Recycled oil keeps auto repair shop warm
A mechanic who does frequent oil changes can collect a lot of used motor oil.
Dave Leith of Leith Service in Marion recycles the oil to heat his business.
Leith said he has used the oil heating system everywhere he has set up shops.
The oil is stored in a large tank and barrels.
From the tank, it is pumped into an overhead heat exchanger and fed into a burner with air pressure from Leith’s main shop compressor.
The system is controlled by thermostat.
“You have to acquire a lot of oil to use this system,” he said.
Leith uses 150 to 200 gallons of oil a month depending on how cold the winter is.
Leith sometimes has to get used oil from other places.
He doesn’t use oil from individuals because it might be contaminated with water, which would cause problems.
His heating system also can run on diesel fuel.
Leith has a gas heater as a backup for the oil stove.
The biggest drawback is that the system requires a lot of maintenance. Once a year, the sides are removed from the heat exchanger and ashes are vacuumed out.
The tank is cleaned out every five or six years.
“It’s kind of messy,” he said, “but the heat is good.
It heats the air, but the gas burner heats objects.”
Last modified Jan. 30, 2020