Waste Oil Burners, Heaters and Boilers

Friendly Fire

Today's waste oil furnaces provide an economical
and dependable source of heat for your shop

By Professional Tool & Equipment News

No doubt, you've heard the cliche. "There's no such thing as a free lunch." While it's probably true for the most part, here's a saying that's not a cliche; "You can get heat practically for free from a waste oil heater." Sound interesting? Heck, compared to a free lunch, who wouldn't be interested in getting free heat? Depending on your situation, a waste oil heater just might be the perfect solution to your heating needs.


If you've shied away from waste oil furnaces because you've heard of maintenance and reliability problems, you're not alone. Early furnaces employed vaporization technology, which made them tough to ignite and junkies for maintenance. Vaporization furnace owners may have even told you that they spent so much time working on their furnaces to stay warm, that they didn't have any time to work in the shop! Fortunately, those days are over.

The latest furnaces feature atomization technology which has now taken over the market This type of furnace forces the oil out under pressure, improving combustion and reliability. In addition, the oil is also preheated, improving its combustion quality and minimizing the variations between the different types of waste oils. For instance, the furnace's main course on Monday might be drain oil from an engine, to be followed by transmission fluid on Wednesday.

Since atomization technology renders more complete combustion, it's only natural that there will be less combustion deposits. As a result, there's significantly less maintenance when compared to the vaporizers of old.


The EPA allows the use of waste oil furnaces through a regulatory exemption regarding hazardous waste. The exemption allows the use of such a furnace under three conditions:

  1. the furnace has a heating capacity of less than 500,000 BTUs per hour,
  2. the furnace is vented to outside air,
  3. the furnace bums waste oil collected on-site or that provided by do-it-yourselfers.

One gallon of used oil generates up to 140,000 BTU of heat when burned in a waste oil furnace. When compared to the cost of new oil at upwards of 70 cents per-gallon, it's easy to see how this type of heating can pay back the cost of the furnace in short order. But there's more at stake here than just money.

A waste oil furnace can also save you a bundle in hassles and legal costs because burning your oil on-site eliminates the cradle-to-grave responsibilities of waste oil. In case you didn't know, you would be partly responsible for the cost of cleanup if the truck that hauls your oil away gets flattened at the next railroad crossing. Burning waste oil makes it an asset, rather than a liability.


Interested in a waste oil furnace, but unsure whether it's really right for you? If you can answer yes to these questions, it merits further investigation.

  • Does your shop generate or collect from do-it-yourselfers 500 to 1,000 gallons of used oil per year?
  • Do you care about die environment and the impact of waste oil?
  • Are you interested in lowering your heating bills?
  • Are you concerned over your liability with waste oil?

A waste oil furnace is one of the most sensible purchases you can make for your shop, which will help to cut your overhead and recoup your original investment in no time flat. At the same time, you'll sleep just a little better at night without having to worry about your waste oil hauler and the destiny of each load hauled off-site.

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