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New Oil Company Requiring Tank Replacement

AnthonyT Member Posts: 1
edited November 2022 in Oil Heating
I have owned my current house for 7 years. I change Oil Companies almost every year to lock in a better price. None of the past oil companies have had an issue with our oil tank. The tank is in pretty much the same condition as when we purchased the house.

I had my tank filled on my previous contract before it expired. I have up a contract with a new company. They inspected the heater and oil tank. I was told the oil tank was settling towards the side where the valve is located. The valve is too close to the ground and risked breaking. The inspector also said that tanks rust from the inside and based on the rust visible on the outside the tank was in danger of leaking. (If he had looked into to tank we wouldn't have seen the interior walls since the tank was just filled.) I was told that a steel tank is the wrong tank to use outside and that they typically fail within three years. In the same conversation I was told that it was probably the only type of tank available at the time of installation. (The tank has obviously lasted longer than 3 years.)

The company will not deliver oil unless the tank is replaced. They gave me a quite of $XX00.00 to install a Roth 275 tank with a cover on a concrete footer with a new line into the house. They offered free 24 month financing. I asked how many tanks they replace and was told 9 a day. I was also warned that remediation cost will be very high if my tank fails.

Does my tank need to be replaced immediately or am I being scammed?


  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,837
    I agree that tank has issues. Does it have to be replaced I don’t know. 
    The firematic valve is installed wrong. 
    There should be a shut off valve before it. 
    That tank should be on a solid pad. 

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,818
    edited November 2022
    pecmsg said:

    I agree that tank has issues. Does it have to be replaced I don’t know. 

    The firematic valve is installed wrong
    There should be a shut off valve before it. 
    That tank should be on a solid pad. 

    The Firomatic valve is installed the only way it can be installed. There is one that comes with a 3/8" brass nipple (the one on the left) that is exactly your valve. the nipple is for installing the Firomatic valve between the tank and the oil filter (as it should be). There is another version with the handle on the side in stead of the bottom.. That one is for ease of reaching the valve handle when the tank is installed as your tank is... too close to the ground.

    I might venture to say that if I were going to invest $1500.00 in anything I might find a nicer container. Especially when that $1500.00 investment can quickly change to a six figure liability overnight. If you have an empty tank (I know... Too late for that) and were able to flip that tank up on one end. I might be able to sand and scrape the bottom of that tank then add a good primer coat of rust inhibiting paint then 2 top coats of a durable enamel or epoxy paint. Replace the legs and install some block lintels for stability and also raise the tank up about 4" higher.

    As it stands now, you have a contract with a company that will not deliver to that tank. Perhaps, you can find a handyman that will put a coat of paint on that tank and at least make it look presentable. An automotive scissor jack may be able to lift one end at a time to place some better supports under those tank legs. Paint and two 32" concrete block lintels would probably be sufficient. But I would wait until that tank was below 3/8 of a tank before I would place a jack under it.

    Next summer, before you get it topped off, let it run out. Then do a real good maintenance on that tank. Flip it on its end and scrape and paint the rust spots. Get access to the side next to the wall and clean up all that rust also.

    One of the problems with fuel delivery business, you never know who is going to sue you for spilling a full tank of oil on their ground. The only way the oil company can protect themselves from that liability is to stop delivering to problem tanks. You you purchase a new tank if it looked like yours? The oil company is purchasing more that the cost of a tank if your oil spills on your ground. That is the way the legal system works in the USA. Stupid people can do no wrong... Blame the entity with the biggest pockets!

    EDIT: If that tank is more than 20 years old, then forget about maintenance. Just replace it. Those tanks wear our from the inside too. And you can't see that from the outside. At the bottom, where any condensation that forms inside the tank, will accumulate, the water and oil combination is a great place for corrosion to form and eat away at the bottom from the inside. If you take care of that tank by adding rust inhibitor to the fuel each delivery, and by keeping the outside free from rust (by a paint job every few years) then that tank can last you 30+ years. But like anything man made, if you neglect the maintenance, it will not last as long.
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,818
    I was going to make another edit but I thought it to be just as easy this way.

    Best Practices: when installing a new fuel tank, DO NOT put any oil from the old tank into the new tank. So tell your oil supplier that you're going to wait until the old tank is below 1/8 of a tank before a replacement tank is installed. Perhaps a temporary 55 gallon drum and some temporary copper oil line could get you thru a few days while the tank is being replaced next month or so... (because the weather will be much colder then). Would the oil dealer be able to help with that? You don't want them pumping whatever is on the bottom of that old tank into your Brand Spanking New Fuel Tank. Just sayin’
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 587
    Its a bottom port tank, so it's not ultra-old (those would have ports near the bottom but on the end panel), but it does appear to be fairly old. Is there still a tag plate on the side of it ?
    In any case, it does look like an accident waiting to happen... living on borrowed time etc.
    Get some more heating contractor quotes on a replacement to Roth or whatever your insurance company will accept (maybe just a new steel tank is okay ?). Hopefully someone can upgrade for a bit cheaper ?

