View Full Version : getting started with WVO in heater, what do I need?

09-30-2008, 01:05 PM
Hi all,

I just installed a used fuel oil furnance and would like to burn WVO in it. What things do I need to modify on my system to make this work. I got it running on fuel oil OK now, so I know everything is functioning correctly. It will not start with WVO. I have an early 80's Williamson furnace, ?Temp-o-matic? with a Becket Burner, suntec pump, & .75 nozzle in it.

I saw a becket start helper, might be needed. Anything else I would need to try?

Bigger Nozzle?
Higher Pump pressure? How do I do this?
More pre-heating besides the start helper?
Make Bio diesel instead?

Thanks to all with ideas!

Tim c cook
09-30-2008, 09:55 PM
Unfortunatly, WVO in a standard oil fired furnace burner is not likely to ever prove reliable even if you make extensive mods to the burner, some on the altfuelfurnace site say they have done it but there burners look like frankenburners.

Read through the verious vegoil posts in the "biodiesel for heating" section in the biodiesel forum (HERE) (http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/frm/f/8541078231).

I just posted a general description of mods you will need to do in another similar discussion HERE (http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8541078231/m/6701026962).

Making biodiesel is likely your most workable method but even then you will have to keep your oil supply tank warm enough that the bio does not gell. Some folks say they get by burning bio by just turning up the pump pressure. See your pump manufacturers website for the technical info to deturmine how to do this, it is usually a simple screwdriver adjust.

10-01-2008, 07:37 PM
I just talked to someone who is experimenting with blends. He has gotten a 4 gallon gasoline/ 10 gallon WVO to work without modifications. This is around $1.10 per gallon. Bio-diesel is around $.90 per gallon. Blending would be easier than making BioD. No glycerin to get rid of.

Any thoughts on this?

Tim c cook
10-02-2008, 01:59 AM
Is he burning this blend in an oil burner or in a vehicle, lots of us run cold gasoline/diesel/WVO blends in vehicles but everything I have read about burners cautions against burning any amount of gasoline in them due to it's much higher volitility, also has to be a bit of a gasoline smell. I have not read of anyone else running gasoline/WVO blends in a standard home oil furnace burner, don't know, gasoline is used as fuel in many vaporizing pressure burners used in camp stoves, etc but these are a completely different type of burner. If you test this concept please keep us informed.

90 cents/gallon for biodiesel?? - maybe 5 years ago, if you figure in all the actual costs it is likely considerably more costly than that with the current high cost of electricity methanol and lye.

11-11-2008, 02:31 AM

I beg to differ with your statement 30 September 08, that "Unfortunatly, WVO in a standard oil fired furnace burner is not likely to ever prove reliable even if you make extensive mods to the burner, some on the altfuelfurnace site say they have done it but there burners look like frankenburners."

For the record, I've successfully run my furnace on wvo for the last 8 years. There are literally hundreds of members running their burners on wvo successfully now. Eric Klatt and I have come a long way from that first year of our experimental setups. All the newer technology has been proven and tried by me personally and I can say without hesitation that other than throwing in a new nozzle/filter this season and using well settled wvo, I have no maintenance.

The problem I have with your casual suggestion to move everyone over to making their own biodiesel is that not only is it extremely dangerous but it's more time consuming and costly versus the one time cost outlay of modifying a gun-style residential oil burner regardless of it being in a forced hot air unit or boiler.

I hope that you will visit the Yahoo forum altfuefurnace in the near future to update your information and talk to many of the successful members who are very, very glad to be off diesel fuel. No, all of them haven't solved each of their unique problems completely, but their emails, phone calls and posts tell me that they are much happier being 75% on the way to burning wvo than relying 100% on diesel fuel.

As far as my oil burner looking like a "frankenburner," I'll take that as a compliment. It took me evolution to get where I am today: technology moves forward and you either roll with it or get rolled over.

Jesse Parris


Tim c cook
11-11-2008, 04:20 AM
jessejames -- Yep, I have read through the altfuelfurnace site, the info is there if one wants to spend the time, I even bought a syphon nozzle from you a while back to do a conversion but my small house just does not need nearly the amount of heat that is available from a standard pressure burner conversion.

Actually, I don't make biodiesel either, I run cold veg blends in my vehicle, and heat the house with veg in an improved drip heater (HERE) (http://biodiesel.infopop.cc/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8541078231/m/4541084781/p/1) that has run reliably unattended for the last two winters using a few amps of 12 volt power.

I tinkered with converting a fueloil pressure burner into a syphon burner to burn veg but gave up, I didn't need that much heat and it just got too time consuming doing all the conversions and additions that are required.

It does look like the Airtronics type Babington conversion is working pretty well (HERE) (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/altfuelbabington/), and it looks like the Babington conversion can put out either a lot of heat or an adequately small amount of heat, that will likely be the next conversion I tinker with (after playing with one of the small 12 volt DC powered Stewart Warner Southwind gasoline burning heaters converted to burn either gasoline, alcohol, paint thinner, turps, or any other thin volatile fuel), but for now, the drip heater works well enough, and almost silently.