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When to replace our oil tank?

pixelpusher
pixelpusher Member Posts: 13
Hi all - Recently purchased a house with oil heat and had been looking into converting to gas, but after some great insight from here and speaking with our utility (ConEd NY) it doesn't seem like that'll be possible until 2023 at the earliest. Which leaves us deciding on whether to replace our current oil tank or try to wait out the current moratorium on new gas usage.

Our current tank looks like it's been patched before and is showing lots of rust on the outside. Any idea if this is something we should replace immediately or could we monitor it and possibly get another 3-5 years out of it?







Comments

  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,904
    You already know the answer. You just don't want to face it.

    The pic with the oil line, is that the factory tap on the end of the tank? It looks like someone welded a bung on the side.
    STEVEusaPASuperTech
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,698
    Eeek. That's a problem (expensive) waiting to happen. Replace it this summer.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,907
    Time is not on your side. A modern oil boiler (especially an EK) or furnace will burn just as clean and be just as efficient as nat gas.
    Many boilers, especially the EK can be converted to gas. But oil prices are low, and have been for a couple of years, and gas can only go up.
    steve
    HVACNUTSuperTechIntplm.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,796
    Unfortunately for the risk involved you should change it this summer. 3-5 years I wouldn't take the chance
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,680
    edited May 2020
    The patch on the side , why ...some method of tank cleaning ?
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,054
    edited May 2020
    If you are more than 60% certain that Natural Gas is coming, get the new heater now, LP conversion is much less expensive compared to a replacement tank
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
    Intplm.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,665
    I decided to convert to gas before my 1000 gallon in-ground tank started to leak. But it turned out I was too late. My state wanted all in-ground tanks out for environmental reasons, and would reimburse homeowners $1,500 for removal. Furthermore, the gas company would not put in gas until the oil tank was removed.

    Now a permit is required to remove a tank, and the removal company got the permit. The day of removal, an inspector came to oversee the operation. The tank had been leaking, so environmental remediation was called for. Well, the state wanted that done too, and provided grants up to $50,000 for remediation. This involved removal of seven trees, digging down over 15 feet, etc.

    And there was a big problem with insurance. I had a homeowners insurance company that covered oil tanks, but they left the state, and my new insurance company did not cover oil tanks. So the two insurance companies squabbled for several years. Until that was settled, the old oil tank sat in my front yard to the great annoyance of the neighbors. And finally, when that was dealt with, the state fund for remediation was exhausted, so more years of waiting.

    Do not let this happen to you. I am not a professional heating contractor, it looks like that tank is long-overdue for replacement.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,698
    I would suggest that @STEVEusaPA advice is probably not bad, if you have some thought that gas might be coming (I'd not go with LP -- it's more expensive, and as @STEVEusaPA said, modern oil burners are just as clean and efficient). That said... gas might be coming to your area. Someday. Keep in mind that to do that, though, new pipelines will have to be built, and there are none planned (there were, but they were killed politically) so my best guess, given the lead times for projects of that sort, is that you are at least 10 years out.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    STEVEusaPA
  • John Levey
    John Levey Member Posts: 34
    Replace it now, it's not worth waiting. If it leaks the cleanup will be very difficult and quite expensive- there's not much headroom in the area where it's located.
    Use a contractor who follows the manufacturers instructions and discuss alternative locations for the new tank. Spend a little more money and you can with a 30 year (vs 10) warranty.
  • ww
    ww Member Posts: 263
    Do you have oil in the tank now and if so how much..and have you used the heating system...and did you call the old owner and ask about the tank?..Whatever the answers are I would change the tank...heating oil is something like 8 lbs a gallon...and i wouldn't want to add oil to that tank like to a level of filling it up...it's heavy...

    I can see the vent and filler neck leading outside and don't know how far passed the wall they are but if just outside that's great. seen some with really long pipes. I would put in a 2 inch pipe on the vent and fill pipe...

    some of these oil truck drivers put the oil on full speed right away and i like the vent big enough to not cause problems even though the tanks are pressure tested..and they tell you not to pressure test them..especially with an old tank with a fast fill could cause leaks when the sludge is pushed away...i've seen it...


    I've had to fill less than 15 gallons at a time to keep things going for a bit with leaky tanks and you don't need that problem.

    You can pump out the oil ....don't put the tube to the bottom...later you can use separate containers for the sludge. Hopefully there isn't alot of heating oil...

    it's not a good idea to put old oil into a new tank..they even tell you that... you can drag it out and cut it in half once emptied and clean out with absorbent material. you can use the tank to store scrap iron and cut to make a bbq...or just bring it to scrap yard...they don't take it unless it's cut up.

    also i see this is a cylindrical tank with not much clearance above and see some sandy stuff on the bottom...it's important to have solid footing and the feet have to be set so there is a slight angle toward the outlet pipe.

    you will have to figure out what size tank you'll need...don't know the size of that one...depending maybe use a 275 or 330 Horizontal tank due to low clearance...or another like the one you have...you'll be able to check that out.

    all the suggestions here seen above are great. it makes sense to change the tank out...are you doing it yourself?...to wait it out and looking at the patch on the tank i would figure there were leaks before...

    if not why wouldn't the surface rust be sanded and just painted...they tell you in instructions to paint the tanks too every so often to schedule...it's taking a great gamble to fill that tank and personally i'd get a new one as suggested.

