How to Change Heating Oil Tank Filters

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Changing the oil filter for a heating oil tank is a messy process. The presence of so much heating oil is slippery and messy. The key is to wear gloves to protect your hands from the oil and old clothes that you do not mind ruining with oil splatters. Once the oil tank is disconnected from the heater, the actual filter replacement is a straightforward process.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Ratchet set
  • Drip pan
  • Large container
  • Rubber gloves
  • Work rags
  • Plastic bag
  • Oil tank filter
  • Degreasing cleanser
  • Turn off the heater and disconnect the oil tank from the lines leading to the heater for safety.

  • Find the filter on your heating oil tank. Usually the filter is located near the oil outlet, either near the top or bottom of the oil tank. If the tank is full, you may have to drain the oil out of the tank before you can replace the filter. Place a drip pan or drum under the oil tank. Use a screwdriver or ratchet set to open the tank valve leading to the fuel line on the oil tank and allow the oil to drip into the container. Wait about 10 minutes for all of the oil to drain out.

  • Unscrew the filter from the heating oil tank. Inspect it for the presence of sludge and other grease or hardened oil. If the filter is mostly clogged, you will need to replace it. Place the old filter in a plastic bag to prevent oil from dripping everywhere.

  • Wipe down any oil spills with the work rags. Clean out the filter area, so you can slip the new filter into place cleanly and without causing a giant mess. If the oil will not wipe up, use a degreasing cleanser to clean the filter housing before installing the filter.

  • Place the new filter inside the heating oil tank filter housing and screw into place. Reattach the fuel line and close the tank value again. Reconnect the oil tank to the heater lines. Restart the heater and allow the oil to flow freely for several minutes to get the oil flowing properly once more.

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