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How to Install Aboveground Heating Oil Tank

Dzens of different oil tanks are available. The typical size for a residential home is a 275- to 330-gallon tank. They come in 12-gauge steel and are double-walled for added security. Some insurance companies will not pay for damages if the homeowner installs the oil tank and a mistake results. The oil tank will need to be inspected by the local code enforcement officer before it can be filled. A heating oil tank can be installed inside or outside. It is recommended to be installed inside, for increased efficiency, improved service and it will extend the life of the tank. It is also recommended to have a drip-pan underneath to catch any spills or leaks.

A new oil tank will help keep your home safe and warm.

Step 1

Check your local codes before beginning. Some require a 6-inch thick concrete pad for the tank to sit on, while others do not require a pad. Specially made pads for heating oil tanks to sit on can be purchased, or you can pour the concrete in place. The ground needs to be leveled and mechanically compacted.

Step 2

Screw the legs of the tank into the brackets, either horizontal or vertically depending on the type of heating oil tank. The legs are made of 1 1/4 threaded black-iron pipes and are 12-inches long. Set the oil tank on the concrete pad.

Step 3

Unscrew the cover on the top of the tank at the opposite end of the supply to the heating unit located the side of the tank. Use two-inch black iron or galvanized steel pipes, depending on the local code, for the fill line where the oil company will fill the tank. The fill pipe must be at least six-inches long or, for inside tanks, must go outside of the building at least a foot off the ground. Use a high-quality pipe dope rated for use on petroleum products on the treads of all fitting connections and on the treads of the pipe going into the oil tank. Install a removable fill cap on the other end of the fill pipe.

Step 4

Remove the next cap on the oil tank. Install a 2-inch black iron or galvanized steel pipe at least six inches off the tank or for inside tanks run the pipe outside and up off the ground at least 24 inches. Use a high-quality pipe dope rated for use on petroleum products on the treads of all fitting connections and on the treads of the pipe going into the oil tank. Install a vent alarm or whistle on the tank side of the pipe, which will whistle while it is filling to tell the person filling the tank that the tank is getting full and install a vent cap on the outside.

Step 5

Remove the next cap and install the oil gauge. Use the same pipe dope on the treads of the oil gauge. If there are anymore caps in the tank take them out and use the pipe dope on the treads and reinstall the cap.

Step 6

Use 2-inch black iron or galvanized steel pipe from the supply line to the inside if the tank is outside. Use a high-quality pipe dope rated for use on petroleum products on all threads. Reducing fittings are needed to downsize the pipe to the filter, the size of the fittings will depend on the filter. Install a shutoff valve before the oil filter. Use a 3/8-inch compression fitting to attach the heating unit to the oil filter. Use only compression fittings after the filter to the heating unit.

Step 7

Have the local inspector and oil company inspect the oil-tank installation before filling the heating oil tank.

About the Author

Amanda Flanders has been writing since 2007. She received “Rising Star” awards for her articles published in 2010 and is educated in a wide range of home improvement topics and dog care. Flanders holds a certificate in Real Estate Appraisal from the University of Maine, Bangor and is certified in Standard Operating Procedures and Interpreting Animal Behavior for Safe Handling from Human Society University.