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  1. #1
    John Tracey's Avatar
    John Tracey Guest

    Default Oil tank in garage, lines under rear lawn to house 50 feet away

    Hello folks. A home we are attempting to purchase in Connecticut (Fairfield County) has what the inspector and oil company rep tell us is a pretty unorthodox setup: a very old, starting to rust oil tank out in the standalone garage, which is maybe 50 feet from the house. This is connected to a very old oil boiler/water heater inside. (It is at the end of its normal life, apparently, and in need of replacement shortly if not immediately.) The line running out of the garage under the lawn isn't insulated, and the age of the setup has us concerned about historical leaks. The attorney recommended we have soil samples taken but the testing company tells us they can't do that since they could risk boring into the lines.

    It seems we have a couple of options.

    1. Do nothing (the pray and hope everything's fine approach) until we move in and can convert the setup to one of our liking (tank next to house, new boiler etc.). We would assume all risk from spills that have occurred, or will occur from this point on.
    2. Request that sellers install new oil tank next to house, and have soil tested where line is. (They can't even tell us where line is.)
    3. Walk away from a house we really like.

    Any initial thoughts coming to mind for you experts?

    Thanks all.

    John Tracey

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Stamford, CT
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Oil tank in garage, lines under rear lawn to house 50 feet away

    John,

    My opinion is that a soil sample would not be necessary. The oil tank is in the garage and not buried. That is a good thing as a lot of homes around here have or did have buried tanks (mine included). Soil samples would normally be done in the case of a buried tank. Oil lines are normally copper, so they shouldn't develop any leaks running underground (unlike a buried steel tank). That is unless someone dug into them.
    If you want to be sure the lines are not leaking, I would recommend you have a pressure test run on them.


  3. #3
    John Tracey's Avatar
    John Tracey Guest

    Default Re: Oil tank in garage, lines under rear lawn to house 50 feet away

    Thanks for this! I believe because the tank is not a direct load/truck to tank (there is a pipe/elbow outside that is used to feed the tank) that they can't do the pressure test ... at least that's what they said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Harold Doughty View Post
    John,

    My opinion is that a soil sample would not be necessary. The oil tank is in the garage and not buried. That is a good thing as a lot of homes around here have or did have buried tanks (mine included). Soil samples would normally be done in the case of a buried tank. Oil lines are normally copper, so they shouldn't develop any leaks running underground (unlike a buried steel tank). That is unless someone dug into them.
    If you want to be sure the lines are not leaking, I would recommend you have a pressure test run on them.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Stamford, CT
    Posts
    38

    Default Re: Oil tank in garage, lines under rear lawn to house 50 feet away

    Quote Originally Posted by John Tracey View Post
    Thanks for this! I believe because the tank is not a direct load/truck to tank (there is a pipe/elbow outside that is used to feed the tank) that they can't do the pressure test ... at least that's what they said.
    I'm not sure why that would prevent them from testing the lines. The filler pipe shouldn't have any bearing on lines. Perhaps you could talk to the oil company again and ask if there is any way the can pressure test the lines that are underground. Since the tank is in the garage, chance are you would see if it had leaked. So your only concern is if any part of the supply lines leaked.


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

    Default Re: Oil tank in garage, lines under rear lawn to house 50 feet away

    Your nose should be your first indicator there is spilled oil. I would suspect the oil lines are likely just buried below the surface, but then again...

    A metal detector could assist with locating the lines if they are not buried more than a foot or so down.

    Copper in contact with concrete can corrode, as well as soil types the lines are buried in can affect copper.

    Guide to Heating Oil Piping Defects & Leaks: where heating oil leaks occur, why, how to find them, how to fix them


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    1,340

    Default Re: Oil tank in garage, lines under rear lawn to house 50 feet away

    You're letting emotional attachment to the house dictate your actions.

    inspector and oil company rep tell us is a pretty unorthodox setup

    very old, starting to rust oil tank

    very old oil boiler/water heater

    at the end of its normal life

    And, of course,
    The attorney recommended....
    Get in front of the issue before you sign, and put the burden back on the current owner.
    I'd want it all resolved to my satisfaction, or priced accordingly, before moving forward.

    Dom.


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