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Old 08-11-13, 09:23 AM   #1
Ryland
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Default Waste Veggie Oil as heating oil?

A friend of mine who is 82 and heats for the most part with wood but has a fuel oil furnace as back up is looking for a cheaper way to run that back up heat.
My first thought was waste veggie oil thinned with 15% gasoline, from the charts that I've looked at 10% to 20% gasoline should thin the oil enough at 60F to make it the viscosity of fuel oil, it will also make it much easier to filter, gasoline also doesn't separate from the oil, so constant mixing is not needed.
This is of course his back up heat for the house, so having it fail is not going to end well, so I'm looking for some good documentation to back up this idea, I'm also looking for other ideas on how this guy can heat his house at those times when he can't put wood in the wood stove, so I'd like to know of problems that he might have with this or things to avoid, first thing that comes to mind is changing the fuel filter more often because of crud that might be knocked loss from the change of fuels, other thought was mixing Diesel in instead of gasoline, it takes twice the diesel to thin the same as gasoline so it would cost more but it would be "safer", as it is a full tank of fuel oil is out of budget so he's using diesel to heat his house, anything is going to be cheaper then that.

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Old 08-11-13, 10:48 AM   #2
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Ryland

I'm surprized that in this arena anyone talks about burning furnace oil. I understand you are thinking bio-diesel. If you swing over to dudadiesel they have all the equipment for refining the stuff.

But I would have to think someone in their 80s would rather do other things than mess with bio-diesel. I would think a high efficiency split heat-pump would be a better choice. For the cost of either making bio with the proper equipment or trying to concoct alternate methods on burning veggie oil as furnace oil would very quickly add up to a split heat-pump unit.

Our fellow eco-renovator Xringer speaks very highly about the savings of his units.

With some direction from other eco-renovators here could step you through the installation process saving your friend significant money on the most expensive part, Installation.

We used to burn furnace oil for heating. And I as well, spent time wondering how to slash my heating bill. Augmenting our heat with burning wood. Chainsaws/ pick-up. No. Propane Ouch. We eventually have to embrace technology much like the oil furnace replaced the coal burning octopus.

We had installed geo-thermal units in 2009 We have reached the payback point and all the time staying toasty warm in winter and cool in summer. The question and fear of how much it will cost to heat for the up-coming heating season never occurs to us. So long oil!!

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Old 08-11-13, 03:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randen View Post
I'm surprized that in this arena anyone talks about burning furnace oil. I understand you are thinking bio-diesel. If you swing over to dudadiesel they have all the equipment for refining the stuff.

But I would have to think someone in their 80s would rather do other things than mess with bio-diesel. I would think a high efficiency split heat-pump would be a better choice. For the cost of either making bio with the proper equipment or trying to concoct alternate methods on burning veggie oil as furnace oil would very quickly add up to a split heat-pump unit.
This guy doesn't have the $500 minimum they charge to come out with a truck to fill his fuel oil tank less then half way nor the $1,200 it would cost him to fill it up all the way let alone the $1,000's it would cost him to have a heat pump installed, he is however in good enough shape to cut his own fire wood to cover most of his heating needs and is just looking for cheaper options on backup heat, he however does not want to mess around with refining oil in to bio diesel, that is why I suggested thinned veggie oil, it would bring his fuel cost down to that of a heat pump without the cost of buying a heat pump, but I've never worked with fuel oil furnaces.
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Old 08-11-13, 04:23 PM   #4
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Ryland

I just had a look over on the Ebay and 1 ton or 12KBTU split heat-pumps are about $550.00 I don't know how large a unit your friend would need but trying to feed an oil furnace these days is no answer. The cost of furnace oil in all likely-hood will jump in price just as your friend needs it.
As he is needing a heat-source just for back-up one 1 ton unit may fit the bill. Maybe with one of the suppliers they would split payments for monthly installments.

Trying to thin oils with gasoline and run what-ever through a oil-furnace sounds like a problem waiting to happen.

The weather is good now for installing a heat-pump and collecting fire wood. Maybe your friend could sell some fire wood to help make the purchase.

Having had the same struggles as your friend with a depressed economy and the price of furnace oil headed for the sky.The bit of newer technology saved my butt.

