What Everyone Needs To Know About HVAC Systems

Does Your Furnace's Oil Tank Have A Leak? What You Need To Know

by Amelia Martin

If you use oil to heat your home, there will be a tank either underground or above ground for storing the oil. Once the furnace is turned on, oil flows from the tank to the furnace through copper pipes. The oil burns and provides your home with heat. Unfortunately, there can be a problem with this oil tank leaking. Here is what you need to know about this problem.

When Your Oil Tank Is Underground

Leaks are harder to figure out when there is an underground oil tank. That's why it helps to know the signs that there is a leak.

The most obvious problem will be that the furnace is not getting enough oil to heat your home, and the furnace isn't working properly. There may also be an oil odor when you are around the furnace. If there is vegetation near the oil tank, it may be dying off because oil is in the soil. For homes that use well water, the well water may be contaminated, giving it a bad odor or taste. There may also be evidence of oil in a nearby storm drain or pond.

When you suspect any of these problems, an HVAC contractor should come out to your home and investigate it. They'll start by testing the soil, which will tell them how far the oil has spread underneath the surface. They may recommend replacing the tank with one that is above ground or one that is in your home's basement. Part of the repair process will involve digging out the old tank, cleaning it out, and recycling it.

For underground oil tank leaks, know that there is a government-regulated cleanup process that must be done, which includes soil remediation.

When Your Oil Tank Is Above Ground

Thankfully, you'll be able to easily monitor an above-ground tank for leaks. You'll often see the oil leaking out from around valves, fuel lines, or the tank's oil filter. There are magnetic patches you can purchase to temporarily fix an oil leak, but they are only a short-term fix to buy time until a professional can come out to help.

A HVAC contractor might decide to install a temporary oil tank until the primary tank can be repaired. It's the best way to ensure that your home continues to have heat during the repair process.

For more info about oil tank leaks, reach out to a local HVAC contractor at a company like Extreme's One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning.