Oil Tank Services FAQ’s

We know when it comes to your home’s heating oil tank, you may have some questions. At GreenSeal Oil we like to educate our customers on what they can expect when installing, maintaining, repairing and replacing their oil tank. Below are answers to common questions we’ve been asked over the years. If you’re still looking for more information, you can contact us via email or phone and our expert technicians can help you with whatever you need!

Top Questions About Oil Tanks on Long Island, NY

What is heating oil conditioner?

Heating oil conditioner is a chemical additive that must be introduced into your tank just prior to delivery to ensure it is properly agitated throughout the tank. Simply pouring a bottle of conditioner into your tank will do nothing.

Heating oil conditioner has several benefits and works best when used from the start when a tank is installed. Trying to remedy problems that are already existing or too far gone may only increase your problems use heating oil conditioner with each delivery so that your oil can flow through the oil line in cold weather. Heating oil conditioner also controls bacteria growth inside of your oil tank. This bacteria growth is what becomes sludge, and too much sludge in a tank will create constant service problems.

If you have excessive sludge problems, it is best to replace your oil tank as there is no cure for heavy sludge. Heating oil conditioner also helps dissipate condensation buildup in your oil tank. If you have an excessive water problem heating oil conditioner will not solve this. The best advice is to use conditioner before there is any problem. Heating oil conditioner does its best work when used from the start with a new tank.

Is it illegal to install a buried oil tank at my home?

Although it is not illegal, it is generally recommended to install new oil tanks above ground. The reason is that you may not be covered by your insurance company for an oil leak under the ground, or your insurance company may drop you for an underground oil tank.

If you are considering installing an oil tank underground, it must be an approved tank to be installed underground. Not every tank can be installed underground. In Suffolk County New York a buried oil tank must be made from 10 gauge steel with a polyurethane coating and sacrificial anode’s attached to the tank. The tank must be wired and have access above ground so that a corrosion reading can be done.

An underground tank installation is much more costly than above ground oil tank installation. Although you may want your tank installed underground so that you do not have to look at an above ground tank on your property It is recommended to have a full understanding of the downside of installing a buried tank. You may encounter problems when going to sell your house. Although the tank may be new, or even made from fiberglass in general homeowners insurance companies do not approve this and can very well be a reason you will not get insurance on your home.

How much does it cost to replace an oil tank?

The cost to replace an oil tank varies, depending on the type of tank you want installed, where it will be installed, and the difficulty of the installation. On average, the range is from $2800–$5000. These numbers are averages and are only intended to help understand a range of price. You should have your installation inspected properly and speak to a professional, for the best advice on the replacement of your oil tank. There are several options that need to be discussed for accurate pricing. Make sure you are speaking with the company that you feel comfortable with and has the proper credentials and experience installing oil tanks.

What kind of oil tanks are there?

When we speak about oil tanks, we’re generally speaking about above ground residential tanks. The reason for this is that most tanks are installed above ground. Presently there are certain instances where tanks are buried underground but that is rare these days.

Roth industries makes a true double wall tank – it is a tank within a polyethylene tank that sits inside a galvanized steel tank. This is so if the primary tank leaks, it has a catch basin to protect it from leaking onto the ground.

The Roth tank has a 30-year warranty and includes a $2 million leak protection insurance policy. Granby makes 12-gauge steel single wall tanks for above ground installation. Granby also has a model that has a second bottom welded to it. This tank is called an Eco guard and is warranted for 25 years. Contact a reputable tank installation company for proper advice when choosing a new oil tank.

What do I do if my oil tank is leaking?

If you’re dealing with a leaking oil tank, the first thing you want to do is get the tank pumped out as fast as possible to stop the spread of contamination. If your tank is above ground and leaking you can immediately put some catch pans underneath the tank to try and catch the oil that is coming out, the goal is to reduce the spread of the oil that is leaking. Once you have it under control as best as possible the next move is to get that tank pumped out into a holding tank.

If you have a battery tank and realize it is leaking, the only option is to have it pumped out immediately. At that point some testing of the soil will have to be done and the tank will need to be removed. The DEC needs to be notified immediately of any leaks. After the cleanup is complete, the DEC will inspect the area where the leak occurred and approve it as completed.  The cleanup is a very expensive process. If there is any reason to believe that your tank may leak, the best advice is to replace it immediately.

When should an oil tank be replaced?

If there is any concern that an oil tank has been leaking or may leak based on a visual inspection, it is time to replace the oil tank. If there is no concern that the oil tank has been or will be leaking soon, we recommend 25 years to replace the oil tank based on age alone. If your oil tank has lasted longer than 25 years, it does not mean that tank will never leak, it only means that you’re nearing the moment it will leak. Oil tanks were not made to last forever and replacing your tank at some point is the responsible thing to do as a homeowner.

You do not want a tank of oil to leak into the ground and potentially contaminate drinking water supply. Whether a tank leaks inside of your home or outside of your home it is extremely costly to remediate an oil spill. The cleanup cost far outweighs the cost of replacing your oil tank now. The best recommendation and advice is to take care of the situation before it becomes a problem. Don’t wait!

How long does an oil tank last?

Whether you have an above ground oil tank, or one below ground, or the life expectancy will be determined by the environment surrounding the tank. An outdoor above ground tank will have the elements of weather and even possibly salt air conditions to deal with. A buried oil tank will have different types of soil surrounding it and possibly water pockets to deal with. If your oil tank is already 25 years old, we recommend replacing it based on age alone, as getting ahead of a costly oil leak is a smart move. The cost to replace an existing oil tank is only a fraction compared to an environmental cleanup from a leaking oil tank.

Should I buy a house with a buried oil tank?

Buying a house with an existing buried oil tank can be a risky situation. As the buyer you are at a disadvantage because you are not aware of the exact age and condition of the buried tank. There is no way of finding out the exact condition of a buried oil tank. The only information you will have is what is given by the seller. Most tanks have been installed above ground since approximately 2004. At this point, it is appropriate to assume that any buried oil tank should be legally and properly removed or abandoned, and a new above ground oil tank installed.

As the buyer of a new home, the best advice is to require this before signing a contract to buy the home. You do not want to inherit an unforeseen problem that can be very costly. Normally realtors and attorneys recommend to their seller client to have this taken care of prior to showing the house or at least prior to signing contracts.

Can I sell my house with a buried oil tank?

Technically, the answer is yes you can. The problem you may encounter is with a buyer’s insurance company. Upon the sale of a house the buyer will need to get a new insurance policy. Most insurance companies do not like to write policies for homes that have buried tanks. They may either surcharge an order to write the policy or decline to write the policy. In either case, this becomes a problem at closing.

The best advice is to properly and legally have the buried tank removed or abandoned before showing the home for sale. Having this done first eliminates unnecessary problems or negotiations and possible loss of the sale.