Photograph of Oil Tank Inspection Checklist
List of common heating oil tank defects

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A checklist for visual inspection of oil storage tanks.

This heating oil storage tank inspection checklist was provided by an experienced oil heat distributor who also offers oil heat service and other plumbing services in New York's Hudson Valley area. Oil companies who sell and deliver oil to commercial and private residential oil storage tanks issue warnings to their clients about possible oil tank leakage and offer some advice. This information is quoted from an information sheet and "checklist" provided by a New York heating oil contractor.

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New oil tanks (C) Daniel Friedman Oil company service employees are using this checklist to perform a field check of residential heating oil tanks. The item(s) which the inspector feels are pertinent to the homeowner are simply circled, and the sheet is provided (in carbon copy form) to the homeowner.

[Your attention is directed to item 5, in particular. It is possible that the chief function of this "inspection" is to attempt to reduce the liability of the oil company for future spills.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Note that at one installation, where two new oil tanks were installed and where there are no leaks, item 1 of the form below had *not* been marked.] Also see Visual Inspection of Above Ground Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks - ASTs for photos and details of visibly detectable oil tank defects.

"In an effort to better serve our customers, we are telling you about the New York State Department of Environmental Law.

You, the customer, are legally responsible for your oil tank and connections.

An oil spill occurring because of an old and rotted tank, fill or vent pipes, could cause you a good deal of aggravation and possibly a great deal of money for a clean up.

Starting this year [ca 1995 or earlier-DJF.], in the course of our cleanings, we will inspect your fuel tank (for tanks which can be seen and gotten to) for any telltale signs of deterioration, and make our recommendation to you.

We highly suggest that you follow our recommendations!"

1. __ At this time the tank appears solid and leak free

2. __ Tank solid but showing signs of rust

3. __ Tank has extended rust and should be replaced

4. __ Tank is very rusted & pitted, metal getting thin. Should be replaced as soon as possible.

5.__ Tank is over 18 years, recommend replacement

6. __ You have an in ground tank between 10 and 18 years old, tank should be pressure tested. [Note: DJF disagrees. If you're going to test a tank, a soil test, which costs about the same as a pressure test, will be more definitive. A tank could have leaked previously, had piping repairs, and a leak could go undetected by pressure testing]

7. __ Your in ground tank has water in it. Tank should be pressure tested to find out why.

8. __ You have an in ground oil tank more than 18 years. Tank should be replaced with either an in ground fiberglass tank or a 275 gallon in house tank.

9. __ Pipe joint compound on fill or vent pipes dried out. Piping should be ���reworked.

10. __ Needs fill cap(s)

11. __ Fill piping pitched wrong way

12. __ Vent piping pitched wrong way

13. __ Vent too small

14. __ Vent plugged or improper venting

I _____________ have inspected the oil tank at this house and recommend the following
___________________(numbers from above entered here).


Age of tanks unknown __________________________________________


I __________________________(homeowner name) residing at __________________


have read the above tank inspection report. The mechanic has explained his findings to me and made his recommendations to me.

Tank size_________________� Date____________


(Thanks to Bob Juliano of Juliano Heating & Plumbing, Poughkeepsie, NY whose form is quoted.)


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