I recently coverted my home heating system from radiators to HVAC. There’s still a 100 gallon tank of heating oil in the basement that is about 75% full. Is there anything I can do with this oil? Can I sell it? Give it away? There’s probably $200 worth of oil in there, so it doesn’t feel right that I’d have to pay someone to take it.
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Can I sell my unused heating oil?
I recently coverted my home heating system from radiators to HVAC. There's still a 100 gallon tank of heating oil in the basement that is about 75% full. Is there anything I can do with this oil? Can I sell it? Give it away? There's probably $200 worth of oil in there, so it…
Heating Oil For Sale
Technically it’s simple but although there are conversion kits with the second vegetable oil tank, heat exchangers and transfer switches, it’s far from a simple DIY project. You really should try to find a mechanic who’s done it before or one that’s really patient, there’s an awful lot of hoses and a lot of custom welding to mount everything just right. If you opt to do without the kits, you risk clogging up your injectors and perhaps your entire engine, even with the conversion kits, you have to remember to switch back to regular diesel as you approach your destination so that the vegetable oil is purged from the system before you shut off the engine otherwise you will again clog your injectors and your engine. If you have a deep frying vat or even just a frying pan, just look at how hard it is to clean after use and imagine that gunk throughout your engine. You may be able to find a restaurant willing to give you waste vegetable oil but most of them actually have disposal contracts and hence it’s not theirs to give away but rather it belongs to whomever has the disposal contract even if it is just sitting on the loading dock and the busboy says it’s ok for you to take it, it’s still theft. Up to now, not enough people do the vegetable oil thing for anyone to bother prosecuting but as more people do, the availability of free waste oil will go away. Remember that disposal company probably sells the used oil to a refinery, to a ship to add to their bunker fuel or perhaps to a cosmetic company as a base for make up, whatever they do, it’s worth money to them. Unused vegetable oil is way too expensive to use as fuel as it’s far more valuable as cooking oil. Still, you can probably get away with it for another decade or so. If you’re going to do it, do it soon and keep quiet about it.
You might get a fuel oil company to come and “pump out” the tank, but I don’t think you are going to get rich on the deal. They will not want to pay a retail price but something closer to their cost less the cost of picking it up. They will naturally be concerned that this “used” fuel oil is contaminated with sludge from the bottem of the tank.
In my neighborhood, by law, any tank that is not being used has to be either removed (from a basement) or abandoned by filling it with sand (in ground outside.) This should have been done by your HVAC contractor. This is to prevent eventual rust out and leakage of the fuel oil into the ground where it is considered a hazardous waste. (contaminates ground water: A friend had oil in the ground by the fill of his oil tank. EPA required the entire area be dug up and retested the cost of over $50,000 was not covered by insurance.) I would guess this applies nationally in the USA. Additionally, I am sure your local fire department would not like you to be storing 75 gallons of flammable liquid in the basement. Lastly, you might be voiding your fire insurance by the same storage.
So there are a lot of reasons to get rid of it and giving it away might be a very cheap alternative.
I have lots of friends that do this. Some people buy pre-made bio-diesel from the bio-diesel plant and use it soley (bio-diesel is veg oil with some chemical stuff done to it so it burns more efficiently.) I have another friend who gets the left over veg oil from work, filters it and uses it half/half with normal diesel (he has to change his fuel filter more than average though!) and you have to be really careful its not contaminated with water. I have another friend who buys veg oil from the cash and carry and uses it half – half with diesel. You could make your own bio-diesel but i think you need a licence. They all work, but alot of people find you can use full-on veg oil in the summer but you have to use at least abit of diesel in winter. Its great cos their emissions smell like chips rather then ergh!
No! You can’t sell you used oil to an individual. Reason being, they have to transport your home heating oil, also known as #2, to their tank. Doing this would require 1 or more 55 gallon drums, if you have a large quantity like you do. Because a whole bunch of 5 gallon buckets is going to be an issue even in a pickup truck.
