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16 Heating Oil Tank Facts

buried oil tank insurance

Below you will find a 1 page document of 16 heating oil tank facts you should know. This is not an all-encompassing document, just some basic facts, so feel free to reach out to us about your particular situation. We will walk you thru the entire process and can get you a proposal right away using our standardized pricing and RAPID-QUOTE system. 410-439-1085

Heating oil tank being lifted by an excavator

16 Heating Oil Tank Facts

  • 1. The average life of a buried tank is 20 years.
  • 2. Just a small pinhole in a tank can leak approx. 50 gallons of oil per year.
  • 3. We never recommend for you to have a tank test or soil test on a tank that is 20 or more years old because it has lived its useful life.
  • 4. Just like the roof on your house, the tank doesn’t last forever. It is, after all just a piece of steel buried in the ground. Sooner or later, it will rust through and leak.
  • 5. Per the Maryland Department of the Environment (State Agency) – Any Underground Storage Tank (UST) taken out of service (stop being used) must be removed within 180 days.
  • 6. It is cheaper & better for all parties involved if the tank is removed (when possible) instead of being abandoned in place.
  • 7. If you are selling your house, 90+% of the time the seller is responsible for removing the old underground oil tank BEFORE settlement.
  • 8. Common occurrence – before settlement on the home sale, the seller has to remove the UST because the buyer’s mortgage or insurance company won’t let them go to settlement until it’s removed.
  • 9. Many factors shorten the life of a UST: if there is an electric line close to the UST, if there is a high groundwater around the tank, the type of soil, the thickness of the metal.
  • 10. If there is water in the tank (if water can get in, the oil can get out) that is one indicator of a possible leak.
  • 11. If the tank leaks, the homeowner will be eligible for the MDE homeowner reimbursement fund.
  • 12. If an oil company told you they can’t fill the tank anymore due to a broken vent pipe, bad whistle, or broken fill pipe, it is highly recommended that, if the tank is close to or well over 20-years-old, the tank be removed and replaced instead of repaired.
  • 13. If you have sludge build-up in the tank and it keeps shutting off the heat, the tank is VERY old and past its useful life and needs removed.
  • 14. A legal tank abandonment in-place can be performed instead of removal. However, if tank is found to be leaking, then the tank will most likely be required to be removed anyway.
  • 15. If you do not know how old the tank is, then how old is the house? There is a good chance the tank is as old as the house.
  • 16. When you decide to replace the underground tank with an aboveground tank, do not expect that you need the same size large tank. Almost everyone always gets a smaller tank aboveground.
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The Maryland Department of the Environment is cancelling the reimbursement fund for homeowners with leaking heating oil tanks!

This cancellation takes effect June 30th, 2024. You need to have your buried oil tank removed NOW, so if the tank is leaking you can get reimbursed for remediation costs before the program goes away. Click here for more information on the reimbursement fund as it operates now.

We urge everyone to contact their representatives in Annapolis and the Governors office and tell them DO NOT cancel the homeowner reimbursement fund for leaking residential oil tanks! They can still renew this program before this year’s legislative session ends.

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