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Diagnosing Oil Tank Problems & When to Replace

Heating Oil Tanks Are Built To Last, but Still Need TLC

oil tank problems vermontYou probably haven’t thought about your oil tank in a while. As long as it’s not empty, it shouldn’t even cross your mind. And that’s fine! Heating oil tanks are built to last quite a long time. But that doesn’t absolve you from checking in to make sure it’s operating as it should. Eventually, maintenance will be necessary, and over the course of a few decades, they’ll need to be outright replaced.

So, what kind of lifespan can you expect from your oil tank? The honest answer is “it depends.” Age, maintenance, and construction are just a few of the factors that influence how long your oil tank will last. The good news is that modern heating oil storage tanks have come a long way, offering decades or virtually leak-proof performance compared to older types.

Is it time to replace your oil tank?

  1. Age. If your tank is less than 15 years old, you’re likely okay for a few more years. If you don’t know when it was installed, and your home was built before 2000, it’s probably time to begin proactively planning to swap it out.
  2. Construction. Older tanks are made of steel and can be of single- or double-walled construction. In addition, the steel can be different gauges or thicknesses. Thicker, double walls are better. Also, the location of the connector valve can make a difference. Connectors at the bottom of the tank—instead of the side—last longer on average. Newer tanks are made from plastic and fiberglass and are designed to last 50 years or more.

    Steel tanks are still available today, but they are built to a much higher standard than in the past. Using alternative construction materials such as fiberglass and polyethylene for the inner lining of double-walled tanks make them virtually leak-proof.

  3. Maintenance. If you leave your tank empty- or near-empty over the summer, condensation can begin to build up inside. That can then lead to rust. Sediment at the bottom of the tank can also result in corrosion. All that damage happens from the inside out, so if you see rust or seepage on the outside of your tank, you need to act fast to avoid a costly leak and spill. Consider having a professional inspection every year. Dorr Oil and Propane can help with exactly this!
  4. Telltale Signs. Check the paint on the underside of the tank. Blistering in the paint is a sign the tank is compromised. Condensation on the outside of the tank, even after a delivery, is also a warning sign.

The bottom line is that a new heating oil tank costs far less than the expense of an oil spill or cleanup. If you think it’s time to replace your tank, contact Dorr Oil and Propane today to learn more about expert oil tank replacement, installation, and removal in Southern Vermont, including Manchester, Stratton, Sunderland, Dorset, and nearby communities.