Why install a Fire Valve

There is genuinely only one good reason to install a Fire Valve in your house if you heat with a furnace that burns either fuel oil or liquefied petroleum gas and that is to be safe. If you think about it furnaces are a blend of electrical and mechanical units developed to develop a fire that is very carefully managed to heat your home to the heat you want Even with how cold it gets outside. If any one of the many components fails it could possibly mean that the fire could escape the confines of the furnace leading to damage to your house. This might also mean that any people in the house could become victims of the fire resulting in either damage from burns or smoke inhalation. It might even, in the worst case scenario, result in death. Nevertheless, the good news is that steps can be taken to lessen the possibilities that this might occur

There are number things one can do to minimise this type of risk. An important one of these is to install a Fire Valve. The Fire Valve and the associated things needed to install appropriately are not terribly expensive and the serenity of mind you will get from knowing that you have made your house a less dangerous place is well worth the cost.

Here are the basics about how the Fire Valve works. no matter if your furnace burns fuel oil or liquefied petroleum gas it should work within a certain fairly specific temps vary. If a problem within the furnace grows it will usually either shut down completely or refuse to shut down when it should. If it fails to turn off it will begin to get hotter than it is supposed to get. If you haven’t installed a Fire Valve this turn into a problem. If you have one a temperature sensor is triggered. These sensors are made to go off at a variety of different temperatures to be relevant to differing types of furnaces. Generally these sensors trigger at 66 to 72 degrees Celsius (approximately 155 degrees f) for most applications but also come configured to set off at a slightly higher rate for other higher temperature applications

This sensor is mounted inside the insulating casing of your boiler. It is connected by a capillary tube, just a thin tube, to a remotely function valve. This valve is installed in the fuel line that supplies No matter which certain type of fuel your furnace is designed to burn between the tank and the furnace. The capillary tube contains a liquid. If the heat of your furnace goes above the level expected for that furnace the liquid in the capillary tube expands. This causes the valve to shut which in turn closes off the fuel supply to the furnace. Your furnace will of course shut off but that is a Minor inconvenience compared to what might happen if you hadn’t installed a Fire Valve.

Once you have made the proper choice, to have a Fire Valve installed please make sure to have the work done by a qualified professional. Though some homeowners may have the necessary equipment and knowledge to effectively install this safety machine most people should at all times rely on the specialists for a job like this.

Guide to Non-Domestic Oil Storage

Guide to Non-Domestic Oil Storage

This guide applies to non-domestic oil storage tanks including those supplying commercial buildings such as offices, village halls, churches and schools. It also applies to domestic tanks over 3500 litres in capacity supplying single family dwellings. OFTEC recommends that tanks containing waste oil are treated in the same way as fuel supply tanks.

This guide does not cover forecourt (petrol station) operations or agricultural installations.

Construction and type of tank

Oil storage tanks can be constructed from carbon steel, medium density polyethylene or glass reinforced plastic. The shape and size (rectangular, horizontal cylindrical or vertical cylindrical) should be selected by taking into account the available space for the installation and the capacity required to serve the appliance(s).

Underground tanks should only be considered where no other options exist, as they are difficult to inspect and leaks may not be immediately obvious. Information on the installation, decommissioning and removal of underground tanks can be found in the Environment Agency Guidance note PPG 27.

Environmental Protection

To minimise the risk of pollution from an oil spill, non-domestic oil storage tanks exceeding 200 litres must be provided with secondary containment (bunding). This can be achieved by installing an integrally bunded tank or by constructing a concrete or masonary bund, to CIRCA Report 163, around a single skinned tank. The bund must be capable of containing at least 110% of the oil storage tank’s capacity.

It is important to provide facilities for measuring the quantity of oil in a tank. Sight tubes can be used as long as they are located within a concrete or masonary bundbuilt to CIRCA Report 163. They cannot be used on integrally bunded tanks and therefor, electronic or hydrostatic contents gauges are recommended.

