Buying or selling a home is an exciting time. We wanted to provide some insight into residences with an oil tank and the steps you can take to protect yourself from unnecessary risk. Today, we want to break down the differences between above and below ground tanks when buying a home.
There are pros and cons to buying a house with an above or below ground oil tank. Above ground tanks take up property space, however, they are easier to locate. In case of a leak, these can usually be noticed as well. However, if there is a leak and the tank is in an enclosed part of the house, the fumes can make the building uninhabitable for a time.
If the tank is underground, it has little impact on the day to day lives of the inhabitants of the home. However, in the case of tank failure, there are usually no warning signs that the tank is going to fail. While clean up can be expensive, it’s generally contained to soil contamination. That brings us to our next point, whether you are buying or selling a home, it is important to have the tank tested during a home inspection.
Whether you have an above or below ground tank, testing is a key factor in avoiding future, expensive risk or hassle during selling a home. For above ground tanks, make sure any test follows the requirements for commercial tanks as defined by the USEPA and State agencies. Advanced Ultrasonic technology can provide the thickness of the tank as well as an approximate life expectancy. These tests need to be repeated periodically.
The testing is slightly different for underground oil tanks. Often if the tank has been previously abandoned, owners may not even know where the tank is located. A tank sweep can be done to find the location or even find out if a tank is present. Then if the tank is in use or if it needs to be removed, tank testing can provide an accurate gauge of how much fuel is in the tank and whether there are any potential leaks. Finally, having the soil tested around the tank is often a requirement of tank removal to ensure there are no contaminants outside of the tank.
Whether you’re considering a house with an above or below ground tank, or if you already own one, we hope you gained some perspective about the key differences. No matter what kind of oil tank you have, don’t forget to get your tank periodically tested.