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 Heating Oil Storage Tanks

Considerations in picking the best oil storage tank for home heating systems


Classes of heating oil tanks        Tank Construction and Safety         Types of heating oil tanks

Summary: The oil heating industry has developed a variety of tanks to ensure that heating oil is safely contained at the consumers residence. Whether installed above ground inside or below it outside, made of steel, fiberglass or both, there is an oil storage tank to fit every application.


Standing in silence over in the corner of the basement or garage, is an often-overlooked integral part of any home heating system . It is easy to walk by this component, resting along side of the house all year long, without giving it much thought.

But the simple truth is this: without a source of fuel, the rest of the heating system is just so much cold metal and wires.

Heating oil storage tanks offer homeowners the ability to safely store an adequate supply of heating oil for immediate use whenever cold weather arrives or a need to heat the home arises. Having the facilities to store bulk amounts of fuel onsite affords consumers the opportunity to purchase heating oil at the most favorable prices as well.

Two basic classes of heating oil tanks:

Aboveground tanks:

An aboveground tank may be in the basement, utility room or attached garage of the home. Most inside tanks are the 275-gallon basement tank.

Aboveground tanks located outside the home are usually 275-gallon tanks as well. They are usually located to the rear of the home or along side the structure.

Most oil tanks now built are made of corrosion-resistant materials. Many new aboveground tanks can be installed in small, irregular shaped spaces in basements or garages. Outside tanks can be installed and hidden in a tank enclosure.

Underground tanks:

 Underground tanks are usually larger than aboveground tanks: holding as much as 550 or 1,000 gallons of heating oil. They may be buried in the yard in various convenient locations outside the home. New and innovative technologies are enabling these tanks to gain in popularity.

Tank Construction and Safety:

There is a misconception that heating oil tank leaks are common and can cause the homeowner financial devastation. The truth is that although leaks do occur from time to time in residential tanks, they are quite rare. Now and then, a news story surfaces that sensationalize the issue with misleading perceptions.

 Most leaks can be prevented with proper maintenance or replacement of the tank in a timely manner. Studies have shown that the chance of a leak from an underground heating oil tank is less than one-quarter of 1 percent.

With that end in mind, the oil heating industry has developed a variety of tanks to ensure that heating oil is safely contained at the consumers residence. Some steel tanks are covered in composites that not only make them more attractive but also provide a second skin against leaks.

Some manufacturers produce tanks with a second bottom to ensure they will never leak .
All tanks used in the United States are built to rigorous Underwriters Laboratory (UL®) specifications.

Types of heating oil storage tanks:

 Steel Tanks: The mainstay of the industry. They have proven themselves over decades of use and are the most common for aboveground as well as underground installation.

Fiberglass Tanks: These tanks are gaining in popularity and have recently passed the UL®™ fire test and can now be installed aboveground.

Combined Tanks: Popular for decades in Europe and passed by UL® for use in the States as well, these tanks combine a plastic tank and a steel tank. The plastic tank serves as an inside liner for storing the fuel, and an outside steel jacket protects this.

Regardless of whether you are installing a system in a new home or replacing an out-of-service heating oil tank, the options are out there awaiting your decision. The heating oil industry has a solution to meet your heating needs, whatever they may be.

Home Heating Articles



The flue size in an existing chimney may be too large for the required venting
in newer high-efficiency furnaces and boilers.

These smaller flues should be backfilled with high-temperature insulation
to keep the exhaust gases as hot as possible until they reach the chimney.

State of the art technologies bring heating oil systems into the 21st Century.

Furnaces no longer just blow hot air through the house.

Whether you are looking at upgrading your present heating oil system or
installing a new one, one fact remains constant: heating oil systems are better
and smarter today than they have ever been before!

They are designed as the focal point of a comprehensive, efficient, clean and
safe system to heat your home. But it’s not all about heat.

The same ductwork that connects the furnace to the rest of the residence can
be used as the conduit for other forms of conditioned air as well.

For example:

• Cooling with central air.

• Moisture control with a humidifier

• Eliminate dusts and pollens with a central air cleaning system.

Innovative technologies are producing heating oil furnaces with efficiencies in
fuel-to-heat conversion ranging from 81% to 95%. The use of low-mass
combustion chambers and improvements in the design of heat exchangers,
coupled with high-pressure flame retention burners and innovative
microprocessor-based controls are just several reasons for this leap in efficiency.

Modern furnaces can save you money, too, as an effective way to cut
energy costs! Efficiency in the use of your heating oil pays for itself while
providing an increase in comfort, peace of mind through confidence in the
equipment and low exhaust emissions promote a cleaner environment as well.


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