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Is it time to replace my outdoor oil tank? (Urgent)

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mcryp123
mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
edited May 3 in Oil Heating

My oil tank, a 13-year-old Granby steel 12 gauge single wall tank, is experiencing sinking back legs due to erosion beneath the cement blocks supporting it, causing it to lean against my house wall. There's visible rust, about the size of a thumb, and the label paper at the tank bottom is peeling off. The steel legs are also rusting.

My options are either to re-level the ground and lay a concrete slab for even support, costing a few hundred dollars, versus replacing the tank entirely, which would cost a few thousands and includes laying a new concrete slab as well. To me, my temporary concrete slab solution would be worth the cost if the old tank could last another 5 or even 10 years of life. My question is two folds:

  1. With the rust at the bottom and the rusty legs, how many more years of life expectancy does my tank have left?
  2. Should I replace the tank considering its current condition or opt for the concrete slab and keep the old tank?
  3. If I replace the tank: I've heard advice against transferring oil from the old tank to the new one. With my tank currently full, it'll likely take until August to use up the oil. However, I'm concerned about the risk of collapse due to its uneven footing if I delay replacement till then. Should I wait until I've used up the oil in my current tank before replacing it? Can the sunken legs withstand the tank in its crooked position until August, despite leaning against the wall?

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Comments

  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,806
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    Bad instal with an incorrect pitch away from the valve . The sludge that was breed from the bad pitch is eating the inside of the tank out and the ground moisture is eating in . Slab and new tank correctly installed would be a wise project ….

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    mcryp123Mad Dog_2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,436
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    On the whole I'd agree with @Big Ed_4 . However, acknowledging the cost factor what I would do is get your oil company to do an ultrasound test on the tank itself — especially where that rust spot is, to evaluate tank wall thickness. If they are happy with it, keep the old tank.

    However — as @Big Ed_4 said, that was a terrible install. Wait until the tank is empty, or very nearly so, then lift the tank and move it a bit away from the wall and reset it on foundations — could be slab, could be piers, but not cement blocks laid on the ground. While you're at it, replace that bent leg.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mcryp123Mad Dog_2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,893
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    @mcryp123 , do you have natural gas service at your house? If so, it's time to convert.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mcryp123ethicalpaulfixitguyChrisJ
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    Well I think the tank looks pretty good for a 13 year old outside tank,

    That being said, It's not worth removing the tank pouring a slab and reinstalling a 13 year old tank.

    Get some prices and get someone to do the job. But burn the tank down first. It will cost a little less and you can avoid using the old oil. Buy a Roth tank.

    Tell them you will call when the tank gets down to 1/4 full or a little less. Can you pour a new slab in a different location and have the new tank set in place and then do the switch over when the old tank gets low??

    mcryp123bburdmattmia2Mad Dog_2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    Or swing that tank and the cinderblocks around when it gets low enough to move and put the new tank in place of it with a slab while you burn the rest of the old tank.

    mcryp123
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    Yes, I think you are totally right about the bad pitch! I don't currently see any wet spots and I just wonder how many more years I could squeeze out of this old tank if I only spend a few hundreds for now to pour a new slab to quickly prevent the leg from collapsing. I would think it'd be worth it to go for the slab alternative, if I can have at least another 5 years to this tank?

  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    Thanks for the suggestions considering the cost factor. I will look into the ultrasound test!

    One concern I do have is with my tank currently full, it'll likely take until August to use up the oil. However, I'm concerned about the risk of collapse due to its uneven footing if I delay replacement till then. Do you think the sunken legs can withstand the tank in its crooked position until August, despite leaning against the wall?

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    I am sure you could get 5 more years

    mcryp123ethicalpaul
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    I was thinking about that too. But am starting to wonder if it'd turn into a 30K project. As the NG boiler alone seems to cost about 10k then I'd also have to pay for extending gas line from the street to my home and installing gas lines within my home…sounds like a money blackhole to me with many unknown costs.

  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    Hi EBEBRATT-ED, does the Roth tank last much longer than the Granby Ecoguard Double Bottom? I know they offer an extra 5 year of warranty. What's your experience with Roth over Ecoguard?

    On the other hand, before i can replace the tank, it will probably take me 3 months from now to use up my oil in the tank, does it look to you that the sunken legs can withstand the tank in its crooked position until August, despite the tank leaning against the wall?

  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    This is very good to know as my back of the envelope calculation tells me that my temporary slab solution would be worth the money only if the tank can last me an extra 5 to 10 years!

