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Old 01-24-2010, 07:23 AM   #1
bigdog
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Default Oil Tank Gauge?

Hi Folks....

I have a 275 gal. oil tank which has a defective 'gauge' on top of tank which measures amount of oil in tank.

Looks easy enough to replace by myself, but want a professional person who is familiar with these systems.

Besides, using a oil dealer maintenance technician, who could replace this
gauge? Oil burner tech ? Licensed Plumber?

And can you buy these gauges in a hardware or plumbing supply company?
Have priced on Internet avearging about $25.

It's a long story, but don't want to go to current oil dealer for service,
for this gauge replacement, unless I have to... Location Gilford-Laconia area.

All suggestions appreciated !

Bigdog
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:30 AM   #2
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Fix it yourself. If you can use a screwdriver, you can do it. Just unscrew the old gauge, take the new one out of the box, unfold it, and put it back in the hole. They even come with directions if you think it is tough. Takes about 10 minutes to do it. Get a good quality gauge from a plumbing supply house locally. I've replaced four myself.....in houses I have owned or my kids places. VERY SIMPLE Project. Save yourself the money...
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Old 01-24-2010, 07:52 AM   #3
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I have the same problem, the gage is integrated with the fill pipe, replacing for me involves removing fill pipe, which I guess would start out side with two big pipe wrenches. I have auto oil delivery which hasn't failed me yet. When I want to check the oil, I unscrew the glass cover, pull up the little gage and let it drop. When the float (now the sinker) hits the oil I can tell about how much I have. YMMV. Someday I'll get to fixing it, my burner has become a do it yourself project after several different days of waiting for Fuller to show up and being disappointed with out even a courtesy call, plus a fleecing by a local plumbing contractor.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:04 AM   #4
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Definitely an easy fix. The parts can be bought at aplumbing supply store or even Home Depot. I am more of a fan for the local supply house, but if it is a weekend or after hours, Home Depot does sell the same brand and quality of boiler and oil tank products. Recenetly needed a circulatorfor my boiler at home and picked it up at the Depot for $10 less than the supply house. Good luck, you CAN do it yourself.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:10 AM   #5
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Sometimes, just tapping or smacking the guage housing w/ a wood handle behind the guage will loosen it up and get the guage to reading correct. Also, tapping the side of the black 275-gal tank makes different sounding notes that indicate whether it is 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full.
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Old 01-24-2010, 08:51 AM   #6
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Our gauge works but as they are not all that accurate I use a more direct approach.

I loosened to finger tight an unused plug on the top of the tank so that it can be easily removed/replaced. I use an old fashion folding carpenter's rule to measure the distance of the oil down from the top. The tank is 44" high so down 11" is 3/4 full. Of course any tank never gets filled all the way, down 4" is about the limit of nearly full.

We have two tanks tied together and a steep driveway that rules out an oil delivery during most of the winter so accurate measurements are in order.
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:08 AM   #7
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I'm sure he will vouch for the majority of the folks that posted a reply.

I have switched over to gas on all my homes/cabins. Avoid all the oily stuff. If you have look into oil futures and then gas futures. You know the drill!
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:20 AM   #8
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Hey, tapping the side of a propane tank tells you nothing, but tap a wood hammer handle against a 275-gal oil tank and it lets you know where the oil level is at. ....bong....bong....bung....there's the top! ...
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:08 PM   #9
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Default propane tank level

Pouring some water down the side of a propane tank will tell you where the level is at. It's where the water freezes.
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Old 01-24-2010, 01:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
Hey, tapping the side of a propane tank tells you nothing, but tap a wood hammer handle against a 275-gal oil tank and it lets you know where the oil level is at. ....bong....bong....bung....there's the top! ...
If you are really in pinch for figuring out propane level, you can call 911 and they will bring the $750k fire truck equipped with a thermal imager and you can see the level almost directly
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:34 PM   #11
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Default Oil Tamk Gauge?

Thanks everyone for the info.

Sounds like an easy fix. Tapping the side of tank with wooden handle doesn't seem like an option. A small wooden building structure was built around the oil tank. They left a 2x2' removable panel at top of tank location, but no other way to access the tank, no other entry? Only way to access tank would be to crawl through this top panel opening. If I got in, don't know I could get out? Go figure ! Hey, I didn't build this arrangment.... Crazy setup !