Randen
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Old 08-11-13, 07:49 PM   #5
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Ryland,

Do you have an idea of how much heat your friend wants or needs to produce to fill his needs? Does he own the home?

I know money is tight, but what options are possible depends largely on ownership status and heat load. Most of the rest is dictated by opinion or motivation.
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Old 08-11-13, 10:38 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jeff5may View Post
Do you have an idea of how much heat your friend wants or needs to produce to fill his needs? Does he own the home?
Well, the $500 it would cost for him to fill his fuel oil tank is more then he spends in a winter on going to the gas station and buying a 5 gallon can of diesel fuel, so I'm guessing he's using less then 100 gallons of fuel per winter, but the back up heat comes on for a day or two at a time when it's used.

From what I can find solvent thinned oil is very legit and works well, but is avoided because people like being purists or they like gadgets so there is limited documentation, but solvent thinned diesel is a cheap way to make winter diesel and is recommended in many shop manuals.
If it's going to cause problems I want to know what kind of problems, not just guess that it may be a bad idea.
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Old 08-12-13, 02:19 AM   #7
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Well, if the guy is thinning his WVO with #2 diesel fuel and getting decent results, he can thin it with somewhat less #1 diesel (aka K-1 or neat kerosene) fuel and get the same performance in cold weather. I wouldn't recommend mixing it with gasoline, due to the drastic change in properties of the mixture.

Then again, since he's 82 years old, he might not be chopping wood much longer. Unless he has a Samaritan supplying free labor or chopped wood, all it takes is a minor injury at that age to end his wood-cutting days forever. In my opinion, this is MUCH more important than other factors. In this light, a labor-free heat source is much more valuable.

Last edited by jeff5may; 08-13-13 at 03:45 PM..
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Old 08-12-13, 03:18 PM   #8
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I have just been playing with a honeywell oil burner, which was running on standard heating oil. I turned the fuel pressure up a bit and mixed some waste veg oil in with it. I reckon I had 30% paraffin to 70% wvo. Runs fine and really belts the heat out.

So now to make it run on 100% wvo....

Initially to get it started I will either use neat kero or burn firewood to heat the nozzle assembly and the preheater fuel coil on the firebox. Once the fuel heater coil is up above 80C, then the 100% wvo will be thin enough to ignite and burn properly. I get the wvo for free, so I only pay for kero. I will post some updates once I have added the fuel heater copper coil on Thursday.
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Old 08-12-13, 11:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nexsuperne View Post
I have just been playing with a honeywell oil burner, which was running on standard heating oil. I turned the fuel pressure up a bit and mixed some waste veg oil in with it. I reckon I had 30% paraffin to 70% wvo. Runs fine and really belts the heat out.
What made you decide to turn the pressure up and how did you tell how high was enough?
One thing I read said that you might get more soot and need to clean the burner more often, I haven't worked on oil burners before but I remember people used to have them clog up and soot up the house if they were not well cared for, does the higher pressure help with that?

Did the flame look different with the different fuels?

I have the book Sliding Home on order, it's about waste veggie oil and I'm told it talks a bit about thinning with solvents because even if it means that the fuel is not free I'd like it to be as straight forward and simple for this guy as possible and I know of a few places that I can get free oil from so there is a good chance that I could set him up with a winters worth of back up heat for just a few bucks.
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Old 08-13-13, 01:26 AM   #10
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The flame went much yellower and started to smoke when trying to burn 100% unheated WVO, just before the burner spluttered out. It would have been due to not atomising properly and throwing oil onto the rear wall of the very hot firebox.
I had tried to start it on a mix of 70/30 WVO/diesel, but it wouldn't light until I turned the pump pressure up. I found it was easier to light on diesel (or kero) and then very quickly move the pickup pipe to the 70/30 mix, once it had been on for a couple of minutes. This way it didn't smoke or flame out. The pre heater on the fuel will really help. I used to run my 4x4 diesel Land Rover on WVO with a twin tank system (start on diesel, then change to WVO once warm), so I know what difference the heater coil makes.
I will probably put in a twin tank system for this, with a temperature sensor on the preheat coil, and use that to determine when to change-over to pure WVO.

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