How to Remove an Oil Tank From a Basement

Oil tanks are commonly found in the basements of old homes, but they can become a liability if not properly maintained. If you no longer need your oil tank or it’s past its prime, removing it from your basement is important before any environmental damage occurs. However, the process of removing an oil tank can be dangerous and requires careful planning to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

This article, we will provide you with a guide on how to remove an oil tank from a basement safely and efficiently. From hiring a professional contractor to obtaining necessary permits and tools, we’ll cover all the essential steps involved in removing an oil tank from your home.

Hire a Professional or Prepare for DIY Removal

When it comes to removing an oil tank from your basement, you have two options: hiring a professional oil tank removal company or attempting the removal yourself (DIY). Each option has its pros and cons.

Hiring a Professional

  • Pros: A professional company will have the necessary equipment, knowledge, and experience to safely remove the tank. They will also handle the permits, inspections, and disposal of the tank, making the process more convenient for you.
  • Cons: Hiring a professional can be more expensive than doing the removal yourself. However, the cost may be justified by the reduced risk of injury, property damage, or environmental contamination.

DIY Removal

  • Pros: Removing the tank yourself can save you money on labor costs. If you have experience with similar projects and feel confident in your abilities, DIY removal may be a viable option.
  • Cons: DIY removal can be risky if you don’t have the proper tools, equipment, and safety gear. There’s also a higher chance of injury, property damage, or environmental contamination if the removal is not done correctly. Additionally, you’ll be responsible for obtaining permits, scheduling inspections, and disposing of the tank.

When deciding between hiring a professional or attempting DIY removal, consider factors such as your experience, budget, and the potential risks involved.

How to Remove an Oil Tank From a Basement

Drain the Oil Tank

To safely remove the oil tank, you need to disconnect it from your heating system and cap off any lines to prevent leaks or spills. Follow these steps:

a. Turn Off the Power: Shut off the power supply to your heating system to ensure that it’s not operational during the removal process.

b. Close Valves: Locate any valves connected to the oil tank and close them to prevent oil from flowing through the lines.

c. Disconnect Lines: Carefully disconnect the oil lines from the tank. This may involve unscrewing or cutting the lines, depending on your specific setup.

d. Cap off Lines: Once the lines have been disconnected, cap them off using appropriate fittings or plugs. This will prevent any residual oil from leaking out and causing environmental contamination or damage to your property.

Ventilate the Area

Proper ventilation is essential during the oil tank removal process to ensure that any fumes or odors are dissipated. This is particularly important if there has been any leakage or spills during the draining and disconnecting process.

To ventilate the area:

a. Open Windows and Doors: Open any windows and doors in the basement to create a cross breeze and allow fresh air to circulate.

b. Use Fans: Set up fans near the open windows and doors to help push fumes and odors outside. Make sure the fans are blowing air out of the basement, not into it.

c. Allow Time for Ventilation: Give the area some time to air out before proceeding with the removal process. This will help ensure that the air quality in the basement is safe for you and anyone assisting with the removal.

Remember to always prioritize safety when working with oil tanks.

Remove the Tank

Once the oil tank is empty, disconnected, and the area is well-ventilated, you can proceed with the removal process. Depending on the size and weight of the tank, you may need assistance or specialized equipment.

a. Manual Removal: For smaller tanks, you may be able to remove them manually with the help of a friend or family member. Use proper lifting techniques, such as bending at the knees and keeping your back straight, to avoid injury. Make sure the path to the exit is clear and free of obstacles.

b. Use Equipment: For larger or heavier tanks, you may need to use equipment such as a dolly, straps, or even a crane to safely remove the tank from the basement. Ensure that the equipment is rated for the weight of the tank and that you’re familiar with its operation.

c. Dismantle the Tank: In some cases, it may be necessary to dismantle the tank into smaller pieces to remove it from the basement. This can be done using cutting tools like a reciprocating saw or an angle grinder. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear, such as gloves, goggles, and a mask, when cutting the tank.

Dispose of the Tank

After the tank has been removed from the basement, it needs to be disposed of properly. The disposal process may vary depending on local regulations and the condition of the tank.

a. Contact Local Waste Management: Check with your local waste management facility or recycling center to determine the proper disposal method for your oil tank. They can provide guidance on whether the tank can be recycled or if it needs to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

b. Cut the Tank (if Necessary): Some facilities may require you to cut the tank into smaller pieces for disposal. Use appropriate cutting tools and safety gear to dismantle the tank as needed.

c. Transport the Tank: Arrange for transportation of the tank to the designated disposal facility. This may involve renting a truck or trailer, or hiring a professional hauling service.

Clean Up the Area

Once the tank has been removed, it’s important to clean up the area where it was located. This may involve several steps:

a. Remove Any Remaining Oil, Sludge, or Residue: Use absorbent materials, such as rags or absorbent pads, to clean up any remaining oil or sludge. Dispose of these materials according to local regulations.

b. Clean the Floor and Walls: Use a degreaser or cleaning solution to remove any oil stains or residue from the floor and walls. Scrub the area thoroughly and rinse with clean water.

c. Repair Any Damage: If the removal process caused any damage to the floor or walls, such as scratches or dents, repair these as needed. This may involve patching holes, sanding rough spots, or repainting.

d. Inspect for Contamination: If there were any leaks or spills during the removal process, you may need to have the area inspected for contamination. A professional environmental consultant can help determine if any remediation is necessary.

By following these steps, you can safely and effectively remove an oil tank from your basement and dispose of it properly. Always prioritize safety and consult with professionals if you’re unsure about any part of the process.

Inspect for Contamination

If there were any leaks or spills during the removal process, you may need to have the area inspected for contamination. A professional environmental consultant can help determine if any remediation is necessary.

Document the Process

Keep records of the tank removal process, including any permits, receipts, and photographs. This documentation may be required for future property transactions or insurance purposes.

Frequently Asked Related Questions

How Much Does Oil Tank Removal Cost

Oil tank removal cost can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the tank, its location (above ground or underground), and local regulations. Here’s a general breakdown of the costs involved in oil tank removal:

  1. Above-ground Oil Tank Removal: The average cost of removing an above-ground oil tank varies between $500 and $1,500, depending on the job’s size and complexity. This includes draining the tank, disconnecting it from any piping or equipment, and disposing of the tank.
  2. Underground Oil Tank Removal: Removing an underground oil tank is more complex and expensive, with costs ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 or more. Factors affecting the cost include the size and depth of the tank, soil conditions, and whether any contamination is present. The process involves excavating the area around the tank, removing the tank, and disposing of it properly. If contamination is found, additional costs for soil remediation and reporting may apply.

What Do I Do With My Old Oil Tank

Old oil tanks are typically taken by the removal company or a specialized recycling facility. The removal company will either recycle the tank themselves or work with a licensed recycling facility to ensure proper disposal. In some cases, scrap metal dealers may also accept old oil tanks for recycling.

Hiring a licensed and insured professional for oil tank removal is essential to ensure compliance with local regulations and safety standards. They will also handle any necessary permits and coordinate with local authorities for proper disposal and reporting.