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Cheaper service costs you more with your oil tank

above ground Granby oil tank under stairs

So, you have an oil tank in your basement or garage and now you have to have it removed for one reason or another. What can you do now? Here are some real-world cases that might help you with your oil tank.
The situation can go like this:

  • Wife: now that we just got this new heat pump installed what do we do with the tank in our basement?
  • Husband: I don’t know, find someone on the internet to do it, they will take the tank for free and give us lots of money for the oil left in the tank, and they can make a ton of money in scrap for the metal.

    Or something like this:
  • Bill: Hey Barb, you know that old tank in our garage we haven’t used in 10 years? I think I see oil starting to drip out of the bottom. You think we should get that removed?
  • Barb: My sister’s boyfriend works for a guy, he can take care of it for us.
  • Bill: Is he licensed for oil tank removals?
  • Barb: No but he does all kinds of stuff I know he can do it.

Do these conversations sound familiar?

aboveground oil tank

The next day, Bill says to Barb, “I have a busy day tomorrow, would you mind calling several people from the internet or on Facebook or Craigslist?” Lets pause – bear in mind that many or most of these potential contractors are NOT licensed and have no idea how to remove an oil tank or deal with the oil properly. Heck, they probably don’t even know that when you said the tank was “empty” that in fact it is NOT empty and still has sludge or a couple inches oil in the bottom.

So, let’s say you call, your sisters boyfriends boss’ company – call it ACME contracting – they say we don’t really do oil tanks but since you know …blah blah…. We can do it. It will cost XX. You call the next guy named Edwardo from Craigslist. He’s an excellent carpenter and painter, but he doesn’t do oil tanks, but he wants to help, so he says yes he can do it for X.

Then you call GreenTRAX, you speak to a very pleasant woman who answered all your questions knowledgeably, and even asked you several questions no one else did. She emailed you a formal proposal less than an hour after you called, she even asked you to send pictures of the tank! You think “Wow no one else did that, I wonder why?” The nice lady on the phone told you the price would be XXX. You then think “That’s more than what Edwardo said, he seemed nice enough. He sounded confident he could do it in the 3 and half minute phone call we had. Let me talk to “Bill”.

He says “Did you get he prices?” You say “Yep and ACME was XX, Edwardo was X and GreenTRAX was XXX. Bills says “Call Edwardo and tell him to get over here tomorrow and get this tank out, I don’t want more oil on the floor. I have to work tomorrow, so you deal with it. I’m sure it will be fine.”
The next day, Edwardo shows up with his guy. They are armed with a wet/dry shop Vac and lots of 5-gallon buckets. You point him in the direction of the tank. You leave them alone to work for a while, and come a short time later, because you smell something weird. What do you find?

The 275 gallon tank was in fact NOT EMPTY, it was ½ full of oil. Edwardo went to get coffee and his “guy” is here sucking the oil out of the tank with a SHOP VAC and then putting the oil in 5 gallon buckets that are now scattered all over the basement floor. Now you know where the smell is coming from. Every time he dumps oil in the buckets he spills some oil on your basement floor and he has 20 buckets spread out full so far. You panic. It’s time to call GreenTRAX.
You call the nice lady at GreenTRAX and say “Hi I called yesterday, and we spoke…” She says, “Ahh yes ma’am I remember you, what can I help you with?” So, you tell her the whole story and she says “Yes, we can certainly help you with this, we can fit you in 3 days from now.” You say “That’s not going to work, I have oil all over my floor and buckets ready to tip over here I need someone out now.” In the end, the service ends up costing you even more than the original quote because you need it now and the oil has to be cleaned up.

So, while this sounds like a wild fantasy we have actually had this scenario happen to a customer before. In fact, we had 3 similar scenarios all in a 2 week span. The 2nd scenario didn’t even get that far. The guy who they called started spilling oil on the garage floor and the owner kicked them off the job before calling us back. The 3rd scenario had “the guy” spill/ or dump a bunch of the oil out of the tank onto the grass outside and the homeowner was responsible for several thousand dollars of cleanup because they tried to “save a few bucks”.

Folks, the bottom line is that a tank in your basement, garage, or outside is an easy thing to deal with, and fairly quick, IF, (A big IF) you are experienced, knowledgeable, and have the proper equipment to deal with the oil!!! That is the big kicker; the oil left in the tank. Also, if you’re thinking you can have GreenTRAX pump the oil out and then remove the tank yourself to have it scrapped, you’re on the wrong track. Pumping the tank doesn’t remove all the oil and sludge. Sometimes it requires the tank to be cut open and squirted out with water, then the tank can be removed. And you know the big thing? If the tank is taken to a scrapyard, the money from the tank will NOT even be enough to buy lunch at the fast food place for the 2 guys who did the job. The reality is a single tank, might bring $10 -$15 in scrap value. It’s not worth it.

Call GreenTRAX and lets the Professionals handle this job for you, we will do it properly, dispose of the oil and sludge in the correct way, and remove the tank with ease, even if we have to cut it up in pieces to remove it from the basement. We do this every day, let us handle this for you, and maybe you tackle another project on your to do list.

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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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