Fire Protection

Externally sited non-domestic oil storage tanks should comply with the fire separation requirements in column A of Table 1. Where these separation distances cannot be achieved, a screen wall must be provided between the tank and the hazard (either building or boundry) in accordance with the specifications in column B.

Fire Protection Requirements

Additionally, where a tank contains more than 3500 litres any openings in the walls between 1.8 and 1.6m away from the tank should be fitted with 1 hour fire resisting glazing or 1 hour fire resisting self-closing doors.

Maintenance

Steel oil storage tanks, when properly installed, may require infrequent maintenance during thier useful life. however, they should be regularly inspected for any signs of corrosion or leakage.

Plastic oil storage tanks usually require little maintenance. However, it is important that they are also inspected for any signs of leakage, discolouration and deformation.

It is recommended that oil storage tanks and their ancillary equipment are inspected on an annual basis by an OFTEC registered Technician.

Bases

The need to provide suitable bases and supports for oil storage tanks is of paramount importance for reasons of both safety and environmental protection.

Tank Bases should be:

  • Adequate for the weight of the tank;
  • Non-combustable, imperforate and level;
  • Constructed of concrete, paving stones or stonework;
  • Large enough to extend 300mm beyond all sides of the tank.

Further information on preparing base foundations, erecting piers and laying platforms can be found in OFTEC Techincal Book 3

Internal Oil Storage

An oil storage tank sited inside of a non-domestic building must be fully enclosed within a fire resistant chamber. The walls, roof and doors of the chamber will require a fire rating of between 30 minutes and 4 hours, depending on the class of oil storage and capacity of the tank. Consideration should also be given to access, ventilation, fire extinguishing equipment and electrical safety within the chamber.

Fueldump supply industry standard oil storage tank hydrostatic level gauging and sight gauging from our contents gauge section on our website here :- Oil Storage Tank Contents Gauges

The fight for Bio-fuels heats up…..

The new B30K fuel will be a mix of 30% FAME bio-fuel and 70% kerosene, and can be used on existing oil heating appliances with very few system modifications. It is estimated that carbon emissions from the B30K fuel will be 28% lower than those from traditional heating oil. The provisional specification for this fuel is now available from OFTEC, and is called prOPS24.

Bio-liquid trials – organised by a task force headed up by OFTEC and the University of East Anglia – took place in Norfolk last year. Around 25 domestic and commercial properties were converted to run on several different blends of bio-liquid and kerosene, with very positive results.

Campaigning and consulting

Now that a provisional standard has been agreed, oil companies, distributors and government will be consulted on how to make the fuel commercially available at the right price for consumers. The government has indicated that bio-liquid fuels – such as prOFS24 – probably will receive support through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) after October 2012. Because of the possibility of political opposition to this funding from NGO’s, the OFTEC board has agreed to launch a campaign with ministers, MPs and the national media to ensure that bio-liquids do receive RHI support.Public affairs consultancy, Luther Pendragon, has been recruited to co-ordinate this campaign; they have already worked on campaigns for other heating organisations including HHIC. OFTEC members are being asked to contact their MP by letter or email to promote the new fuel. The board considers that there is a very short time in which to achieve RHI support and so this work is essential if the long-term future of the oil/liquid fuel heating and cooking sector is to be secured.

The Renewable Heat Premium Payment

Last month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change released details of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP).

Under RHPP, off-grid consumers can claim £1250 towards a ground source heat pump, £950 (biomass boiler) and £850 (air source heat pump) from a £15 million fund. Plus a £300 voucher towards solar thermal can be claimed by both on/off grid consumers. Worcester,Bosch Group and Plumb Center were quick to welcome the announcement which could result in up to 25,000 installations.

Commenting on the scheme, which started on 1st August, Simon Allan, director of renewables, Plumb Center, said:

“This is traditionally a quieter time for installers so it will bring them a much needed boost at a time when businesses across the board are being affected by the economic downturn.”

