Can fuel tanks explode in hot weather? This may sound like an odd question, but it is one that gets asked from time to time. We will restrict this conversation to the Maryland area and to residential home heating oil tanks.
The short answer is NO – your fuel tank will NOT explode in hot weather.
Home heating oil is NOT combustible like gasoline and therefore, a small flame or spark will NOT ignite the heating fuel.
There is also the consideration that the fuel is contained either in an underground tank which keeps the temperature much more regulated and consistent, or an aboveground tank. Which many tanks are either steel or a double wall plastic and steel tank. So, while they can get warm or even hot, the fuel on the inside is always going to be cooler. Heating oil does not get hot enough just from ambient air temperature to explode.
Similar questions would be can fuel tanks explode in hot weather? Can fuel tanks explode?
Again, the short answer is NO.
Remember that heating oil, besides being contained in a tank, is also transported to the furnace in a sealed copper line. Normally, on newer tanks, this is a plastic-coated small copper supply line. Sometimes there is also a second copper line known as the return. However, the system works 1 or 2 copper lines; they are sealed and do not have a chance of leaking except where any connections are made. That’s why it is always important to periodically check around the tank and furnace/boiler area for any signs of leaks.
Though not a huge concern, part of the system is damaged or broken and can start to drip oil. For example, a pump seal can go bad on the furnace and it can start to have a small drip of oil. If this happens, it will need to be replaced. Perhaps the copper line outside where it connects to the tank was damaged by accident? Perhaps it was vandalism? Perhaps something else happened at one of the fittings/connections somewhere in the line? Any of these is a potential problem and should be checked over from time to time. If you have a tank, tank valve, furnace, or copper line that leaks inside or outside it can be a mess to deal with if not caught right away. So, what is a 2 minute check for leaks periodically? Takes no time at all to be safe.
Again, to be clear, this is NOT an explosion risk, but a potential aggravation or financial loss if the leak has led to remediation of contaminated soil outside. If the leak was inside, cleaning the basement concrete floor or even removal and replacement of a piece of the concrete floor can also cause strain and financial loss.
So, best practice is to have regular maintenance of the furnace by your heating oil supplier or HVAC contractor. And if you have any questions about your tank, then Call GreenTRAX, Inc. we are here to help! 410-439-1085.
(P.A. – We only service customers in Maryland.)