    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,511
    I would not trust the new Company. Telling you outside tanks only last 3 years is a scare tactic. Find a new honest company.

    That being said you tank has issues.

    You could replace the tank on a proper concrete pad or solid cement blocks put some protection over it (don't completely enclose it) or install a Roth.

    Please remove the pricing from your post not allowed
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,058
    I am not an oil guy, but IIWM, I would pour a pad to the right of the existing tank....it looks like you have the space there.

    Then set a new tank with new fittings as needed and even a new line going inside with valve and new oil filter.

    I would then tee them together inside.

    Then run the old tank down as low as you want and valve off the old and on with the new.

    The company, assuming they have the best price, should fill the new tank without hesitation.
    DJD775Long Beach EdMikeAmann
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,828
    Is the belly laying in that mulch or whatever it is? If so the tanks is getting attacked from both sides. Nine tanks a day is pretty excessive, even if they've got ten thousand accounts. But in your case, they might be speaking the truth. That was a poor tank installation on day one. And neglect is what we're looking at. If that was your kid, I'd be tempted to call CPS.

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,506
    The firomatic is 'wrong' because it’s not needed on the outside tank, by code. Firomatic is needed where the oil line first enters the house, and at the burner.
    Although I don’t like the method used to scare you into a new tank, keep in mind most insurance companies require an initial inspection of the oil tank, and a formed filled out and kept on file. If the tank were filled, sunk into the ground enough to snap the valve, or roll over, lawyers would have a field day with the oil company, and the insurance company may try not to cover it.
    The reason why the other companies may have never said anything is because discounters usually only care about selling oil, not much about service, or even have a service department, which is why they can be a little cheaper.
    Long Beach EdIronman
  • Jersey2
    Jersey2 Member Posts: 166
    Your good fortune is that it is an above ground tank. To me, it does look in rough shape and probably needs replacing. Call around to get estimates in case that oil company is over charging. I watch these guys on YT, they replace so many tanks that it almost seems like a trivial job.
    I'm not a plumber or hvac man and my thoughts in comments are purely for conversation.
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 968
    Correct me if i'm wrong but don't outside oil tanks required a concrete pad underneath to prevent the tank from sinking into the ground? don't ask me to find my code book. its out of date and don't replace tanks lol
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,837
    Here they require a "Solid Base"
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,110
    One short story ,I was in the oil field for a few years and we had a customer w a leaning older tank a note was left every fill up to address there leaning corroded tank they never did until it was filled and about a hour later the bottom went dump 275 gallons of oil into the ground . Clean up was over 75 g no insurance ,home owner cried did not retire and continued to work . There s the moral of old oil tank just waiting for a accident to happen . If you do not have tank insurance find a oil deal who can assist you in getting a policy if not replace the tank w a Roth other wise when it happens you will only be able to blame yourself and take out a loan for the clean up . Every one hates the fear sales push but ,a heater or boiler going in the winter isn’t that big a deal within 1 day ur back in business but when a oil tank leaks everybody comes to the show and everybody has a hand out and it a big deal ,soil testing soil removal disposal ,back filling grading and now pour the pad and install new tank ,epa and town officials every body is there and your there also writing the check . End of story .no matter what a roth tank properly installed cost it shall always be at least 50 to 75 g less then a oil spill clean up . Ps there ain’t a whole lot of places that specialize in the removal and disposal of contaminated soil and they don’t do pro bono work . Personally I would have the tank replaced and get tank insurance w the new tank , the return on investment is zero but the alternative is quite costly and piece of mind does not come w a price tag .Just a suggestion
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    pecmsgmark schofieldGGrossMikeAmann
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,253
    edited November 2022
    clammy said:

    there ain’t a whole lot of places that specialize in the removal and disposal of contaminated soil and they don’t do pro bono work.

    I had a friend that did that at superfund sites. Big portable ovens the size of a cement mixer that cook the dirt and then burn the volatiles. If you want to get fancy you can condense the volatiles and collect them. Maybe they could recover the HHO and put it back in your new tank. :D My friend called the ovens "dirt burners". RIP Carl.
    I DIY.
  • Adk1guy
    Adk1guy Member Posts: 61
    edited November 2022
    Get Ron to replace it on a bid price since he can do it in an hour! LOL
    If I was an oil company I would say no thank you to your tank also. I've seen and changed a lot of leaking tanks. Thankfully most started with small leaks that were discovered before a lot leaked. Some were found empty because there was no heat. Some were old and rusty, some newer with good paint. All expensive. Today I would not put in a tank without secondary containment. There are many kinds. I would look for an alternative spot to site a new tank, or use up what's in your tank run on a jerry can during R&R, put in a Roth on a slab and whatever they require for a roof and figure it as $20,000 to $250,000 cheaper than waiting until the old tank springs a leak which all tanks eventually do. I saw a nice design which used the bottom half of a concrete septic tank to set the tank into, and a roof.