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Oil Tank Repairs

Oil Tank Replacement

“Can I get my oil tank repaired?”

That is a question you might have needed to ask someone if you ever owned an oil tank. 

Let’s dive into this deeper and see what the experts say.

Well, that’s me!

I guess I am the expert, so let’s see what I say. You’re on the edge of your seat I can tell! I’m going to tell you everything you wanted to know and probably a few things you didn’t about repairing a heating oil tank. OK not everything you ever wanted to know…. 

3 oil tanks in basement

Aboveground Oil Tank Repair

There are our major components comprising the aboveground oil storage tank (AST) system:

  • a tank
  • the oil inside the tank
  • a copper oil supply line
  • and the oil burner

Then for the tank itself there are a few things that can be repaired – now is a good time to tell you that repairing a part on the tank is not a thing, what we are actually talking about is a part replacement. But since we are talking about residential oil tank repairs, we’ll go with that.

First and foremost, if your home heating oil tank is more than 20 years old, we DO NOT RECOMMEND an oil tank repair. 9 ½ times out of 10 if there is something wrong with your tank or a part on the tank itself, the tank is giving you an early warning. Like it’s waving at you saying “Hey, Hello, me over here! I’m broke and I may be getting ready to leak, it’s time to replace me!”

So, if your tank is over 20 years old you should call us and discuss a tank removal and a new tank installation. 

What An Oil Tank Repair Might Look Like

We realize not everyone can do a tank replacement right now. Also, if your tank is less than 20 years old, then yes, we should look at a part replacement. Many tanks have a valve on the bottom of the tank that your oil supply line connects to. If the valve itself is leaking, that is a part that can be replaced (it shouldn’t) but it can be. It is a bit of a process; the tank must be:

  1. pumped out
  2. disconnected
  3. tipped up on end
  4. replace the tank valve
  5. hook all the lines and pipes back up
  6. pump the oil back in the tank
  7. restart the furnace

But by the time we do all that, for only a little bit more money you could have had a new tank.

So, let’s discuss something a bit simpler and less expensive.

The Mushroom Cap

What the h@#% is a mushroom cap?

This is the vent pipe of the tank. It is capped with a part that looks like… wait for it… a mushroom. Sometimes this cap can get clogged from snow, dirt, debris, small critter, or insects.

This is a simple part to replace. 

The Whistle

Another part of the vent pipe is the whistle. Usually this is a whistle and gauge combo unit. The whistle is how the oil delivery driver knows when to stop filling the tank.

Oil goes in, air comes out. When the whistle stops, the tank is full.

This whistle adaptor is the most common part that we replace. Granted, normally it is due to age – again, a warning sign you need the whole tank replaced.

In the event it’s not due to age, we can still replace this part.

Other Oil Tank Repairs

Other parts of the tank are:

  • fill adaptor
  • fill pipe
  • tank plugs
  • supply & return line adaptor

All these parts are not typically something that we would need to replace.

Regarding Furnaces and Oil Burners

We are not a furnace service company.

While we do hook up the tanks to the unit and restart the furnace, water heater or boiler, we don’t supply & replace parts for those. That is for an HVAC company.

Copper Supply Lines

But the oil supply line, we can replace that. However, it is very unusual for this line to need replacing or have a problem. It is made from copper, which does not degrade in oil like the steel tank does. The copper supply line lasts much longer than the tank.

If the copper line is hit, crimped, or broken due to negligence, vandalism, or accident, that is very bad. This can cause an oil leak either in your basement or outside. Not only can it be costly to clean up contaminated soil, but it can make the house smell, also. Additionally, it may cause major problems with the furnace. So, if for any reason your copper oil supply line is broken that needs to be dealt with right away. Call us for a replacement

Total Oil Tank Replacement

If your oil tank itself has a hole in it, is weeping oil, leaking, or is dripping oil out of it… the tank CANNOT be repaired. The small weep or pinhole is only the start of a major problem, and the metal construction of the tank is almost definitely thin and compromised. You do not want a major leak in your basement or yard. That can get very expensive and fill your property with the sweet smell of oil.

Whether your tank is located outside or in the basement, if the tank leaks and it is not dealt with in a timely fashion, the oil spillage will cause big problems.

Call GreenTRAX, Inc. today and let us help you decide on any oil tank repairs, replacements, or new tank options. 

Underground Oil Tanks

The last thing I will touch on is buried oil tanks or Underground storage tanks (USTs).

The lifespan of USTs is 20 years. Almost all (old) residential buried oil tanks are steel. If the tank has been in the ground rusting for 20, 30, 50 years, it is a BAD idea to try to replace any parts on these tanks.

If you get to the point where there are problems with your UST, don’t delay.

Call us to have this tank removed and replaced with a new AST.

There are only a few parts that make up UST’s.

1| The Tank Itself

This steel cannot be repaired if it gets holes in it. It must be removed.

2| On Top Of The Tank

Then on top of the tank you have the fill pipe and fill adaptor & the vent pipe & whistle – if someone hits or runs over any of these pipes and damages them, it is likely the tank is now trash. In rare circumstances where the tank is less than 20-years-old and there is a problem with the fill and or vent pipe, we can dig up the top of tank and attempt a part replacement.

3| Supply & Return Line Bushing

Also on top of the tank is the duplex bushing for the supply and return lines (the copper lines). The copper does not rust, so unless someone was digging in the ground and cut the copper lines, there is not anything to worry about with these parts. 

GreenTRAX Does Oil Tank Repairs (and Replacements)

Call GreenTRAX today for additional questions about this topic. We are here to help. 


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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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