    Educate yourself on the codes of your area...the gauges of tanks..sizes of vents..fill pipes...locations...etc ..etc.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,907
    edited May 2020

    I would suggest that @STEVEusaPA advice is probably not bad, if you have some thought that gas might be coming (I'd not go with LP -- it's more expensive, and as @STEVEusaPA said, modern oil burners are just as clean and efficient). That said... gas might be coming to your area. Someday. Keep in mind that to do that, though, new pipelines will have to be built, and there are none planned (there were, but they were killed politically) so my best guess, given the lead times for projects of that sort, is that you are at least 10 years out.

    “...Probably not bad...”. LOL

    steve
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,680
    I would prefer an oil leak over a LP leak any day. A properly installed replacement oil tank would be the cheapest peace of mind ... Price difference between NG gas or oil ? Its been years it is and ten years it is not . We are in the oil decade right now .

    Buried tanks in its design were all doomed to fail . The top feed set up can collect water below the suction line as well as a inproper pitch bottom feed above ground tank . The collected water and oil Creates an environment which an algae can thrive . The algae eats the oil but it can not digest the sulfur in the oil . It's poop , which we call sludge is sulfuric acid in base .. Just add steel
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • jimna01
    jimna01 Member Posts: 11
    Too late now but unless you bought the house as is I would have made the seller replace as a condition of sale.  Homeowner but I could not get that thing out of my basement  fast enough.   BTW my newer (2006) biasi (Solaia) boiler cut my oil consumption by 1/3.  I still can’t make the gas conversion numbers work for me . 
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 381
    Well,

    it appears the previous owner or their plumber used jbweld in massive quantities to seal the leaks which began at the weld seam to assemble the sheet steel for the tank. You have to do something soon before the heating season starts.

    As the tank is as large as it is being 500-750 gallons I would strongly suggest that you purchase a true round double wall steel tank with the leak prevention barrier outer shell as part of the construction that can be left outside and just run a 2 pipe system to the oil burner.

    You can place this type of tank outside and safely store the fuel oil or kerosene and also keep your insurer happy after you drive in a ground rod and attach a heavy copper ground for it.

    The oblong double wall fuel tanks they sell to home owners now have a double wall on the ends not the entire tank.

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,907
    leonz said:



    As the tank is as large as it is being 500-750 gallons I would strongly suggest that you purchase a true round double wall steel tank with the leak prevention barrier outer shell as part of the construction that can be left outside and just run a 2 pipe system to the oil burner.

    You can place this type of tank outside and safely store the fuel oil or kerosene and also keep your insurer happy after you drive in a ground rod and attach a heavy copper ground for it.

    The oblong double wall fuel tanks they sell to home owners now have a double wall on the ends not the entire tank.

    It’s a standard 275 horizontal tank. Don’t know why you would think it’s 500-750 gallons.
    I also don’t agree with...
    -outside tank, unless it can’t be avoided
    -2 pipe to oil burner
    -ground rod
    -double wall tanks are only double wall on the ends.

    If possible I’d stick with the same tank, maybe a tank pan under the entire tank, unless the OP has another indoor location where a Roth tank would fit.
    steve
  • leonz
    leonz Member Posts: 381
    I have had two exterior oval 275 gallon tanks with legs in 40 years and neither of my tanks ever looked like that.

    Having a double wall tank outside eliminates most any possible problems except for a possible direct lightning strike.

    With the 2 pipe oil delivery and return system using the protective coated oil delivery copper tubing I see no reason why a double wall tank could not be used.

    I would want to have a concrete slab to set the tank on before I had it filled though
    .
    Seeing the amount of JB weld on that tank plus the lack of paint and a wet dirt floor only adds to the worst possible scenarios.

    I would not want even think about how much it would cost to perform soil mitigation and cleanup plus the need to remove all the polluted soil and replace it.

    Having it done the right way the fuel company would pump the old oil out of the tank, flood the tank with an inert gas, and then saw open the tank and scoop out the sludge into a hazardous material bucket where it would be incinerated safely later. The tank could then be safely cut up further and scrapped at a metal recycler with no issues.

    My thoughts anyway.
  • PerryHolzman
    PerryHolzman Member Posts: 234
    I wonder how the home inspector passed that tank and allowed the house to be sold without a specific call out on its condition and hazard (or requiring the previous owner to replace it).

    You might be able to collect something on a legal claim realated to the above.... but, in the meantime replace the tank ASAP.

    I'd stick with oil as you do not have natural gas.

    I wish you the best with this...

    Perry
  • pixelpusher
    pixelpusher Member Posts: 13
    Thanks again for all the advice and input here, everyone! Good news is we're installing a new tank (230 gallon) in our basement tomorrow - just in time for heating season.
  • pixelpusher
    pixelpusher Member Posts: 13
    Final update here - thanks again for all the advice. New 230 gallon tank is installed and looking good!

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,907
    2 lines out the top, don't like it.
    But the 2 ball valves are against code, especially the one on the return.
    steve
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