Maintaining a clean and well-functioning outside oil tank is essential to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

One crucial aspect of oil tank maintenance is regularly cleaning the filter.

Over time, debris, sediment, and contaminants can accumulate in the filter, leading to reduced oil flow and potential damage to the heating system.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning a filter on an outside oil tank, ensuring a smooth and efficient oil supply.

Understanding the Importance of Cleaning an Outside Oil Tank Filter

The filter in an outside oil tank plays a vital role in preventing debris and contaminants from entering the heating system. Over time, dust, dirt, rust particles, and other impurities can accumulate in the filter, restricting the flow of oil and compromising the system’s efficiency. By cleaning the filter regularly, you can maintain optimal oil flow, reduce the risk of system malfunctions, and prolong the lifespan of your heating system.

Necessary Precautions and Safety Measures

Before proceeding with any maintenance tasks, it is crucial to prioritize safety. Here are a few precautions to keep in mind:

  1. Ensure the heating system is turned off and cool to the touch.
  2. Wear protective gloves and goggles to prevent skin contact and eye injuries.
  3. Have a fire extinguisher nearby as a safety precaution.
  4. If you’re not comfortable performing the task, consider contacting a professional technician.

Tools and Materials Required

Gather the following tools and materials before you begin:

  1. Adjustable wrench
  2. Screwdriver (flat-head or Phillips, depending on the filter)
  3. Clean rags or paper towels
  4. Bucket or container for collecting oil
  5. Filter cleaning solution (check the manufacturer’s recommendations)
  6. Replacement gasket (if necessary)
  7. Lubricating oil or spray (if recommended by the manufacturer)

Step 1: Shutting Off the Oil Supply

To ensure safety, it is crucial to shut off the oil supply before working on the filter. Locate the oil supply valve, usually near the oil tank, and turn it off.

Step 2: Locating the Filter and Removing the Access Cover

Next, locate the filter housing, which is typically positioned near the oil tank. Remove the access cover by unscrewing the fasteners or releasing the latch, depending on the type of cover.

Step 3: Assessing the Condition of the Filter

Once the access cover is removed, inspect the filter for signs of clogging, debris accumulation, or damage. Take note of the filter’s condition to determine the appropriate cleaning method or if a replacement is necessary.

Step 4: Cleaning the Filter

If the filter is dirty but still in good condition, it can be cleaned using a suitable filter cleaning solution. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific cleaning product you are using. Typically, you would soak the filter in the solution, gently agitate it to dislodge debris, and then rinse it thoroughly with clean water.

Step 5: Reassembling the Filter Housing

After the filter has been cleaned and dried, carefully reassemble the filter housing, ensuring a secure fit. Replace any gaskets if they are worn or damaged. Make sure all fasteners are tightened properly to prevent oil leaks.

Step 6: Turning On the Oil Supply

Once the filter housing is reassembled, turn on the oil supply valve to restore oil flow to the heating system. Take a moment to check for any signs of leaks around the filter housing and address them if necessary.

Step 7: Testing for Proper Oil Flow

To ensure that the filter cleaning was successful, it’s important to test the oil flow. Monitor the system for a few minutes after turning on the oil supply to verify that oil is flowing smoothly without any interruptions or unusual noises. If you notice any issues, consult a professional technician.

Tips for Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for optimal performance and longevity of your heating system. Consider the following tips:

  1. Clean the filter at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. Keep the surrounding area of the oil tank clean and free from debris.
  3. Monitor the oil level in the tank regularly to prevent running out of oil.
  4. Schedule professional inspections and tune-ups to ensure the system is running efficiently.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

While cleaning the filter should resolve most issues, there may be cases where further troubleshooting is required. Here are some common problems and potential solutions:

  1. Reduced oil flow: Check for clogs or blockages in the fuel line and inspect the oil pump for any issues.
  2. Unusual noises: Examine the oil burner motor and blower for worn-out or damaged components.
  3. Leaking oil: Inspect all connections, valves, and fittings for signs of leaks and tighten or replace as needed.
  4. System not heating adequately: Verify that the thermostat settings are correct and that the heating system is properly maintained.


Regularly cleaning the filter on an outside oil tank is an essential part of maintaining a reliable and efficient heating system. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this article, you can ensure proper oil flow, prevent system malfunctions, and extend the lifespan of your heating equipment. Remember to prioritize safety, perform regular maintenance, and consult a professional technician when needed.


1. How often should I clean the filter on my outside oil tank? It is generally recommended to clean the filter at least once a year or as specified by the manufacturer. However, factors such as the age of the tank and the presence of debris in the area may require more frequent cleaning.

2. Can I clean the filter without shutting off the oil supply? No, it is essential to shut off the oil supply before working on the filter. This ensures safety and prevents any oil leakage or accidents.

3. What should I do if I notice leaks around the filter housing after cleaning? If you notice any leaks, carefully inspect the filter housing for loose or damaged components. Tighten any loose fasteners or replace damaged gaskets to resolve the issue. If the problem persists, consult a professional technician.

4. Can I use any cleaning solution for the filter? It is recommended to use a cleaning solution specifically designed for oil tank filters. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appropriate usage and cleaning process.

5. Is it necessary to hire a professional for cleaning the filter? While cleaning the filter can be done by homeowners, if you’re not comfortable or experienced in performing maintenance tasks, it is advisable to contact a professional technician. They have the expertise to handle the job safely and effectively.

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