How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

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CuriousJoe
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How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:23 am

Hi all:
I was trying to measure oil level in the pipe attached to the oil tank and the stick broke and fell inside the pipe.
How do I retrieve the stick? Or, shall I just leave it inside? Hope it doesn't interfere with pumping oil.
Thanks

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:24 am

Are you able to see where the stick is in the tank?
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CuriousJoe
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:32 am

No, I can't see the stick. probably it is a foot inside the pipe

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CuriousJoe
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:33 am

Also, it is not inside the tank. It is inside the pipe connecting to the tank

fru-gal
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by fru-gal » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:45 am

Kitchen tongs:

Image

might work, if you get one long enough and narrow enough. Then again it might push the stick further into the pipe.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:46 am

I would ask the oil delivery company. Not the first time, not the last time.

The flow of oil likely comes out the bottom of the tank, and goes through a filter. I suspect it would be impossible for the stick to block anything, and as long as it's not going to dissolve and ruin the oil, it's probably fine.

Does your tank not have a level indicator? We had oil back in the late 80s to early 90s on a house we owned, and it had a level indicator.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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CuriousJoe
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:00 am

Thank you so much all.
We don't have the oil level indicator. Oil delivery company is quoting an open-ended price to check and, if possible, retrieve it.
I am going to try the GrabEasy tool

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:08 am

Obviously every tank is different, but a quick Google search showed you might be able to add an oil level indicator for $50 or less. Looks like you open a plug and remove it, add the indicator with some sealant on the threads.
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by GrowthSeeker » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:15 am

There are magnets on an extendable handle, for example this one. Might work, though magnet will want to stick to the walls of the tube.

You might be able to use a string with a weight on the end, repeatedly wrap the string around the thing you're trying to retrieve. If there enough turns around it, the friction may allow you to pull it up.

If the top is cylindrical, like a pencil, and if you have a slightly larger cylinder, you might be able to slide the cylinder over the pencil, then tilt slightly so gravity helps grab it.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by mpnret » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:31 am

CuriousJoe wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:32 am
No, I can't see the stick. probably it is a foot inside the pipe
A foot isn't very far. You sure you can't see it with a small flashlight? We are talking stick (wood) right? I haven't had a wood one in many years but I am thinking about 1" square stick with markings. It's hard to imagine your exact situation and what you have available at home but if it were me I would grab a piece of something like 1/2" copper pipe. Put a proper length sheet metal screw through it so the point just sticks through slightly. Put it down in the pipe along side the stick and use some leverage from the top so the screw point bites into the wood a bit and drag it out.
Just leaving it inside the pipe isn't such a bad option either. Try being there at next oil delivery. Mention it to the delivery guy. He may get it out without charge. Stick may even float up to top of pipe once tank is full.

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:49 am

Thanks again.

"Stick may even float up to top of pipe once tank is full"
Wow, never thought of that, being wooden stick. I will be present for the next oil delivery, and see if this solves the problem!

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:16 am

CuriousJoe wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:49 am
Thanks again.

"Stick may even float up to top of pipe once tank is full"
Wow, never thought of that, being wooden stick. I will be present for the next oil delivery, and see if this solves the problem!
Yeah, I wouldn't think so.

OP said that the stick is inside the oil delivery pipe. Therefore, the next delivery is going to pour tens if not hundreds of gallons of fuel oil down the pipe, very likely pushing the stick out of the way and into the main tank.

I can't visual a configuration where measuring the level in the oil delivery pipe tells you the level in the tank regardless.
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by GrowthSeeker » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:36 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:16 am
OP said that the stick is inside the oil delivery pipe. Therefore, the next delivery is going to pour tens if not hundreds of gallons of fuel oil down the pipe, very likely pushing the stick out of the way and into the main tank.

I can't visual a configuration where measuring the level in the oil delivery pipe tells you the level in the tank regardless.
Except that I don't think the oil goes in through that same pipe.

I think the tube that holds the level indicator extends up above the tank and the part of the "stick" that is at the same level as the oil/air interface is down a ways such that the top of the "stick" is well above the oil level.

They also have a fluid level indicator which transmits the info a short distance, so you can tell the level by looking at a gadget that is plugged in somewhere else in the house which is more convenient for viewing.
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CABob
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CABob » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:05 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:16 am

OP said that the stick is inside the oil delivery pipe. Therefore, the next delivery is going to pour tens if not hundreds of gallons of fuel oil down the pipe, very likely pushing the stick out of the way and into the main tank.

I can't visual a configuration where measuring the level in the oil delivery pipe tells you the level in the tank regardless.
I think many may be over complicating the situation.
I may be wrong but I am visualizing a wooden stick, perhaps a round dowel or a 1x1 square piece that normally reaches from the top of the fill tube to the bottom of the tank. Think of the oil level dip stick on your automobile. The stick is normally kept outside of the tank but when one wants to measure the oil level they stick the stick down the pipe until it hits the bottom then withdrawn to see how much of the stick is wet. There are a lot of tanks out there that get measured in this way. In the OP case somehow the stick got broken and the bottom of the stick is at the bottom of the tank but the top is somewhere in the tube. The retriever tool seems the most likely solution if it reaches the stick.
Bob

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by mpnret » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:23 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:16 am
CuriousJoe wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:49 am
Thanks again.

"Stick may even float up to top of pipe once tank is full"
Wow, never thought of that, being wooden stick. I will be present for the next oil delivery, and see if this solves the problem!
Yeah, I wouldn't think so.

