Do oil tanks need to be replaced?

Oil tanks are an essential part of the home for many, and often the only source of heating. So if you are planning on purchasing a property with an oil tank or your current oil tank has issues, then you likely have several questions. Here we answer a number of these to put your mind at ease.

What is the lifespan of an oil tank?

On average, an oil tank can last anything between 10 to 50 years depending on whether it’s made from steel, fiberglass, or plastic. However, many other factors can affect its lifespan, including regular maintenance and location.

If you are purchasing a property with an oil tank on the premises, you will always want to check how long it has been there. An aging tank that will soon require replacing is another expense that needs to be budgeted for.

How to know when to replace oil tank?

While there are a number of obvious tell-tell signs that your oil tank needs replacing, there are several that are not so obvious, especially if your tank is underground. For this reason, it is essential you are aware of the following signs that there may be a problem.

Damp or puddles: If you find areas of dampness or water pooling around the outside of your tank, then it very likely has a problem.

Oil around the tank: Discovering oil around your tank is a clear sign that there is likely a leak.

Damage: Rust or cracks around your tank are a clear indication that its condition is deteriorating.

Faulty fuel gauge: An inaccurate or broken fuel gauge is often a warning that something is wrong and should always be repaired as soon as possible.

Damaged pipes: Cracks, discoloration, and fractures to the pipes suggest that your tank is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Fuel efficiency: If your fuel consumption has increased without any changes to everyday usage, it may be an indicator that there is a problem with your tank, such as a leak.

What risks do oil tanks face?

Regular maintenance of your tank is vital for prolonging its lifespan. However, your tank can still be susceptible to risks.

Oil tank risks typically fall into two categories – those from disrepair due to a lack of maintenance, and outdoor elements, in particular the weather.

How to protect your oil tank during the colder months

Oil tanks are a crucial part of the home and are invaluable during the colder months of the year, but this is also when they are at their most vulnerable. To keep your tank working efficiently throughout the winter season, you should look out for the following risks:

Snow: Snowfall around your tank can cause problems, so always try and clear any build-up. But remember, when clearing snow from your tank, be careful to avoid causing any damage. Using a brush rather than a shovel will help to prevent any unnecessary dents or cracks.

Ice: Cold weather may also lead to ice forming in your tank and pipes. This can be a serious problem if there is water in your oil tank, so make sure to regularly check and siphon out any liquid that does not belong there. You also need to be aware of ice forming outside the tank, such as overhanging icicles, which may fall and cause damage.

Inspect the tank once the weather has cleared: Once the harsh weather has passed, you should always check your tank for any deterioration. 

Why you should replace your oil tank?

Purchasing a new oil tank while the old one is still functioning may feel like an unnecessary expense, but doing so offers several benefits, including:

  • Increased safety: Older tanks are often much more susceptible to problems such as cracks or leaks.

  • Save on energy: As a tank ages, its performance is also likely to decline. However, a new tank will often be much more efficient, which typically means lower energy costs.

  • Improved reliability: As newer tanks are much less likely to have hidden issues, they are also less likely to break down, helping you avoid costly repairs or potential lawsuits.

  • Maintain your property’s heating system: Over time, oil tanks build-up sediment inside, which can find its way through to your home heating system and ultimately damage that too. With a new tank, this is not an issue. 

Need help finding the best local heating oil prices in your area? Our easy to use zip code tool can help.

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