The reason being, if the person you sell that oil to is seen transporting drum(s) i.e. a police officer or someone from DNREC (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control) , and those officers pull that truck over to investigate the content of those drums, the driver is going to be cited for “transportation without a permit”.
Because to transport large quantities of petroleum requires a permit. Otherwise, even though this person bought that oil for their personal use, the law says since they’re breaking the transport law in the first place, they can be presumed to be going to illegally off-load (dump) that oil in the environment.
The truck can be seized, the driver arrested and taken straight to jail, and then, and this is where it gets hairy, you the seller are arrested as the “generator” of that oil that was on that persons truck. Because it was your oil first and the illegal transport of petroleum was generated starting at your address and with your consent.
So whatever money you made selling that 100 gallons of oil at a loss compared to what you paid for it new, you’ll be paying a huge fortune to get out of the hole you’re now in. Because you can be arrested as that generator, fined, etc…
If you know someone who has either 20, 5 gallon buckets (with) lids, lids are vital to avoid spillage, or even a few and they’re willing to make the either 2 trips at 20 buckets per run, or many trips depending on how many 5 gallon buckets they can come up with, you’ll be safer in the long run on both ends, as the seller of the oil and the buyer, to transport that way.
This way if the buyer is stopped they can always say they’re going to the local used oil recycling station. Make sure, if this is the route you take that you have the address of that station for that buyer just in case a stop like this happens. Because when they’re on the road with your oil it’s their hide on the line as much as it is yours.
You’re going to need a hand pump to extract the oil out of your tank. And they’re going to need a huge funnel to stick in the top of theirs in order to drain the oil from the containers into their own tank. Or a hand pump if they take the enormous risk of transporting drums.
Make sure, if you sell this oil, that your buyer has what is called a “top line feed” in their tank. This is the feed line that draws oil out of the tank into the heater from the top of the tank. A line that is feeding from the bottom is a risk because it will draw in oil, and water, and sludge that gathers in the bottom of the tank and into the heater. And that cuts down on the heaters capacity to utilize clean oil and it can be costly when the heater conks out because of that fill build-up.
Ideally, since you can’t use this oil anymore and to be totally legal and safe, look in your yellow pages under the header, “Oils Waste”. Or, “Oils” and then look for a header “used oil service” or “tank cleaning service”, and get a licensed and DNREC permitted used oil service to evacuate your tank. They can also take the tank away and cut and remove your old fill pipes. Yes, it may cost you something for that, or they may pay you a reclaiming fee for the oil.
Many used oil companies buy used oil because they sell it or recycle it themselves. But with oil prices going into the basement just to teach Russia a lesson for what they’re doing on their end in Ukraine, many companies are either paying very little, nothing at all, or they’ll charge you for the service. Either way, that expense is far far far better than risking giving this oil away and having the person you sell to getting pulled over by a cop or DNREC.
Also, if you do get a used oil service to service your need here,make sure they give you a receipt or paperwork for the service provided. Removal of the oil and the tank. Keep that paperwork forever. Because when you sell your house you’re going to have to account for the switch over from oil to your current system. (Real Estate “full disclosure laws”) . Make sure you keep your original paperwork but have the realtor copy it for the new buyer. This shows that you disposed of the oil and tank legally so no one can come back on you later.
Source? I’ve been in the used oil recovery business for 58 years.
Best wishes to whatever you decide. My advice is go legal always.
If you/or your buyer, don’t have 5 gallon buckets with lids, again lids are vital because getting the smell of #2 oil out of something it’s spilled on including the bed of a pickup truck is near impossible, doughnut shops often give their 5 gallon buckets away because that’s what their doughnut filling is usually delivered in. Call around if you’re looking for 5 gallon buckets. Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kream, etc… and see what they’ve got. Otherwise they toss them in the trash so they’re usually happy to give them away.
maybe you should look into regulated means of transporting the oil. there may be restrictions on transporting the oil without the proper tank. the company you purchased it from can fill you in on the details
ask around sell it at half price no harm done