Old Oil Tanks Problems and Solutions

July 29, 2016


If you’re one of the many households out there with an older oil tank there are a few things to consider. We know that replacing your oil tank may seem like an expensive and complicated endeavor, but the truth is that it doesn’t have to be. When you consider the value of your home compared to the cost of replacing your oil tank, it’s a no brainer!

Your oil tank is probably one of those things that you forget about in your home. “Out of site, out of mind” applies really well to oil tanks because they are either buried in your backyard, out in the cold, or hidden in a crook of your basement. We know that there are other routine maintenances when it comes to your home, but your oil tank if not checked regularly could be damaging your home and your property.

At this point, you’re probably wondering, what kind of damage can an old oil tank possibly do to my home? The answer is a lot.

Leaks are an obvious problem that can arise over time and a leaking heating oil tank is a serious problem. A leak as small as a pinhole can empty out 264 gallons in as little as eight hours. Leaks like this can be caused by a number of factors, including improper maintenance, or even physical damage to your tank. Yet, the number one cause of home heating oil leaks is interior water and sludge build up. This creates rust that corrodes the steal infrastructure of your tank. This is your tank’s worst enemy because ALL tanks are exposed to moisture.

Internal corrosion can happen when water condenses and gets trapped in the tanks. This can easily be controlled by removing the water with a drain plug, using water absorbent socks, or even periodically using additives.

So, my tank leaks? What then?

The least of your worries is the oil you lose in a leak. What you really need to be freaked out about is the damage that oil can cause to your home and your surrounding environment. Heating oil can contaminate soil, water, and even the drinking water supply. If there is any sign of leakage from a tank, not only does the tank have to be removed and replaced, but anything that’s been contaminated has to be either removed or cleaned up. These types of projects are usually quite expensive and did we mention the smell?

What can I do to prevent this from happening to my oil tank?

  • Have your tank inspected by a heating oil professional annually
  • Double check to make sure your tank is certified. (if outdoors make sure it’s an outdoor tank)
  • Make sure that outdoor tanks are free from ice, snow, and branches
  • Clear storage and debris away from indoor tanks
  • Check your tank for any physical damage
  • Cap inactive fill pumps
  • Consider replacing your tank if it’s more than 15 years old. Fiberglass is leak proof, unless physically damaged.

If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact Haly Oil at 610-251-0342 with any inquiries.