Home Heating oil is a clean, reliable, and safe source of heat for the North East. However, overtime corrosion and moisture can eat away at the tank and piping. A great deal of the time the corrosion is caused from the inside out. Water, sludge, and sediment caused by fine impurities in the oil can gather along the bottom of your home heating oil tank and it just sits there, slowly eating away at the steel. Depending on the size of the leak, cleaning up an oil spill is extremely expensive, often costing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, and putting homeowners in danger of bankruptcy.
The following conditions can aid homeowners in identifying leaks or conditions that may lead to leaks in above-ground heating oil tanks:
- Drips or any signs of leaks around the tank, filter, fuel-delivery line, valves, piping or fittings;
Signs that the tank has been patched to temporarily conceal a leak;
- Rusty, loose, wobbly or bent tank legs, or a cracked foundation, which can indicate poor tank stability. A full 275-gallon heating oil tank weighs more than 2,000 pounds, so it needs strong legs and a sturdy foundation;
- Poor condition of oil tank lines. Check these periodically and contact the oil supplier if they look questionable. Keep the vent line clear of any snow, ice and insect nests;
- Dying vegetation surrounding an outdoor tank. An oil leak may be the cause of damaged or dying plants or grass nearby;
- Wet spots or rust on the tank’s outer surface;
- Old fuel-fill lines are no longer connected to the tank in use. If these lines are inadvertently filled, a massive oil leak will result.
- Unused/unconnected fuel lines from replaced oil tanks should be removed;
- Overhanging eaves that may allow ice or snow to fall onto the tank and melt, potentially corroding the tank;
- Fuel lines that are not covered by protective casing, even if the tank is underground;
- Oil stains on the ground or a strong odor of oil around the tank;
- A cracked, stuck or frozen fuel-level gauge, or signs of fuel around the gauge;
- A clogged or restricted tank vent blocked by snow, ice or insect nests; or
- Signs of an oil spill around the fill pipe or vent pipe.