Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Cheap way to process waste oil into home heating oil?

As a home mechanic, I generate a modest amount of waste oil. Between my vehicles, small-engine equipment, and oil from work I do for others, I suppose I generate 20 gal/year. All the places that sell used oil have free collection/drop off (I think it’s state law), but I do one better and get $0.80/gal for it at my local scrap yard, where they use it to run their smelter.

However, we visit my sister in-law every six months or so, who lives near Allentown…the other side of the state. They’re really hurting financially, and I would gladly forgo the $16/year if I could give it to them in a condition that would allow them to run their furnace on it. I don’t know the exact heater make/model, but doubt it was designed from the start for WMO…and I suspect it’s pretty old.

So, what would be needed to convert it into usable home heating oil? Could I just pump it through a diesel fuel filter and call it a day? Obviously I’m not going to break the bank to clean up such a small quantity of oil, but I’d be willing to spend up to $50 to have something to do. (Oh, and I suspect the ecological aspect might be brought up. In defense, let me say that I’m proposing diverting it from being burned on one end of the state, to another. I don’t see where this is any worse–or better–than the default setting, though it might not be a red-taped “approved fuel” or whatever.)

No,its not that easy,you have to atomize and mix it with compressed air,as far as I know ,thats an EPA approved method,you can screen it and add about a gallon to 100 gal of heating oil,but that seems hardly worth the trouble.But that stuff really has the BTUs ,the commercial waste oil heaters really put the heat out.-Kevin

@kmccune: adding my stuff to the oil tank in a 10% mix is indeed what I was thinking. My “ghetto-tastic” concept would be to make a 5-micron filter sock out of a blue jean pant leg, gravity feed and give it to them to burn. How small do you have to go to avoid clogging the jets? Is it more, or less sensitive than running it in a diesel?

Perhaps the best solution is to give it to your sister in law to bring in for the cash. You could even drive her there to do so. It’d be a shame if while trying to do a good thing the “law of unintended consequences” crept in and it messed up SIL’s boiler.

Keep dropping the oil off at your local scrap yeard, collect the cash, and donate the cash to your sister at the end of the year as a “Christmas oil dividend.” Then she can buy clean fuel oil with it instead of contaminating her furnace.

And cash is easier to carry across Pennsylvania than gallons of waste oil. :wink:

Waste oil has to be burned in specially designed furnances. Don’t mess with you house furnace!!!

Best drop the waste oil off at any of the depots at landfills or other government designated points.

We have a landfill used oil tank, as well as once a year the fire stations will receive oil, paint and other “hazardous” household chemicals.

You will love this one…Down in Mexico they use used motor oil (very well used) to fire the boilers that are used to boil down sugar-cane juice to produce syrup and brown sugar…The boilers have fairly high smoke-stacks to generate a strong draft and to carry off the heavy cloud of black smoke…It takes a lot of heat to boil off 200 gallon vats of cane juice…

@jesmed: I agree, that makes the most sense, I just felt like giving her the used oil for heat was a more face-saving way of contributing: “I was just going to have to get rid of this, but if you think you could use it…”

Good idea, @jesmed - I’d wonder how all the oil additives would affect a home system, even if it was filtered.

Fuel oil I believe is more like kerosene than motor oil. There are supposedly burners that can handle waste oil and wood but not a standard furnace. I like the idea of donating the money instead or buy them a tank of fuel oil.

Fuel oil I believe is more like kerosene than motor oil.

Fuel oil is the same as Diesel fluid.

It is NOT a good idea to put used motor oil in you home heating oil. It’ll easily clog the filter.

You need a special waste oil burner to burn waste oil. It’s totally different type of furnace then you home heating system burner.

Used motor oils is filled with particulates and generally will clog anything like a spray nozzle on your oil furnace if it ever got by your filters. It’s really crappy stuff, filled with carcinogens and I would be Very careful not to burn the stuff unless the boiler is specifically designed for it. There are all sorts of warnings about this stuff coming into contact with your skin on a regular basis. 80 gallons is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to what you use the entire year and isn’t worth the possible problems it can cause a home heating system. Ask your oil burner service man. Burn only duels in your oil furnace that is designed for it. Again, like a lawn mower, home furnaces are not waste disposal units.

Google “Bunker C”

THIS is the fuel-oil where you can slip in some used motor oil…

And thats why 1% used to be deemed acceptable,back in the day when I had to handle No.2,some of it seemed of dubious quality-Kevin

Home oil furnaces are very particular. The neighbors wouldn’t like to see the same black exhaust coming out of the chimney/smoke stack using bunker C as ocean vessels…which probably means too it won’t run long regardless before it quits and needs servicing.

In most jurisdictions it is ILLEGAL to burn any off-spec fuel in a domestic furnace. A guy down the block has a fire pit in his backyard. They are designed to burn only wood, but he burns all his garden waste and some cardboard in it. The smell is awful.

Again, burn used oil only in specially designed and approved units.

If someone has a service contract with your fuel oil provider, you can kiss any warranty goodbye. I’m sure this garbage to put it bluntly, will be diluted somewhat, but living in the NE and depending on oil to keep my pipes from freezing, messing around with the fuel a burner was designed for is the LAST thing on my mind.

Yep,there are better ways to deal with waste oil,Brings to mind what happened at a resort near here,the purchasing Guy got cheap and started using bunker grade.No 5 or something similar in the heating plant and the asphalt plants would ship it in the asphalt tankers(took about 1 a day) well somebody shipped a tankerfull with a little to much residual asphalt oil left in the tanker,the results were predictable,one awful mess(the Resort now uses natural gas)-Kevin

It’s been awhile but you can check out this rabbit hole… Long story short!: Don’t use it in your SIL’s furnace instead make a waste oil furnace. These ones are efficient and will burn all the nasties that normally would go up the chimney. Google rocket stove waste oil… If the link doesn’t work.

Looks like today is the day to recycle old discussions instead of motor oil. I guess it’s too cold to take in Veteran’s Day programs. Edit . . .