Oil is one of the safest heating methods, making it an attractive trait for homebuyers. However, despite this, it’s not completely without its risks. Depending on the condition or location of a residential oil tank, fire and pollution risks can arise. That’s why a home inspector must perform a close visual inspection of the unit. To learn what inspectors search for, let’s review what oil tank issues can result in a failed home inspection.
Poor Condition of Oil Tank’s Exterior
Since home inspectors can only perform visual inspections, they’ll only analyze the oil tank’s exterior if it’s above ground. Whether indoors or outdoors, home inspectors will ensure the base and footing of the oil tank are suitable to support its weight. A base prone to shifting can cause a dangerous and expensive spill. Furthermore, an inspector also looks for rust accumulating around the tank’s weld seams, as this can forewarn an impending leak.
Leaks in the Oil Tank or Connected Components
Leaks can be hazardous, as they can be small enough to go undetected for a while. Home inspectors will search for leaks originating from the following sources:
- Oil Tank: The bottom of your oil tank is especially susceptible to corrosion, but if an oil tank has been overfilled, the top can also leak.
- Oil Line: Modern oil lines are comprised of copper and coated with plastic for an added layer of protection, but older lines – made of steel or brass – weren’t designed to stand the test of time.
- Oil Filter: Oil filters can be found close to the oil tank or alongside the burner, making it especially important to inspect. If not periodically cleaned or changed, they can cause leakage.
Home inspectors will also keep an eye out for magnet patches, which are sometimes used to hide small leaks in oil tanks. The presence of these patches can result in a failed inspection.
Location of Indoor Oil Storage Tank
Indoor tanks should be positioned 10 feet from the oil burner or other heaters, as this reduces the risk of fire. Also, oil tanks within garages must be safeguarded against vehicle collision by positioning them in an area inaccessible to entering vehicles or by shielding them with metal posts or similar means of protection.
These oil tank issues can result in a failed home inspection but, more importantly, can place the current and future occupants at risk. That’s why it’s vital to hire an expert home inspector to perform a thorough examination. At Homeinex Corporation, our experienced home inspectors check your oil tank as part of our basic home inspection. If you need an in-depth inspection of your property, contact us today.