An oil tank in good condition, properly vented and piped will ensure risk-free deliveries and a safe environment. At Lamprey Brothers we take your oil tank safety very seriously and are devoted to ensuring that your tank passes all inspections. Our technicians and drivers are National Oilheat Research Alliance trained and certified to perform tank inspections so we can give you the highest quality information and service.
Fill & vent pipe
These are two of the most important parts of your oil tank. The fill pipe is where the driver attaches the nozzle to pump oil into your tank, and the vent pipe allows the air in the tank to be expelled as it is replaced by oil.
In accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) code no vent pipe should be smaller than the tank's largest fill- or withdrawal-connection to the tank, nor should it ever be less than 1¼"-inside diameter. By following this guideline air can be vented from the tank as quickly as oil is pumped in, thus preventing pressure buildup inside.
Pipes should always be made of black iron to ensure the safest possible delivery. Copper or plastic (including PVC) pipes can burn easily, or become weak and crack in cold weather, creating the possibility of rupture during an oil fill.
The latest NFPA code requires that when two tanks are installed and piped together, the crossover pipes must be at least 2" in diameter. However, people in the oil clean-up business say that ALL crossover fill and vent pipes are high risk. Lamprey Brothers will not install crossover pipes.
It is essential that all tanks have a clear sounding whistle. As air moves through the vent pipe during delivery a whistle or vent alarm will sound to alert the driver that air is being pumped out and making room for the oil. As the whistle slows and stops, it alerts the driver to stop filling the tank.
A working whistle will help prevent an accidental overfill. A faint or broken whistle could result in a tank being overfilled, which can rupture seams and cause environmental damage that can cost anywhere from one thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars in clean-up costs.
It is difficult to determine the age of an underground oil tank. The average life expectancy for an underground tank is about 15 to 20 years; for an above-ground tank it is about 30 years. It is also difficult to tell if and where an underground oil tank is leaking. It takes 2 to 3 days to complete a tank inspection on an underground tank, and the system needs to be shut down during that time. If a house is sold, the bank and/or insurance company may require the underground tank to be removed prior to the sale. Lamprey Brothers will not install underground tanks.
If an oil line is protected for its entire length - whether or not it is in a basement - possible leaks can be prevented; leaks can damage the environment and result in costly clean-up fees. Because of the corrosive nature of concrete, holes can appear in an oil line and this can lead to unseen oil leakage into the soil below a basement floor, which eventually may surface in a basement sump pump or, worse, seep into the land around the home. Ensure your line is protected.
Additional things to know about an oil tank
- By replacing an underground oil tank that is more than 20 years old or of unknown age you can protect the environment of your home.
- Oil tanks typically corrode from the inside out. Corrosion is caused by water mixing with the oil. Over time this creates sludge, which eats away at the tank.*
- If you have an outside tank, make sure that it is protected from falling snow and ice, and paint it a light color to reduce condensation, which can lead to corrosion.
- Routinely check your tank, pipes, and fittings for leaks.
If you suspect there is a problem with your tank or wish to schedule a free-of-charge Tank Inspection click here or call us on 603.964.6703.
To learn more about the best practices for installing or upgrading heating oil tanks in New Hampshire click here.
* Lamprey Brothers oil is treated with Avalux to inhibit corrosion and other fuel-related problems in heating sytems.