Oil tank on ground (C) Daniel FriedmanHeating Oil Storage Tank FAQs
Questions & Answers about Oil Tank Types, Installation, Leaks Tests, Repairs

  • OIL TANKS - home - CONTENTS: Oil Storage Tank Information Website. What to do if you have an underground (UST) or above ground oil tank (AST). Oil tank life expectancy. Cause & prevention of leaky oil tanks. Oil tank abandonment, replacement options. Oil tank leak testing procedures, companies. Oil storage tank regulations
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about oil tanks: ASTs, USTs, oil tank life, oil tank regulations, leak testing, buried oil tank abandonment, oil tank removal, oil tank leak prevention, spill cleanup, oil piping, oil filters, oil tank regulations
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Heating oil storage tank questions & answers:

Frequently-asked questions and answers about oil storage tanks: installation, inspection, testing, leaks, abandonment, or repairs.

This oil tank information article series answers nearly all questions about above ground or buried oil storage tanks including oil tank inspection & testing, oil tank abandonment or removal, removal, oil storage tank & tank piping leak testing, leak prevention, and oil storage tank regulations.

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Oil Storage Tank FAQs

Photograph of - is this heating oil running across the basement floor? Notice the abandoned oil line at the furnace?

Recent Questions & Answers about oil storage tanks

On 2016-07-29 18:34:54.237027 by (mod) - basement oil tank life

Kevin please search for OIL TANK LIFE to see details; you'll see that oil tank life will vary by environment, tank metal thickness & quality, the amount of water in the tank and other factors.

On 2016-07-27 17:46:52.812593 by Kevin Schnu

How long of a life does a AST in my basement have

On 2016-05-01 18:00:27.060329 by James Gordon

Can I locate my fuel oil tank alongside a concrete block wall on a concrete surface at least 10 feet or more away from the furnace?

On 2016-02-06 15:48:14.680570 by (mod) - oil tank fume cleanup

Where the items absorbed fumes only, laundering and cleaning usually works. But until the spill is completely cleaned up it'll be tough to have success.

On 2016-02-06 09:32:28.897935 by morgan

Hi I am a renter who recently had an oil tank at the home I rent leak oil into the ground outside of the home. The entire house and all of our belongings including matresses furniture pillows,clothes books papers everything smells like oil.

I am wondering what is salvageable and what I can do to remove the overwhelming smell. I have an infant and 2 young children and am at a loss on what I can save. Please if any1 has any help I would greatly appreciate it!

On 2016-01-17 08:46:23.576505 by Lisa

I'm in the process of purchasing a home and luckily inspection found a buried tank. Tests showed contaminated soil, the tank and contaminated soil have been removed to DEEP standards but I'm told some contaminated soil remains, it's close to the foundation of the house.

The leak was not significant, No signs of water contamination, not possible that it would affect neighbors as it is in an isolated location.

My question is what risk I have regarding the remaining contaminated soil. It seems possible at some point the contaminated soil could affect drinking water, The foundation could be compromised, etc. the house is also listed on the country web site. It seems that could also affect the value of the home and the ability to sell.

I'd appreciate any information you could provide. Thanks so much.

On 2016-01-09 17:34:06.134679 by (mod) - oil tank data tag information

Yes older oil tanks have a welded-on data tag with some basic information; newer oil tanks that I've seen have a stick-on label instead. That's not going to give much detail beyond a UL Listing, tank size, and rating, and perhaps the tank manufacturer.

I'm not familiar with owners manuals provided for oil storage tanks.

In Canada there are government-sponsored oil storage tank guides such as one provided by the DEC for Newfoundland and Labrador. Those won't discuss your specific tank nor any cathodic protection that may have been installed.

On 2016-01-09 17:21:46.056344 by Anonymous

does my tank have a info plate and I hope it might be located on the top somewhere what say you for this ?

On 2016-01-09 17:19:36.389656 by (mod)


You might get help by contacting local oil tank installers in your area to ask who installed the tank.

On 2016-01-09 17:17:34.300434 by tom

I have a in the ground tank and now can't find the info packet it is a cathodic protected tank I know the tank # but cant find the owners manuel etc I NEED TO GET FURTHER INFO ON MY TANK

On 2015-11-19 18:03:15.038595 by (mod)

Interesting question Alina.

Sure the dryer is venting warm moist air. It might also be warming the oil tank.

But it'd take some odd geometry for the dryer exhaust to actually enter the oil storage tank in any volume. I can imagine a worst case (falling outdoor temperatures, tank interior cooling so it draws in a bit of outside air and the dryer is venting moist air at that time) but even then I doubt much moisture would enter the tank from the dryer vent.

Moiisture can collect over years of changing temperatures from air movement in and out of a tank alone, but that wouldn't happen in a short time.

Use our page bottom CONTACT link to send me some photos for further comment.

On 2015-11-18 16:15:15.963431 by Alina

Hi, Can you tell me if having a dryer vent right next to an outdoor oil tank would cause large amounts of water to collect in tank due to condensation? The outdoor tank was installed recently (the house was built with an underground tank originally) and wedged between the dryer vent and a propane tank.

During this past winter (our second one at the house) the burner failed, most likely due to excessive water in the fuel tank (we were told 9 gallons). I have photos to show how close together they are--will try to attach or send separately. I am trying to understand how so much water got inside the tank and wondered if the hot moist air from the vent is a factor. Thank you for your help!

