How to Convert a Furnace to Waste Oil

Written by keith allen
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How to Convert a Furnace to Waste Oil
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Many models of furnaces that burn home heating oil can be converted to burn waste oils, including waste motor oil and waste vegetable or cooking oil, according to the website of the University of Vermont. These waste fuels are similar in consistency and viscosity to home heating oil. Most home do-it-yourselfers possess the tools and skills necessary to make the conversion.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Barrel
  • Oil pump
  • Filter, 1 to 5 micron
  • Electric blanket
  • Gun type oil burner

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  1. 1

    Prepare a barrel or other storage tank for the waste oil. A 55-gallon drum is commonly used. Place the drum above the intake to the furnace to allow the fuel to drain by gravity into the furnace burner.

  2. 2

    Filter the waste oil before storage using a 1 to 5 micron filter. The transfer of the waste oil from transportation tanks, through the filter system and into the storage tank or drum usually requires a hand- or electric-operated oil pump. Allow waste motor oil to settle so solids and heavy oil materials settle to the bottom of the barrel, according to the website Pump the purer waste motor oil from the top of the barrel.

  3. 3

    Preheat the waste oil. Both waste vegetable oil and waste motor oil must be heated before combustion. Use a gun-type oil burner aimed at the heat exchanger containing the oil pipes for waste vegetable oil. Wrapping a final oil filter with an electric blanket will warm the oil before it enters the burner pump, where it is sprayed under pressure into the combustion chamber for burning.

Tips and warnings

  • Monitor the nozzle where the oil is forced under pressure into the fire chamber. According to the University of Vermont website, these nozzles can last as little as two weeks if waste vegetable oil is used. A siphon nozzle lasts up to eight weeks.
  • Waste motor oil burns hotter than standard home heating oil. This can actually burn a hole through the firebox. Use only furnaces rated for burning waste motor oil.
  • Heating oil can explode under certain circumstances. Wear protective gear and have a fire extinguisher or water hose nearby, advises the University of Vermont website.

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