How to Remove a Heating Oil Tank From a Basement

Older oil burning furnaces are often overlooked as causes of pollution. Replacing these outdated systems is necessary to reduce your carbon footprint and improve the quality of the air within your home as well. Once your new system is restored, you will want to dispose of the old heating oil tank. Unfortunately, the tank may be located in your basement where it was placed before the smaller doorways were constructed. So, it becomes necessary to dismantle the old tank so that it can be hauled away.

Home heating systems should be maintained for safety and reliability.
  1. Open the drain on the heating oil tank with your pipe wrench and allow leftover oil in the tank into the five-gallon bucket. Close the drain and empty the bucket into the 55-gallon drum as necessary. Allow all of the oil to drain from the tank.

  2. Disconnect all of the pipes from the tank with your pipe wrench. Remove one full section of pipe, wrap the threads of the remaining pipe with plumber's tape and tighten a pipe cap onto the end of the pipe to prevent leaking oil from draining out of the system and onto the floor.

  3. Cut a hole through the side of the tank with your drill and hole saw attachment. Cut away pieces of metal from the tank with the nibbler. Work slowly and methodically to trim away manageable sections of metal to completely disassemble the tank.

  4. Scoop away any leftover sludge from the tank with your shovel and place it into the barrel. The oil and sludge in your barrel go to an oil recycling center while the metal goes to the scrap yard for recycling.


  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy whenever you work with heating oil tanks. This oil is not likely to burn when using the tools listed here, but there is still a small chance of flame. Extinguish any fire thoroughly as soon as it is detected to prevent damage to the house.

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.