Not sure if oil gauge is screwed in with double nuts, or a adapter ring screwed into tank. Will have to go back and check.

Good web-link I found which answers many oil tank questions:
http://www.inspectapedia.com/oiltank...ank_Gauges.htm

Bigdog

Last edited by bigdog; 01-24-2010 at 02:38 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-24-2010, 06:15 PM   #12
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The oil guage is screwed into a threaded receiver on the tank-top which is an integral welded part of the tank and it is probably a 1 1/2" coarse pipe thread, and maybe sealed with thread sealant. So, a 14" or 18" pipe wrench should easily unscrew it without doing any damage. It has a long 36" extender-arm w/ a float that's all attached to the guage fitting. It should all come out as one long piece.

You can do it! ...
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:08 PM   #13
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Default Oil Tamk Gauge?

Hi....


Don't own the property yet..... CLOSING on property 1/27. Think I'lll have current owner call his oil dealer an make replacement. Don't want to screw-around at this stage of the game...... Maybe next time, will give it a try !

Thanks,
Bigdog

Last edited by bigdog; 01-24-2010 at 10:09 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Don't own the property yet..... CLOSING on property 1/27. Think I'lll have current owner call his oil dealer an make replacement. Don't want to screw-around at this stage of the game...... Maybe next time, will give it a try !

Thanks,
Bigdog

Because the oil level gauge doesnít work, I would look into other aspects of the heating system.

Oil Tanks in general donít last much more than twenty years, especially if they are outside. Ask the owner for some history about the tank and also the oil burner and boiler. Did he have a maintenance schedule that had the burner tuned up and the boiler scrapped and vacuumed out?

Do you have a chimney or a power vent and were they cleaned along with the furnace.

I would at least take the enclosure off the tank to inspect it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:45 PM   #15
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I think what he means by enclosed is that the tank is actually on the interior of the home, but is essentually built in. It is typically stud construction around the tank and then it is insulated and sheetrocked over with nothing more than a small access door to view the level and usually a second to replace the filter at the base of the wall. In order to remove the enclosure you would have to demo the wall enclosing the tank (about a $600 dollar inspection all said and done).
This is a common detail found in higher end homes with oil heat that have full finished basements, usually comes hand in hand with very small utility rooms.


Advice on the service record is a good one. Mine has been maintained very well over the years by the previous owner and myself, 56 and counting actually, boiler (new burner, 15 years ago), water storage tank and oil tank all original to the house. The glass lined pressure tank took a ride to the dump two years ago when I had to replace the interior well pump, needed a tank that could safely handle a larger hold of water under higher pressure, was not putting money on that old barrel being up to the job.
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Old 02-11-2010, 09:08 PM   #16
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Default Oil Tamk Gauge?

Reporting back to Forum......

Had oil dealer come to property after R.E.Closing. They were able to determine that the tank gauge was probably hitting the side of the tank, that's why it wasn't registering.

Not entirely and easy fix! The tank is enclosed inside a storage hut, just big enough for the tank. No way you could even crawl inside there if you wanted to ! Only access to top of tank is a little removable panel near top/middle of tank. Definitely not the best design. Anyway, oil dealer was not sure he could remove the gauge, because it extends into the tank maybe a couple of feet. He wasn't sure if there was enough room above the tank, to pull up gauge without hitting the top of building structure. Roof ceiling is only about 18" above tank. He thought of leaving current gauge in place, and installing a new gauge, in another currently plugged fitting at other end/top of tank. However, that other tank fitting/opening was so far back, it would be extremely difficult to access through enclosed structure. What a predicament!

Long story, he left as is for now, and will return when weather warms up a little to tackle the problem. For the time being all is OK, and I have a full tank of oil which should carry me for some time. Oil dealer will monitor usage.In the Spring, I'll renovate the tank building with a door for easy access.

On another note, the furnace shut down about 6 times, during the first three days of home ownership ! This was during the coldest snap we had at the end of Jan., like 0-10 degrees. Of course when furnace shut down it was after mid-night each time. Ran fine during the day, go figure! Didn't get much sleep those first few nights... I was however, able to reset/restart the furnace each time, it shutdown. When furnace finally failed to start, I had to call the oil dealer. This was on a Sunday of course ! $$$$$$$$$$$$$
Anyway, oil dealer found the problem, 'bad burner motor', had a high point on wheel or cam, inside motor. I witnessed the issue as burner tech was able to create the problem.

