Waste Oil Stove

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Years ago I knew a fellow who converted a box type wood stove to burn waste oil. As I recall, he placed an old cast iron skillet inside and plumbed a line to squirt/drip(?) the oil into the pan. He would crack a valve to get a little oil into the pan, light it with a piece of paper and gradually increase the flow as it got hot. This thing only smoked until it got hot, which didn't take long, then it burned very clean and odorfree. He heated his workshop with this stove. Does anybody know how to build such a thing? I seem to remember a set of plans being offered in the old ** News magazine.

-- Jimmy James (fishuntr@sisp.net), September 17, 2000


I know the old TMEN had plans in the mag and I think they used to sell plans for it also. Pick up a current copy to see if they're still available. I've also heard about setting up an oil drip onto burning fore wood in a stove. Its supposed to work fairly well also.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), September 17, 2000.

i don't have any plans to give you, but i can tell you that i have seen a lot of these in operation. i used to own the snap-on tools route around here, and in the winter i would see a lot of these in operation in what i described as the "wannabe" garages. someone would decide to open a garage, with virtually no tools and no equipment, and go out and rent a little building somewhere. to heat it in the winter, on virtually no budget, they would take an old barrel or two, or some sort of an old stove. they would cut a hole in the body of the stove, and run in a small copper or steel tubing inside. outside of the stove they would install some sort of valve to regulate the flow of the used engine oil. the other end of the tubing would be connected to some sort of tank ( whatever they could scrounge up ) and the mechanic/shop owner would pour in old engine oil, tranny fluid, and any and all sort of combustible fluids they could find. in the body of the stove, they would start a wood fire. once the wood fire was going pretty good, they would gradually open the inline valve and allow the used oil to drip onto the fire. the tank was always mounted up higher than the stove to allow gravity to work. virtually all of these smoked badly, filling the shop with noxious fumes. my eyes would water while i was wheezing and i could never get out of these shops fast enough. some of these guys would even take an old kitchen stove, like a gas or electic, and burn wood in it. (shaking my head )

however, there is no doubt in my mind that this can be done well. i have seen a couple of working systems that performed very well, with no smoke or fumes. bear in mind however, and please understand, that my dislike of these poorly thought out and poorly built systems is the gawd-awful smoke and fumes inside the shop, that did not vent outside. there are a lot of additives in oil and lubricants that just have no business being breathed into ones lungs.

come to think of it,i have seen several ads in the automotive trade journals from companies selling "waste oil burning furnaces". these DO work very well, because they are well thought out, WELL ENGINEERED and WELL BUILT. perhaps you can mosey into some local shops and leaf through some trade journals and contact the sellers.

good luck


-- gene ward (gward34847@aol.com), September 17, 2000.

Thanks John and Gene. I havent actually bought a new copy of TMEN, but checked their website for the plans. Regarding how dirty and inefficient the stoves you saw; I believe this one I saw only burned oil, and the use of the cast iron skillet contained the fire. It was very clean burning and no odor.

-- Jimmy James (fishuntr@sisp.net), September 17, 2000.

Jimmy: I know the one you're talking about and have seen one in use. They do put out heat and quite a bit of it but they tend to soot up and require regular cleaning.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), September 18, 2000.

in the Army, they use a barrell heater, that drips deisel fuel down on a pan where the fire is, I made a small one once, just to try it out, worked great, heated well, shouldnt be too hard to make a waste oil one, might have to filter it first,, and you could attacha blower to it, so it burns hotter and cleaner

-- STAN (sopal@net-port.com), September 19, 2000.

If you are looking for more waste oil, a fellow told me that I should follow the Fall Festivals in my area as the vendors regularly throw away their spent cooking oil. Should burn just as well!

-- Gailann Schrader (gtschrader@aol.com), September 19, 2000.

Jimmy you need the September/October 1978 (Number 53) issue of The Mother Earth News. The article is on pages 104-109. It is based on making a stove out of an old electric water heater and adding the oil drip to it. Although it can be (and has been) cobbled onto another stove. Gerbil

-- Gerbil (ima_gerbil@hotmail.com), September 19, 2000.

