As part of a Home Inspection, it is important to inspect oil storage tanks. Like any other component of a home they have a limited life span. The steel of the tank can fatigue and oil will start to leak through the steel. When this happens the steel will get oily, and often times leave what I call an “ostrich skin pattern”, because it looks like ostrich leather.
The vent and fill pipes should also be checked. They should not be copper or plastic. The vent pipe should be full sized ( no reducer coupling)
The installers often installed a reducer so the delivery personnel could hear a “whistle” as the oil filled the tank and they would know that the oil was entering the tank. The problem is that not enough air can get back through the reduced fitting size and stress is put on the seams of the tank. This can result in seam failure.
The legs of the tank are also inspected. They should be straight and not bent or deteriorated. The tank should be supported by the legs and not proped up on blocks or any other temporary support.
We also look for an oily smell and or stain on the basement floor which could indicate the need for cleanup.
We look for signs of underground storage tanks and alert the buyer to research the implications of these. (We provide a link to additional info in our inspection report).