Chilly Weather Signals Home Heating Oil Tank Inspection Time

Before you refill your home heating oil tank, make sure it's not leaking or rusty.

Published on: Oct 10, 2013

The Northeast is still the nation's largest market for home heating oil. So there are a lot of tanks out behind the house that have been there for years – in all kinds of condition.

And you can't afford the cost of when one leaks and causes potential contamination of groundwater or drinking wells. That's why Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection officials remind homeowners to inspect indoor and outdoor home heating oil tanks for potential problems before refilling them.

"Don't put it off; inspect your tank now," urges Acting DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo. A spill cleanup can cost up to $50,000.

What's more, it may not be covered by homeowner's insurance. If you suspect that your oil tank may have a problem, immediately contact your oil company for help.

Chilly Weather Signals Home Heating Oil Tank Inspection Time
Chilly Weather Signals Home Heating Oil Tank Inspection Time

Consider these tips:
•For safety reasons, always assume the tank contains at least some oil;
•Routinely inspect the exterior of the tank and all attached equipment;
•Check for signs of rusting on the tank and its structural supports;
•Examine the tank's fill line and feed line to the furnace for leaks;
•Never tip over or empty a tank on the ground;
•Enlist a professional to perform maintenance or alterations to a heating oil tank system; and
•Recognize that wet spots or odors near the tank may signal a problem.

For fuel delivery, make certain that the home address is clearly visible and the tank's fill line clearly marked. If you can't be home when fuel oil is delivered, mark the fill pipe with a red flag or marker and inform the oil company of the location.

Ensure that any disconnected fill pipes that remain above the ground are permanently sealed and cannot be opened.