Free Heat and Hot Water for Your Car wash
from Your Used Oil

By Howard Levens
An updated version of the article which originally appeared in Professional Carwashing and Detailing magazine

Transforming used oil into free hot water can save money for your car wash.

Reader Question: I keep hearing about car wash operations converting used oil into free heat and hot water. How do I do that?

Many car washes are saving money by recycling used oil onsite into free heat and hot water. The boiler and unit heater systems use waste oil from quick lube shops. Using waste oil for heat rather than having it hauled for disposal cuts operating costs, the burden of used oil disposal, and makes companies more environmentally conscientious.

Auto detailers, quick lubes, car washes, and rental companies have all greatly benefited from used oil fired boilers and heaters. Heating costs are often their largest expenses. For a car wash, the cost of warm water can make or break their business. Imagine the impact on profits when a company’s largest expense is eliminated!

Heater and Boiler System

Installing a boiler and heating system is most cost-effective and easiest when the facility is being built or remodeled.

A boiler turns used oil into heat. The boilers will burn used motor oil, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, and other petroleum-based lubricants.

Every gallon of used oil contains 140,000 BTU’s of energy. Most facilities collect thousands of gallons of used oil every year. This results in the reduction of the heating costs for the facility by using reliable and easy-to-use multi-oil heaters and boilers to convert the BTU’s into money-saving energy to create heat and hot water.

The heat from a used oil boiler can be used to produce hot water for a car wash. The hot water is tempered as the water combines with the chemical and soap products that are sprayed on the vehicles. The same boiler can also heat hot water for radiant floor heat, frost pads (heated outdoor pavement), or for hydronic unit heaters to heat the facility.

Most quick lube shops keep the doors open all year long. During the winter, the heat generated from a used oil boiler creates free heat and cuts or eliminates their heating bills.

Saving Money Long Term

Car wash owners who add a boiler or unit heater to their car wash save money in two ways: reducing heating costs and waste oil disposal costs.

Facility owners can perform a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the overall costs associated with their current heating system, including fuel and maintenance, and determine if a used oil boiler or heating system is the right investment for their business.

Most car washes and lube shops see a return on investment within 12 to 24 months depending on the cost of the equipment and installation.

Becoming More Environmentally Conscientious

The clean-up of environmentally hazardous automotive fluids collected by lube shops is a concern for business owners. Spill clean-up fees, in many cases, can cost business owners thousands of dollars.

Federal and state environmental regulators consider a generator of automotive fluids liable under the heading of "cradle to grave liability".

Even a business that hires a reputable disposal company to pump their used oil tanks can be liable for clean-up costs associated with a spill due to an accident on the road.

Cleaning fines have also been assessed on companies for improper disposal of automotive fluids by reputable disposal companies. Even if a disposal company closes or files for bankruptcy the "cradle to grave liability" of the clean-up remains. Government officials have levied clean-up costs in these cases.

A unit heater or boiler can solve the problem of disposing of the used oils by recycling the used oil onsite into heat.

Always select used oil heaters and boilers that meet UL and /or American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) specifications.

Used oil boilers and unit heaters are saving money for car washes all over the country by turning their used oil into free heat and hot water. These used oil boilers and heaters eliminate hauling costs and liability and also make companies more environmentally conscientious. The benefits of the system are life-long.

Consider installing a used oil heating system in your car wash today and start saving your company thousands in heating and disposal costs.

Contact us to calculate the return on investment to see if converting or adding a waste oil unit heater or boiler would be beneficial for your car wash.

Every gallon of used oil contains 140,000 BTU's of energy. Most facilities collect thousands of gallons of used oil every year.


Home Brewery & Distillery Boilers Parts Specials Gallery Contact Us
About Us Used Oil Heat Overview Parts Store Financing References Quote Request
Customer Service Used Oil Heaters & Boilers Service Resources    
  Radiant Floor Heat   Events    
  Industrial Fans        
  Biodiesel Boilers        

Northwest Industrial Equipment, Inc.

(253) 872-6060

22020 – 68th Avenue South, Kent, WA 98032
© Copyright 2012 - , Northwest Industrial Equipment - All Rights Reserved. Website Design, Hosting and Maintenance by New Tech Web, Inc.