Replace Your Heating Oil Tank Before Winter
Written on: August 28, 2023
How old is your heating oil storage tank? If you aren’t sure, or if it’s approaching the thirty-year mark, you should definitely start keeping an eye out for the warning signals that it’s hitting the end of its lifespan.
Regularly do a visual inspection for dents, leaks or signs of corrosion. You may want to consider scheduling a professional maintenance check once a year. And if you think that your tank may be nearing the end of its life, we strongly recommend replacing it before winter.
Why? Because if you decide to replace your heating oil tank after you’ve filled it up for the winter, it will be a much bigger job. And if you think you can get one more winter out of it, and your full tank fails, you’ll be dealing with a heating oil spill, which is a much bigger problem than just replacing your tank.
Here are the telltale signs that your heating oil tank is leaking—or could start soon.
- Damp Spots: The first sign your oil tank is leaking is a damp spot on the tank. Usually, they will appear on the underside of your tank or along the seam at the bottom of the tank. As the leak gets worse, oil will travel up the side of the tank.
- Paint Problems: Blistering in the paint on the underside of the tank is a sign the tank is compromised. Condensation on the outside of the tank, even after a delivery, is also a warning sign.
- Sticky Drips: If the leak goes undetected, black icicle-like deposits or sticky drips will form on the underside of the tank. You may or may not notice an oil smell.
- Floor Stains: Reddish black spots will appear on the floor underneath the area. Depending on how long the leak goes undetected, an oil stain will begin to develop on the floor.
There are several things that can influence how long your oil tank will last: Age, maintenance and construction are the main factors. The good news is that modern heating oil storage tanks have come a long way, and a new tank will provide decades or virtually leak-proof performance compared to older types.
Here’s what you need to consider if you think it’s time to replace your heating oil tank:
- How old is your heating oil storage tank? If your tank is less than 15 years old, you’re probably ok for a few more years. If you don’t know when it was installed, and your home was built before 2000, it’s probably time.
- How is it made? Older tanks are made of steel and can be of single- or double-walled construction. In addition, the steel can be different gauges or thicknesses. Thicker, double walls are better. Also, where the connector valve is located can make a difference. Connectors at the bottom of the tank (instead of the side) last longer. Newer tanks are made from plastic and fiberglass and are designed to last 50 years or more.
- How has it been maintained? Tanks left empty over the summer can have condensation build up inside. That can lead to rust. Likewise, sediments at the bottom of the tank can result in corrosion. All that damage happens from the inside out: if you are seeing rust or seepage on the outside of your tank, you need to act fast to avoid a costly leak and spill.
The Bottom Line
Waiting until your tank fails is not the best way to find out it’s time to replace it. The hassle and expense of remediating an oil spill is a lot bigger than the cost of simply replacing an aging tank.
If you think it’s time to replace your tank, contact the pros at Lombardi today to learn more about expert oil tank replacement, installation and removal in coastal Massachusetts.