Oil Storage Tanks: Model Types and Installation Options

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Homes that rely on heating systems that utilize oil as a fuel source also require the use of an oil storage tank for holding the necessary oil supply. As there are several types of oil storage tanks, it’s important to have a good understanding of those options to choose the style hat is best for your home’s heating needs.

Why Should You Consider Using Fuel Oil Storage Tanks?

Following natural gas, fuel oil is the most commonly used type of fuel for home heating systems. Unlike propane or natural gas; however, it will not explode, which makes it a safer option. It is important to note that before fuel oil is used, heating is required.

Fuel oil simply will not burn in its liquid state. Only when it is mixed with air does fuel oil become combustible. This occurs in an exchange between the high-pressure valve and the furnace’s combustion chamber. It is the combination of oil droplets and air that results in heat generation.

Typically, fuel oil burns clean while generating quite a bit of heat generating energy. Due to the fact that fuel oil is usually only used in heating applications, it tends to be less expensive than other options.

Older furnaces are often oil burning systems. In situations in which other fuel types are not available, fuel oil furnaces are often considered the best viable option. Fuel oil may also be the best option in cases in which the homeowner does not wish to install a propane system or an electric furnace.

It should be kept in mind that there is no other option but to purchase fuel oil in bulk and to then store it in a tank. Fuel oil storage tanks are usually installed either inside the home or else nearby. To maintain sufficient fuel levels, oil furnaces rely on regular refills. In the event the oil supply runs out, the furnace is unable to produce heat.

Consequently, fuel oil tank levels must be monitored carefully. This is particularly true during months of heavier usage, such as during the winter months. Local suppliers provide new oil supplies to prevent the depletion of supplies.

Weather Matters

Weather matters - oil storage tanks - types

Homeowners should also take into consideration the fact that a storage tank’s location could be compromised by severe winter weather. For instance, if the tank is located on a steep road or at the bottom of a hill, the tank will need to be refilled at the right time to prevent uninterrupted service in the event of heavy snow or ice.  Severe weather consisting of, rain, snow and ice can cause erosion and over time require an oil tank replacement to prevent leaks.

Prior to installing this type of system, it’s a good idea to consider the following safety and maintenance tips.

Certain substances can contaminate fuel oil, which can result in reduced furnace efficiency and effectiveness. Such substances may be introduced during the filling of the tank as well as through corrosion of the tank over time.

It’s imperative for the nozzles used in the mixing and spraying of the oil process to be maintained and kept in good repair. Any obstructions or clogs may interfere with the oil burning.

Tank leaks or oil spills can result in serious environmental hazards. Not only is it expensive to clean up spilled oil, but such leaks can also lead to environmental contamination. For tanks located in basements or very near a home, this can present a serious problem.

Oil Storage Tank Types

Homeowners who opt for residential oil heating will need to choose from several shapes and types of oil storage tanks.

Above Ground Tanks

Above ground tanks are typically kept in a utility room, basement, or even in another building attached to the home, such as the garage. Such tanks usually have a 275-gallon fuel oil capacity. Of course, you can also find smaller models that are usually capable of holding approximately 160 gallons.

Likewise, there are large models available capable of holding as much as 400 gallons. In choose the size tank you require, consider such factors as frequency of usage, requirements for indoor comfort, and the climate in your area. While you will need to fill larger tanks less often, it will cost more at once to completely fill a large tank.

Above ground outdoor tanks are more common in rural areas. As with indoor tanks, there are difference sizes available.

Underground tanks provide the advantage of being out of sight. They can typically hold greater quantities of fuel oil. In fact, some can hold up to 1,000 gallons. It is important to take care in determining where to install an underground tank. Homeowners can choose from oval tanks or cylindrical tanks. In choosing the best shape for an underground tank for your situation, it’s a good idea to consult with a local supplier.

Interesting related article: “How to start a water tank business.”