“This is excellent news,” said Neil Schofield, head of external and governmental affairs at Worcester, Bosch Group, although sounding a note of caution with timings. “RHPP will be cut off in March 2012, which means that until October, when the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff payments start, there will be no incentive for consumers to install renewable technologies.”

Bio-Fuels pass the test……

Two properties taking part in a trial of bio-liquids in Northern Ireland have  passed their second inspection with flying colours. Both heating systems have been converted to run on a bio-liquid blend, consisting of 70% kerosene and 30% fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), which can be made from waste cooking oil, animal fat or rapeseed.

OFTEC joined forces with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) to trial a bio-liquid mix in public sector housing. The project followed successful field trials in Norfolk last year where around 30 domestic and commercial properties were converted to run on bio-liquid blends. Demand for renewable technologies is likely to increase when the next phase of the Renewable Heat Incentive is introduced, says OFTEC, which is seeking the inclusion of bio-liquids as the B30 mix results in carbon emissions lower than those of natural gas. If included in the RHI, this would mean financial incentives for households converting and using the new fuel.

Guide to Flues, Chimneys and Ventilation

Guide to Flues, chimneys and ventilation

The guide applies to flues, chimneys and ventilation required for any oil fired appliance, including boilers, cookers and stoves used in the home, by the use of draught stabilisers and flue stabilisers.

Flues and Chimneys

A flue is a circular or rectangular pipe from which flue (waste) gases pass from an appliance to the external atmosphere. A chimney is a construction which contains a flue. Masonary chimneys should be always lined with a flexible flue liner, as specified by the appliance manufacturers and be fitted with a cowl to prevent rain ingress. Liners should be replaced whenever a new appliance is fitted.

There are two different types of flue system available – open, and room sealed balanced.

Open flues can be of the “conventional” type where flue gases are expelled through a lined chimney and air for combustion is provided within the room in which the boiler is located. Open can alsobe of a “low level discharge” type, typically found on external boilers, where the flue gases exit the flue at low level and air for combustion is supplied into the boiler casing through a louvered vent.

Room sealed balanced flues draw air for combustion directly from outside. Balanced flues are beneficial in that there is no need for separate combustion air supply, such as a chimney. With a choice of low level, left, right and vertical discharge, they also increase siting flexibility.

Air Supply

In order for your fuel to burn, oxygen is needed. Therefor, it is essential to provide a deicated air supply for combustion for appliances which are of the open flue type. The size of the openings required is dependant on the appliance location, output and where the air supply is to be taken from. Both open and room sealed balanced flue appliances will require additional air supply for cooling purposes where they are located within a cupboard.

Open flue appliances should not be installed in a bedroom, bathroom or garage. Appliances which are of the room sealed balanced flue type should be used in these locations.

Restrictions apply to extract fans where they are located within the same room as an open flue appliance. Your OFTEC registered technician can advise on the air supply requiremnets needed to ensure safe working operation of your appliance.

Safety

Every type of flue and chimney should comply with European and National Legislation with regard to materials, design, and flue termination point. Flue terminations should be positioned where flue gases will disperse quickly, will not re-enter the property via windoes, doors etc and will not cause nuisance to property owners or neighbours. termination below a balcony, carpot or any other area where flue gases might stagnate should also be avoided.

Extra care needs to be taken when selecting a suitable position for condensing boiler flue termination. When operating at their most efficient, condensing boilers can emit a “plume” of water vapour from the flue terminal. White in colour, this vapour is harmless, but should be considered when siting the boiler.

Where a flue terminal is located less than two metres from ground level or where it could be accessed by people, it must be protected with a terminal guard.

Annual Inspection

All oil appliance installations should be serviced at least anually to ensure safety and correct operation. This work should include the checking of flues and ventilation openings to ensure that they are in good condition and not obstructed.

See our range of Boiler and flue accesories at fueldump

Flue stabilisersdraught stabilisers from Tigerholm and Fueldump

Article from OFTEC 123 Home guide to….

www.oftec.org