Your heating oil tank contains your home’s inventory of oil heat energy. If we keep it simple we should say that the bigger the tank is, the better. Indeed, having a large tank allows you to better manage your heating oil resources and even save some money. But the size itself is not the only important thing when it comes to home heating oil tanks.

heating oil tankIts position matters equally. Decades ago, most homes had oil tanks installed outdoors. These tanks did not just take excess place in home’s yard, but also failed to keep the oil safe due to freezing and gelling with low temperatures. Various weather events such as snow, rain or heat attribute to a faster corrosion of the tank, which happens both outside and inside the tank due to condensation. Severe weather events such as hurricanes and other strong winds, snowstorms and hail could mechanically damage the tank, sometimes completely destroying it and causing a serious oil spill and substantial monetary damages.

Today, most oil heat homeowners prefer their oil tank to be placed indoors in the basement. Inside the home the temperature and humidity are relatively steady and there are less conditions for quick deterioration of the tank by corrosion. Oil is also spared of weather related damage as there should be no gelling (a phenomenon which happens when oil is kept at very low temperatures over a certain period, which equals freezing).

Indoor tanks are easier to maintain, as all parts of it can be easily reached if the tank is well-positioned. You need to put your tank at least 5 ft (1,6m) away from any fuel-fired appliance or motor vehicle. You can install the tank even in the garage, but it has to be large enough to allow you parking your car at a safe distance.

Oil level can be monitored much easier in an indoor tank. First of all, you don’t need to leave your house, and you can always have your oil gauge or another measuring instrument easily readable. You can use temperature strips, which can be bought at a hardware store.

Heating oil is unlikely to catch fire, as it’s hardly flammable unless sprayed in the air. This is why it is put through a spraying nozzle into the combustion chamber. Without that nozzle, combustion wouldn’t take place. Thus, oil placed in a properly maintained tank is very safe. If you have an extra space which is in the basement that doesn’t have running electric or fuel powered appliances and is not used to park motor vehicles, it would be ideal for installing an oil tank. This way there is virtually no chance it would ever catch fire. You should always maintain the room dry. Excess humidity will lead to internal condensation which should cause oil sludge leading to corrosion and leaks.