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OIL STORAGE TANKS
ABANDONING OIL TANKS
AGE of OIL TANK
ANODES & DIP TUBES on WATER HEATERS
BURIED OIL TANK ADVICE
BURIED OIL TANKS, FINDING
COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
DEFINITION of HEATING & COOLING TERMS
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-BOILER
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-FURNACE
DIRECTORY of OIL TANK EXPERTS
FILTERS, OIL on HEATING EQUIPMENT
FIRE SAFETY CONTROLS
FLOATING UP OIL STORAGE or SEPTIC TANKS
FLOODED HEATING EQUIPMENT REPAIR
FLOODED WATER HEATER REPAIR
FUEL OIL TYPES & CHARACTERISTICS
FUEL UNIT, HEATING OIL PUMPS
GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION
GAUGES ON HEATING EQUIPMENT
HEAT TAPES, Heat, Insulation prevent Freeze-Up
HEATING COST FUEL & BTU Cost Table
HEATING COST SAVINGS METHODS
HEATING OIL CLOUD WAX GEL POINT
HEATING OIL EXPOSURE HAZARDS, LIMITS
HEATING OIL - OLD, USEABLE?
HEATING OIL PIPING TROUBLES
HEATING OIL SHELF LIFE
HEATING OIL SLUDGE
HEATING OIL TANKS
HEATING OIL TYPES & PROPERTIES
HEATING OIL USAGE RATE
HEATING SYSTEM NOISES
HOME BUYERS GUIDE TO OIL TANKS
NOISE CONTROL for HEATING SYSTEMS
NOISES COMING FROM WATER HEATER
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS FROM HEATING SYSTEMS
OIL FILTERS on HEATING EQUIPMENT
OIL FUEL TYPES & CHARACTERISTICS
OIL FILL PIPE LEAKS
OIL SPILL CLEANUP / PREVENTION
SOOT on OIL FIRED HEATING EQUIPMENT
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
THERMAL TRACKING & HEAT LOSS
VIDEO GUIDES: Heating System Videos
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Oil tank retrieval tools to fish out something you dropped: this article describes steps to take if you dropped a tool, fuel spout, or additive cap or something else into the heating oil storage tank. Don't panic, probably you'll be fine and so will the oil tank. We describe the use of retrieval tools taken from the mechanical or well drilling industries to retrieve objects dropped into inaccessible spaces.
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Question: oil tank retrieval tools to fish out stuff dropped into the oil tank
(Feb 26, 2014) Joseph said:
Is there a strainer or some kind of guard at the outlet of the tank (on the inside)? Mine is a single line out the bottom side. I may or may not have dropped an oil can nozzle cap down the fill pipe and am worried it could block the oil flow.
(Aug 17, 2012) DP said:
Hi. I didn't have the funds to put the minimum oil delivery of 50 gallons (210$) in my oil tank. I bought a yellow diesel container and bought 2 gallons of diesel. It was simple enough to pour it into my 275 gallon tank BUT then I wound up dropping the 6" clear plastic spout from the yellow container into my oil tank.
I see no way to get it out. Any assistance would be appreciated. Maybe this plastic will dissolve and pass thru. Maybe it doesn't. The line leading from tank into my home and the burner is more narrow than the plastic nozzle I dropped in the tank. I am in the N.E. but we are in a heat wave right now so I really didn't need much fuel and needed to wait three weeks for my next pay check.
Reply: using a mechanic's retrieval tool or well retrieval tool at an oil tank
There are mechanic's retrieval tools that use a flexible rod and plunger that extrudes a wire "grabber" that could pick up an object from the tank bottom if you found or made a tool that was long enough, but once getting the fuel spout to the tank top you'd need still to manipulate it to move it end-wise out through the opening - a difficult but not impossible job.
The plastic fuel container spout that you dropped into the oil tank is probably not going to dissolve in the heating oil; as long as it is not interfering with the movement of the oil tank fuel level gauge nor movement of oil into the heating oil piping it's not going to hurt the system.
Also see WELL RETRIEVAL TOOLS - where we provide a complete list of tools used to fish out or retrieve stuff dropped into confine spaces.
Even if you leave the fuel can spout in place in the oil tank, reading that there is a whole industry of retrieval tools made for people who dropped something down into a well, oil tank, or other impossible location (such as inside of an automotive engine) will make you feel better.
I'm not aware of any in-tank filters, nor does one sound feasible - how would we get it in the tank, or get it out for cleaning. There's no strainer inside the tank.
But darn, I understand the worry of dropping something in the tank. And we can't just assume that the cap sits harmlessly on the tank bottom: oil tank contents are rather stirred up during an oil delivery.
If the top you dropped was metal there's a slight chance you can fish it out with a magnet retrieving tool, though it'll be tedious as the tool will want to stick to the tank too.
if the top you dropped into the oil tank was plastic ... well I'll continue to think about it, but for now I can just hope it either stays away from the tank outlet, or that its shape and position will prevent a total blockage. You'll know if it blocks the outlet.
You might get some ideas about making your own retrieval tool by reading our article found by searching InspectApedia for
or at least take comfort that you're not the only devil who's done something like this.
which will take you to a PDF link of the article - free
You'll see a panoply of home-made scoop-strainer type retrieval tools. Yours will have to be small enough to fit inside the tapping at the top of the oil tank. And there'll be some plumbing to disassemble and re-assemble. It's not trivial IMO. But a right-angled strainer-scooper might work if the magnet doesn't.
Send along photos of your tank and piping arrangement and I may be able to comment further. Keep us posted.
HEY before going to a lot of trouble look more carefully for the lost oil can cap; you'll be ... upset ... if you find the cap lying on the ground after you've already torn things apart and fished.
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