Way to check fuel tank yourself?

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Four years ago we had our furnace checked and some maintenance done by a repairman who worked for the company that gave us our oil. He said our fuel tank was getting thin and we ran the risk of it rusting out and therefore spilling fuel oil all over the floor (the tank is inside our house). He said we had maybe 2 more months and should get it done.
This was four years ago. Our tank is still holding up fine so far.
Last week, we had another guy come in and do maintenance on our furnace again. Not surprising to me, he also said the tank was getting thin and we should have it replaced within 2-3 months.
How can I trust these guys?
Sure, I have no way to know if they are telling the truth or just need some more income coming in.
Or, if I don't act now, will I have a flood soon in the furnace room?
How can I be sure this guy is telling the truth?
Thanks
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Grab a screwdriver and start jabbing at random locations on the tank. If it goes through the tank wall it needs replacement.
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Check with your homeowner insurance company. They will tell you the maximum age of the tank that they will cover with insurance. If the tank is getting close, or is over the limit, get it replaced even if it "seems" sound. Around here the maximum age is 25 years.

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That's a great idea, thanks.

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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Don't know what your problem is, but I'll bet it's hard to pronounce.
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My bad, I thought you had termites.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I hope you realized I was trying to be as funny as you were. I got a kick out of that response.
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Phew! Relieved, I wasn't sure if your skin was thinner than your tank. <g> You know how people get sometimes when you try to be funny at their expense...
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I have never heard of an oil tank getting thin unless it's in a real wet basement and rusted severely. I had an outdoor tank that came with a house built in the 1940's and lasted till I sold the home in the 1990's. Worse yet, it was installed where the roof ran onto it until I installed rain gutters when I moved there in the 80's The tank never leaked or had severe rust, howver I did paint it with some aluminum paint, more for appearance than anything else.
You might contact someone that welds or works with steel to take a look. They ought to know.
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

....
I wouldn't say "never" but it certainly should last the proverbial "long time". Of course, the prime location they rust is from inside out from condensation moisture collected over the years. How much of an issue that is depends also to large extent on how wet the locale/installation is and whether there is a water trap installed.
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wrote:

I disagree. This is an oil tank. If condensation did collect on the inside, the oily coating would work to prevent rust*. It possibly could happen (especially if oil never contacts the topmost portions of the tank interior) but I doubt it is the prime location (components of oil probably vaporize and condense more readily than water in the same vessel) furthermore, there is likely to be an oxygen depleted atmosphere in the tank further inhibiting rust. On tanks containing other liquids maybe (especially compressor air tanks) but not an oil tank. Tools are often coated with oil to prevent rust during storage or shipping as an example (different oil but similar effect).
I would expect condensation on the outside of a tank full of cool oil sitting in a warm damp basement during humid summer days (like a half full cold can of soda on the table). Rust would be particularly evident on the bottom where any formed water droplets would migrate.
If you do see rust, don't use a wire brush to clean it off. Use a rust inhibitor paint that will chemically convert the rust and cover it up. You don't need pretty, just functional.
The insurance caveat does give real reason to consider replacement though. I would wait for the first pinhole leak then patch first, it's unlikly the tank would suddenly burst open anyway.
*(my reasoned opinion not from experience with oil tanks)
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PipeDown wrote:

....
I disagree.&
& (My experience w/ fuel and diesel tanks.)
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wrote:

around here, toronto, insurance companies are beginning to force a tank replacement at 25 years or so. ....thehick
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On Tue, 11 Oct 2005 20:28:52 -0400, frank-in-toronto

I dont doubt that at all. Now lets who is sleeping with the manufacturers and installers of oil tanks...... Well, you guessed it, the insurance companies.... Each one holds the hands of the other, and all parties get rich in the meantime while the consumer gets robbed.
Besides, has anyone ever met an insurance agent that knows anything about building construction, plumbing, heating or electrical? The ones I have met only know three things. 1. How to waste lots of paper. 2. How to add up lots of figures to insure the insured party gets the least amount possible. 3. How to send out bills and charge the highest amount possible for their company's benefit.
Insurance companies and agents are some of the worst (legal) crooks in any business.
I agree with the poster that said the oil protects the interior of the tank, as long as the tank is filled regularly to coat the entire inside of the tank with oil.
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"I dont doubt that at all. Now lets who is sleeping with the manufacturers and installers of oil tanks...... Well, you guessed it, the insurance companies.... Each one holds the hands of the other, and all parties get rich in the meantime while the consumer gets robbed. "
Another grand conspiracy theory, without a shred of evidence to support it. We're supposed to believe Allstate and Aetna are in cahoots with not only the manufacturers of tanks, but also the local small guys that install them? LOL!
The simple fact is, insurance companies have paid out a hell of a lot of money for environmental cleanup of leaking oil tanks. It's not unusual for cleanup to cost $50K or more. That's why the insurance companies are putting limits on oil tank coverage or not covering it at all.
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There are even instruments that can tell the thickness of a tank's walls without any cutting, drilling or damage. DeFelsco is one instrument maker that comes to mind. Fairly expensive though.
wrote: : : >Four years ago we had our furnace checked and some maintenance done by a : >repairman who worked for the company that gave us our oil. He said our : >fuel tank was getting thin and we ran the risk of it rusting out and : >therefore spilling fuel oil all over the floor (the tank is inside our : >house). He said we had maybe 2 more months and should get it done. : > : >This was four years ago. Our tank is still holding up fine so far. : > : >Last week, we had another guy come in and do maintenance on our furnace : >again. Not surprising to me, he also said the tank was getting thin and : >we should have it replaced within 2-3 months. : > : >How can I trust these guys? : > : >Sure, I have no way to know if they are telling the truth or just need : >some more income coming in. : > : >Or, if I don't act now, will I have a flood soon in the furnace room? : > : >How can I be sure this guy is telling the truth? : > : >Thanks : : I have never heard of an oil tank getting thin unless it's in a real : wet basement and rusted severely. I had an outdoor tank that came : with a house built in the 1940's and lasted till I sold the home in : the 1990's. Worse yet, it was installed where the roof ran onto it : until I installed rain gutters when I moved there in the 80's The : tank never leaked or had severe rust, howver I did paint it with some : aluminum paint, more for appearance than anything else. : : You might contact someone that welds or works with steel to take a : look. They ought to know. : : Mark
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Pop wrote:

....
Generally, one can tell pretty well simply w/ a "tat-a-tat" w/ a small hammer---the sound will change in any place w/ a significantly thinner wall or heavy rust scale.
As noted above, the likely place is the bottom where condensation tends to collect and sit. If there's an accessible drain, simply pulling it for a small sample can tell a lot, too.
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Under oil, with no oxygen.
Nick
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On 12 Oct 2005 04:53:57 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ece.villanova.edu wrote:

Well, there's oxygen in the water

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Steve K wrote:

GOOGLE: oil + tank + rust
Look for signs of rust (pinhole size) on the bottom, especially.
The repair guys have lots of experience with similar-age tanks in your neighborhood and may be basing their opinion on that. Assuming they're honest, they could have good advice.
In the meantime, order a rubber gasket patch with straps that go around the tank...
Jim
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