Above ground or below ground Oil tank?

Page 1 of 2  
I currently have a 400 gallon underground oil tank for heating my house... the tank is 11 years old and i moved here last here.. I was thinking about getting an above the ground oil tank, because i worry that someday it could spring a leak and would be an enviromental disaster...since everyone up here has well-water...
was wondering what your opinions are on an above the ground oil tank instead of the underground one.. I just talked to my oil company over the phone and they said i would have to substitute kerosene for the oil during the winter time if i had an above-ground oil tank since the temperature here in north-east PA gets down to around -10 faurunheit at times.. i never know this before.. and kerosene costs more money too..
any input would be appreciated..
mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mike wrote:

I live in Northern New Jersey, so I have about the same climate you do. My underground oil tank was installed circa 1955 when the house was built. I have been worried about it since we moved here in 1988. Last fall I contracted with my oil company to install a new surface tank and remove the old underground tank. The new tank was installed and filled in November 2003. We are still dickering about removing the old tank because it is too close to the neighbor's house to use the backhoe they usually use to excavate the dirt and pull the old tank.
The trick that makes our surface tank work in cold weather is an electric heating tape wrapped around the output valve. The installers did not get it right the first time and the water which condensed inside the tank while it was still empty froze and blocked the oil flow. Not fun to wait for the service tech to put in the heater tape with snow on the ground.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

John, so you dont use kerosene in the winter for heating? I never heard of this heater tape stuff...i wonder if it would work for me too..
mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 17:44:57 -0400, "mike"

We removed the in ground tank and replaced it with an above ground. The new above ground was in the basment so I had no problem with cold weather.
However, we got a nice state tax break (in NY) for removing the old tank from the ground. Check out your state to see if that is true there.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net wrote:

Thanks for that info. I am in NY and my in-ground steel tank is going on 20 years now. I heard the average life span of a steel tank is 10 - 15 years. I also heard that no more in-ground tanks will be allowed in NYS. Is the only alternative to an in-ground tank a basement tank (provided you have a basement)?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

wow, that sounds pretty short of a lifespan for a steel tank. (10 to 15 years).. i dont even know what kind of oil tank i have in the ground...i bought the house last year......anyone know how to figure this info out?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Sounds like something a tank-replacement salesman would say. IOW - it's a lie. I switched to gas a couple of years ago, but my oil tank was removed after being buried for 26 years and it looked brand new.
I believe you CAN bury a new fiberglass tank. And if you're going that route, I would recommend you get a tank that can store 1200 gallons or more. Suffer that little difference in price today, and buy your home heating oil for 1.25 a gallon at the peak of summer wile the rest of the fools with 270 gallon tanks fill up in the dead of winter for 2.75 a gallon.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 11 Aug 2004 18:01:25 -0400, "mike"

There used to be an oil tank in the ground here that was abandoned because of leaking and was only 8 years old at the time. Some others nearby lasted over 20 years. Knowing the hassle and expense they have caused for removal and decontamination, I would never put one underground even if it were allowed and would never buy a house with one in the ground.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

We have some customers that have ones that are over 50 years old. Out of all of the (major) problems we have had with tank leaks, only one was an underground tank. If someone asks to have one removed, we charge $400. That includes removal, disposal, and labor. There are still a lot of people having them put in the ground. I think it's because people don't want an ugly tank sitting beside their house. I usually suggest that they put some lattice work around it and plant bushes.
It is totally legal to put them in the ground (for residential applications), but I am starting to lean towards advising NOT to do it just because of the hassles when selling the house. I've talked to a lot of the local real estate companies in my area and they are starting to tell prospective buyers that having an in-ground tank is a liability.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote

all
That
just
One of our friends just got a non-renew letter from allstate for his house insurance after 20 years as a customer becaue of his in ground oil tank. He has been given a year to remove the oil tank or find new insurance. No, he has no evidence of a leak.
--
George Eberhardt
(732)224-8988
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

He
he
and unfortunately, even though they (in ground tanks) are allowed, you can't argue with the insurance company....
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 13 Aug 2004 09:48:06 GMT, "Dr. Hardcrab"

I should have had you remove mine. It cost $7650CDN.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
(with possible editing):

