West River, Harwood, and Lothian: 3 cities located in Southern Anne Arundel County. These three cities also have many residential heating oil tanks, both underground & aboveground.
And many of their residents may have an oil tank that they know nothing about. Before we go on, if that’s you, you should call GreenTRAX, Inc. at (410) 439-1085, because we are the Maryland Environmental experts and we are here to help.
Now, if you live in one of those three cities and want to know more about how to handle your specific heating oil tank situation, read on.
What Hardwood, West River, and Lothian Residents Must Know About Their Cities
Many parts of these cities have known drainage problems. The problems are so prominent that some houses are not even built with basements.
You may even have a house where underneath the house is open so that the water just flows right on under. These areas can create their own problems for heating oil tanks.
Where We Can Install Aboveground Heating Oil Tanks
Now, let’s talk about aboveground heating oil tanks. The average lifespan of a heating oil tank is 20 years. As of this writing in 2022, if you don’t know if your tank was installed after the year 2000, it probably wasn’t. Frankly, it is probably much older than that and it is time to replace it. GreenTRAX can offer you several options for replacement.
One of those options is often inside the house. Unfortunately, as we discussed, basements in these three cities are not an option. This means your tank will need to go outside, which is where we would have recommended the tank go anyway.
For oil tanks that are placed outside, they do NOT need to be set on concrete pads. Instead, concrete masonry lintels are the standard method of installation.
When it comes to the tank location outside, the left or right side of the house or the rear is obviously preferred to anywhere out front. If your house does not have a basement or your basement is completely finished, then the new tank location is limited to where the furnace is located.
Another consideration is that we have to be able to hook up to the existing oil supply line (if we cannot install a new one). We can also install a tank on the same side of the house or close to the furnace/utility room.
If you have your furnace in a closet in the middle of the house, then installing a new oil supply line in most cases is not possible. However, if your furnace room is on an exterior wall then we can install a new supply line from the tank to the furnace.
Essential Aboveground Tank Information
The most common tank size is 275 gallons. There are smaller tanks available but in most cases that is not necessary and will not save any money.
The 3 sizes that work well are a 275-gallon, 330-gallon or 400-gallon tank. We can also offer you many upgraded tanks that have longer warranties. This gives you the peace of mind that as long as you live at the property you most likely will not have to replace the tank again.
The basic tank comes with a 10-year warranty. You can also choose a 25-year or a 30-year warranty, too.
If you are thinking about replacing your aboveground tank, call GreenTRAX. We’d be happy to provide you with several options to choose from so you can decide what best works for you.
What You Need To Know About Underground Oil Storage Tanks
If you still have a buried tank at your property, it is time to remove it now.
I can guarantee it is older than 20 years (the lifespan of the tank) and it may actually probably be as old as the house. In the 3 cities of Harwood, West River & Lothian, the likely sizes of your tank are between a 275-gallon, a 300-gallon, or a 550-gallon underground tank. These areas have poor drainage, so there is an increased likelihood that the tank has leaked.
After all, when an underground oil storage tank is buried, they are not protected or coated with anything special. So, your tank has been in the ground rusting for decades. Sooner or later the rust will win and the tank will leak.
Think if you’ve had any of these problems with your tank: a broken whistle/vent pipe, sludge buildup, water in the tank, or a rusted-off fill pipe.
If so, DO NOT think about repairing the tank.
DO NOT think about pumping out the water.
DO NOT think about trying to get out the sludge or raising or replacing the oil suction/supply line.
These are all throwing good money after bad. The tank is telling you “HEY!, I HAVE A PROBLEM!” “REPLACE ME!”.
Some basic rules
We’ll make it simple with this basic rule:
If your tank is over 20 years old or you do not know how old it is, just remove and replace the tank.
We do not typically recommend installing a new UST back in the ground. Instead, we would remove the buried tank and the same day install a new aboveground oil tank. From there, we transfer any good usable oil from the old to the new tank. Then we restart your furnace, boiler, or water heater. With this process, we keep the time you are without heat or hot water to a very small window, likely just a few hours while we are working.
You may also be thinking that it’s not necessary to remove and replace the tank and that you can just fill in the tank with sand.
Here is another fundamental rule: DO NOT DO THIS yourself, it is not only illegal, but you will create more problems.
A proper tank abandonment in place can only be done by a licensed MDE Tank contractor.
Not your plumber, not your HVAC guy, not your friend down the street. As GreenTRAX, we normally do not recommend a tank abandonment, but every situation is different.
The main reason is that a tank REMOVAL is cheaper. This is because during a tank abandonment, we still have to check the soil below to find out if the tank is leaking. If it is, the MDE requires you to remove the tank anyway.
How To Handle Your Heating Oil Tank If You Are Selling Your House
Keep in mind that if you are selling your house, a tank removal is the BEST option. That’s because the tank must be removed prior to settlement.
Did you know that more and more home insurance companies will require you to remove the tank BEFORE they will renew your homeowner’s insurance? You may also see that your bank or mortgage company requires you to remove your underground storage tank before they will refinance your house.
Or, if you are the buyer of the property, you need to know that any of these parties can prevent you from going to settlement until that UST is removed. You can protect yourself by knowing that 99% of the time it is the SELLER’S responsibility to remove the buried oil tank before settlement.
If you have questions, give GreenTRAX a call – we are the TANKMASTERS! We ACE the competition. We are the #1 choice for Maryland Homeowners for heating oil tank installation & removal.
30 years is a long time in the oil tank industry, so if you are selling OR thinking about selling your house and need to have your heating oil tank handled, call GreenTRAX now at (410) 439-1085.