Do You Need to Replace Your Heating Oil Tank?
4 Signs Your Oil Tank Is Ready to Retire
Heating oil tanks are built like, well, tanks. That is, they’re built to last a long time, and they’re fairly low-maintenance—so you probably haven’t thought much about replacing your heating oil storage tank, except to make sure it’s not empty. But eventually, they do need to be replaced.
What’s the Lifespan of Your Oil Tank?
So how long should your oil storage tank last—and when should you think about getting a new one? The honest answer is “it depends.” A variety of factors can influence the lifespan of your heating oil tank: age, maintenance, construction.
The good news is that modern heating oil storage tanks have come a long way from designs of the past, offering virtually leak-proof performance for decades. Here’s what you need to consider:
Age If your tank is less than 15 years old, you’re probably ok for a few more years. If you don’t know when your tank was installed, and your home was built before 2000, it’s probably time to replace your tank.
Construction Older tanks are made of steel and can be of single- or double-walled construction. In addition, the steel can be different gauges or thicknesses. Thicker, double walls are better. Also, the location of the connector valve can make a difference. Connectors at the bottom of the tank (instead of the side) last longer. Newer tanks are made from plastic and fiberglass and are designed to last 50 years or more.
Steel tanks are still available today, but they are built to a much higher standard than in the past. Using alternative construction materials such as fiberglass and polyethylene for the inner lining of double-walled tanks make them virtually leak-proof.
Maintenance Tanks left empty over the summer are prone to condensation build-up, which can lead to rust. Sediment at the bottom of the tank can also result in corrosion. All that damage happens from the inside out, so if you see rust or seepage on the outside of your tank, you need to act fast to avoid a costly leak and spill. Consider having a professional inspection every year—and ask us about our oil tank insurance plans.
As your tank approaches the 30-year mark, you should start keeping an eye out for the warning signals that it’s hitting the end of its lifespan. Here are the telltale signs that your heating oil tank is leaking—or could start soon.
- Damp Spots: The first sign your oil tank is leaking is a damp spot on the tank. Usually, they will appear on the underside of your tank or along the seam at the bottom of the tank. As the leak gets worse, oil will travel up the side of the tank.
- Paint Problems: Blistering in the paint on the underside of the tank is a sign the tank is compromised. Condensation on the outside of the tank, even after a delivery, is also a warning sign.
- Sticky Drips: If the leak goes undetected, black icicle-like deposits or sticky drips will form on the underside of the tank. You may or may not notice an oil smell.
- Floor Stains: Reddish black spots will appear on the floor underneath the area. Depending on how long the leak goes undetected, an oil stain will begin to develop on the floor.
The Bottom Line
Waiting until your tank fails is not the best way to find out it’s time to replace it. The hassle and expense of remediating an oil spill is a lot bigger than the cost of simply replacing an aging tank.
If you think it’s time to replace your tank, contact the pros at Bolkema today to learn more about expert oil tank removal and replacement–and reliable heating oil deliveries in Northern New Jersey and lower New York State, too. For details, contact us today.