If you are a homeowner whose home is heated by oil, you're well aware that as winter approaches, you need to ensure you have a full tank that's in good condition. But as summer approaches, you still have to pay attention to the tank. While letting the tank sit for a few months, even with fuel in it, is fine, you have to be sure the tank is ready to sit unused. Here are three tasks to perform to ensure that when cold weather comes around again, your tank will be ready to go.
Secure the Tank Against Potential Flooding
Above-ground tanks are at risk of damage from flooding during strong storms. Water can get into the tank through vents or pipes, causing any fuel in the tank to spill out of the tank, creating a toxic water-oil mix that's a fire hazard. Even if your tank is inside your basement, if water gets into the basement, you could have a problem with the tank. Ensure that your tank is secured so that floodwaters will not cause it to tilt or tip over; FEMA suggests encasing the legs of the tank in concrete or adding straps around the tank that are attached to a slab. If a storm with the potential to flood your area is forecast, contact a heating oil company to remove leftover oil and close up the tank completely.
Clean the Tank
Heating oil tanks can build up a layer of scale after several months. As with any enclosed space that develops a layer of scale or other materials, that layer reduces the amount of space in the tank. That means you can't fill the tank with as much oil as you could when the tank was clean. Have a heating oil company come out and ensure all scale has been removed from the tank.
Fill the Tank
Once the rainy/flood season has passed in your area, and once you know that the tank is clean, fill the tank with oil. This isn't so much a tank maintenance issue as it is a wallet maintenance issue; filling the tank when demand for heating oil is low means you may be able to get better prices and avoid shortages.
If you have other questions about letting your home oil tank sit over the summer, contact a heating oil company like Ferrell Fuel Co Inc and speak to the technicians there. They'll help you figure out whether flooding will be an issue given the location of your tank, and they'll also help you with other maintenance issues as well. While the tanks are made to last several years, proper maintenance is key in helping them last that long.