ow to Remove Water from an Oil Tank

Many of us rely on our oil tanks to heat our homes but, unfortunately, they can be vulnerable to water, which can cause multiple problems. So if water does manage to get into your tank, it's important to know how to remove it.

How does water get into an oil tank?

No matter how hard we try, our oil tanks will always remain susceptible to water. When it gets in, it is often due to either rain or condensation.

Particularly common during the warmer months, condensation is caused by moist air entering half-filled tanks and then cooling to create droplets. These settle at the bottom of the tank and build-up over time leading to corrosion and other problems. The best way to tackle this accumulation is to ensure the tank is regularly topped-up with oil, so there is less space for condensation to form.

Rainwater penetration often occurs in outdoor tanks that have fallen into disrepair. The rain comes in through broken vents or cracks. Regular maintenance will ensure this doesn’t happen.

How to check if there is water in an oil tank

Water is heavier than oil and sinks to the bottom of the tank, so it’s not easy to tell if there’s an issue just by looking.

The best method for checking whether water has invaded your tank is to use a water-finding paste. To use the paste, apply it to the end of a tank gauge stick long enough to reach the bottom of your tank. Dip the stick in, making sure you touch the bed of the tank before removing it. The paste should change color to highlight the presence of water in the tank.

Why you need to remove water from an oil tank

If your water-finding paste shows that water is present, you will need to make sure that this is siphoned out as soon as possible. Leaving water in your tank can lead to several issues, including:

  • Bacteria

Water provides the perfect environment for bacteria to breed, and when this occurs it leads to sludge forming at the tank base, which can contaminate the oil. Another common problem associated with bacteria is the acid it releases, which can damage the tank and connecting pipes.

  • Rust

When water is left to interact with steel or iron, it produces iron oxide, otherwise known as rust, which can corrode the inside of the tank.

  • Ice

During the winter months, it’s not uncommon for water build-up in oil tanks to freeze into ice. This often leads to blockages in the pipes, as well as internal damage to your tank, which is far from ideal when it’s cold outside.

How to remove water from an oil tank

It’s crucial that when you find evidence of water in your oil tank that you remove it as soon as possible. If there is a large volume of water in your tank, then it’s recommended you hire a contractor to carry out the work.

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