water Out of Heating Oil Tanks


It's been said that oil and water don't mix, and that old axiom is certainly true when it comes to heating systems. Water inside of an oil-fired burner along with its associated plumbing and storage tank can create significant problems.

Corrosion caused by water can penetrate pipes, leading to oil leaks and expensive cleanup. In addition, burners and boilers won't fire properly if water is mixed in the fuel, and this reduces heating efficiency and shortens the lifespan of equipment. That is why it is important to keep water from appearing inside heating oil tanks regardless of whether it appears via internal or external methods. Below is what you need to know about keeping water out of your heating oil storage tank.

Prevent condensation inside the tank

Moisture can enter your heating oil tank via the ambient air. Warm air is capable of holding a tremendous amount of water vapor—at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a thousand cubic feet of air can hold a pound and a half of water.

As warm air enters your tank through vents or filler tubes, it releases some of the entrapped water vapor in the form of condensation if the interior of the tank is cooler than the incoming air. If the interior of the tank is warm but cools down due to a change in exterior conditions, such as a sharp drop in temperature, the same type of problem can occur and cause condensation. Either way, after repeated cycles of condensation forming, a significant amount of water can accumulate. This water will settle to the bottom of the tank beneath the less-dense heating oil.

Due to the potential for water buildup due to condensation, it is critical to slow down the rate of condensation or prevent it altogether. Here are some specific things you can do:

  • Reduce interior heating—Keeping the air inside a fuel tank at a stable temperature can slow down condensation. This can be accomplished by painting exposed portions of a fuel tank a light color, such as silver or white. The reflective nature of these colors will keep the tank's interior at a cooler temperature and prevent sudden temperature swings inside the tank.
  • Maintain a full tank—Another way to prevent condensation inside your fuel tank is reducing the amount of ambient air. That means keeping the tank as full of heating oil as possible is a good way to lower the potential for condensation. However, be sure to keep the tank filled during warm months, too, as the hot daytime temperatures coupled with cooler nighttime temperatures can be a big condensation maker.

Prevent external water intrusion

Another means for water to enter your heating oil tank is by a direct opening to the tank. Improperly sealed vents and fuel filler openings are prime candidates for permitting water entry into heating oil tanks. That is why you should take a few steps to protect access to the tank so that caps and covers aren't removed. Either conceal these vulnerable points or install security fencing to prevent vandalizing and theft.

In addition, always inspect the vent and filler openings on at least an annual basis to ensure there is no cracking or other damage to the plumbing. Should you discover that gaskets, O-rings, or other seals are tearing or cracking, they will need to be replaced by a qualified heating oil distributor or repair professional.

Water can also enter your heating oil tank via leaks through the tank exterior or other areas where the integrity of the system is compromised. That is why it is crucial to also regularly inspect the exterior of tanks for areas of corrosion, and if your tank is involved in any incidents where it could have been damaged, it should be immediately inspected for punctures or separations between fittings or pipes.

For more information, contact companies that provide fleet fueling delivery service. 


25 July 2016

Cool off Your AC Bill

Every summer, I agonized over energy bills that would shoot into the stratosphere as a result of my efforts to keep cool in the heat. Every time I turned the temperature down, my bills increased. This summer, I decided to take some of the control over my energy bill back. I installed reflective film on my windows that reduced the amount of light and heat coming into the house. I started serving more cold meals or asking my husband to barbecue outside, so that my air conditioner didn't have to compete with the hot stove, and I started doing laundry at night to reduce appliance heat in the house at peak times. I also had ceiling fans installed. So far, the difference in my bill has been tremendous. This blog is a way for me to explore other ways to reduce energy drain during the summer months.