Does my heating oil tank need maintenance?

Great question! Your favorite Genie’s here to give you the lowdown. When you really think about it, your heating oil storage tank is an integral part of your heating system and plays a major role in your family’s safety, comfort during the heating season. And with just a little attention and care, your heating oil tank should provide years of service!

Here are some simple things you can do make sure it’s in good shape.

Oil Tight is Alright!

An above ground oil tank, whether outdoors or inside your basement or garage, should get a periodic look-over. Look at the tank, fuel delivery line, vents, valves, supply and return lines, and all the fittings for sign of wear or damage. Also look underneath each of these for signs of oil or rust accumulation that may indicate some kind of a leak or malfunction.

Below ground heating oil tanks are difficult to inspect, but they should be checked out periodically, too.  Carefully inspect the site above a buried tank for any visible signs of oil leakage or rust accumulation as well.  Frequent burner problems can also be a sign that water is seeping into an underground heating oil tank. A qualified oil technician will be able to get to the root of the problem and tell you if it is time to take your underground tank out of service and replace it with a new above ground heating oil tank.

Strong Legs

Inspect your above ground oil tank legs for signs of rusting, settling or cracking. All above ground tanks should be placed on a stable surface, like a concrete pad.   If the legs rust out, concrete cracks or the ground beneath the legs gets soft, the tank may shift and fall over, damaging the connections and causing a leak. Indoor heating oil tanks should be mounted on a concrete basement floor. Check them for any signs of shifting or support deterioration as well.

 Damage Control

Thoroughly look over the surface of the heating oil tank itself, too. Look for rust, dents, oil stains and any signs of settling or shifting. These are all indicators of present or future problems and should be addressed right away. In fact, if you see any of these problems, Genie highly advises that you not touch, tap, or chip at these areas of the tank!

If you are concerned that your tank has become compromised in any way or can no longer hold a full tank of oil, search online for “oil tank service and replacement” to find a local expert, or contact us for a referral. Some local HVAC companies even offer oil tank protection plans, which Genie thinks is a good investment.

Other Tips

If you’ve recently purchased a home with a heating oil storage tank, or made changes to any existing surrounding structures, you will want to make sure the tank is protected from falling ice and strong winds.

And you also want to make sure that access to the fill pipe has not become overgrown or blocked during the offseason. Genie Tip: Mark the fill pipe’s location so it can be easily spotted by the delivery person. They will love you for it during that next winter snowstorm. (Yes, they are coming.)

If properly mounted and maintained, your home heating oil storage tank should last a long time. While there is no absolute time frame for replacing you heating oil tank, a periodic visual inspection is strongly recommended to ward off problems that could shorten your tank’s lifespan. Put it on your fall and spring cleanup list. It’s a cheap investment in your peace of mind!

There you have it – Genie’s easy to do checklist of oil tank maintenance tasks for your safety, comfort and worry-free living. And a guaranteed replacement plan as well!


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