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Different Options for Removing an Oil Tank from Your Home

How to Remove an Underground Storage Tank Safely

© 2012 by Sarah Harris; all rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.

A home inspector; photo courtesy Sarah Harris

When you want to remove or replace the home heating oil tank in your home or residence, there are a few different options that you can go with to help things go nice and smoothly, and to keep costs at a minimum.

No matter how you look at it, removing or replacing the oil tank at your home is a pretty big task, and there a lot of moving parts and things for which you’re responsible as a homeowner.

Why Replace an Oil Tank?

Older models were almost always made of steel, which makes them the likely victims of rust, corrosion, and the failure and environmental damage that goes hand in hand with that. It is important to have a qualified inspector perform an inspection annually and determine if your tank is in danger of failing.

Most newer models have heavier gauge steel, fiberglass, or double polyethylene walls that minimize rusting issues but periodic inspection is still recommended, and in some areas, mandated.

Tank Placement

There are two common places to locate tanks, above-ground and buried, identified as a UST by the EPA (Underground Storage Tank). Obviously, the above-ground models are easier to keep an eye on for safety and especially for replacement. This article will address the buried types.

We’re going to talk about some of the different options you have available to you when you’re removing and/or replacing the tank at your home, and discuss ways that you can complete this project under budget and in the most efficient way possible.

With the help of these strategies, you’ll be able to remove your home’s oil tank, and do it in a way that doesn’t set you back a small fortune.

Locate the Tank and the Utility Lines

One of the first decisions to be made when you’re planning to remove your unit is exactly how you’re going to go about digging up the tank itself. Before you can do this, you’ve got to locate it.

When you’ve found the tank, you want to make sure it’s not too close to any gas or water mains, or anything else that might be damaged in the process. Always Call Before You Dig. They will assist you in locating utility lines.

What sort of lines should you identify? As mentioned above, gas lines and supply water lines. Although damaging these tend to cause the most grief, you need to be aware of sewage lines, phone lines, cable TV, and electrical supply lines.

Excavation and Removal Methods

If you’ve got a decent amount of space, one of the options available to you is the method by which you’re going to dig up your tank. One of the best options available to you is a backhoe, and if you can afford it.

This will always make the task go whole lot quicker and easier. If you go with the good, old-fashioned shovel method you might want to get a few friends to help you, as this is usually a pretty large item that’s buried underground.

Another solid option when you’re removing the old unit from your home is getting an inspection and sign-off from a licensed professional. A pro can also facilitate unit disposal since equipment that store hydrocarbons are now tightly regulated by the EPA and possibly local authorities.

The city building code might very well require that you do this anyway, but even if it doesn’t, getting a professional contractor to take a look at your situation—either before or after you’ve removed your oil tank—is a great way to make sure everything is safe and that you haven’t missed anything important.

Oil tank removal is a pretty daunting project, but with the right strategies you can make sure you’re keeping everything safe and not spending any money that’s not absolutely necessary.

There are a few different options from which you can choose when you’re beginning a task like home heating oil tank removal, and by going with the right ones your project can go through without a hitch.

By getting the right permits from the city, hiring the right equipment, and making sure you get a professional to at least take a look at the work you’ve done, you can make sure that everything about your removal project is safe and in line.

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