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How to Extend the Life of your Aboveground Heating Oil Tanks

How to Extend the Life of your Aboveground Heating Oil Tanks

Where should you put your aboveground heating oil tank?

The basement of a home is the place of choice for most aboveground oil tanks. Because it is not exposed to the outdoor elements and temperature swings this will lower your risk of water in your tank.

Putting a tank in a garage or outdoors leaves it vulnerable to exterior damage from activity or consistent temperature fluctuations. And installing oil tanks in your garage will more than likely be a little more expensive as in most cases, you are required to install anti-impact vertical piping or fixed pylon.

No matter where you tank is installed it should be in a location where you can visually inspect the tank.

What if I have to install the aboveground oil tank on the exterior of home or structure, due to lack of space?

If you do install an aboveground tank on the exterior of a home or business, you should speak to your governing environmental agency about local regulations:

  1. Aboveground oil tanks cannot block any windows or entrances / exits of a structure.
  2. The general requirement is that a tank which exceeds 125 gallons should not be placed within a certain vicinity of an on-site propane tank.
  3. The tank should be placed away from the structure, by at least 10’, as foliage and other debris can build up near the tank or the underbelly of the tank and cause unnecessary corrosion on the sides and underneath.
  4. To avoid damage or pitting from ice, dripping water from rain or melting snow, a tank should not be placed directly below the soffits of the home.
  5. The aboveground tank should be elevated on legs and placed on a concrete platform, not above grass or anywhere weeds or foliage can grow. The belly of the tank must be off the ground.

This is a good start in deciding where on your property you can install an exterior aboveground oil tank.

What type of aboveground tank should I install?

Most experts in the tank industry strongly recommend installing a double walled tank, such as a Roth Tank. The these tanks are known for their quality and generally come with an extensive warranty. They also help ward off corrosion issues as it’s almost like a tank contained with a tank, so it acts as a secondary, or back up, containment, in the event of a spill or leak in the interior tank.

If you choose to install a single walled steel tank, you should also purchase a secondary containment tub that can hold the total amount of product in the oil tank.

How do I take care of my aboveground heating oil tank?

The following are a couple pointers for maintaining your tank in between inspections

  1. If the tank is located on the exterior of the property, visually check the tank for signs of corrosion. Rust on the tank indicates that the tank is starting to corrode.
  2. Monitor underneath the tank for signs of contamination, including odor and staining.
  3. Some people recommend painting a tank with a non-corrosive primer / paint combination. We strongly recommend speaking with the manufacturer of the tank as to what they would recommend as far as painting.
  4. Make sure all openings, including vent and fill pipes, are properly capped to avoid water intrusion into the tank.

Should I have a professional test the tank?

It’s recommended to have a professional perform an inspection of the tank every 2 years.

  1. Fully visually inspect the tank for signs of corrosion, damage or leaking.
  2. Check the fuel lines and piping for signs of leaking or damage.
  3. Check for water in the tank.
  4. Check for contamination in the soil surrounding the tank using a Photoionization Detector.
  5. Take corrosion readings of the exterior of the tank. You can also perform an Ultrasonic Thickness Test (UTT) on an aboveground tank.
  6. One of the most important components that should be inspected in basement tanks is the “vent pipe” whistle.  This whistle alerts the oil delivery person to stop putting oil into the tank and prevents overfill/spillage. The principle of operation is that as oil is being forced into the tank through the filler tube, the air in the tank is forced out through the “vent pipe” causing a sound from the whistle. A non-functional whistle is one of the leading causes of oil being released into the house.

Contact an environmental testing provider to discuss aboveground oil tank inspections and get set up on a bi-yearly schedule to monitor your tank.

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