How to Move a Fuel Oil Tank

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the main reasons to move an oil tank is because it has reached its life expectancy. When an inside or outside oil tank becomes rusted, according to most state regulations you must replace it with a new one. However, you must be careful when moving an oil tank to ensure you do not get any oil inside the tank on the ground or on your floor where it could possibly flow into your drainage system. This is important when disconnecting the oil tank and transporting it.

Contact your city ordinance department and ask about any permits or special regulations you must adhere too when removing and moving your storage tank. In most cases, you must have a permit to disconnect an oil tank an inspection after you remove it.

Locate the drainage valve located near the plumbing or at the bottom of the tank. Place a drainage pan under the valve and drain the fuel oil out of the tank. Drain the fuel oil from the drainage pan into a container approved for fuel oil. Once you drain all of the oil from the tank, close the valve to prevent any residual oil left inside the tank from draining out.

Disconnect the oil lines that feed from the oil tank to the house using an adjustable wrench. If the tank is in the home, disconnect the oil lines that connect the tank to the furnace. If possible, disconnect the oil lines at the house or furnace and not at the oil tank. Bend the lines upward so any oil in the lines will drain back into the tank. Tie the oil lines to the tank with a piece of rope to secure them in an upward position during transit.

Remove the bolts that secure the feet of the oil tank to the concrete pad using an adjustable wrench. If the tank is outdoors or does not rest on a concrete pad, use a shovel and dig around the feet to remove them from the ground.

Pick the tank up and load it onto the bed of a pickup truck or a trailer with the help of several people. Secure the tank to the bed of the pickup with no fewer than two ratchet straps to keep it from sliding around and possibly falling off the truck.

Deliver the tank to a facility approved to take old fuel tanks. A standard dump or junkyard will not take delivery because of the fact that the tank housed fuel. Your local ordinance department can usually help you locate a place to take the tank.


If you do spill fuel onto the ground, contact your local fire brigade immediately for assistance.

Things You'll Need

  • Drainage pan
  • Storage container
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Rope
  • Shovel (optional)
  • Ratchet straps
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