About Waste Oil



About Waste Oil

Some people remember when waste oil was much more of an environmental problem. From the earliest days of the automotive industry, when people thought nothing of pouring waste motor oil into nearby streams and waterways, things have changed dramatically.

It is true that oil is a natural product and will eventually break down in the environment. Certain microbes have been found that attack petroleum and help convert it over time into carbon dioxide, water and other basic elements as found in nature. However, with the volume of waste oil products generated in industrialized societies, and its proximity to fresh water sources and water supplies, for example, waste oil represents a potentially serious environmental problem.

The 1970’s Oil Crisis

In the 1970s there was a petroleum crisis of another sort. Gasoline and fuel oil supplies were threatened by lack of control over imports as well as by rising demand and fluctuations in oil refinery capacity. People waited in line for $2 worth of gasoline or less. Prices soared. Tempers flared.

At about that time, Ben Smoker, a resourceful businessman and inventor in Lancaster County, PA, came up with a simple and creative idea that would revolutionize the handling and economics of waste oil disposal, and give birth to a new industry. Having already patented several energy related products, Smoker’s approach was pure common sense for auto repair shops and other facilities where waste oil is plentiful.

The Creative Idea Behind Clean Burn

Why not burn the dirty motor oil you already have instead of paying a lot of money for scarce and expensive fuel oil?

The first prototypes involved steel drums and old fuel oil burners. But it was soon discovered that burning waste oils for heat recovery would require more advanced technology than existed at the time.

An Industry Is Born

The development of the first Clean Burn waste oil furnaces in 1979 marked the creation and refinement of a new technology: waste oil combustion for heat recovery in a self contained, efficient and affordable system.

Today Clean Burn continues to lead the world in waste oil combustion equipment and technological expertise. Which is why when the story of waste oil furnaces is told, the story begins and ends with Clean Burn.


Clean Burn waste oil furnaces and boilers turn a used product into a valuable fuel, thus conserving natural energy supplies. Here are some interesting facts.

  • Waste oil possesses nearly twice the energy value of coal and more energy than #2 fuel oil.
  • One gallon of waste oil has the same amount of energy as 18 kilowatt hours of electricity.
  • Two gallons of waste oil can provide electricity to run the average household for approximately 24 hours or… cook 48 meals in a microwave … blow-dry your hair 216 times … vacuum your house for 15 months … or keep your TV on for 180 hours.
  • You have a “Cradle to Grave” liablity when your waste oil leaves you business.
  • Owners and managers can be held responsible and fined for accidental oil spills.
  • The EPA encourages on-site recycling.
  • Your waste oil is worth about $3.00 per gallon when used to heat your business.


Authorized Distributor

Person or business certified and trained to sell and service specific products.


British Thermal Units; a unit of thermal energy.


Flue from the furnace or boiler which creates draft and allows gases to escape.

Cradle-to-Grave Liability

The legal liability of a material from its generation to disposal regardless of third party involvement.

Energy Retention Disc

A composite material formed in the shape of a disc which is placed at the back of the combustion chamber for the purpose of capturing heat and to aid in heat dispersion.

EPA Approved

Accepted and endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fuel Oil

Any liquid petroleum product that is burned in a furnace or boiler for the purpose of generating heat.

Heat Exchanger

A device which transforms cold, ambient air through the furnace into hot air, transferring it back into the room as hot air.

Metering Pump

Any regulated pump which transfers oil from a storage tank to the burner.


Is a forging process in which the dimensions of an item are altered using a die or dies, into which the item is forced. May also be referred to as Swedging.

UL Listing

Underwriters Laboratories; the trusted resource across the globe for product safety certification and compliance solutions.

Used Oil

Any petroleum based or synthetic oil that has been used and is no longer suited to its original use. Often used interchangeably with “waste oil.”

Waste Oil

Any petroleum based fluid or synthetic oil that has become unsuited or unwanted for its original purpose through use or handling.

Waste Oil Burner

Any piece of equipment that heats, ignites, and combusts waste oil and is attached to a waste oil furnace or waste oil boiler.

Waste Oil Furnace

Any piece of equipment that utilizes waste oil as a fuel source to warm the contents of a forced-air heating system.

Waste Oil Heater

Any piece of equipment that utilizes waste oil as a fuel source to warm the contents of a forced-air heating system.

  • “We’ve had our Clean Burn furnace at Eastern Mennonite University for about two years. The unit recycles used motor oil from a eight pieces of grounds equipment and 24 fleet operations. The ‘free heat’ generated by the furnace heats our automotive and equipment shop on campus.” “Without our Clean Burn furnace, we would have to pay to have our used motor oil hauled off. Having an on-site furnace is more practical and economical. As an added bonus, we eliminate the liability of transporting the used motor oil to another facility. Our furnace allows us to be proactive at Eastern Mennonite University in recycling efforts that help us save on energy costs.”

    Ed Lehman, Maintenance Supervisor Eastern Mennonite University | Harrisonburg, VA
  • “The Clean Burn furnace is a great investment that will pay for itself in about three years. The Virginia tax credit was a huge incentive for us to purchase the unit. We paid about $8,000 for the furnace and installation, and we’ll receive 50 percent of that back from the state.” “This Clean Burn furnace allows us to forgo the expense and potential hazards of hauling away used motor oil. Instead we’re recycling that oil into heat for our shop. That’s a ‘win-win’ investment that I’d recommend to any marina nationwide.”

    Bucky Potts, Manager Fairview Beach Yacht Club | Fredericksburg, Virginia


Clean Burn waste oil heater equipment is engineered from the ground up exclusively to burn waste oils.


As the leader in waste oil furnaces and boilers Clean Burn also offers the best warranty in the industry.


Learn more about our line of products and discover the advantage of owning a Clean Burn.

Interested In A Clean Burn?

Contact Us

For general questions, comments, or requests, please fill out the form. For parts/service and international inquiries, please call 888-111-1111.

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