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,106
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    Don't be pennywise & pound foolish.A leaking oil tank could cost you 100k..Mad Dog

    mattmia2jimna01Greening
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,747
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    Installing the gas service could be expensive. The existing oil burner can be replaced with a gas power burner in most cases by the right tech. Will probably still cost more than the new tank but then the new tank won't need to be replaced or be a liability.

    STEAM DOCTOR
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 845
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    With the oil tank outside it implies that you live in a fairly temperate climate and are not now using oil for heat but may be using it for your domestic hot water. The tank now being up against the wall will probably be ok until the oil is used up at the end of summer. This will give you time to do research, ultrasound, etc. The fuel company is likely to recommend the top-dollar repair/replacement. You could extend the life of the present tank by doing a lot of disconnection/reconnection, moving, re-jiggering, straightening a leg, pouring a slab etc. That's all about LABOR. How easy is THAT to come by…these days?

    mcryp123
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 594
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    Wisdom says that it's not a good idea to transfer 'old' oil into a brand new tank, especially a metal one (a Roth with it's plastic bladder would be ok ?).

    You could pump out into 4 barrels on site, fix up the tank situation, and pump that oil back into the existing tank. If possible, dispose of the bottom few inches in the tank.

    Our insurance co forced us into a new tank, it was 20yr but in good shape. Fully sanded, primed and repainted at the 12yr mark, tilted to valve end, always run dry at end of season. I did hammer on the bottom of the old tank once it was out and laying up on end, it seemed very solid.

    For the upgrade, I went Roth. Nice tank.

    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    My house is in the tri-state area, so we do use oil for heating in the winter. And you are right about he oil tank service company, 4/5 have told me that my tank won't last long at 13 years old and try to sell me a new tank. However, there was only one professional who actually came to check out my tank in person and told me that if I pour a slab and replace with galvanized legs, my current tank could last another 10 years. Caveat was that his solution would cost me 1k ish, so I wasn't sure if he's only suggesting me to keep the tank because he could make top dollar for that. I also wonder if I really need to replace the tank legs, as another pro quoted me only a few hundreds bucks if I only choose to pour a concrete slab without replacing the legs.

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
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    A slab alone will not solve this because your lot is not level. A new slab will start out level but over time will subside. This is due to the large slope away from your home to the left in this image.

    I DIY.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
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    Many options:

    Level existing tank

    New tank

    Gas burner in existing boiler

    New gas boiler

    New heat pump

    @mcryp123 if you post some pictures of your existing boiler, we may be able to give better advice. Lots of government heat pump incentives, but that may or may not be a good option for you.

    Does your home have air conditioning and ductwork?

    How cold is your location?

    I DIY.
    mcryp123
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    Thank you 🙏

    Here's some pics of my boiler. I don't have AC or ductwork. During winter, it typically ranges between low 20s to mid 30s and average lows can dip down to the teens and sometimes reaching single digits on a brick day.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,893
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    Both the boiler and the water heater will run nicely with Carlin EZ-Gas burners. That's the way I'd go, especially given what I usually see when oil-fired units are "maintained" by oil suppliers:

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mcryp123garretjh
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,806
    edited May 6
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    Why don't you throw in a new tank in the basement …. I would… Set it up and let the outside run dry, then switch over ..

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    WMno57MaxMercyRobert O'Brien
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    @Big Ed_4 has a good idea.

    Why is the tank not in the basement?

    I don't have any experience with the Roth or the Granby Eco but Roth seems to specialize in outdoor tanks.

    I ask again can a new slab be poured in a different location?

    WMno57mcryp123
  • newinnj
    newinnj Member Posts: 37
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    I like https://forum.heatinghelp.com/profile/Big%20Ed_4 idea. Had an underground tank dug up. Installed two oil tanks in the basement for my folks house. You solve the leveling issue and any exterior rusting issue. Do you have the space? The inside tanks are smaller and we needed to have two of them in tandem. They are small enough to be maneuvered through the house and down the basement stairs. The oil company handled the new installation. Another outfit handled the removal of the tank.

    mcryp123
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    Poured slab. Feet on the legs. Tie downs if code in your area.

    mcryp123
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 514
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    Depends where he is. Where I am (Connecticut), NG is more expensive than oil.

    mcryp123
  • LRCCBJ
    LRCCBJ Member Posts: 147
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    In CT, with close to the worst possible scenario (using just 30 CCF per month) the cost would be $67.83. $2.26/CCF.

    Oil @ $3.50/gallon.

    Equivalent would be $3.16/CCF on a BTU basis.

    So they are quite close at 30CCF. But, with gas, the more you use, the less cost per CCF. In the colder months, it is significantly less PER CCF.

    mcryp123
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    After some careful consideration with you guys' suggestions, I've decided to go with an inside tank in the basement, despite the possibility to pour a new slab in a different location.

