Cleaning a heating oil tank
For a heating oil or mazut tank maintenance is important. How does one reduce the costs?
The same can be said for professional diesel tanks for carriers, off-road fuel tanks for farmers or a mobile construction site, for diesel or petrol tanks on cruising or trawler ships, etc.
→ Emptying a fuel tank: before initiating any maintenance operation for a storage tank, the sensitive nature of the fuels deems it necessary to empty tanks for diesel or mazut. Unless exceptional circumstances are to be considered, it is preferable to wait for the tank to be completely empty before proceeding with any sort of maintenance or repairing operation. Should the volume of the tank’s contents allow it one could eventually take care of it by themselves but a specialized company will likely have to be called upon. Emptying a tank of diesel or heating oil requires the liquid contents remaining at the bottom of the tank to be pumped out and transferred to a temporary reserve where it should be held for the duration of the maintenance operation.
→ Degassing a fuel oil tank: the degassing operation of a fuel tank is quite self-explanatory, it involves the elimination of gaseous vapors suspended in the tank in order to avoid all risks for those who would intervene on the tank.
→ Pumping and treating waste: when we speak of waste we are referring to hydrocarbonated remains and deposits stacking up over the years. When coming into contact with an older tank’s metal or plastic walls you may solid a firm if not hard layer of old deposits and sediments. Then you will find a rather thick layer of softer sediments after which there will be a layer of more recent mudlike deposits that may resemble sludge (in both its appearance and odor) and finally what we call pied d’eau, which is a sort of very filthy and smelly water. This water is the result of years of condensation on all surfaces due to the thermal differences. Because this water is heavier than fuel it will gravitate down to the bottom of the tank. What is described here is an extreme case of pollution in heating oil tanks but we have seen nineteen centimeters worth of material at the bottom a large industrial fishing boat’s hold in Spain.
As stated by the law this material, being unfit to be called actual fuel, must be transported to specialized center for recycling. Following this operation, a tracking document for the wastes or for BSD will be provided.
Speaking from experience, this solid deposit and global liquid can reach up to 10% of the tank’s storage capacity.
→ Cleaning an off-road diesel tank: after completing the degassing operation, someone must climb through the manhole to clean the industrial high-storage capacity fuel tanks. For tanks of more modest sizes where climbing in isn’t an option, the person in charge of cleaning the tank must proceed with high pressure hose for hot water. It is in those phases that the results may noticeably differ, from a quick and rough cleaning of the tank to a very thorough and precise cleaning.
→ Drying an industrial road diesel oil tank: disparity in the quality of professional work applies here as well. From an excellent drying operation done with pressurized air to quick and incomplete mop-ups done with balls of more or less compressed wiping paper. This is how one or more fist-sized compressed swabs the size of a fist can be forgotten in an important industrial tank. After a while, the swab gets soaked in fuel, swells up until it crumbles completely. Once back in suspension in the tank's diesel volume after a flow pump refilling, these microscopic fibers float up to the station's filter and quickly clogs the filter pistol, impeding the fuel flow to the vehicle's tank.
→ Examination: the cleanest surface walls are carefully examined in search of any possible crack. A sealing test may be carried out on this occasion.
→ Returning the fuel that was transferred out at the beginning of the operation back into the tank. If you wish to condemn your tank on the spot then it will be filled with a solid and inert material. (Washed sand) Otherwise it may be sliced into pieces and recycled.
This complete maintenance procedure is recommended every ten years on average. But important disparities occur here as well: in poor conditions it would be every five years while in better conditions every fifteen years or far more.
What are these poor and better conditions we just mentioned?
A few poor conditions: your installation is very old and is hardly taken care of, you buy heating oil for two years straight to get rid of this burden and to avoid coming inflation, your setup has not been realized properly from the beginning, etc.
How to reduce poor conditions while increasing better ones and more importantly while spending as little money as possible?
There are fuel additives of organic origin made from enzymes (natural proteins) that can very noticeably improve your engines and boilers performance, burning either heating or diesel oil, off-road gasoil, biodiesel. Adding this non-chemical additive will clean your tank over time as well as all your installation (fuel pump and burner), it will eliminate sediment deposits, mud and water from the bottom of the tank thereby preventing any organic pollution or contamination. This refreshed and rejuvenated setup will mechanically reward you with greater performance for just as much work and with an inevitable decrease in consumption and in emissions of polluting gas and fumes. These organic fuel additives are always the most eco-friendly and usually the most complete and the most affordable.
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