Many EnergyLogic users rely on the community’s waste oil to fuel their machines. This can be a good practice, with mutual benefits for all parties, but many members of the public are not so diligent with their collections. It’s easy for good used oil to become contaminated by coolant, brake fluid, plain water, sediment and even mud. Given the need for clean fuel to run an EnergyLogic waste oil burner, it is imperative that all users verify the quality of the fuel being added to their supply tank.
We were recently called to customers location to diagnose and repair an inoperable burner. The symptoms included a large amount of raw fuel in the burn chamber as well as failure to light. Of course, there are plenty of issues that could cause both of these symptoms, but this one was identified as bad fuel.
We did a basic test on the fuel, which includes soaking some of the fuel up with a paper towel, and attempting to light it. If the fuel is good, it will burn easily, but in this case the “fuel” could be seen bubbling under the lighter, as well as not taking a flame. To verify the findings, we collected a sample out of the preheater outlet tube, seen here.
As you can see, this doesn’t look too terrible, a bit grey and murky, but still dark.
After sitting for 24hrs, this is what we see.
There is clear separation of good, usable fuel in the top quarter inch of the sample, while the bottom retains is gray/brown murkiness. From this sample we can see that the percentage of good usable fuel in this user’s tank is extremely low. The oil has separated from the water/mud/impurites in the sample and floated to the top. The only real solution here is to drain off the supply tank until only dark black oil comes out.