heating oil tank

Oil tanks are a crucial component of your home heating system. They store the necessary fuel that keeps your home nice and warm in the cold Pennsylvania winter. Therefore, you will need to monitor them regularly to make sure that they stay in top condition. If you find anything unusual, then call R.F. Ohl right away. We can inspect your heating oil tank and determine if your home requires an oil tank replacement.

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Signs For An Oil Tank Replacement

Below, we discuss some common signs that indicate the need for an oil tank upgrade.

Rust Spots On Your Oil Tank

Visual inspections can be conducted for above-ground tanks. Rust spots and dents are causes for concern as they indicate weakness around the shell. Indeed, what you are seeing on the outside may be mild compared to the damage on the inside. Ask your oil supplier for their opinion as soon as you can. They will know the best course of action.

Your Oil Tank Has Uneven Legs

The tank is heavy, especially when full. Its legs must be capable of bearing the weight, or else the whole thing might fall to the ground and create havoc. The tank will also have difficulties operating at full capacity. Unstable legs may be a result of substandard materials, faulty installation, or soil shifting. This kind of issue merits the immediate attention of professionals.

Oil Leaks Or Spots

The tank is meant to hold oil while shielding it from the outside. However, sometimes you might find stray oil around the tank. Common spots include the area underneath the tank and the region around the gauge. This is a clear sign of a leak, which can be dangerous if allowed to continue. Have experts deal will this as soon as possible.

Clogged Heating Systems Pipes

Vent pipes are essential parts of the heating system as they ensure smooth operation. Sometimes these can get clogged by pests, debris, sludge, and other elements. Technicians have the tools and the knowledge to clean them thoroughly.

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empty heating oil tank

Fast Fuel Oil Consumption

Another telltale sign of imminent oil tank failure is unusually fast oil consumption. If you have been using the heating system for years, then you know your average consumption rates. If your heating system is guzzling more fuel than it should and without a logical explanation, then there is probably an underlying problem. It could be a leak, a worn-out furnace, and so on. Call a trusted heating contractor and oil supplier like R.F. Ohl.

Cracked Fuel Lines

Oil lines connect the tank and the furnace. Signs of damage, such as cracks and splits, can lead to failure in the long run. Cracks often lead to costly and dangerous oil leaks, after all. Call your preferred service provider to check the situation and evaluate potential remedies.

broken heating system

Oil Tank & Exposure To The Elements

Correct oil tank placement is essential. The tank must be located in an area that is protected from the elements to prolong its lifespan. You wouldn’t want it to be exposed to constant rain or snow, as these could lead to moisture issues inside the tank. If the oil tank installation company made an error, then ask them to make the correction or hire another contractor for the job. Call R.F. Ohl for an oil tank inspection.

Old Oil Tank Age

The average tank should be able to last between 10 and 15 years. After that, issues will start to arise. You will be better off replacing it than trying to hold on. After a decade, begin to save up for the replacement so you can upgrade when needed.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Residential Oil Tanks

Below, we provide some common answers to questions that we receive about oil tanks.

Can I Get Oil Delivered If My Oil Fill Pipe Or Oil Vent Pipe Do Not Meet Code?

No, the NFPA codes are in place to protect human life and property from a possible heating oil release.

Here is background on this issue:

There are National Fire Protection Association codes that are in place and must be followed by all Federal, State, & Local government agencies. The NFPA 31 code states that the minimum required pipe dimensions for vent pipes AND fill pipes should be 1¼ inches. Also, the pipes must be made of steel. Improperly installed vent and/or fill pipes can cause an oil tank to come apart at the seams due to a build-up of pressure while being filled. Therefore, fill pipes and vents pipes must be up to code for an oil delivery to take place.

For individuals that would like to upgrade their oil tank pipes themselves, please be sure to follow the NFPA standards. We recommend installing a 2″ diameter steel fill pipe and a 2″ diameter steel vent pipe. To learn more about NFPA oil tank installation standards, click here. Of course, R.F. Ohl is available to install these pipes as well. Call us at (610) 377-1098 to schedule an appointment.

heating oil delivery

Does An Old Oil Tank Have To Be Removed?

It is best to remove an old tank when necessary to be on the safe side. Taking the “down the road” approach can lead to avoidable problems. If you have an old oil tank and plan on selling your home, it is not a requirement to remove it.

What Happens If An Oil Tank Leaks?

Depending on the severity of the leak, a Hazmat response team might need to be called in to remediate the contaminated soil or concrete. You may have to move out of your home until the remediation process is complete. Smaller leaks may be able to be cleaned up with special cleaners and odor neutralizers.

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How Often Should Oil Tanks Be Replaced?

Fifteen years is a good rule of thumb, for “inside” heating oil tanks. Some outside heating oil tanks may need to be replaced sooner, depending on how well they were maintained.

Most oil tanks in basements are exposed to moisture, and this will cause the steel to rust and pit. The rusting and pitting is usually on the bottom of the tank, and very difficult to see. That’s why it’s best to replace a tank, before having a problem. Think of it like your car tires. Even if you have tires that have tread on them, but the tires are older and could possibly fail due to “dry rot,” you would want to replace the tire before a “failure” while driving your car.

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big leaky oil tank in allentown pa

The above image is a heating oil tank located in the basement of a customer’s home in Allentown, PA. R.F. Ohl’s technician went inside, and as he walked downstairs, he could smell an overwhelming odor of fuel. This oil tank inspection found signs of it leaking through one of its seams. During the examination, they saw that the vent pipe was only “1” and not up to code. If an oil supplier keeps filling this tank, it will “blow out,” and oil will be all over the basement.


Call R.F. Ohl For All Of Your Home Heating Requirements

For home heating oil delivery, call R.F. Ohl. We deliver high quality and affordable fuel to homes throughout northeastern PA. By working with us, you can choose from many different financing options and delivery plans. We offer PA’s most affordable home heating oil prices, along with fast and friendly delivery times. Call our office today to find the option that works best for you.

R.F. Ohl is more than a fuel delivery company. We specialize in oil tank inspections and oil tank replacements. If you have an old tank on your property, you can give us a call to schedule an inspection. Furthermore, with our staff of NATE certified HVAC technicians, we can also maintain, repair, and install a heating or cooling system for your home. Our fully qualified and licensed technicians have the knowledge and experience to keep your home comfortable all year round. Call us today to schedule a home heating oil delivery or to schedule a free in-home consultation for your heating or cooling system.

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