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Dented Oil Tank

776v63
776v63 Member Posts: 61
Saw this 275 at a customers house yesterday. As soon as I saw it I knew there was an issue. At first glance I thought i was bulged out, but i quickly realized it was dented in.

There is almost nothing else in the basement, the owner is very old and doesn't go down there, and the tank has "been there since the house was built" which the owner says is 58 years old.

You can see from the pictures that the side against the wall is deeply dented, more-so than the side facing the room.

How could the tank have been dented like this? The vent has a good whistle so its not blocked. Should this tank continue to be filled? Unfortunately my ultrasonic tester wasn't cooperating with me so I couldn't get any readings from it.



Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,688
    Looks to me like it's leaking on the top at the fitting. Can't really see the dent. Maybe it was like that when installed. Maybe the vent is full of crud and the tank sucks in while the burner is running, then when you fill, it blows the crud out and appears fine.
    Is it sucked in after fueling?
    I'd say to the h/o the tank is near the end of its life and will fail eventually. Why take a chance and have a spill?
    steve
    GreenGene
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,819

    Looks to me like it's leaking on the top at the fitting. Can't really see the dent. Maybe it was like that when installed. Maybe the vent is full of crud and the tank sucks in while the burner is running, then when you fill, it blows the crud out and appears fine.
    Is it sucked in after fueling?
    I'd say to the h/o the tank is near the end of its life and will fail eventually. Why take a chance and have a spill?

    Cost of new tank plus cost of labor to remove old and install new.

    Many don't have the money, especially if the current tank is sound. Inspecting the vent and repairing the leak on top is very easy.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    @Steve: I told the customer when I was there that the tank needed to be replaced. I cited the same reasons you did. She's elderly, doesn't have a lot of money, and wanted to check with a family member.

    I know the pictures aren't the best. If I had planned on posting here I would have taken more.

    The main reason I ask is that my dispatcher asked me if we should be filling this tank. As far as the dents go, I'm at a loss for what caused it, I and I can't force the customer to replace it. Structurally it may be OK. My hope is that someone here had seen something like this before and could offer some advice.

    On the subject of the tank being damp: It seems like a majority of old tanks I see are damp on top like this one is. Is this just a product of old age or improper installation?
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    It was installed like that, think about it, whether it got dented prior to or during installation they put the dented end so you couldn't see it, sweet, they're lucky a weld wasn't compromised.

    The spot that bugs me is first pic center of tank near center weld seam, seems to be seepage on edge but hard to tell from pic.
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    @Green: I hadn't really entertained the idea that it was installed that way until you and Chris mentioned it. It seems like the most likely scenario.

    I noticed that spot also. I'm really hoping this lady calls us back to replace this tank for her.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,688
    @ChrisJ I agree, I (all of us) always hear how no one has the money to fix anything.
    @776v63 Yeah hear it all the time...what exactly does she want to check? Tell her to have the family member talk to you. Some people just don't want to spend any money (I found numerous times where older people, no money, have lots of money). Plus if you get the family member on your side, then maybe she will agree.
    The real problem will come down to liability should you have a leak. You now informed her it should be replaced. If a fill blows out the tank (I doubt it, but you never know) is the insurance company going to blame you because you mentioned the problem to her, and still filled the tank?
    The sad reality is if you don't fill it, someone else will. It may last another 20 years.

    As far as damp on top, I think during a fill, even just vapors leaking out will collect and settle there. Then dust sticks to it. But you seem to have a lot more then just some escaping vapors. The stain looks like it covers more then half of the top of the tank-but then again you could've wiped a small stain and now the 'stain' is actually the clean spot.
    steve
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    edited July 2016
    Dispatcher has it on hold for now. After discussing it with her I told her we shouldn't fill it if the customer wants to leave it, although I'm going to go back and take a closer look at it.

    I don't want the blame landing on me if it starts leaking. Some other company can fill it.

    I wonder if the lack of swing joints could be to blame for the dampness.
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    Most oil tank piping joints leak/seep after a while, 2" fill with 60-?? gpm going through it.

    The only stuff I saw hold was the GRIP black stuff like tar, never used it on anything but tank fittings, sticks to and stains everything but works.
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    Once I worked at a place and we got new trucks that did @ 100gpm, salesman said you get more stops done ( I never delivered), not long after we backed them down, spills and split a tank.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Maybe that tank had a problem with it's output pipe and someone used a vacuum to hold the oil from spilling out while they changed a fitting. If you keep it under a vacuum for too long it is possible for the tank to dish in because of all the surface area.

    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/155620/using-and-pulling-a-vacuum-on-oil-tank-to-allow-oil-line-repair

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,819

    @ChrisJ I agree, I (all of us) always hear how no one has the money to fix anything.
    @776v63 Yeah hear it all the time...what exactly does she want to check? Tell her to have the family member talk to you. Some people just don't want to spend any money (I found numerous times where older people, no money, have lots of money). Plus if you get the family member on your side, then maybe she will agree.
    The real problem will come down to liability should you have a leak. You now informed her it should be replaced. If a fill blows out the tank (I doubt it, but you never know) is the insurance company going to blame you because you mentioned the problem to her, and still filled the tank?
    The sad reality is if you don't fill it, someone else will. It may last another 20 years.

    As far as damp on top, I think during a fill, even just vapors leaking out will collect and settle there. Then dust sticks to it. But you seem to have a lot more then just some escaping vapors. The stain looks like it covers more then half of the top of the tank-but then again you could've wiped a small stain and now the 'stain' is actually the clean spot.

    Steve,
    Oh, no, I know that story too, but they have a new BMW in the driveway. I've seen people repeatedly build new, million dollar mansions and then put a bottom of the line HVAC system in from the lowest bidder because "they didn't have enough money". Bleh.

    No, I meant some people actually don't have the money, literally. :)

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    @green: Serious question in reply to your comment about leakage over time. It seems like there would be a lot of re-pipping/fitting tanks. Are you guys doing a lot of this? Honestly I've seen so many tanks like this it just seems normal for oil tanks.

    @bob: vacuum changing a valve is possible. It has a (relatively) newer style firomatic tank valve .
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Does she have tank insurance?
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    No
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Is that vent smaller than the fill?
  • GreenGene
    GreenGene Member Posts: 290
    looks like 1 1/4", that's gone round n round, where did it end up?, CT changed it 2 -3 times, must be 2", can be 1 1/4",???, make up your minds, bottom line is they aren't built to be pressure vessels, like I said when the company I worked for went to high flow trucks to get more deliveries a day BLAM, split welds and back'em down.

    Even at 60 gpm you're pressurizing them.
    Bob Bona_4
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    1 1/4 vent is acceptable in my area. Most are set up this way.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,819
    GreenGene said:

    looks like 1 1/4", that's gone round n round, where did it end up?, CT changed it 2 -3 times, must be 2", can be 1 1/4",???, make up your minds, bottom line is they aren't built to be pressure vessels, like I said when the company I worked for went to high flow trucks to get more deliveries a day BLAM, split welds and back'em down.

    Even at 60 gpm you're pressurizing them.

    When they damaged customer's tanks that were in otherwise good shape, who had to pay to replace the tank and clean up the disaster?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    Update:

    Replaced this customers tank today. Removed all cast iron fittings and utilized swing joints which weren't in place before.

    This was the first tank install I did on my own without the senior tech. It went well.
    Bob Bona_4
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Looks nice. That would not pass here though ( MA.). The fill should not be larger in diameter than the vent. Did you use the existing pipes coming through the foundation? That would be why I am guessing