Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

When to replace oil tank?

random12345
random12345 Member Posts: 25
We will soon be replacing our steam boiler. Thought I'd check on the oil tank now too. It is above ground in the basement. Used continuously since it was installed. 12 gauge steel, 275 gallons. Manufactured 11/93 by Crown Tanks Inc. in Taunton, MA. No longer in business apparently. So ~27-28 years old. Filter has always been changed annually. Tank has never been cleaned as far as I know. Oil company says it is ok to keep using and to use Tank-Guard and wait until it leaks. Also told me that home inspectors tell people to replace after 25 years only because they are obligated to, but that tanks can last up to 60 years. Mass DEP says oil tanks usually don't last longer than 30 years. Tough for oil company to inspect everything though because we use the tank room for storage so loads of stuff on shelves above and around tank. Cleared some room today, took a look and didn't see any stains on concrete or obvious leaks. Some surface rust on seams and legs. Tank sits very low to the concrete slab though, which makes it hard to see underneath. No room to stick a plastic pan/tray under there. Should we replace or keep using it a while longer?

https://lincolnlaboratory.com/tank-guard/
https://mass.gov/doc/tips-for-maintaining-your-home-heating-system-prevent-heating-oil-leaks-and-spills-1/download

Comments

  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,754
    If the tank is pitched to a bottom feed and valve , you are looking good .....
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    random12345
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 25
    Not pitched far as I can tell. But it has a bottom feed and valve.
  • Ctoilman
    Ctoilman Member Posts: 105
    Assuming NEVER had water in the fuel (fill cap left off) then tanks last a lonnngg time.  But you can't tell for sure how long since they rot from the inside out.  My experience says minimum 35 yrs.
    random12345Derheatmeister
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 25
    Ctoilman said:

    Assuming NEVER had water in the fuel (fill cap left off) then tanks last a lonnngg time.  But you can't tell for sure how long since they rot from the inside out.  My experience says minimum 35 yrs.

    Ok thanks. Do you have any recommendations regarding tank inspections/maintenance? Anything I can do to be as proactive as possible...Really don't like the idea of a spill/remediation...

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,630
    @random12345

    Oil tanks seldom split open and dump oil. They usually just start to seep a little bit.

    If your worried I would clean out around the tank so there is good air flow around it. You don't need any more rust.

    That said tanks usually rot from the inside out.

    You could have a sheet metal company fabricate a drip pan to put under it, then just keep your eye on it. I wouldn't replace it until it leaks.

    In the old days 275s were made ourt of 14 and even 16 gage steel and they lasted quite a while
    random12345
  • random12345
    random12345 Member Posts: 25

    @random12345

    Oil tanks seldom split open and dump oil. They usually just start to seep a little bit.

    If your worried I would clean out around the tank so there is good air flow around it. You don't need any more rust.

    That said tanks usually rot from the inside out.

    You could have a sheet metal company fabricate a drip pan to put under it, then just keep your eye on it. I wouldn't replace it until it leaks.

    In the old days 275s were made ourt of 14 and even 16 gage steel and they lasted quite a while

    Thank you. So not worth it to have it cleaned out?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,747
    If you have natural gas available, time to make the switch.

    If not, your best bet for a replacement boiler is the Burnham MegaSteam, assuming you don't have more than 629 square feet of radiation.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    random12345ChrisJ
  • rgar98
    rgar98 Member Posts: 57
    @Steamhead
    "If you have natural gas available, time to make the switch."

    When I read your comment I immediately felt pangs of envy because I have oil heat and about ten other families on my cul-de-sac in Montgomery County, MD do as well. My neighbor, who is "upstream" from me has gas and his meter is about 6 feet from my property. When I bought this house in 2019 I contacted the gas company (Washington Gas) and inquired about getting gas. Bottom line: they want a $16,000 "contribution," they actually called it that, a contribution, to install a gas line to my house.
    I hope I didn't offend the "oil heads" here.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,177
    I think you just get a new double wall oil tank.
    If you drop $16k just to run a gas line, you should have your head examined.
    steve
    rgar98
  • Clance
    Clance Member Posts: 53
    I had my 2 oil tanks replaced last winter - a 2-family home that was my grandparents -tanks have been in the basement my entire life-  I am 56 - so at least 60 year old tanks and both held up on 24” tall pipe legs.

    I realized they need to replace when I saw some bubbling on the side … and yes I made the mistake  of touching the bubble and it popped and started dripping oil.  So I had them both replaced.
    Ironically my Second tank which was not leaking but had similar bubbles developed a pretty good leak in the bottom as they were sucking the oil out with the pump… so it was obviously ready to fail anytime. I think I’m kind of lucky I caught it just in time. 

     Replaced them with two Roth tanks which I am very happy with.

    random12345