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Question DetailsAsked on 11/9/2016

How many years should a 275 gallon oil tank in basement last ?

House is 25 years old.
Basement is dry.
Located in SW Virginia.

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1 Answer


I have seen a lot of metal ones back east far over 100 years old - as long as you keep the exterior of the tank from rusting (wire brush with bronze brush then wipe clean with oil-removing cleaner and after dry use rustoleum primer for rusty metal on any rust spots) and get good quality fuel that is run through a water filter (usually mounted at the truck's pump) as it is pumped to your tank. Let the outside get rusty - especially at pipe fittings - and you cut the life to maybe 25-50 years or so depending on how aggressive the rusting is. Have a spot where it is sitting in water or waer is dripping on it and it might rust through in less than 5-10 years.

Use fuel with water in it, highly variable but probably 15-30 years before you get rust-through on a normal thick-wall metal tank, but could be more depending on whether there is an oily sludge in the bottom keeping the water from contact with the metal. Also, some "drum" type tanks designed for transport in vehicles have walls only about as thick as an oil drum and can rust through in a year or few.

Plastic and fiberglass tanks it depends on brand and material - some start cracking in just a few years (especially with sun exposure), most I have seen that were over about 20-30 years did not give me confidence in their ability to hold fuel indefinitely. Some of the heavier duty HDPE ones may last a very long time - service lives to date indicates thick wall HDPE may be good for pushing 100 years or more if not in the sunlight.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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