Now that the snow has melted and everyone is coming out of hibernation, we can get back to work. One of our recent jobs, pictured here, belonged to a property owner who switched to gas heat over 15 years ago and the tank was left with almost 100 gallons. Heating oil is dyed red so that is can be identified as such. When the heating oil sits for several years, as it did in this tank, the dye breaks down and the oil turns to a yellowish color. Also, we found that one of the back legs was rusted through and the tank was leaning against the wall. A potential environmental hazard was avoided and we created another happy customer.
We have performed a few more standard removals recently, but I have not remembered to bring my camera. Today's removal was a rush job for a property that is going to settlement this week. Frequently part of a home's sale is the removal of abandoned tanks or conversions to gas heat. In some municipalities it is against code to leave an abandoned tank in a home. Whatever the circumstance, we do our best to accommodate the customer and complete the job.
Today's job was, what I like to call, "commonly unique". A wall and a closet had been built around three sides of the tank. The fourth side (seen on the left side of the picture) was about three inches away from the water main coming into the home. The wetness on the top of the tank was not oil, but instead the mark of a new furry pet in the home. This tank came out in more pieces than a standard removal, but overall it was not too difficult. The homeowner's next project will now be to make the original closet a walk-in into their new usable space!
Here is a common issue that comes with older oil tanks. The small separation along the edge of the tank is not from the tank being cut. The seam of a tank is a weak spot. The opening of this seam faces up, which allows the oil to sit in the seam and keep constant pressure on it. This tank was a very thick custom tank and it was not yet leaking; however, this seam would continue to get worse.
So...after an abrupt end to the season, this homeowner decided it was time to switch to gas heat. The customer cleverly worked his tank into the landscape of his basement man-cave. What was once a homage to our feathered friends is now an empty space filled with the hopes and dreams of "maybe next year". Perhaps this tank, being at least 40+ years old, was the bad luck charm that was holding the birds back.
Today's job was a new adventure. We were asked, by a loyal customer, to assist with the removal and proper disposal of a commercial water softener. For anyone who does not know what that is, the picture to the left is half of it and its contents. That cylinder is roughly eight feet long, three feet wide and it was standing up. This was a learning experience into a new type of tank removal. This job required a good bit of research and muscle, but we completed it with complete customer satisfaction.
Today we removed a tank for a homeowner in the Hatboro Area who decided to convert to propane heat. This tank job was straightforward with no major surprises or issues, which was a nice change from the past few. Once complete, the homeowner stood looking at the footprint and expressed pleasure that he had some new storage space. Not the best Christmas present but he was very pleased with our work.
On this job, we were called after an inexperienced person attempted to remove this tank. Frequently the gauge on an oil tank will break, get stuck, or become covered in sludge, which cause it to not work properly. This tank's gauge showed it to be empty. They quickly found out that the gauge was wrong and the tank was half full. The back legs on the tank gave out while this person was cutting; and, as you may be able the see, the tank is leaning against the sewer pipe. This photo shows the condition of the tank when we arrived. The oil level was only a few inches beneath the horizontal cut. We were able to safely and cleanly remove the waste oil, tank and pipes.
I did not get to take a picture of today's job, but here is what happened. A homeowner who is renovating his house attempted removing his own oil tank. He had the right idea when he started; but, he ended up with more sludge and associated problems than he could handle. The feed valve broke off, which left nothing to prevent the oily sludge from coming out onto his basement floor. He thought fast enough to raise up the end of the tank to avoid further spillage. Once he contacted Home Tank Service, we made arrangements to get there the same day. There was around 20 gallons of oily sludge in the tank that could have ended up on his floor, in his sump pump and in his yard. We removed the tank, cleaned up the spot on the floor, prevented an environmental hazard and helped the renovations get back on track.
I realize that the photo my be difficult to see; however, what is shown here is very important. The thin line you see horizontally across the photo is the edge of the oil tank. The right side of that line appears to be significantly thicker than the left side because it actually is. This tank was flush up against the basement wall of a home in Philadelphia. Over time, the lime from the wall deteriorated the steel of the oil tank. We have performed removals where, once drained, the side of the tank remained attached to the wall. Had this tank been filled again or left abandoned, it would have soon began to leak.
Tragedy avoided! Todays job was a recent conversion to gas. This tank was one of two in the basement of a home in Villanova. At some point, one of the tanks developed the hole that you see here (black spot near the center of the photo). This hole was on the underside of the tank. Instead of replacing the tank, a magnet was put over the hole to hold back the oil. While this is a common practice for extremely temporary leak issues (hours or days), this particular fix was left for over two years. The home owner was unaware of the potential hazard.
This was one of the tanks that we removed this past Wednesday. As you can see, the tank is walled in on two sides by brick and the finished basement has a wall resting on top of the tank. It was a tight squeeze for me; however, we were able to successfully complete the job as planned. The homeowner was excited to have the new storage space.