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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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    574

    Default Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    I often see oil tanks that have what appears to be surface rust and note that, but you can't tell is an oil tank is too old, defective inside or may leak in the near future.

    (I realize that this pic has more some more issues than surface rust)

    What language should I use to CYA and protect clients interest for oil tanks? Is there a specific test that a home owner, HVAC service or oil delivery person should do as additional due diligence on an oil tank before purchase or on a regular basis? Any code or ANSI test method reference?

    Thanks

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
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    5,005

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    Advise to client to check with home insurance providers to see what their policies are before close of title. Up here some insurers want oil tanks that are older then 15-20 years to be replaced or they will not issue a policy , while others will want the tank inspected to assure it is sound and not over age.

    Rust on exterior doesn't say much, however copper oil line as evidenced in photo which runs under concrete floor can be prone to pin hole leaks. Concrete will corrode copper and now new lines must have orange plastic coating if in contact with concrete. This tank needs to have supply line upgraded.

    There may also be an brass data plate on tank indicating date of manufacture, guage, but some data plates do not have the date only guage and manufacturer data, and UL approval.

    Some insurers frown on tanks in basement while others will frown on it being outside.

    Ensure client is made aware of issues and stress to them to due their due diligence, or throw the matter back on vendor by stating client is to have vendor provide proof by inspection that tank is okay - prior to close of title.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Western Massachusetts
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    I often see oil tanks that have what appears to be surface rust and note that, but you can't tell is an oil tank is too old, defective inside or may leak in the near future.

    (I realize that this pic has more some more issues than surface rust)

    What language should I use to CYA and protect clients interest for oil tanks? Is there a specific test that a home owner, HVAC service or oil delivery person should do as additional due diligence on an oil tank before purchase or on a regular basis? Any code or ANSI test method reference?

    Thanks
    That style oil tank, where the draw spout is on the side rather than the bottom, is somewhat out of date. An oil service company will advise new owners about the condition of the tank and, more importantly, the condition of the legs supporting the tank.

    You should also be aware that as of July 1, 2010 Massachusetts requires an oil safety valve or an oil line protective sleeve for residences with oil heating equipment. Systems installed in 1990 or later are probably already in compliance. This applies to ALL existing systems, not just on property transfer. See the Mass DEP website for details.

    Given the above, your clients will likely be advised to replace both the tank and the oil line and should be aware of that cost.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    I'm aware of the oil line and new MA law but does anyone use any protective language to CYA, like you would use for a chimney, or fire place.

    Anyone use a disclaimer clause in their reports??

    To my knowledge, You can't really tell how old or what condition an oil tank is in by looking at it? Any testing procedure that is recommended during a service call or after XX years? Any industry or ANSI standard? What does an oil service provider do to evaluate tank condition?

    I never want to just say it looks functional without some sort of disclaimer that would protect me for concealed issues of a future failure. Also, I want to know what I'm talking about and Frankly, when it comes to an oil tanks condition I don't.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    As already pointed out inform your client to check w insurer,
    Have purchaser ask that vendor have tank inspected prior to close of title due to conditions noted in above posts. Also note your assessment limitations such as inability to date tank and that the vendor should be queried for that info and/or other service records.

    You can only advise your client what needs to be done based on the evidence you see. The onus then is on the purchaser to act on your observations and you have more then adequately covered youself.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Western Massachusetts
    Posts
    536

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    I never want to just say it looks functional without some sort of disclaimer that would protect me for concealed issues of a future failure. Also, I want to know what I'm talking about and Frankly, when it comes to an oil tanks condition I don't.
    I don't think you ever want to claim something is functional - just describe what you observed. In this case, you observed an aging tank of an obsolete style with apparent surface rust that will need to have a new oil line, sleeve, and safety valve installed.

    Tanks typically rust from the inside out, so sometimes the first signs of a tank past its life expectancy is a leak. Unless you're an expert in oil tanks, that's probably the best you can say.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    Some oil heating system servicing companies around here have equipment they use the scan a tank and detect weaknesses or thinned areas on the tank wall.

    If the tank is suspect or shows signs of deterioration, I just lump it in with my heating system recommendations: "have entire heating system serviced by an HVAC professional and all repairs/replacements made as needed".


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,049

    Default Re: Need advise on Oil Tank Language

    If I thought it needed to be mentioned in the report I would probably write something like the following.

    "There is rust visible on the surface of the fuel oil tank. Fuel oil tanks can also rust from the inside out. Rust can progress to a point where oil leaks could develop. When fuel oil tanks leak, it is a safety hazard which can be very expensive to clean up. At the time of the inspection I did not see any fuel oil leaks. However, because there is rust visible on the tank, I cannot guarantee that leaks won't develop in the future"

    Oil Tanks: Visual Inspection of Above Ground Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks (ASTs) - Above ground Storage Tank Issues - Oil Tank Inspection Testing, Replacement Guidelines


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