What to do with an aging heating oil tank

Apr - 06
heating oil tank

What to do with an aging heating oil tank

A buried fuel oil tank.

Commonly referred to as a heating oil storage tank.  These components are not inspected during a home or building inspection.  That is unless specific arrangements have been made, usually from the advice of an appropriate expert.  On the surface this may not seem like an issue.  For homes still using heating oil, the equipment should be periodically inspected.  If the aging heating oil tank is over 10 years old, it should be inspected and tested to insure that it isn’t leaking. If its an underground heating oil tank, this requires some specialized equipment to perform the testing.  Above ground heating oil tanks require a close visual inspection to ensure they are not leaking.  A heating oil tank that is 15-20 years old poses a much higher risk for leaks and should have more comprehensive testing done, along with a soil analysis.

Often homes are converted to using a different type of fuel for heat, and the old heating oil tanks and equipment are left on the property.  Tanks under 1100 gallons in most states do not require reporting to authorities.  It is the responsibility of the homeowner to either maintain the equipment or to have it decommissioned.  Heating oil tanks that are no longer in use can be properly abandoned so they no longer pose a threat of a leak.  Alternatively they can be excavated and removed.

It is in the home owners best interest to prevent very costly heating oil leaks. Underground storage tank and heating oil equipment removal can be very dangerous and should only be carried out by a team of qualified professionals.  Whether you hire SMMCO or another contractor, we strongly urge you to leave this up to the professionals.

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