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Photograph of a in-home oil tank which is old and might be abandoned?How to Abandon Indoor Oil Tanks
and What to Do About Already-Abandoned Indoor Oil Tanks

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How to abandon an indoor oil storage tank or AST:

How to take an oil storage tank out of service without having to remove the tank. The photo above shows a rather old indoor oil tank which is still connected to a fill and vent pipe. The tank was leaking badly enough that it may have been abandoned but left in place. If it is not in use, there are some critical steps to be taken to avoid an indoor oil spill and catastrophe, such as having the tank receive an un-wanted oil delivery that could leak into the building.

The article and photographs below give advice and example photos for the visual inspection of above ground oil tanks for leaks and damage including damaged or leaky oil storage tanks, improper oil tank piping, valves, and indoor-type oil tanks located outdoors.

Here are a some important indicators of tank condition that any home owner or home inspector can examine when an oil storage tank is visible and accessible inside or at a building.



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ABANDONED & ABANDONING INDOOR OIL TANKS - Inspecting Properties Where There are Known or Suspected Abandoned or Removed Indoor Oil Storage Tanks

Leaky indoor oili storage tank or AST (C) 2013 Daniel FriedmanHave all abandoned tank fill pipes been completely removed from the building to prevent mistaken delivery and spill into the building? Have old indoor tanks been removed or marked clearly as "Abandoned, DO NOT FILL" ?

[Click to enlarge any image]

Warning about un-used indoor oil tanks and surprise oil deliveries

Warning about un-used oil tanks at buildings: there have been instances of accidental delivery of oil to buildings where indoor or above ground outdoor tanks remained, or worse, where the tanks were removed but the fill and vent pipe were not. In New Paltz, N.Y., S.V. reported (to the web author, DF) such a case. An indoor oil storage tank had been removed.

The fill and vent pipe remained to be removed from the house wall. The builder, in an effort to be cautious about an improper oil delivery, turned the fill pipe upside down at the house wall and even nailed plywood against the building to cover the fill pipe as the home waited for the pipe to be removed and the hole in the foundation wall filled.

A neighbor called the oil company on a very cold night, complaining of loss of heat, and fear of freezing pipes. The call resulted in a request for an emergency delivery of heating oil. Unfortunately the driver found the wrong home, pulled off the plywood, and intending to respond to an emergency on a very cold night, proceeded to pump a large volume of heating oil into the basement of the home.

The result was a very costly cleanup of the building.

If an indoor oil tank is removed or is no longer in use and is going to be removed, or even if it is going to be left in place, the fill and vent piping should be removed to prevent an accidental fill-up and a possible oil spill.

Tips for Using up the Heating Oil in an Oil Tank to be Abandoned

Presuming that a property owner has decided to switch to some other source of building heat, or to a new oil tank at a new location, how do we make the best use of the oil remaining in the old oil tank which is to be abandoned?

Also see additional visibly detectable oil tank defects listed at Home Inspection Report Language Library: Visible Defects in Oil Tank Installations, Tanks, and Heating Oil Piping.

If You are Installing a New Oil Tank to replace the old one

If you want to abandon the Indoor Oil Tank, for example when converting to gas or electric heat

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