I knew someone would know the answer. Thanks Gerbil..now i gotta break all those dusty boxes out of the top of the garage and find issue 53. I subscribed through most of the 70's but finally dropped it. I hope i have that issue

-- Jimmy James (fishuntr@sisp.net), September 19, 2000.

Hey Gerbil..or anyone else, I don't have issue #53. I have all the early editions up through about 1974, but no issue #53. Could you possibly burn me a copy? I would gladly pay for it. Or, if anyone has that edition and wants to part with it, I would gladly buy it. Thanks

-- Jimmy James (fishuntr@sisp.net), September 21, 2000.

Hey Jimmy, I have been looking for the same plans. If you find some please let me know. Thanks

-- Jim Hernodn (herndon@galstar.com), December 19, 2000.

Hi First thing I do have a set of these plans from M E News 1978 magazine. Second they are very basic.They have a address to order detailed plans.Contacted the magazine and they did not have the plans any more. I am also looking for detailed plans for one of these heaters. If this is any help let me know. Larry

-- Larry Belk (lbjbcb1@gci.net), January 12, 2001.

I built TMEN's stove from their plans and it did not work as advertised. I researched the problem and after a year designed a smokeless waste oil stove. I built kits that converted 55 gallon drums into a 120,000 Btu stove. TMEN would not accept my ads when I sold the stove. I think it made them look bad. Anyway I sold 80 kits in the three years that I was in business (1981-1983). The kit cost $400 and $500 bucks but lasted a long time and was smokeless. I am going to offer plans and some parts for the fall and winter of 2001. I have a cheaper design that can be built for $50 worth of hardware store parts. I'll be offering articles to self-reliant style magazines. And this stove is not for residential use. Only for garages and shops.

-- Buck Stein (evertech@juno.com), March 04, 2001.

I have seen a number of oil stoves that used light (as used in trucks tractors etc) diesel oil although I am sure other oil would be ok if not to heavy. The basic principle was that the oil dripped onto a hot brick. The stoves they were in were converted from coal use and were installed in houshold kitchens. No smoke or smell as I recall.

-- john hill (john@cnd.co.nz), March 05, 2001.

I have plans for a waste oil furnace, probably be able to build if handy with metal for under $50. contact me I'd gladly help you out

-- Erik (enricoestabar@yahoo.com), March 08, 2001.

I'm one of those wannabe garages, though in the UK. I had over 300 gallons of waste oil in 45 gallon drums (our gallons are bigger than US gallons). As last autumn drew on I wanted to use this oil, as to have it removed would cost a fortune so I experimented and eventually have come up with a waste oil burner for use in a domestic hearth. It has saved me buying coal for the last 6 months and kept my house warm, I have a neighbour who hasn't noticed that waste oil has been burnt in my fire place. Initially I did experience a lot of smoke but with a little luck, and the fact my girlfriend complained over the excessive heat given off from it I made a controllable shield which protects and increases the economy of the fire. If any one wants plans for this and has access to a welder I will sell them.

-- STEVE GIBBON (pontfadog@pontfadog.screaming.net), March 27, 2001.

WELL, I'M BACK. The low cost design for a waste oil stove that will convert a 55 gallon drum into a 120,000 Btu stove is finished. I am currently working on plans to allow any handyman to build it. I have posted pictures at a website and have more details there. The cost for parts looks like $65. And right now I figure $29 for detailed plans. I have proven that it works and even cooked pasta during one of the tests. Check it out at www.wasteoilstove.com Plans will be available sometime in September.

-- Buck Stein (evertech@juno.com), May 27, 2001.

Check out http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wastewatts/ It's a special interest group where ideas are shared on, among other things, waste oil burners. Won't cost you a thing to join and get all kinds of free info from other experimenters. You would want check out the information on Babington burners for waste oils. This DIY burner can tolerate dirty, unfiltered oils, (even some water)and produces a nice clean flame.

-- William Dysinger (wcdysinger@yahoo.com), January 16, 2002.

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