What Does a Heating Oil Tank Do?


Quick Answer

A heating oil tank stores the fuel needed for appliances that run on this type of fuel. They are typically made of steel, fiberglass or polymers and are usually installed outside of the home. The latter two materials are preferred because they do not rust.

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Full Answer

Most residential oil tanks hold between 275 to 330 gallons and are usually oval or cylindrical. The oval tanks can be installed horizontally or vertically, while the cylindrical models, which are typically larger, are installed horizontally. Double-walled tanks are preferred to avoid heating-oil leakage, which can contaminate soil and water supplies.

Smaller tanks can fit inside a garage as long as there is adequate insulation and the heating oil company has access on delivery days. Most tanks are installed along the outside walls of a home. This minimizes the length of the line that delivers the oil to the furnace and other appliances.

Heating oil tanks should be serviced once a year. This involves changing the filter and clearing out water and sludge from the delivery lines. Most oil tanks have gauges, but in older models, the oil levels are tested by opening the top cap and dipping a stick inside. Customers with set oil delivery schedules do not have to worry about this. Their usage is tracked, and the oil deliveries are adjusted accordingly.

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