You can get condensation even with oil in the tank. As the tank gets lower, air enters through the vent and moisture can condense on the metal walls. Being heavier than oil it goes to the bottom. The other side effect is rust.
Fortunately it is easy to cure. Each fall you should add "tank guard" or a similar product. It is just alcohol which will mix with the water and prevent rust.
--
Larry
Email to rapp at lmr dot com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You can use an outside tank but the oil must be treated with an anti gelling product. What I use is Power Service which is available at Wal-Mart . If not available there any truck supply house has any number of products to regarding fuel gelling. What happens in cold weather is that the wax in the fuel falls out of suspension and then clogs the fuel filters. You must lower the "pour point" of the fuel to prevent this. Ron
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Personally, if I had to have oil, I'd go with a new fiberglass underground tank.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hey Mike! I work for a construction company that builds gas stations as well as sells oil tanks. Have seen your dilemma before. I am going to respond to some of your questions listed below:
On Mon, 9 Aug 2004 13:22:45 -0400, "mike"

If your tank is eleven years old, and if you could be inside the tank, empty...looking at the tank walls...you might see thousands of pinholes representing corrosion eating through the walls from the outside. Or, if the soil in your property is not particularly "hot" causing rapid corrosion, your tank may be as good as it was when it was installed!
I was thinking about

Well now, no disrespect for your 400-gallon tank but she ain't the Exxon Valdez! Just how much environmental contamination do you think she is capable of producing?

I personally think aboveground tanks make your property look like an oil refinery operation or an industrial plant...very unattractive.

If I were you Mike, I would continue using your underground tank. I would also act responsibly by monitoring the contents of the tank for leakage. What I mean by that is, in the off season when you are not using fuel, go out there and drop your stick in the tank once a month or so and see if the level is dropping. If you have a leak it will be very obvious. If you notice it is leaking, have your oil supplier come and pump it completely dry. Then just let it sit there! It ain't hurtin nuthin just sittin there...empty! It is not polluting anything because there is no fuel oil in there to leak out.
Oh yeah, about those pesky real estate people...they absolutely freak out if they walk around your house and see those little sections of two inch galvanized pipe sticking out of the ground behind your bushes. (these represent your filler pipe and vent pipe screwed into the top of your tank) Any real estate person worth their salt can walk around your house and spot an oil tank buried under these little pipes. If you go down to Home Depot and get you an 18" Ridgid Pipe Wrench and connect it to those damnable pieces of pipe sticking up out of your yard...you can wrench them right out of the ground! No point in getting your real estate agent all upset about an underground tank. There are probably a couple of 3/8" supply/return tubes coming up off the top of your tank and fishing through the wall going to your heater. If your real estate agent is a super eager beaver and he starts crawling around under your house...better clip those copper tubes off too! Of course you will be using a different type of heating system by the time you are not using your underground tank anymore. That's my opinion Mike!
Regards, Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Contaminate the well feeding the house?

Will it rise or "float" up over time? Should anything be put into the tank, like sand?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

If it has not floated out in ten years it probably won't Edwin! I have seen them float out before though. A big tank full of gasoline will float right out of the ground during a heavy rainstorm if there is not enough overburden (backfill sand or stone) holding it down. Many people even pour huge concrete deadman anchors in the bottom of the tank hole and strap the tank down before covering it up with sand or stone. Gasoline make a tank float out of the ground like a fishing cork!
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The problem isn't one tank, it's a collection of all the tanks out there that folks have forgotten about or ignored. I don't know about where you are, but around here, new underground tanks are no longer steel - only plastic or composite are used.
I was consulting for a major oil company a while back. Based on an analysis of their known tank inventory and their site count, I estimated that there were over two thousand (!) tanks that were "lost" - no one knew exactly where they were located or what condition they were in. Some might have been replaced with composite and not documented, others removed etc. Some might be sitting there untested and leaking. These aren't 400 gallon tanks, of course, but 20,000 - 50,000 liter. It would be nice to believe that the local users are testing them regularly and checking for leaks, but...
Collectively, the tanks in N.A. leak an Exxon Valdez a month, IIRC. Remember that next time you drink ground water.
Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
a collection of all the tanks out there

analysis
been
might
Remember
You are so full of shit!
Show me some figures that back up your bullshit.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.