Burner motor was replaced, had a complete furnace/burner tune-up, and everytings seems to be running like a top, at least for now.
Burner tech said the system looked like it hadn't been checked in years.....

Furnace(Weil-McClain)/Burner(Beckett) about 20 yrs old, so it may be on borrowed time ?

BD

Last edited by bigdog; 02-11-2010 at 09:10 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:28 AM   #17
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20 years isn't all that old, and seperate parts like the electric motor that turns the fan blower and oil pump can always be replaced. Probably, it's best to get the furnace annual new nozzle-oil filter-hot air filter & soot clean-out maybe every one or two years. For an older furnace, a 20-dollar carbon monoxide detector placed in the basement is a good thing even though carbon monoxide created by an oil furnace is usually a lot more smelly than carbon monoxide from propane.

How about a simple 5' wood dipstick to dip the oil level like what used to get used at gasoline stations.
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Old 02-12-2010, 07:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Reporting back to Forum......

Had oil dealer come to property after R.E.Closing. They were able to determine that the tank gauge was probably hitting the side of the tank, that's why it wasn't registering.


On another note, the furnace shut down about 6 times, during the first three days of home ownership ! This was during the coldest snap we had at the end of Jan., like 0-10 degrees. Of course when furnace shut down it was after mid-night each time. Ran fine during the day, go figure! Didn't get much sleep those first few nights... I was however, able to reset/restart the furnace each time, it shutdown. When furnace finally failed to start, I had to call the oil dealer. This was on a Sunday of course ! $$$$$$$$$$$$$
Anyway, oil dealer found the problem, 'bad burner motor', had a high point on wheel or cam, inside motor. I witnessed the issue as burner tech was able to create the problem.

Burner motor was replaced, had a complete furnace/burner tune-up, and everytings seems to be running like a top, at least for now.
Burner tech said the system looked like it hadn't been checked in years.....

Furnace(Weil-McClain)/Burner(Beckett) about 20 yrs old, so it may be on borrowed time ?

BD
I have had the same probs on the same furnace/burner set up. Mine is 13 years old. Have replaced the ignitor, and the motor as well. Pretty much a whole new burner. Yes it has been expensive, but the furnace is running better than it has in years.
I don't think you are running on borrowed time. Just typical maintenance items. The furnace itself should be good for another 20 years, but by then, there will be a newer much more efficient model out there.
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:41 AM   #19
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BD,a Beckett is a very good quality burner and with normal maintanance last quite a long time. They are also very resonably priced. Depending on condition overall I would try and get through the winter and look at replacement in spring,summer time. I had an old house in MA and found my problem that was killing my burner was sludge build up in tank which can be detected easily while replacing guage(only because tank is full now) and by cutting open a used filter. Hope you have warm nights the rest of the season.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:17 AM   #20
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Our furnace is 37 years old (Utica Boiler, baseboard, tankless hot water) and we just replaced the burner motor for the first time last month. We have lived in the house for 32 of those years. The big black transformer has been replaced two or three times and the electrical controls maybe twice.

We have a "Maintenance Contract" with the oil supplier and they come out once a year and clean the furnace. If anything goes Kapoot, it is serviced and/or replaced for FREE. The contract cost is $209 per year. NB
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:55 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatlazyless View Post
How about a simple 5' wood dipstick to dip the oil level like what used to get used at gasoline stations.
Pay attention FLL.Bigdog just posted that it would be difficult to get the old gauge out with only about 18 inches of clearance above the tank.I suppose an 18 inch dipstick could be used to see if the level is to that point.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:18 PM   #22
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Maybe try a wooden fold out ruler,strong enough and compact.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:42 PM   #23
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Here's another option for reading your oil tank level. I installed one of these a few years ago to avoid making the trip down to the crawl space to read the tank.

Basically there is a sensor and transmitter that gets mounted on one of the existing openings on the tank. A separate tiny wireless receiver gets plugged into an AC outlet in your living space. The receiver gives you a readout of the tank level at a glance anytime. Takes about 10 minutes to install yourself. About $85 from manufacturer.

