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Oil Tank Placement


Terence McCann
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I did a split level this morning that was built in the mid 70's.

Garage was under the bedrooms and was the main location for the oil tank.

The house has since seen an addition, garage was made into living area, new garage added on next to where the old garage was and a new master bedroom added to the top of the new garage. They added a new oil tank to feed the furnace for the new MB and placed it in the new garage. The old oil tank is still in use however, it is boxed in and is behind some folding doors like you would see on a closet.

I'm going to go through the Ohio code book now but thought I would drop a note here to see what other thoughts were.

Tanks!

*EDIT* It must bear a label of an approved agency (good housekeeping?), hold no more than 660 gallons, supported on rigid supports that are non-combustible, be of the correct size so that the tank can be removed as a whole from the dwelling and needs to be at least 5' from any fire or flame yada yada.

I would have thought more.... oh well, ok by me!

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Terry,

I am not sure what thoughts you are looking for. I am also not sure how familiar you are with oil, so don't take offense here.

Oil is not volatile like gasoline. In fact it can be a little hard to light. With most oil furnaces it takes a 10,000 volt zap to light atomized oil. In another life at another time I used to service these furnaces. One of the things that had to be done after burner service was bleed the pump. I often did this while smoking. (Like I said, long time ago) Anyway, after bleeding the air out of the pump I would have 3/4 of an inch of oil in a coffee can or pie tin. I would put my cigarette out by putting it in the can and letting the oil drown the fire out.

The point here is that an oil tank in the garage (properly installed) really isn't a concern.

George

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If I'm following this, there is now an oil tank in the living room behind some folding closet doors. Isn't there a habitability code somewhere that would preclude storing oil in habitable space? Doesn't it stink up the LR?

In my entire career, I have never looked @ an oil burning anything; I've actually inspected functioning coal fired equipment, but never oil. I know the fundamentals from reviewing tech manuals, but that's it.

In a lighter, & decidedly more scatological drift, I've read that WWII diesel powered submarines lacked bathroom facilities; the crew pinched their loaves into buckets of old fuel oil. The oil, being lighter than water, allowed the "goods" to sink & prevented undesirable smells from further disturbing the already tense atmosphere on board.

OK, I apologize; I'm snowed in[:-cold], can't work, & the mind is wandering.........[8]

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Originally posted by kurt

If I'm following this, there is now an oil tank in the living room behind some folding closet doors. Isn't there a habitability code somewhere that would preclude storing oil in habitable space? Doesn't it stink up the LR?

Good eye Kurt.

I did not catch that point.

It was (at one time) common practice here to install oil tanks in the basement. People then would finished the basement. The tank and a game of pool never seemed to interfere with each other, but that doesn't mean it was legal.

George

PS

I looked, I can't find anything forbidding an oil tank indoors. However, it must have a fusible link in the line. But it did occur to me the big problem in this day and age may be home owners insurance.

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Thanks for the reply all:

George, no offense taken. I too use to run service and I know what you mean about the catch point of oil, damn hard to get going and it was messy as hell to work with. I had to smile when you talked about putting your cigarette out in it, did the same thing. I think I first did it to see what would happen - did it with gas too![:-dev3]

Kurt stated: "Isn't there a habitability code somewhere that would preclude storing oil in habitable space?"

That's what I was looking for but there's nothing in the Ohio B.C. that's says you can't (as far as I can see).

Last but not least, it doesn't smell that bad really but anytime you go into a oil heated home you can tell right away.

My main concern was safety.

Thanks guys for the feedback.

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A little subject drift but this does relate to oil tanks..

A client called me last week and wanted my advice. I inspected her house a few years ago and there is an underground oil tank on the property. I noted the tank and included boilerplate stuff about underground tanks, potential problems, told her that I did not test the tank, and recommended an insurance policy.

Recently her insurance company notified her that they will no longer provide underground tank insurance and told her that coverage will discontinue in a month.

She called another company to get insurance and they require a tank test before they will insure the tank. She arranged for a test and holes were discovered at the top of the tank. The new insurnace company refused coverage. The original insurance company will not pay a claim because the tank has not leaked (holes are at the top of the tank). She can't get insurance on the existing tank and the old insurance company is dropping her.

