When you buy an old home you can sometimes get more than you bargained for. Along with the rustic or cottage charm that an older house may have to offer you can be presented with all sorts of potential hurdles and challenges. Homes that were built in a different time often still feature the remnant of technologies, fixtures and practices of by gone times. Many of these practises have long since been abandoned for efficiency or safety reasons. When these practices are phased out they often leave behind signs of their former presence that have to be dealt with for health and safety reasons.
One of the practices that have left behind is the use of heating oil for maintaining temperature in households. As heating oil was gradually replaced by natural gas systems, heating oil tanks were either removed or left in place. The best practice during natural gas conversions was to remove heating oil tanks during installation but in order to cut costs these tanks were often left in place leaving many homes with heating oil tanks still in place collecting dust and falling into disrepair.
But do these antiquated systems need to be removed? Here we explore the reasons to remove heating oil tanks before they cause future problems.
Rust and Corrosion
When a heating oil tank falls into disrepair it can begin to rust from the condensation that can accumulate and the water that often builds up around the tank for various reasons. As tanks rust and corrode oil can leak out and seep into the ground. Some tanks that have been recovered after years of abandonment have been discovered to be still full of oil, and some of these tanks could hold up to 1,000 litres. As you can imagine this much oil leaking out can cause a variety of problems including large scale contamination.
Heating oil when spilled is classified as a toxic material and poses a serious risk to the environment. All levels of government are required to treat all heating oil spills as a credible environmental threat.
Risk of Fire
Large build ups of heating oil in tanks or spills from the tanks can pose serious fire risks. Not just the house the tank is attached to is at risk but also neighbouring houses.
Legislation and Law
In many countries householders and property owners are required to remove heating oil units that have been unused for a certain length of time. This amount of time can vary considerably but it is generally within a couple of years due to fire hazards.
What do inspectors look for in heating oil tanks?
Home inspectors are responsible for determining the level of hazard or risk a property could pose. This includes potential incidents from abandoned heating oil tanks. Signs that a house may have used oil heating include:
- Age of the home
- Oil pipes in the basement or cellar
- Oil fill and air vent pipes
- The type of furnace venting present
The reporting and investigation of potential oil tanks on the property by home inspectors is not mandatory and the problem can go without detection or resolution unless investigated by a trained professional.
Who is responsible for removing heating oil tanks?
Homeowners past and present can be held responsible for the removal of these tanks. In fact there have been cases when a previous home owner has been held accountable for not removing these oil tanks and has had to pay relevant damages or take relevant steps for removal. If you live in a house with a heating oil tank it is not only prudent for your safety but also your future financial liability to have these tanks removed as soon as possible. When buying a house it is important to ensure you are aware of whether the property has any residual evidence of heating oil tanks, be it left over oil or the oil tank itself has not been removed properly or at all.
Who can remove a heating oil tank?
Removing a heating oil tank yourself is a dangerous prospect so it is very important to employ a trained professional to undertake the removal of an oil tank.
First of all you will need to contact the experienced team at Fleck Contracting Vancouver for an onsite assessment. These trained professionals will then work with you to create a safe and logistically sound removal plan. This removal plan will include the procurement of the correct permits and notifying local councils, municipalities or environmental regulatory bodies about the removal of the tank for the property records, all of which Fleck Contracting Vancouver with take care of for you with the ease and professionalism they have become noted for.
Not using a professional oil tank removal team puts your family and the environment at risk. Your responsibility has a homeowner do not end with the removal of the tank itself, but all ensuing oil spills and leaks from the tank need to be cleaned up. Fleck Contracting Vancouver can take care of this side of the process for you.
To be sure that a house is safe even after tank removal you should always insist on an environmental certificate to ensure that a pre-existing oil tank has been removed properly and any spills have been properly remedied by qualified professionals. Soil contamination is a serious threat to the environment and if it is not dealt with can have many and far reaching implications. Talk to your realtor about getting hold of the relevant paper work to prove that your property poses not potential hazards.
Contact Fleck Contracting Vancouver to take care of your residential & commercial environmental concerns. You’ll experience the ease and peace of mind that comes from employing the services of seasoned professionals.
Why Remove Underground Oil Tanks?
For a Free Estimate on Removing an Oil Tank on your Property, phone us at 604.266.2120.