I am sure they have a proper name but hopefully you will know what I mean,
ours is 10 years old now, it is outside in a sheltered place and some bits
of rust have been painted over with summat. When I had oil delivered
yesterday the guy said it was in a bad state and was liable to spring a leak
at any time, don't know if he was right or scaremongering, sorry if this is
a girly question but I don't know :-)
I think he was winding you up Kate. 10 years is no age for a tank and
surface rust is not likely to be a problem if painted over now and then.
If you are getting big flakes of rust (not just paint) coming off then
get it looked at. Don't worry about girly questions - they make a nice
I would recommend that you have a go at the bad places with a
screwdriver. If it leaks when you scrape hard at it you will be able to
control the leak with your finger, which is a lot better than having the
leak at night and be empty by morning!
I would suggest that you don't do this until the next time it is nearly
empty.. That's the time to start checking for holes..
I would suggest you inspect it very carefully then and perhaps get an
independent expert to test it
My brother had an oil tank leak which went unnoticed until it polluted
their water supply (they all have boreholes.). In the end his
insurance company paid out many thousands of pounds as they lived on and
washed in bottled water for about six months.. Not just him but his
close neighbours too.
My advise is touch and tap - it might give you a clue.
If the problem was just a bit of surface rust and its been treated with a
rust inhibitor and then painted over, or a rust inhibiting paint like
Hammerite has been used, then it will likely be fine. The affected area
should still be smooth to the touch and have a metallic ring to it the same
as the surrounding metal if you tap it lightly with another metal object.
At the other extreme, flaking paint could allow water to sit behind and
cause localised patches of rot. If this has eaten most of the way through
the metal, it will tend to show itself as a rougher and more deeply pitted
or flaking surface, and if its really weakened, a bit of a dull thud about
it if you tap it with another metal object.
My other question is what the summat looks like! i.e. is it paint, or much
thicker indicating a possible botched repair?
I'm not suggesting you try this if you're not comfortable with the idea, but
it worked for me on a tank. Found a small suspect area reasonably high on
tank in question. Armed myself with the following:
1. Thick plastic sheet + Duck tape
2. Gunk engine cleaner (any other degreaser would do)
3. Bag of sand
4. Tube of epoxy repair putty you can get from DIY sheds or motor factors -
you can even get a type suitable for petrol tanks etc. which is even
better - search on "pro seal petrol tank epoxy putty"
5. Wire brush
I dipped the tank fuel level and waited till the level was just above the
dodgy area. Agree with previous post - you can't always tell when the metal
has rusted through to the point a leak may occur but you don't want to
breach the dam either!
Laid out the sheet on the ground, and taped the edge to the side of the tank
with duck tape. That way if you do disturb something and create a leak, you
can contain it with sand on the sheet. The careful depth measurement means
you're only containing maybe a gallon of fuel if you do find (or
inadvertantly create) a leak.
Then wire brush vigourously to remove paint and see what state the metal is
like underneath, with a bit of proding with a screwdriver. In this case the
metal was sound - just slightly pitted - so treated it with Hammerite Kurust
and their anti-rust primer, then top coated it. Repeated with other areas
over the following week or so as level dropped.
Had it been iffy and cause a leak, the fuel would only leak for a bit before
dropping below the hole. Could then have degreased the outer surface and
repaired it temporarily with the epoxy putty - then I'd have certainly
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