How to Convert a Furnace to Run on Waste Oil


Awareness is increasing in the use of waste vegetable oil as fuel for converted diesel car engines. Homeowners have been taking this concept and finding success with converting their oil-fired furnace burners to run on vegetable oil. The different types of alternative fuels used are straight vegetable oil, waste vegetable oil, waste motor oil and biodiesel. There are online forums available that discuss information on pre-heaters, heat exchangers, filters, relay devices.

Things You'll Need

  • Gun style oil burner
  • Furnace or Boiler
  • Siphon Nozzle
  • Air Compressor
  • Constant level tank
  • Preheater
  • Temperature Controller
  • Turbine style retention head
  • Solenoid Valves
  • Collect waste vegetable oil from restaurants or through a community cooperative.

  • Filter the oil several times until clear, or use unused, pure vegetable oil.

  • Start with an oil "gun" style furnace burner, for example: Arco, R.W. Beckett, Carlin, Ducane, Esso, International, Riello, Slant Finn and Wayne. You may find them used.

  • Discard the high pressure fuel pump and close the opening.

  • Install a Hago (or similar) siphon nozzle. Use a .5 gallon per hour type.

  • You must preheat the oil so that it has the proper viscosity, which when filtered allows it to work well in an unmodified diesel motor. To preheat the oil to 120 degrees, adapt the oil-burning furnace by using an aluminum cover with cartridge heaters embedded into it at the oil pump on the burner. As described by Jesse Parris from Alternative Energy Education, "the oil pump brings the oil up to 150 psi as it passes through a long collar using temperature controlled band heaters that bring the temperature up to 275-300 degrees."

  • Connect an air compressor, if not already existing. Maintain the air pressure at 10-15 psi. Wire the solenoid valve parallel with ignition and burner motor.

  • There must be a constant pressure of fuel feed. Use a small tank and a float-controlled valve.

  • The temperature controller must then be attached.

  • Integrate the turbine retention head.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep the preheater off when burner is off. Keep the preheater at the full temperature before starting the burner.
  • Keep handy: fire extinguisher, water hose and a telephone with emergency numbers. Use protective eyewear and gloves.

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