    Question: do you guys have any recommendation for a good inside tank for the basement? How long of a life expectancy would it have? I currently use a 275 Gallon outside tank, I assume the inside tank should also be 275 Gallon?

  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,186
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    Granby makes a good 275 gallon tank. How it's installed determines how long it lasts.

  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
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    I have a 275 Roth, 1 pipe with a Tiger Loop Ultra.

    Granby makes good tanks. The double wall tanks have a view port to see if there's a leak.

    SuperTech
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    And if you can't get a 275 gallon tank in the basement you can use a couple of smaller tanks. Why wasn't the tank put in the basement in the first place??

    mcryp123
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,089
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    Grandby has both the double bottom obround basement tank and the plastic inner with metal outer tank (like the Roth) and I have installed both in a basement. If there is a wya to get the tank in the basement, that is your best option. But make sure that the oil truck hose can reach the fill pipe that will exit the home thru the basement wall.

    Everyone puts their oil tank in the rear or on the side of the home that is least used. When installing it in the basement you can put it on the front wall and place the fill pipe is a much easier to fill location for the truck driver.

    Just some ramblings of an old oil truck driver. Really the truck was OLD! it was a 1958 International with 1800 gal tank, when I drove it in 1974.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    mcryp123
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 530
    edited May 15
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    275 gallon Granby tank should last 30+ years of properly installed. They also make a 330 gallon of you have the space and want a slightly larger tank.

    were you using a blend of kerosene and heating oil before? With an inside tank you can burn straight No. 2 heating oil.

    mcryp123EdTheHeaterMan
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
    edited May 15
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  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    One concern that keeps me up at night though, is that while I have decided to replace with a new inside tank in the basement, I want to replace the tank when the old tank has used up all it's oil by around August or September. As most of you know, my old tank's back legs are sitting on uneven grounds that have sunk down causing the tank to lean against my house wall. My question to you guys is judging from the photos I provided, I don't know how long the back legs have sunk down the way it has, but do you think the sunken legs can withstand the tank in its current position until August without collapsing?

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    I think you old tank will be fine. Your making it lighter as time goes on. Just be happy it's not leaning the other way and sleep well.

    I just find it strange that they installed an outside tank originally when you have access for an inside tank.

    Is it a walk out cellar? Bulkhead? Any problem getting a new tank in there?

    @EdTheHeaterMan

    74 Ford 3000 gallon with a Cat diesel (We ran it on #2 to avoid the tax) statute of limitation must have run out by now. 5 speed with a 2 speed rear.

    mcryp123
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,863
    edited May 16
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    It's hard to tell from the pics, but it looks like the tank is pitched AWAY from outlet. When it gets near empty, brace up that back end to at least get it level so there's not much raw fuel to deal with when you get rid of it. I'd advise not pitching it too much that the oil line sucks in water and sludge.

    Obviously no pump over. Have the existing fill and vent capped and tagged.

    Have the new tank installed complete with new oil line to the burner. Fill the new tank. When the old tank runs dry, you make a phone call and it's 30 minutes to swap over to the new tank and get you running again.

    Hopefully there will be a new oil filter at the tank. Then the Tech can replace the nozzle and pump strainer and do combustion and smoke tests.

    mcryp123
  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
    edited May 16
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    My basement doesn't have a ground-level exterior door and has small windows, I think it's called a look-out basement. Would that mean it'd be hard to rearrange my pipeline from the outdoor tank to the indoor tank from outside the house? I thought the professional would rearrange the pipeline to the burner plus installing both vent and fill pipes outside the house so oil truck can deliver from outdoor?

  • mcryp123
    mcryp123 Member Posts: 29
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    If I am understanding this correctly, you are saying I need to make sure with whoever installing my indoor tank that he will uninstall the old oil line from the outdoor tank to the burner and replace with a new oil line connecting from the burner to the new indoor tank, correct? Would it be better to replace the old fill and vent pipes from the old tank with new ones so I don't end up with 4 pipes in total coming out of my house?

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,620
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    @mcryp123

    Have you had a competent installer look at this to make sure you can get the new tank in the basement? They will know what to do with the fill vent and oil line.

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 1,343
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    How long of a life expectancy would it have?

    Longer if you run a dehumidifier in the basement and fill the tank every spring. 100 years?

    Tanks rot from the inside when they are full of humid air. So tanks should be kept full of fuel over the summer.

    An advantage of a smaller tank is you have less money tied up in fuel all summer.

    The advantage of a larger tank is less frequent fills.

    I DIY.