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  • Katelyn Fisher

Oil Tank Facts: Things You Need To Know

You might wonder what goes on during an annual maintenance appointment, so here is what occurs.

Our licensed technicians will inspect the tank for leaks, a well-maintained furnace means lower fuel bills and cleaner emissions. As part of the inspection, the technician will look at the tank, fuel delivery line, valves, piping, and fittings. Effective as of September 2011, Massachusetts has a requirement for any homes heating with oil fuel. This law requires homeowners heating with oil to protect their home from a potentially hazardous and costly oil spill by installing an oil safety valve or a continuous encapsulated protective oil line sleeve. As a proactive measure, the cost is minimal. You will be provided a Certificate of Compliance.

Each time your oil company delivers they listen for the whistle, [a vent alarm,] to avoid overfilling. Overfills, sludge, as well as advanced age are common causes of an oil spill.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my oil line is in compliance?

In many older homes, the oil lines are buried beneath the concrete basement floors or are underground and can be made of copper or brass. If this is your situation, then you need the Oil Line Upgrade. An oil leak from a buried line will likely travel into the soil and can affect your drinking water. This can be a costly repair, because the ground will need to be excavated, soil tested, fines- overall just an awful experience for anyone! Please make sure you inform your insurance company that you are in compliance with the law for hopeful protection.

Read more about compliance with the law >>HERE<<

What if I have an underground storage tank [steel or fiberglass]?

Most steel underground storage tanks will last approximately 10 to 20 years. If the tank is older than that or the age is unknown, replace it with an above-ground storage tank. The new/replacement tank should be under some sort of shelter if outside, or inside a basement or garage, to prevent rust, corrosion, or damage.

If you have an outdoor above-ground tanks: we will inspect the stability of the above-ground tank. A 275-gallon tank when full weighs more than 2,000 pounds! They rest on metal legs and should always sit on a concrete pad. If the legs become loose or the pad cracks, the tank can fall over and rupture.

*** The average lifespan of an outdoor tank is dramatically reduced when left uncovered and at the mercy of the elements. All these tanks will rust from the inside out, so cleaning or painting the outside does not usually prolong their life and if there are signs of aging, we strongly suggest replacement before a catastrophic failure occurs. You should do everything to protect the tank from the elements of the weather, such as falling snow and ice, and prevent ruptures by tree limbs by placing it in or under shelter.

I have an indoor above ground tank!

That's fine! We will also inspect the tank for signs of pitting and corrosion, particularly at the bottom of the tank. So if signs of aging are present, replace the tank. The average life-span of an indoor tanks is about 30 years, and often their lifespan is much shorter. We are now recommending the placement of a plastic heating oil tray or pan under the tank. This makes it easier to keep the tank area clean and help identify and contain a leak.

If you suspect an oil leak or spill, immediately contact us. Leaks or spills of 10 gallons or more must be reported to DEP within 2 hours.

Give us a call at 508-763-2777!

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