Oil Tank Replacement Questions

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by brianosaur, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. brianosaur

    brianosaur New Member

    My existing 275gal oil tank has to be replaced.
    Ive been in my 1974 house 9 years and this failing one is the second tank. There is an abandoned one underground in my backyard from previous owners.

    About two years ago it started a slow drip and I put a magnetic patch on it to stop it. Last spring it began dripping from another pinhole immediately after I filled the tank up again. I delayed the inevitable tank replacement with another magnetic patch.

    Since I heat my home primarily with wood it can take almost a year to burn through a whole tank of oil. I have been waiting until the current fill is gone before I go about replacing the tank, and Im just about empty.

    Since the tank is easily accessible in my garage I wish to replace it myself. However, Im not really sure about how to dispose of the old one. Im sure there will be some oil and sludge left in it when I disconnect it.

    (1) Ive been wondering how people sawzall them in half without risking a fire hazard. Should I be concerned about sparks and vapors in the tank?

    (2) Will a scrap metal guy pay for an old but clean tank?

    (3) Also is the reason the tank rotted out bc it is in my garage? Ive been thinking a unheated garage and condensation on the inside tank walls have been causing a water build up. Is that usually the case or are there other factors that cause a steel tank to rot?

    (4) Should a get a polyurethane lined tank to prevent condensation and rot in the new tank?

    Thanks for any help.
  2. Bill Arden

    Bill Arden Computer Programmer

    MN, USA
    Fuel oil does not have much for vapors. It's not like gasoline.

    If you are worried about it... just release some co2 or welding gas into the tank.

    Either way you should be prepared for some minor smoke and flames.
    So do it outside. ;)

    yes, but it has to be cut open or punctured.

    I am not sure.

    I would think that outside tanks, like the one I have, would have even worse problems. I've even had so much water that it froze up in the lines.

    I don't know.
  3. garyl53

    garyl53 Engineer

    I had a leak and the oil company sent in a team to fiberglass the bottom section and repaint it. It looked new after they were done. It was relatively cheap from what I recall. Any condensation that gets into the tank goes to the bottom since the oil floats above the water. Water in bottom increased the likelyhood of rust/rot. In a garage with large temperature swings it may increase the condensation leading to more water in the tank.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    Do they make those things with a drain on the bottom? I think I've seen water seperator valves that would let water out, but not the oil. Course, you'd have to remember to do it.
  5. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    This is not a DIY job. I did one once and it simply wasn't worth all the time and effort ... using malable black iron is not very easy ... many trips to the supply store. Then you have the hassle of disposal.

    The second time, on another home, I paid $1,000 for the install and the haulaway and it was worth it. You're only going to save $500 and it's not a fun job at all.

    The failure of your tank may be because it was not pitched properly, the water should flow toward the tank opening. Also, there are bacteria that live in diesel fuel and their by product is sulfuric acid ... that eats steel. Also keep the tank full in the summer time to reduce condensation.

    Make sure you specify a 12 gage tank and not a thinner 14 Gage.
  6. brianosaur

    brianosaur New Member

    Weird thing is when it leaked from the bottom hole, it leaked oil and not water.

    When you say "tank opening" do you mean the line out to the burner? And if so would the water be drawn in to the feed line instead of fuel oil?

    Really? It looks like a fill pipe, vent pipe and copper feed line. Three fittings couldnt be *that* difficult. (knock on wood). Im hoping to just reuse the same ones and put some dope on them.
    The tank is in my garage and will be empty. Ill have plenty of room to maneuver it the 15' to the driveway.
    I know the disposal may be annoying but if a scrap guy pays me for the metal I should save more then $500 for a days work. Lord knows I dont make no 5 bills a day. ...then again this may be one of those jobs where you shoot yourself in the foot right from the get-go. :D
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2009
  7. 99k

    99k Radon Contractor and Water Treatment

    Fairfield Co.,Connecticut
    Yes I meant the opening to the feed line that goes to the burner and yes the water will exit to the burner also ... you don't want the water pooling in the tank. IMO there are easier ways to make $500 ... give it a shot if you're up to it and let us know how things turned out and how many hours the total job took.
  8. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Wet side of Washington State
    Consider it a good deal if the junk dealer will pick up the tank and take it away for free.
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