She wants my advice (she is not blaming me for anything, she is just looking for help).

They want $3000 to removed and replace the tank. It will cost $1000 just to remove the tank. Gas is available at the street. I suggested that she call the gas company and find out if they will connect her and finance a new boiler for less than the cost of replacing the oil tank. She will also save $250 a year in tank insurance. The existing boiler is about 15 years old.

Any other recommendations besides calling the insurance commission to complain ( I told her to ask for her premiums to be refunded because the insurance policy was worthless). There is not enough money involved to litigate.

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I wouldn't bother w/ the insurance commission; that's a long road ending in a dead end. They aren't going to pay.

Replacing the old tank is asking for trouble; the "new" insurance company could just as well get out of the business, and then she's in the same boat.

I would put on my best bedside manner & advise her to hook up to the gas grid & install a new gas fired boiler. Cheaper, cleaner, better. After 5-6 years, she'll have saved roughly $1500 in insurance, gas is cheaper, maintenacne is minimized, and she's s winner all the way around, IMHO.

A new Weil Mclain boiler, installed, is around $3500 in my neighborhood. Most gas companies have incentives for hooking up. Either way, she's gonna get hit for around $3000-5000.

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Originally posted by kurt

I wouldn't bother w/ the insurance commission; that's a long road ending in a dead end. They aren't going to pay.

Replacing the old tank is asking for trouble; the "new" insurance company could just as well get out of the business, and then she's in the same boat.

I would put on my best bedside manner & advise her to hook up to the gas grid & install a new gas fired boiler. Cheaper, cleaner, better. After 5-6 years, she'll have saved roughly $1500 in insurance, gas is cheaper, maintenacne is minimized, and she's s winner all the way around, IMHO.

A new Weil Mclain boiler, installed, is around $3500 in my neighborhood. Most gas companies have incentives for hooking up. Either way, she's gonna get hit for around $3000-5000.

That is what I suggested. It did not occur to her that in the long run, it would be less costly with no worries about the underground tank. I also told her that the new boiler will be more energy efficient and will give her an extra 15 years before she needs to replace the it.

I still think it may be worth the time to write a letter or two to the old insurance company and/or insurance commission just to take a shot at some money back for a minimal letter writing effort. As I said, it is not worth too much energy because there is not that much money involved

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Hi,

My opinion, if there are pinholes in the top of the tank, there will holes in the bottom and there's a plume there that the old insurance company is responsible for.

We have about 10,000 abandoned oil tanks below ground in Seattle and deal with this all the time. Water is heavier than oil and sinks to the bottom of the tank sits on the steel and eats through the bottom - usually well before through the top or sides.

Testing the tank isn't enough. You have to take core samples and test for VOC's below the level of the tank and to the sides.

Even if she converts to gas, the law says that everyone responsible for that tank, all the way back to the first owner, is responsible for mitigating any contamination of the soil and that includes the insurance company.

They've sold her a bill of goods. Have here hire her own tank specialist and do proper testing around and beneath that tank for VOC's. Any found, and the company who had the policy in force will be responsible for the cleanup.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Is it ok to bury new oil tanks - or do they all currently have to be installed above ground?

Anyone care to share a boilerplate for when an abandoned underground tank is suspected. How about an underground tank that is still in use -would the reporting be the same as if it were abandoned?

Also, does burning with oil effect the the indoor air quality at all? odors? dust? oily film?, etc.

I recently moved to the UP of Mi. I run into all sorts of heating equipment.

Thanks,

Joe Arcaro

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  • 1 month later...

Hi everyone,

Not sure whether its too late for the tank in question, but there's a new option available for tank replacement. I work for a company called ZCL Composites. We make (among other things) fiberglass reinforced home heating oil tanks that can be installed indoors (typically in basement) our outside. These fiberglass tanks use new technology and include leak-monitoring. They're fully insurable and have long-term warranties and reduced cost, comparatively.

www.zcl.com or a Maritimes company distributing the tanks www.tankxperts.com for information.

Hope its useful!

TLE

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  • 3 years later...

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