DIY Guide: How to Effectively Clean Your Outside Oil Tank Filter

An oil tank filter is an important component of your heating system as it filters out impurities and debris from your heating oil. Over time, however, your tank filter can become clogged with dirt and other particles. This can cause your heating system to work less efficiently and can even lead to a breakdown. In this article, we’ll show you how to effectively clean your outside oil tank filter.

Why you Should Clean your Oil Tank Filter

When your oil tank filter becomes clogged, it restricts the flow of heating oil to your furnace or boiler. This can cause your heating system to work harder to produce heat, reducing its efficiency and driving up your energy bills. A clogged filter can also cause your heating system to malfunction or shut down completely, leaving you with no heat.

Cleaning your oil tank filter regularly can help keep your heating system running smoothly, enhance its efficiency and extend the lifespan of your entire system. A clean oil tank filter reduces the risk of expensive repairs and ensures you get optimum performance out of your heating system.

What You Will Need

Before you begin cleaning your outside oil tank filter, there are a few things you’ll need:

– Sturdy gloves and protective safety goggles
– Rags or towels
– A bucket to catch oil drips
– A wrench
– A new filter replacement (optional)

How to Clean Your Outside Oil Tank Filter

Follow these steps to effectively clean your outside oil tank filter:

1. Shut off power to your heating system

First, shut off the power to your heating system at the main breaker. This step is important to ensure that no electricity is flowing to your heating system while you are working on the oil tank filter.

2. Locate the oil tank filter

Next, locate the oil tank filter on the outside of your oil tank. The filter will usually be located near the inlet pipe that delivers oil to your heating system. The filter housing is typically made of metal and can either be attached with bolts or a locknut.

3. Drain the filter housing

Before you remove the filter housing, place a bucket underneath to catch any oil spills. Then, use the wrench to loosen the bolts or locknut holding the filter housing in place, and gently pull the housing away from the oil tank. Allow any residual oil in the housing to drain into the bucket.

4. Remove the filter

Once the housing is drained, remove the filter from the housing. Be sure to inspect the condition of the old filter for damage, wear and tear, and debris.

5. Clean the filter housing

Using a clean rag or towel, wipe off any grime, oil, or debris from the housing. Be careful not to damage the housing or any of the components inside.

6. Clean the filter

Now, clean the filter. You can either use a soft-bristled brush or wash the filter with warm water and mild detergent. Be sure to rinse the filter thoroughly and shake it gently to remove any excess liquid.

7. Replace the filter

Once the filter is clean and dry, carefully insert it back into the housing. Make sure it’s properly seated in the housing.

8. Reassemble the filter housing

Replace the housing back onto the tank and tighten the bolts or locknut securely. Ensure that the filter housing is seated properly and there are no leaks.

9. Turn on your heating system

Lastly, turn on the power supply to your heating system and verify that it’s working properly.


Q1: How often should I clean my oil tank filter?

A1: It’s recommended that you clean your oil tank filter at least once a year to ensure smooth and efficient operation of your heating system.

Q2: Can I clean my oil tank filter without turning off my heating system?

A2: No, you need to turn off your heating system before cleaning your oil tank filter. This is to ensure your safety and avoid any accidents or electric shock.

Q3: Do I need to replace my oil tank filter?

A3: If your filter is damaged, clogged, or has been in use for more than a year, it’s recommended to replace it with a new one.


Cleaning your outside oil tank filter is a simple and effective way to keep your heating system running efficiently and reduce the risk of expensive repairs. By following these steps and cleaning your oil tank filter regularly, you’ll ensure that your heating system is running at its best and keep your home warm and comfortable all winter long.

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