If you are buying a home with oil heat, you will have access to an efficient and dependable heat source during the winter. For many homeowners, though, oil heat is a new concept. The following are a few things you need to know about your oil tank before the winter heating season arrives.
1. Request a Tank Inspection
It's a good idea to have the tank inspected unless the entire tank and oil heating system is brand new. Most fuel oil delivery services also perform basic inspections or at least can recommend a service to do the task. The main point of the inspection is to verify that there are no leaks and that the various gaskets on the fill tubes and access ports are in good condition. The tank may also be inspected for sludge build-up. If there is heavy sludge in the tank, it should be cleaned prior to your next oil delivery.
2. Test the Gauges
Your oil tank should have a gauge that indicates how full the tank is, but it's not uncommon for these gauges to fail on older tanks. Have your delivery service check the gauge reading against your oil level both before and after filling to verify that it is working correctly. Some tanks don't have a gauge, but instead, use a dipstick to check the oil level. If you prefer a gauge, you may be able to have one installed. Otherwise, your fuel delivery technician can show you how to use the dipstick on the tank.
3. Locate the Fill Tube
Oil tanks come in three main styles — exterior above ground, exterior below-ground, or interior (typically in a basement). Below ground and basement tanks often have a fill tube that protrudes above ground. For a below-ground tank, this tube will be located above the tank. Basement tanks typically have the tube on the outside of the foundation near the location of the tank. Find and clearly mark the fill tube so your oil delivery tech can quickly and easily locate it during deliveries. If you can't find it, the oil delivery service may be able to help. Further, never cover the tube opening and clear it after weather events like snow.
Contact a fuel oil delivery service for more help. They can often perform additional services, such as fill tube locator services or tank inspections, as well as set you up on the best delivery schedule for your needs.