I have often heard that home heating oil tanks need to be replaced at
a certain age. What I can't figure out is why an indoor tank would
ever need replacement. I can understand an outdoor or buried tank
rusting. I could even imagine condensation in an indoor tank causing
some rust over time, but wouldn't that rust be towards the top? What's
the TRUTH, and why.
oil level varies and tanks do rust, the rust thru doesnt have to be at
the very bottom either. many likely leave their tank level low in the
summer. so rust might be low many insurance companies wouldnt cover
homeowners insurance for tanks over 25 years old, because of the
environmental clean up costs when a leak occurs let alone the added
fire or health risk.
insurance today doesnt cover knob and tube wiring, visibly bad roofs,
cracked sidewalks etc.
Oil is LIGHTER than water so any condensation will collect at the
BOTTOM of the tank. My first house had an oil tank with a patch
on the bottom because that was where the corrosion was.
I replaced it within a year.
This has come up before and some seem to think 25 years is the limit. I
personally know of many tanks that are 50+ years old and never leaked. They
are the original tanks for houses build back in the 1930's, 40's' etc. One
is an outside tank exposed to the elements, but has a coat of paint on it.
There are some environmental factors that may cause leaking, but overall,
they should last for longer than us.
After I posted my query, I did some online research and found that exterior
rust, even in buried tanks is a secondary issue. Internal corrosion is the
killer and it is due to the water that condenses combining with the sulfur and
other components in the oil wreaking havoc. Being inside may actually be worse,
because the year-round warmth may be accellerating the corrosion.
The tank in my primary residence is in the basement and is easily 50 years old.
I check it carefully about once a year, and it seems okay, but a replacement
will only run about $1500, so I figure to replace it as a preventative measure.
If it were to leak, the costs would rise substantially. This gives me an
opportunity to relocate it to a better spot (the wasted space under the stairs)
in the basement. I'll pay a little extra to run the filler and vent to the new
location, but it doesn't really amount to much.
provincial regularions here required us to replace our tank. it was
deemed over 25 years old yet perhaps older as there was no csa / ulc
stamp on the tank. anyhow, 800.00 later for a replacement tank (if not
replaced the insurance company would terminate the policy) i asked the
installer what the condition of the tank was that was removed. after
his inspection inside / out he informed me that it was as good as the
new one he installed.
Different areas mean different prices, but we will install a new tank (and
haul away the old one) for $900. HOWEVER! That means an above ground tank
(or one in a basement). If it's an IN-GROUND tank, you have to pay the price
for someone with a backhoe coming out and digging it out (plus disposal
Replacing tanks on a calendar basis seems like overkill to me. There are
methods of testing tanks with ultrasound with no disruption of anything. I
can see after say, 25 years, you need a checkup every 3 or 5 years to assure
The big problem now is insurance companies asking that the tanks be tested
before someone purchases a house that has a tank. We check for water and
that's about it. There ARE companies out there that will pressure check
them, but I understand it's not cheap.
I say if you keep the tank full in the off season and check it for water
periodically, you won't have a problem. I agree that there is no set life
expectancy of a tank.
In my situation, the tank is from around 1950. The boiler also supplies domestic
HW, so there really is no "off season". The tank has always been on an
automatic delivery schedule as far as I know. I'm thinking that 56 years is just
plain TOO OLD. The damage that will be caused to the house and contents if the
tank fails is enormous compared to the cost of a new tank.
Understandable. If anything, a new tank will give you "peace of mind". Since
you are not having any problems with it now, I would wait for warmer weather
When copanies are as busy) and get quotes from several different companies.
Just ask them to tell you how much replacement and disposal is.
Not really old at all. There are plenty of 50 and 60 and 70 and 100 year old
metal products still giving good service. Has the tank ever been tested?
Go to any big city that uses a lot of oil and you will find tanks of that
age still in great shape. There are variables that come into play and at
that age non-destructive testing may be called for to give you peace of
mind. Much cheaper that a new tank.
You house, your money so do what makes you comfortable.
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