This has been working great, on same set of batteries for the transmitter for over 4 years now, and has been very accurate. Receiver display is in mudroom. Very happy. Note - we have double tanks, and this is mounted on just one of them, oil usage depletes both tanks equally.

http://www.sybasystems.com/OEM%20Rocket/oem_rocket.html

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Old 02-12-2010, 05:24 PM   #24
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You never know, probably there's already something like a sponge mop with a 48" wood handle that might work. Despite the 18' clearance, could be the mop handle gets angled down into the opening and set vertically. The oil is dyed red and clings, and is easy to read on a dipstick- mop handle. Disposal of paper towel soaked fuel oil is no way as dangerous as gasoline or paint thinner because fuel oil is not flammable.....it is combustable.
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Old 02-12-2010, 05:54 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmlnh View Post
Here's another option for reading your oil tank level. I installed one of these a few years ago to avoid making the trip down to the crawl space to read the tank.

Basically there is a sensor and transmitter that gets mounted on one of the existing openings on the tank. A separate tiny wireless receiver gets plugged into an AC outlet in your living space. The receiver gives you a readout of the tank level at a glance anytime. Takes about 10 minutes to install yourself. About $85 from manufacturer.

This has been working great, on same set of batteries for the transmitter for over 4 years now, and has been very accurate. Receiver display is in mudroom. Very happy. Note - we have double tanks, and this is mounted on just one of them, oil usage depletes both tanks equally.

http://www.sybasystems.com/OEM%20Rocket/oem_rocket.html

I have wireless remote reading digital thermometers (Taylor) in various inside locations recieving signals from an outside transmitter. I like them. I like technical stuff. Quite often they work. I even have a transmitter up in the attic to monitor temps up there.

My mechanical fuel tank level indicator (37 years old) still works fine.....BUT... DAM...I LIKE this little gadget. It's not like I need to check my oil level every few hours, but if you need a nice fix for an "Old" Guage that needs replacement...THIS would work. NB
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:13 PM   #26
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....for like 85-cents you can get a 5/16 x 48" dowel and angle it into the 1 1/2" diameter threaded opening on top. Most tanks have an unused threaded opening on top designed for either the guage, fill pipe, or air vent pipe.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:34 PM   #27
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Wink Snake it

Let's see ... you could use an electronic gauge or you could use something flexible which fits into the hole and bends between the hole and roof (18"). I vote that you stick one of these in the tank filler and then ask the wife to check the oil level ! You decide, head first or tail first.

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Old 02-15-2010, 07:28 AM   #28
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Hey, while were into the creative mode, why not use something as simple as a string and with a weight on the end. On second thought I like M&M's snake level gadget.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:40 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tummyman View Post
Fix it yourself. If you can use a screwdriver, you can do it. Just unscrew the old gauge, take the new one out of the box, unfold it, and put it back in the hole. They even come with directions if you think it is tough. Takes about 10 minutes to do it. Get a good quality gauge from a plumbing supply house locally. I've replaced four myself.....in houses I have owned or my kids places. VERY SIMPLE Project. Save yourself the money...
Did this myself when I ordered my 100 gallons in early Dec.

Based on the gauge, that would have been way less than what we burnt last year. Oil man said it clicked after eighty-something.

Took me about 20 minutes, so you're the better man than me. Still tho' a quik-fix.

And even if someone bollocks it up, the part is on hand and a technician onle need be paid for a few minutes labor.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:49 PM   #30
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Default Oil Tank Gauge

Hey, I like that 'Rocket' by SybaSystems, really cool !

Going to make that purchase and install.

BD
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:27 AM   #31
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Default Oil Tank Gauge?

Hello....

Haven't purchased 'Rocket' yet, will buy soon, been procrastianting..... FYI, 'no way' I can get old gauge out of tank, because of height restrictions. Not sure how it was installed in the first place? Must have been installed, then shed built around tank ? Who knows, bit definitely poor engineering!

Anyway, I have just taken a measurement 'in tank' with my tape measure..
44" inches from bottom of tank to top. Oil measured about 27-28".
Based upon what has been indicated in this thread and 40" would be a full tank, it would sound like 28" would be 2/3 full?

Comments?

Last edited by bigdog; 03-07-2010 at 07:30 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:51 AM   #32
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179 gallons out of 275 = 65 percent

Chart here
http://www.murphysfuel.com/oil_tank_chart

Yours is the 2nd type 275V (Vertical)
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:45 PM   #33
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Default Oil Tank Gauge?

Thanks Rattlesnake Guy, this is exactly what I was looking for !

BD
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