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Above vs. Below Ground Oil Tanks

Choosing the right type of heating oil storage tank is essential to avoid headaches and extra costs in the future. There are two main options for tank installations: aboveground and underground. But which is the best option? Learning key facts about each can help make your decision easier.

Aboveground Tanks

Aboveground heating oil storage tanks can be installed indoors or outdoors. A variety of sizes are available between 160 and 400 gallons, but the standard capacity is 275 gallons. Indoor tanks are typically situated in a basement, garage or utility room, while outdoor tanks are built to withstand the elements and extreme weather conditions. They're usually installed at the rear or along the side of a home.

Underground Tanks

Underground storage tanks have been used for many years. By burying the tank on the property, a homeowner can save space indoors or keep the tank completely out of sight outdoors. Residential underground tanks are typically bigger than aboveground models, with capacities ranging from 550 to 1,000 gallons. Both steel and fiberglass tanks are used in underground installations. Steel tanks are susceptible to rust and corrosion, while fiberglass models are not.

Advantages of Aboveground vs. Underground Tanks

The main drawback of an underground tank is the risk of an oil spill from a leak the supply lines or the tank itself. While the tank may be out of sight, a leak that allows heating oil to leach into the soil and groundwater creates an environmental hazard that's extremely costly to remediate.

While leaks can occur in an aboveground installation, it's easier to monitor and maintain these tanks because they're accessible.

Steel models are a popular choice, but they're vulnerable to rusting and the formation of ferrite sludge, which can clog the system, reduce efficiency and damage heating equipment.

Combination tanks offer a stronger, safer alternative. These double-wall models combine an inner tank made of rust-proof polyethylene with a tough galvanized steel outer shell.

For knowledgeable advice about oil storage tanks and help choosing the right option for your Baltimore area home, contact Griffith Energy Services.

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