OP said that the stick is inside the oil delivery pipe. Therefore, the next delivery is going to pour tens if not hundreds of gallons of fuel oil down the pipe, very likely pushing the stick out of the way and into the main tank.

I can't visual a configuration where measuring the level in the oil delivery pipe tells you the level in the tank regardless.
I've had quite few oil tanks over the years and measured all of them through the delivery pipe. The OP didn't provide much info on type of tank, delivery pipe length, rough amount of oil in tank, etc. However, I do think there is a good chance of the stick floating up. The stick is sitting in a 1-1/2 to 2" delivery pipe about 1' in. The delivery pipe most likely has at least another 1' of length. Most likely more. This locks the stick in pretty good as far as side to side movement. The only way oil delivery could push the stick down out of the delivery pipe is if the oil level in the tank exceeds the remaining length of the delivery pipe. Even then I would expect the delivery guy to go easy knowing he is trying to float the stick out.

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by ladycat » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:29 pm

Could you slide a strong magnet alongside the pipe to bring the stick up to where you could grab it?

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Watty
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by Watty » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:49 pm

You could try getting another stick then wrapping it with duct tape, with the sticky side out, and then seeing if you can pull it out with that.

You might want to put a large staple gun staple through the duct tape to make sure that the duct tape does not come off the new stick.

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by ianferrel » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:56 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:16 am
I can't visual a configuration where measuring the level in the oil delivery pipe tells you the level in the tank regardless.
I'm imagining that the delivery pipe is basically vertical, next to the tank, feeding into the bottom of it. If so, the level of oil in the pipe will be the same as the level in the tank and you could measure it with a dipstick.

OP, you said the stick is wood. What are the dimensions of the pipe? Is the section the stick is in straight, or does it bend? Is it vertical, or at an angle? How wide is the stick, and how long is the broken piece? Is the end of the broken stick flat or did it break in a splintery way?

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by RickBoglehead » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:03 pm

ladycat wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:29 pm
Could you slide a strong magnet alongside the pipe to bring the stick up to where you could grab it?
Because sticks are attracted to magnets? :shock:
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CuriousJoe
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:09 pm

The measuring stick is wooden, about 1/4 inch thick and about 1/2 inch width.

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CuriousJoe
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:12 pm

Is the section the stick is in straight, or does it bend? Is it vertical, or at an angle? How wide is the stick, and how long is the broken piece? Is the end of the broken stick flat or did it break in a splintery way?

Stick doesn't bend, vertical, about 1/4 inch thick, about 1/2 inch width, and broken piece is about 3 feet length. End of the broken stick broke in a splintery way

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lthenderson
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by lthenderson » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:09 pm

I once welded a wood screw to a piece of long metal rod and after chucking it up in my drill screwed into a piece of wood down a three foot long slot and got it out. But in that case I could just barely see the piece of wood that I was trying to drill into.

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dratkinson
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by dratkinson » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:39 pm

Time for more tools. :)


See: Recall inspection cameras attached to flexible lighted cables.

Image

Search: http://www.google.com/search?q=inspecti ... a&tbm=isch


Grab:
--Tongs, if long enough. Could maybe "feel" lost stick and grab it.
--Another stick with a small nail (brad) protruding through other side (upward angle) to impale lost stick.
--Mechanics claw pick up tool.

Image

Search: http://www.google.com/search?q=mechanic ... l&tbm=isch

If you could look down into pipe with a lighted pickup tool, might be able to see/retrieve broken stick without needing an inspection camera.


Retrieve: Use camera to guide tool into position to retrieve broken stick.
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TexasPE
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by TexasPE » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:48 pm

Fabricate something like this

https://www.amazon.com/Redneck-Convent- ... 210&sr=8-2

using a two-foot piece of small-diameter PVC pipe and a reasonably stiff wire (picture hanger or similar) to keep the loop open. Slide the loop around the measuring stick, pull the wire tight and lift out the tool + stick.

Good luck!
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by fru-gal » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:01 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:03 pm
ladycat wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:29 pm
Could you slide a strong magnet alongside the pipe to bring the stick up to where you could grab it?
Because sticks are attracted to magnets? :shock:
Apparently several people think so :-)

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F150HD
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by F150HD » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:02 pm

See these at knock off tool stores for $0.99. Best investment you'll ever make. Has saved me a few times retrieving a small bolt/nut in a tight space.

Image
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GrowthSeeker
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by GrowthSeeker » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:10 pm

Or just call the oil company and ask them.
I agree that when it is filled again, the stick will probably float back to the top.

re: magnet ... I thought we didn't know what the material was. If it includes some metal, this could work; but clearly not if it just wood.

I don't think I would stick any of the following down a tube that has kerosene at the bottom:
* power tools
* battery powered light that could fall in
* duct tape that could fall in, partly dissolve in the oil and do who knows what to the heating system (probably nothing, but ...)
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by Teague » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:25 pm

Send in a magnetized beaver so you'll be covered for both wooden and ferrous metal dipsticks. And with a bit of training it could retrieve all the lights, tape, magnets, nails, etc. that have accumulated over the years.

I'm with those who suggest calling the fuel supplier for advice.
Semper Augustus

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CuriousJoe
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Re: How to retrieve measuring stick stuck inside oil delivery pipe?

Post by CuriousJoe » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:18 pm

Again, thank you all for your responses.
I will wait for the next delivery to see if the sticks 'floats out'!
If not, I will try some of the tools suggested here.
If nothing else, I am going to just forget it and leave it inside, as long as it doesn't interfere with the oil delivery.

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