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Oil Tank Sprung a Leak and is Done - Time to Convert to Gas?

Jeff_H Member Posts: 37
This week, my 275 gallon oil tank (in my basement) sprung a leak. It needs to be replaced. I was able to get the oil in it (about 250 gallons) transferred to a temporary tank. I have two choices - (1) replace the tank, which the company that put in the temporary tank is quoting $3,000 to install a new tank, run a line from the new tank to my boiler (a Burnham V-75) and remove the old tank or (2) convert to gas. I have not gotten quotes on converting, but realize that I will need to pay to remove the old tank (and the oil in it) even if I convert to gas. My boiler is at least 20 years old, so I imagine it will need to be replaced eventually. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    You will probably save a lot of money in fuel costs by converting and who knows how much life is left in a 20 year old boiler? Maybe one more season, maybe 10 or 15 more. It's anybody's call. I don't think you can make a decision until you get a quote for a properly sized new gas boiler and also have the chimney inspected and determine what costs there may be in putting a liner in. Then you can compare that to fuel cost savings and the $3K tank replacement savings. (Removal costs for the old tank are there in either case)
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,308
    I was in the same position with my v75 in 2012, the oil tank was weeping and the cost for oil was high compared with natural gas.
    I knew the chance of successfully converting a 16 year old oil burner was not good, they have to be VERY well cleaned for a conversion to work and the chance of damage was just too great. The v75 is not a long lived boiler.

    I opted to install a new gas fired boiler rather than lock myself into oil. When they tore the 16 yr old v75 out you could tell it was on the verge of failing so I'm glad I made that choice. The new system is a lot cheaper to run compared to the oil back then. The cost of oil has come down but I don't know if it's going to stay there so you have a choice to make.

    If you decide to switch make sure you have someone who knows steam so it gets done right the first time, make sure he follows the manual for piping (at a minimum).

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Mark N
    Mark N Member Posts: 1,094
    I converted 6 years ago. My saving over the last 6 years have easily paid for the boiler and tank removal.
  • Jack M
    Jack M Member Posts: 213
    edited March 2015
    If you are thinking about a liner and gas conversion, why not also ask for a quote on a direct vent condensing boiler with outdoor reset and radiant panels in the rooms. I'm just a homeowner, but there's potentially some value there and you should weigh all your options. Don't forget the domestic hot water. This is also when you are supposed to ask other members of the household is they prefer central AC. Many of my neighbors are going with mini splits.
    Sacrilege I know.
    But just think what you can do with all the extra room and a spare chimney flue.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,342
    Jack M said:

    If you are thinking about a liner and gas conversion, why not also ask for a quote on a direct vent condensing boiler with outdoor reset and radiant panels in the rooms

    A chimney has no moving parts. A direct vent condensing boiler has many, and they're all proprietary, so you may find yourself waiting way too long for parts if something goes wrong. Not a pleasant thing on a 5° night.

    It's not clear from your post if you have a hot-water or steam system. But you have existing radiation with either system, so why replace it?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service