The Best Time To Replace An Oil Tank

Date: May 25, 2023

Take Action Now Before You Need Your Heat Again

oil tank replacement south carolina While heating oil tanks can be replaced any time of year, the spring and summer seasons are the ideal time to upgrade since it will cause as little as disruption as possible. And since this is the off-season for heating service contractors, it will be much easier to get an appointment that is most convenient for you.

How Long Does a Heating Oil Tank Last?

Heating oil tanks can last for decades, but like anything else, they eventually need to be replaced. Life spans vary depending on the humidity in the environment, the thickness of the tank’s wall and other factors. When tanks do fail, it’s hard to see it coming, because they generally erode from the inside out.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have them inspected periodically. Cleaning up a tank leak can be incredibly expensive. If your oil tank is more than 30 years old, it’s a good idea to look into your replacement options during the warm weather before you need to start using your heat again.

Trouble Signs for Your Heating Oil Tank

Besides getting periodic professional tank inspections, you should also do your own visual inspections because some trouble signs can actually be seen, including:

  • dime-sized blisters in the paint, commonly found on the tank’s underside (feel the underside to find them). They can be a sign of pending failure
  • pinhole leaks, which are caused by rusting from corrosion inside the tank
  • condensation on the outside of the tank, long after a heating oil delivery
  • evidence of corrosion on the tank’s exterior
  • sagging tank legs
  • clogs or restrictions in the fill cap or the vent cap
  • signs of spills

Besides just wearing out due to age, a heating oil tank can fail because of condensation on the inside.

Condensation Can Lead to Tank Damage

Condensation can be a common problem for heating oil tanks during the summer. Hot, humid days and cooler nights create the perfect atmosphere for condensation buildup to form inside your tank. And if your storage tank is aboveground, outdoors and in an unshaded area, it’s especially vulnerable to condensation.

To avoid condensation build-up inside your storage tank, it’s best to keep your tank full during the warm months. Don’t worry, your heating oil won’t spoil or go bad if it sits in your tank unused for a couple of months.

What Condensation Does to Your Tank

After water forms on the bare walls on the empty area of the tank, it drips down and sinks to the bottom of the tank because water is denser than heating oil. There, it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms.

Over time, these organisms turn into sediment. One problem is that sediment, also known as sludge, can get into your fuel lines and clog them. This will cause your heating system to shut down.

Options in New Aboveground Oil Tanks

Today’s fuel storage tanks are light-years ahead of old models, because they are virtually leakproof and have features that include:

  • double-wall construction, with an outer tank of corrosion-resistant galvanized steel
  • leak-detection systems
  • long-term warranties
  • sleek designs that can generally be installed in small or unusually shaped spaces

Bottom line: today’s aboveground oil storage tanks provide peace of mind and convenience—in addition to all the other benefits of heating your home with oil! Read more about the safety features of a modern heating oil tank.