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Can a Fuel Tank Rust?

can fuel tanks rust

Can a fuel tanks rust? Do you have a fuel tank at your home and wondering if it can rust? Let’s find out, shall we?

can fuel tanks rust

The short answer is yes!

It does depend on the fuel tank’s construction, but the most common material used for fuel tanks is steel. Now, does a steel fuel tank rust? Of course, it does.

If your tank is completely buried underground or maybe even partially buried, it is likely made of steel. And it is common to see is single wall steel underground fuel tanks. This means only one piece of sheet steel formed into the shape of the tank.

 Most likely, the older tanks are not coated or painted with anything to protect them. That means they don’t only rust, but they also pit, degrade, corrode and get holes in them.

Perhaps the tank you buried decades ago is starting to to show a little fuel tank rust on the outside from day 1. However, what about the inside of the tank? Yes, even the inside can rust, but what happens most times is that the tank will degrade on the bottom where the sludge, moisture, and water gather in the tank. And on the bottom edges at the seams are typically the first place the tank will start getting holes.

However, that’s not to say the inside cannot rust because it can. It can rust on the inside, and if the tank doesn’t get filled to the top, it collects moisture and is left exposed. Generally, the smaller tanks are made of thinner gauge metal than larger tanks, so they will get holes in them faster after they start to rust and degrade.

What about my aboveground tank? The aboveground tank usually comes with single-wall steel. But unlike underground storage tanks, the aboveground storage tanks are painted or coated. So the outward appearance of your tank is no indication of how the inside looks.

The aboveground tanks will always start to degrade at the bottom first and do so from the inside out. Heating oil is dirty and forms sludge in the bottom. This will hold moisture, and since water is heavier than oil and water gets in the tank, that will sink to the bottom. So you will never know the true condition of your tank by looking at the outside.

The best indicator is age. So the average life of a tank is 20 years. If your tank is older than 20 years, do not delay, replace it immediately. The problem here is that you might not inspect the tank daily, so when it starts to leak and drip oil, you may not notice on time.

Usually, someone will notice the tank leaking when they smell oil inside through the basement wall or in the sump pump or when vegetation starts to die. In any case, it might be too late at that point, and the damage might be too much to curtail. Do you know what that means? You’ll need to spend more to remove the tank, which could have been avoided if you had just replaced the tank sooner.

There are things you can do to prevent leaks or at least delay it for a while. For underground tanks, you can purchase a tank made of fiberglass. There are also steel tanks with a fiberglass coating or a special plastic-type coating as well as cathodic protected tanks that come with an anode bag to help prevent corrosion.

Any of these types of tanks will help extend the life of the tank. But for the large majority of homeowners in Maryland, the choice is easy.

First, contact GreenTRAX, Inc. as we are the best, most reliable, most efficient tank company in Maryland.  We will remove the underground heating oil storage tank and install a new aboveground heating oil tank.

The large majority of consumers switch to aboveground tanks for many reasons. But the biggest reason is to avoid tank problems (regardless of type and installation date) when you plan to sell your house. So we install new steel aboveground tanks, which could be on the outside or inside of the home.

Some companies do make fiberglass tanks, but that is not a standard tank done here in MD. The tanks we commonly install are either single-wall steel or a single wall tank but with a double bottom to help protect the possible degradation area.

These tanks also can be upgraded to come with high-performance coatings such as epoxy, and there are various warranties for these types of tanks. We can also install a double-walled tank with a plastic-type inner tank and a stainless steel exterior tank, and these also come with long warranties.

So while nothing will last forever, there are tanks you can purchase to maximize the lifespan of the tank to avoid having tank problems for as long as you own the home.

Call GreenTRAX, Inc today at 410-439-1085, and we will help you remove your old tank and set up a new and durable tank that fits your budget and the best location for your project. 

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More To Explore

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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