Question: where can I get financial aid for oil tank removal?

(Apr 3, 2014) Edward Alwis said:
My 275 oil Tank started to leak yesterday. The local oil company came and replaced it. But asking for more 2000 to replace it . I cannot afford this ?. Is there any program that I can apply to get some assistance?

Please email me


Edward, some states or municipalities have financial aid for oil tank replacement. I'd start by calling your local building department.

We give more extensive information on financial aid for oil tank removal at

Question: oil tanks legal for rental properties?

(May 28, 2014) Mr Vernon Anning said:
Are metal oil tanks legal in rented home properties



I have not been able to find any regulation that differentiates in the types of oil storage tank material based on a property being rented versus occupied by an owner.

Question: should the seller remove an abandoned oil tank in Richmond VA?

(June 7, 2014) BevO said:
We are trying to buy a house in Richmond, and our inspector has found that there is an abandoned underground oil tank. Should we ask the seller to remove it? If we must remove it, about how much would it cost us to have it removed and replace the soil for the area which the tank occupies? Thanks


Nice to hear from my home town, though when I lived in Richmond we still heated with coal.

Our best advice for home buyers looking at a property where there is a buried oil tank is in the article above. If any of that was unclear please let me know.

In general what a home seller "should" do when selling a home is set by the terms of contract of sale as well as good sense in making a property marketable. If the oil tank has not leaked, most likely its removal (rather than proper abandonment in place) is not justified.

Question: what kind of oil is put in outdoor residential oil storage tanks

(June 14, 2014) Anonymous said:
what type of oil do i need when it is stored in an outside tank ?



the choice of type of oil depends on its use;

Home heating oil is usually No. 2 heating oil. In a freezing climate you may need to use a pour point depressant or kerosene mix to avoid oil waxing and loss of heat.

Question: Are home owners required to put a drip pan under their oil tank? Oil tanks are leaking in my mobile home park.

(July 20, 2014) Kathy Parmer said:
I live in a mobile home park in Lititz, PA. Is there a law that requires home owners to have a drip pan under there oil tanks?

I know that several of them are leaking. There are also numerous under ground oil tanks that are no longer in use. Some days you can actually smell fuel oil in the air.

The owners of the park reside in CA. They allowed homes to be set up right over the fill line sticking out of the ground. Is there a government agency to contact? Thank you for your assistance with this matter. Kathy


Leaky oil tanks must be reported to your state's department of environmental protection, typically within 24 hours.

Question: which way up for "oil line check valve"?

(Dec 2, 2014) Ralph said:
Does it matter if the check valve in the supply line has the bolt on the top or the bottom? I can get a reading on the vacuum gauge(burner runs ok,but has a whine)


Ralph some check valves only work in a horizontal position with the marked valve top up. Others include mechanisms allowing the valve to operate in any position. So I don't know about your valve.


(Dec 2, 2014) Ralph said:
Cant get a reading on the vac gauge.



Yes, on at least some check valve models there is an internal hinged flapper that will not work properly if upside down.

Question: loud BANG from the crawl area where we have an abandoned oil tank

(Jan 28, 2015) Anonymous said:
I have recently abandoned my oiltank in my crawl area it is in horizontal position I drained most of the oil and caped all the plug.

Every now and then we hear a lowd bang from the crawl area .can this be from the old 280 gal oil tank and if so what can I do to stop this loud bang that can wake you up im positive its not the water pipes expanding and contracting I put a pressure reducing valve on the water main with a expansion tank

thank Tom M


Thermal changes could be making the empty tank steel warp and sound bangy. Have someone take a look.

05/11/2015 NHFireBear adds:

Anonymous (regarding abandoned oil tank): State and local codes vary, but the national NFPA 31 Standard for Installation of Oil Burning Equipment requires that the old oil tank be emptied, purged and removed from the premises.

However, if you converted fuels and want to keep the existing tank in case you switch back, you have to LEAVE THE VENT PIPE intact and open, plug the fill pipe with concrete and all other pipes must be capped or sealed.

See NFPA 31 (2011):7.12.

Atmospheric pressure changes can, in fact, cause a sealed tank to "bang" as its walls expand and contract.

More Reading for People Buying a Home with an Oil Storage Tank

  1. First, please read the article that starts at the top of this page,
    at HOME BUYERS GUIDE TO OIL TANKS where we explain the issues involved.

  2. OIL TANK, BURIED, ADVICE - what to do if there is any reason to suspect that a buried oil tank (underground oil tank or UST) is or ever was installed at a property.

  3. OIL TANK LEAK TEST METHODS - You should not complete the purchase of a home with a buried oil storage tank (previous or present) before taking steps to determine whether or not a tank is or was present, and if you are not given absolutely reliable documented proof that a tank was professionally removed or abandoned, then you will need to test the site even if the tank has been removed.

    You need to know the condition of the oil tank and and if it has been removed or abandoned, you need to know the oil tank site leak conditions & risks.

  4. OIL TANK LEGAL ISSUES - home Buyers and Home Owners Guide to Leaky Heating Oil Tanks - What to Do

  5. LEAKY HEATING OIL TANKS - When to Report Oil Tank Leaks.

  6. OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE Home owners who have old oil tanks above ground or any age oil tank below ground should also be sure to review these procedures and regulations for Abandoning Commercial vs. Residential Underground Oil Storage Tanks (UST)


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