How Do I Know If My Oil Tank Needs Replacing?

oil tank on concrete base

Domestic oil tanks are generally known for being efficient and incredibly reliable. With the right level of care and regular, professional maintenance, you can expect a good quality oil tank to last more than 20 years. These practical benefits ensure that oil tanks are a popular heating solution for both domestic and commercial properties. 

As with all good things, however, time will eventually win out. No matter how high the quality of your tank, sooner or later, it will need replacing.

If you can spot and understand the telltale signs that your tank is reaching the end of its lifespan, it will save you plenty of complications and financial outlay in the long run.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether your oil tank needs replacing:

How long have you had your oil tank?

With regular maintenance and upkeep, it’s possible for your steel or plastic oil tank to last more than 20 years. If your tank is between 10-15 years old, it’s advisable to have it inspected by a professional, as issues begin to develop after a decade or so. Over time, as inspections and fault fixes start to pile up, it makes more financial sense to replace the oil tank entirely.

There are no hard and fast rules, however. If your tank has crept over the 15-year threshold, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need a brand new one. Just bear in mind that substituting an old tank for a newer model could make your home heating system more efficient and save you money over an extended period.

Has your oil tank been exposed to frost or snow?

Unfortunately, your oil tank will always be at the whim of the ever-changing British climate. Not even a brand new tank is impervious to the various weather extremes—particularly frost and snow. If it’s located outside, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the maintenance of your tank throughout the winter months; even more so when your outdoor space has experienced heavy frost or snowfall. 

If snow does begin to collect on the top of your tank after a deluge, make a habit of sweeping it clear, as large build-ups can seriously damage the structural integrity of your tank. During a cold snap, it’s a good idea to check your tank’s seals and lids, too, in case they’ve been exposed to the frost.

oil tank under snow

Is your oil tank leaking?

If the worst should happen and your tank develops a leak, there’s a good chance that it's too far down the line for a repair job—and your tank will need replacing. A leak occurs typically because the tank has corroded from the inside, leading to cracks and holes which make it impossible for the oil to be contained. 

Repairing these holes will be too expensive, and the damage will have weakened the tank’s structure. If that’s the case, it’s time to call in the experts and invest in an oil tank replacement.

Here are some common indicators that you’re oil tank is leaking—some more obvious than others:

  • Oil is pooling around the tank

  • You’re using more oil to heat your home than usual 

Are there any signs of damage?

Clear cosmetic damage is a common sign that there’s an issue with your oil tank, and identifying it early can be the difference between a quick repair job or a complete replacement of your tank.  

Cosmetic damage, which can take the shape of rust spots or dents to the shell, generally means that your tank is growing weaker. It’s important to note that even if the damage looks superficial from the outside, there could be a whole other story going on inside the tank. And, if these issues are left untreated, you could be facing far more serious problems down the road.

It’s worth noting that, generally, steel tanks are not liable to rust from the inside. This tends to only happen if the tank contains a high water content and has been left empty for a period of time, or stood on a raised platform outside. Plastic, on the other hand, will split from the outside inwards due to UV light exposure.

How can CT Tanks help?

If you think your oil tank needs replacing, or your concrete oil tank base has been damaged beyond repair, feel free to get in touch, and we’d be happy to discuss the installation process with you. For all your oil tank and base replacement needs, CT Tanks are here to help.

Posted on April 7th 2022

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