Should I Replace my Aboveground heating oil tank?
Received a phone call from a property owner in Massachusetts, who had an Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) and wanted to know what he should do with it. There was no natural gas in his area and he has read a lot about Underground Storage Tanks (USTS) leaking and wanted to know if the same rang true for AST's.
My question was how old was the tank?
He said over 30 years.
I said is your car that old?
He laughed he said he has a car that is approaching 20 years old.
I asked if he felt comfortable driving that car to Florida or California. His answer was he would not be comfortable as the car did not perform like new anymore. Well, I said neither is your AST. It has rust inside and out, it is well out of warranty and it has no warning system to alert you when it is going to leak. The photo below is from a crawlspace, you can see the rust on the tank. Why would there not be rust, it was in a crawlspace, which is moist.
He wanted to know when the tank leaks - will it be drip or a flow of oil, I said it could be either one. He didn't like that answer.
My point being is If you want to store hundreds of gallons of oil, you must ensure the tank is capable of doing that. Older tanks degrade. You can see visible rust on the tank exterior, including the legs which support the tank. In this case the tank did not spring a hole but the leg rusted and gave out, causing the tank to discharge. A tank is a system consisting of the tank, piping and supports (legs), you only need the weakest link to fail to have a problem.
The result of the tank leaking? Well oil leaked into a sub pump which then pumped the oil outside.
Not many people are conditioned to fix something that is not broken, but if you wait for a heating oil AST to fail, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars. When you replace a tank, you get a warranty, which is nice when you go and sell the property.
Look we don't even install AST's, we remove them, but it is a great idea to replace a tank before it fails. want to lean about closure of AST's? Click the link below