Oil furnaces have proven themselves as a highly reliable way of keeping your Hagerstown home warm, even under the harshest winter conditions. Unlike gas-fired furnaces, an oil-fired furnace relies on its storage tank to provide the fuel oil necessary for operation. Taking care of an oil storage tank isn’t a complicated affair, but there’s plenty you should be aware of if you want it to remain in great shape.
General Care Tips
If you want your oil storage tank to last a long time, treat it with the best possible care. After all, you’ll get more mileage out of a well-maintained tank than you will one that’s suffered owner neglect.
First, make sure the tank has any metal tags or labels affixed to it. These serve as important identifiers, telling both the owner and service technician several bits of useful information, including the gauge or thickness of the tank’s steel construction and its year of manufacture. These tags and labels also help identify if the tank was constructed according to national standards.
Next comes an inspection of the tank’s interior. You’ll want to be on the look-out for any signs of rust or corrosion. Also, be careful as you run your hand across any rust bubbles or damp spots on the tank. Putting excess pressure on these areas can easily cause the tank to spring a leak. If you do see rust, you may want to plan on an eventual replacement.
Here are some other general tips to consider when taking care of an oil storage tank:
- Check the vent and fill pipes, as well as the tank bottom, for any signs of leaks or spills. These leaks have a tendency to appear after the tank’s contents change volume.
- Sludge, water and biofilm can accumulate within the oil tank over time and eventually contribute to corrosion, especially in a steel tank that’s not protected by an internal anti-corrosion film or lining. Have your technician remove this buildup from your tank on a yearly basis. You’ll also want to use a fuel oil additive to reduce water buildup.
- During the summer, combat internal condensation by keeping your oil tank topped off.
- Regularly inspect the oil storage tank for signs of external damage, including broken weld seams, damaged fill gauge, cross-threaded fittings and broken base supports.
Protecting the Tank From the Elements
When taking care of an oil storage tank, it’s important to consider the toll that harsh weather conditions can have on your equipment. For example, frost heaves and other changes in the ground can cause the tank to move, making it more unstable and even more difficult to supply heating fuel. You can do your part to protect your oil tank by performing the following:
- Use weather protection devices, such as tank stability brackets and fill gauge protectors, to prevent weather-related damage.
- Get rid of any tall vegetation or debris surrounding the tank, as it can help promote rust and corrosion.
- A thorough application of rust-proof paint can help shield the tank from corrosion. Be sure to coat the legs as well as the bottom for maximum protection.
Replacing an Oil Storage Tank? What You Need to Know
Replacing an oil storage tank is an inevitable part of the maintenance process, especially if the old tank is subject to rust and severe leaks. Here’s what you need to know about replacing your tank:
- Avoid tanks that are used or refurbished. A used or reconditioned tank is often one that was pulled out of service due to leaks or age. Reusing an old tank could cause a wide range of problems that often prove expensive to fix.
- If you do decide to replace the tank, avoid transferring the leftover oil that’s in the old tank into your new tank. The old fuel oil may contain a variety of microorganisms, acids and other contaminants picked up from the old tank that could cause the new tank to corrode over time. Old tanks also contain water and sludge that could easily be picked up during the transfer process.
Taking care of an oil storage tank is a major responsibility for any Hagerstown homeowner who relies on oil for their heating needs. Nevertheless, it’s a task made much simpler thanks to the above information. You can find out more by contacting the heating experts at Griffith Energy Services, Inc.
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