How to install a new oil tank

Written by tim mcquade
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How to install a new oil tank
Installing a new oil tank can help protect a building from the cold. (temperature image by berkay from

Oil tanks are used in buildings for heating purposes. This heating method is particularly useful in cold, rural areas where oil and gas companies do not run gas lines to every building or residence. With this heating method, oil companies drive a truck to the building and fill the tank with a long hose. Because oil is highly flammable, the oil tank installation process is delicate and somewhat complex. Before and after the installation process, consult a licensed technician.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cement foundation
  • Certified oil tank
  • Oil-tank filter
  • Oil-tank gauge
  • Vent-line cap
  • Fill-line cap
  • Vent alarm
  • Shutoff valve
  • Petroleum-grade pipe-thread sealant
  • Dripping pan
  • Compression fitting
  • 1.25-inch diameter vent pipe
  • 2-inch diameter galvanised-steel pipe
  • Grooved, polythene-coated copper piping

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  1. 1

    Find an adequate spot for the new oil tank to be placed. Installing your heating oil tank indoors is recommended. Unlike outdoor tanks, indoor tanks are not exposed to the elements, which can damage tanks. Most basements feature an exposed cement foundation. Because of this, basements make a good storage place for tanks.

  2. 2

    Locate a brand-new oil tank. Residential-sized oil tanks typically range between 200- and 350-gallon sizes. When full, an oil tank can weigh up to one ton. Tanks are usually made of steel. Ensure the oil tank is UL listed, as this will help guarantee the safe operation of the tank.

  3. 3

    Position the dripping pan where the oil tank will be located. Although it is not required, a dripping pan is a good idea because it captures any leaked oil.

  4. 4

    Install metal legs. If the oil tank does not already have metal legs, they will need to be screwed onto the base of the tank. Tank legs should ideally measure 11 inches at the outlet end and 12 inches at the opposite end. This gives the tank a downgrade.

  5. 5

    Situate the tank at least five feet from any fuel-fired appliance. Ensure that the tank is positioned so it can be inspected on all sides. Allow at least four inches of space between the tank and any walls as well as the floor.

  6. 6

    Install the oil gauge in the gauge hole, which is usually on top of the tank. These gauges tell how much oil is present inside the tank at any given time. To ensure a proper seal, use pipe-thread sealant on the gauge connection point.

  7. 7

    Remove the vent-alarm plug found on top of the tank. Although not always required, using a vent alarm is a great idea. Vent alarms help prevent overflowing during the filling process. Vent alarms measure six inches in length. To ensure a tight connection, use pipe-thread sealant on the vent whistle connection spot.

  8. 8

    Locate the fill-line and vent-line holes. These holes are located at the opposing end of the supply-connection line. Remove any plugs in these holes. In the fill-line hole, connect the two-inch diameter galvanised steel piping. Run the oil-fill pipe outside. Position the pipe near the foundation of the house. Fit the fill cap on the outside end of pipe. Connect the 1.25-inch diameter vent pipe to the vent-line hole. Run the vent pipe outside. Fit vent-cap on the outside end of pipe. To ensure proper seals, use pipe-thread sealant on all pipe connection points.

  9. 9

    Fit the oil filter and shutoff valve to the supply line. The supple line hole is located at the front, base of the tank. Install the shutoff valve to the supply line. Fit the oil filter to the shutoff valve. Use compression fitting to connect the supply-line pipe and oil filter. To properly seal connections, use pipe-thread sealant on all pipe connection points.

  10. 10

    Install the supply line to the compression fitting that is on the end of the oil filter. Run the polythene-coated-copper-piping supply line around perimeter of any walls. Run the oil supply line to the furnace. To ensure proper seals, use pipe-thread sealant on all pipe connection points.

Tips and warnings

  • Ensure all equipment and procedures meet the state and local township codes.
  • Before operating the tank, contact a licensed technician to come and inspect the oil tank and pipes.

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