For most people, their oil tank is kind of like a big can that's been sitting in their basement or yard forever. What's to think about? The thing is, the consequences of not thinking about it can be anywhere from inconvenient to calamitous--not to mention expensive.
Common Tank Hitches
Issues affecting the operation of your tank generally arise when vent lines get blocked by snow, ice, insect nests or other debris or when lines from the tank to the boiler or furnace get clogged with sludge. A certain amount of sludge at the bottom of the tank is normal and harmless, but when there is too much, it can impede the passage of oil through the system. Water accumulating in the tank can also damage the tank through corrosion.
When leaks develop in a tank, it's usually because the metal has deteriorated, either because of water and sludge accumulating inside the tank or, if it's outside, from rain and snow and the moisture in the soil. Unfortunately, corrosion isn't always visible, but there are signs you can watch for, such as:
Unexplained increase in fuel usage
Stains or wet spots on the tank's surface or underneath the tank
Oil staining on the floor or wall between the tank and the boiler or furnace
Signs of oil or dead grass or plants near the tank, fill or vent pipes
Oil odors near the tank even though the cap is on securely
You can minimize the risk of leaks by checking the tank periodically for rust, dents or cracks and shielding an outdoors tank against rain and snow. We would also advise having your tank cleaned annually to remove water and sludge. If your tank's age is at or over its life-expectancy, you should consider replacing it. (See our oil tank life expectancy chart.)
Finally, you can also take out tank insurance to cover clean-up and replacement costs if a spill should occur. Tank insurance is quite inexpensive, because spills don't happen very often, but it is an important safety net to have in place just in case.
To learn more or to schedule your tank cleaning, call us at (973) 678-1800, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Oil Tank page of our web site. Call before May 31st and get our special Spring price.