The Pros and Cons of Aboveground Oil Tanks

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If you’re searching for a new home or simply looking to replace your oil tank, you might find yourself considering which kind is best for you and your lifestyle. However, since the majority of homes have an aboveground oil tank, you’ll likely only need to consider the pros and cons of owning one. Since the 1980s, our family at Levco has wanted to ensure that you’re informed about your equipment, how to make the most of it, and recognize all possible HVAC solutions. Therefore, here is our curated list of pros and cons of aboveground oil tanks, straight from the HVAC industry experts.

Pro: You Can Spot Leaks & Maintenance Issues Early

One of the greatest pros to owning property an aboveground oil tank is that leaks and other exterior issues can be detected early. With an underground tank, a leak, corrosion, or damage may go undetected for a long period of time, which can lead to a shorter tank lifespan, expensive cleanup, and even contaminated soil! With an aboveground tank, you can inspect the exterior yourself to ensure there isn’t corrosion, leaks, damage or debris that could be affecting the performance of your oil tank. A Levco technician is also always available to stop for a visit and ensure to provide you with HVAC solutions that help your tank perform efficiently.

Pro: You Reduce Your Likelihood of Environmental Harm

In the same vein of easier maintenance, catching a leak early could mean you reduce the chance of harming your property, and even the environment. If your oil storage tank leaks, you are liable as an owner. Since the oil can possibly contaminate soil, bodies of water and even drinking water, you are required to promptly clean up the mess. With an underground oil tank, the probability of an undetected leak and environmental harm is much higher. However, if you regularly inspect your tank, schedule annual tune-ups with Levco, and maintain your tank, you’ll very likely avoid this scenario. Levco’s expert technicians also ensure that your tank is secure, so your fuel doesn’t pose any risk to you, your family, or the environment. 

Con: They Are Vulnerable to The Elements

While aboveground tanks can be maintained far more easily than underground varieties, they are exposed to different elements that could greatly affect lifespan and efficiency. Snow, ice, strong winds, fallen branches, and extreme temperatures can all damage your tank. While elements such as snow, wind and branches have predictable outcomes (debris, damage to the exterior, etc.), extreme temperatures could put you in a pickle. Oil freezes at a lower point than water, but sadly, not by much: the freezing point of oil is around 16 degrees Fahrenheit. While a temperature that low may be rare in Connecticut,  it’s important to keep in mind when considering a home with an aboveground oil tank that’s stored outdoors. 

Pro: Easier Installation

One great aspect that sets aboveground tanks apart from underground varieties is that they are much easier to install. Oftentimes, aboveground tanks are placed in easily accessible locations, such as parking lots, storage sheds/buildings, basements, or outside of the home. This accessibility also allows both you and a technician to inspect the tank and resolve any issues quickly. Usually, an aboveground oil tank only takes a half-day for Levco technicians to  install. However, with underground tanks, more time is allotted in order to excavate the area where the tank is located. Although aboveground tanks are more common, Levco technicians are trained to install, replace and maintain both varieties.

Con: They’re Not the Most Aesthetically Pleasing, & Take Up Space

While it sounds like aboveground tanks are the better option, if you’re focused on the aesthetics of your home, the tank may not be the most pleasing to the eye. Oil tanks, while we all rely on them to heat our homes, are considered an eyesore by some homeowners. However, aboveground oil tanks can be very easy to conceal and will not affect the visual integrity of your home. Many homeowners keep their tank inside in the basement, or use strategic landscaping and fencing to conceal the tank. Keeping your tank indoors will also greatly reduce the chance of the oil freezing.

Pro: Aboveground Tanks Have A Longer Lifespan

The reason why many homeowners prefer an aboveground tank is because it has a longer lifespan. While all kinds of tanks are susceptible to corrosion, the process is sped up for underground tanks due to soil moisture, specific types of bacfill, and soil pH. However, aboveground tanks are immune to such conditions, other than weather and debris. 

Should I Own An Aboveground Tank?

By most industry standards, aboveground tanks have advantages that far outweigh the disadvantages. While they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing piece of equipment, you can easily design around your tank: strategic fencing, shrubbery, or interior design can also help keep your tank hidden. Even in extreme temperatures, aboveground tanks are resilient. Regarding underground tanks, some town codes won’t even allow you to install a new one. However, quite a few older properties will still have one. But no matter where you live, an aboveground tank is far more common. While Levco services both kinds of tanks, we are also happy to answer any questions you have about tank varieties. Feel free to contact us or read our FAQ to learn more from the top leaders in the HVAC industry. 

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