When natural gas is unavailable, homeowners are left to choose between oil and propane to fuel furnaces, boilers and water heaters. Fuel oil continues to be a popular choice because of its high heat content and relatively competitive price.
Unfortunately, the use of fuel oil has been hindered by concerns relating to storage safety and loss of efficiency due to the accumulation of contaminants. The burn process involves a high-pressure spray injected through restrictive nozzles. Impurities from a corroded tank can affect combustion and lower efficiency. Oil storage tanks that leak create a mess and can lead to a potentially expensive environmental remediation.
Oil Storage Tanks
When purchasing an oil tank, it is important to understand the different product and installation options. Choosing a tank with durable construction, sufficient capacity and easy installation will help ensure that the heating needs of the household are satisfied without high costs and aggravation.
- Above Ground Indoors: Above ground heating oil tanks are usually located in a utility room, basement or garage. The standard tank size is typically 275 gallons, but models are available ranging from 160-400 gallons.
- Above Ground Outdoor: Above ground tanks designed for outdoor use are typically installed at the rear or side of the home. They are built to withstand extreme weather, which can raise the cost of the unit. Standard capacity is 275 gallons, but several other sizes are available.
- Underground: Underground heating oil tanks are buried during installation, and an abandoned tank can be difficult to locate. Storage capacity is generally larger than above ground tanks, ranging from 550-1000 gallons for residential applications.
Deficiencies in traditional storage containers have led to the characterization of oil as a "problem" fuel. A conventional upright steel tank can rust, which often leaves a ferrite sludge residue in the bottom of the tank. This rust byproduct can clog filters, nozzles and the orifice where the oil is drawn to the burner. The stand is also usually made of steel, and if a leg is weakened by rust, the resulting collapse of the tank can be catastrophic.
Although publicized for sensational impact, leaks in storage tanks are relatively rare. To guard against the possibility of an unexpected leak, the National OilHeat Research Alliance (NORA) has established an oil tank integrity evaluation procedure, which can be conducted by a certified testing company.
Which Oil Storage Tank is Right for Me?
Continued improvements in storage tank technology have resulted in vessels that are stronger, safer and have a longer service life. There are three basic construction designs that offer a variety of different features and benefits.
- Steel: Due to their relatively inexpensive cost, steel tanks continue to be the most popular storage medium. They are manufactured for both above and below ground applications, and every tank must adhere to rigid UL construction standards.
- Fiberglass: Fiberglass tanks largely eliminate leakage and sediment concerns relating to rust. Traditionally used for underground replacement, fiberglass is now approved for above ground installations as well.
- Combination: The most advanced oil storage medium is the polyethylene double-wall tank. The inside tank is made of a thick, durable polyethylene composite covered by an outer shell constructed from galvanized steel. Polyethylene does not rust or corrode, and galvanized steel is extremely abuse resistant. Both enclosures are pressure tested and comply with strict UL performance standards. Some combination systems include a leak-detection device in the unlikely event of a failure in one of the shells.
When considering an oil storage tank purchase, tank accessories can help improve safety and extend the life of the tank. Oil Solutions manufacturers several complimentary products including the Tankmate protective oil cover, the Tank Tub 110 percent containment enclosure and the Tank Pan, which protects against minor leaks and driver overfills.
Roth – The Brand We Represent
The Roth Tank represents the state-of-the-art in storage tank science. Roth combines a seamless, high–density polypropylene inner tank with a galvanized one-piece outer steel enclosure to provide the safest and most reliable oil storage tank product available. With a smaller footprint, greater capacity and a lighter weight than conventional steel tanks, Roth tanks provide exceptional performance and peace of mind.