Does the home I am buying have an oil Tank?

The US Census numbers don't lie, oil was more popular than natural gas for decades.


Unless your home was built after 1980, you have a high probability that the home had oil heat.  Just take a minute, how do you think your home was heated in 1930?   How about in 1950 or 1970?    Natural gas didn't become popular until the mid 1970's and then  gas lines had to be run to your neighborhood.

Scanning or sweeping  a property (tank sweep) is a common inspection when buying a home.

tank sweeps Pa NJ DE

Take California with wineries, miles of beaches and year round sunshine.  You wouldn't expect an oil tank at a home in California, in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware oil tanks have a long history.

sancarlos_ca 0665070_CA_San_Carlos 

This story came from a client in California.

While doing hardscaping in the back yard of my 5-month old new construction house we discovered a 4’x7’ cylindrical tank that is full to within 1’ of the top with what appears to be heating oil. The excavator punched a small hole just below the oil level and some oil leaked out. There appears to be oily patches around the perimeter of the tank which is now excavated and exposed on the top 1/3. We have captured about 10 gallons of leaked oil before plugging the hole with clay which has slowed the leak to a trickle. The tank has to be 40-50 years old so the fact that it’s mostly full would appear to indicate it’s not too leaky.

Prior to construction of the two homes now on the original lot, the previous home was heated by natural gas, but I suspect it initially had oil. The previous owner prior to the developer buying the lot is deceased. I bought the house from the developer in May. There was no mention of the tank in my disclosure or for the sale to the developer to my knowledge. The lot is heavy clay on the top of a hill in San Carlos California (just south of San Francisco). The contractor is being very responsive to get this dealt with as we have a live, but slow, leak.

What should I expect for the cost to remove and clean up? Where do I look for the right kind of firm to do the work? Who is generally responsible for cleanup costs in this sort of situation?
Thanks, San Carlos, California


So in California you can find an oil tank?   New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware are even  more likely to have an oil tanks that are not in use, and hidden from site. 

You can be fairly sure that the older the home, the more likely oil heat was used at some point in time.  

A tank sweep with GPR can help you find a tank.


Buried UST Found by GPR

Tank sweeps with GPR will help find hidden tanks and prevent you from buying a property with an oil tank.  Tank Sweeps with GPR

tank sweeps


what is a tank sweep?

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