Waste oil burners, whether in a boiler or furnace, can save you a lot of money over several years. They make it possible for a person to heat their entire building off used motor oil and can literally reduce your monthly heating bill to nothing.
Thats a powerful concept in my opinion. To have the ability to eliminate an expensive utility bill from your monthly expenses is luxury that a) most people do not have because they cannot afford the initial costs of the machine or b) many people have no idea even exists.
But far too often the owners of these amazing devices do not take the proper steps to maintain them. Good quality waste oil burners will cost at least $6,ooo and thats without the installation costs or shipping.
As long as you are able to use your waste oil heater for at least ten years without any major problems you will get your money back in 2 years maximum but if your waste oil furnace or boiler breaks down every couple weeks then your whole investment will be a complete waste.
Here are some steps you need to take in order to make certain your waste oil burner is problem free.
Filtering the Oil.
The main thing you need to do is filter all the used oil going into your heating system. This cannot be emphasized enough.
Used motor oil is dirty (of course!) in nature and has tons of dirt, metals, sludge, and moisture in it that can really clog up your oil burner nozzles. You would not believe how many people just put the used oil in their holding tank without filtering all this junk out.
You are going to need to find a way to run the motor oil through some 30 micron filters before it goes into your holding tank leading to your oil burner. Running it through two filters is even better.
I have a mobile oil change business so when I would get back to the shop I would suck the oil from my oil change van with a pump into a 250 gallon tank. Before it enters the tank though it would run through a Dahl 30 micron filter. This would be the first step. I would let the oil settle in this tank so whatever sludge was still in the oil could settle at the bottom. Then I had another pump suck the oil from this tank into my main holding tank that is adjacent to the actual waste oil pump leading to the waste oil burner. On the way there it would pass through another filter.
I am not going to lie this whole process took a lot of work at first. I had to come up with a system, set it up, and then implement it. It was fun but tedious at the same time.
Quite recently I have aquired a waste oil centrifuge which makes this whole process a lot easier. These centrifuges spin the used motor oil at thousands of rates per minute in a circular motion , in which all the dirt is spun out to the side, virtually making the oil almost as clean as when it was just put into your car (but without the additive package).
These centrifuges can be purchased for a little more than a thousand dollars and can save you a lot of headache though I went two years without it and did just fine. I have become lazier over the years though and want to automate my whole system as much as humanly possible and these centrifuges make it possible.
Get Yearly Tune-Ups
You are also going to need to get annual tune ups. This is another important part of your routine maintaince that many often skip. This is where a certified boiler or furnace technician comes in and replaces your nozzles, cleans your system, tests you whole system with a CO2 anylizer,changes your oil and air filters, and several other small things that keep your system running at an optimum level.
These tune ups can easily run you several houndred dollars but when you consider what they are saving you in the long run the price is cheap.
You can learn how to do these year tune ups yourself on your waste oil heating system if you want to save some money. I will however tell you that they are difficult to do and take a lot of time. If you want to invest in the proper tools and have someone train you then I say "go for it."
That it. There are several other little add-ons you can get for your oil burner, like a boiler fuel economizer, but they are totally optional. They just make your system run even more efficient and allow your boiler or furnaces to use less fuel while supplying the same amount of heat.
Following these two steps which include a) filtering your oil to the best of your ability and b) getting annual tune-ups will give your waste oil burner a long lifespan. As long as you can secure a steady supply of waste oil, transmission oil, gear oil, or even vegetable oil you will have many years of free heat for your home or business.