Many residents in the Mid-Atlantic area rely on more than one source for indoor heating, cooking and heating water. When one source is unavailable, homeowners must switch to another. If one of your home heating options is fuel oil, a storage tank on your property is needed.
Types of Oil Storage Tanks
Oil storage tanks come in a variety of sizes and materials. Until a few years ago, tanks were typically made of steel, a material that corrodes over time and leaves residues and sludge at the bottom of the tank. As oil levels in the tank decrease, accumulated residues like water, rust or dirt can combine with the oil as it flows through piping to the spray nozzle, causing the nozzle to clog. Impurities may affect combustion, causing inefficient burning, fumes or no burning at all.
Newer tanks are made of fiberglass or polyethylene, neither of which corrodes. Both fiberglass and polyethylene are lightweight and seam-free, so leaks are rare. Many manufacturers pair an inner holding tank of polyethylene with an outer galvanized steel tank for added security against leaks and impacts from the outside.
Oil storage tank sizes vary according to the manufacturer, ranging from 110 gallons to 1000 gallons. Custom-made tanks can be sized according to your specifications. Larger tanks allow more fuel to be filled at one time, reducing the need for several deliveries during the winter. If space is a problem, smaller tanks are available. Standard above ground indoor tanks hold 275 gallons. Underground tanks may be larger, often 500 or 1000 gallons.
Oil storage tanks may be installed indoors or outdoors, above ground or below ground. Above ground indoor tanks are typically placed in a basement, garage or utility room. Outdoor tanks may be situated below ground or above ground. Above ground outdoor tanks are often placed on a slab behind or on one side of the house.
Many homeowners are concerned about the possibility of tank leakage. Tank storage systems include fill pipes and vent pipes to release air pressure and prevent overspills as the tank is filled. Although leaks can happen, they are rare. Well-made tanks from reliable companies are individually tested to make sure that each tank is leak-free. Most come with warranties that cover tank failure due to workmanship, material defects and corrosion and insurance against damage to property from leaks or spills.
Residential heating oil tanks are exempted from federal regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency, but some states and local governments have local regulations governing placement and safety of tanks.
Griffith Heating Oil Services
Griffith Energy Services provides full support for residential and commercial fuel oil needs from product installation and repair to oil delivery. We offer heating oil maintenance plans that include tune-ups, discounts on parts and labor, priority service and warranties on our work. Our 12 offices within the greater Baltimore area serve local communities like Dover, Del., and Berryville, VA. Our trained technicians can answer any questions that you may have about sizing a tank for your home, safety, installation and oil delivery.
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Written by Kevin Spain