Guidelines for Installing Above Ground Oil Tanks

When installing Above Ground Oil Tanks, the recommendations within this guide are standard industry practices for tanks that were built to meet NFPA 31, Standard for the Installation of Oil-Burning Equipment in the US. All tanks must comply with the National Building and Fire Codes, as well as any local codes.

Installing Above Ground Oil Tanks, Advantages of Indoor Installations:

It is highly suggested to install Domestic fuel oil tanks indoors when possible for various reasons including the following:

  • A concrete basement floor provides a strong, stable, and solid base for the tank.
  • No odor must come from a tank that was installed properly. If the tank leaks as a result of corrosion, early detection is more likely in an indoor tank than an outdoor tank.
  • An outdoor tank is subjected to the elements like rain, snow, and corrosion. These all contribute to a reduced life expectancy, increased cost for maintenance, and an increased risk for an oil leak.
  • Indoor tanks cannot be subject to the frozen product.
  • Indoor tanks perform better and less maintenance is needed because the fuel is kept at a constant temperature.

Indoor Installations:

  • Tanks must be installed on the lowest level of the structure.
  • Tanks shall be located not less than 5ft from any fuel powered equipment.
  • Tanks shall be placed in an area that is not usually affected by normal activities.
  • Tanks must be placed in an area where they can be inspected on all sides.
  • Tanks that are placed in garage bays must be equipped with protection from vehicles.

Outdoor Installations:

Outdoor tanks must be located to conform to the following:

  • Tanks must not obscure building entrances, as well as windows including the basement.
  • A tank can be placed next to a propane cylinder that has a capacity of 125 gallon or less. If the capacity of the tank exceeds this, the separation shall not be less than 20ft.
  • Tanks with a 275 gallon capacity or less cannot be less than 5ft from a property boundary.
  • Tanks with a 275 gallon capacity cannot be less than 10ft from a property.
  • If feasible, tanks cannot be placed under house eaves where it can be subject to falling snow or icicles.
  • Tanks should be placed downgrade from any drinking water source.
  • Tanks cannot be placed with intimate contact with the structure, since organic matter can build up and can lead to the corrosion of the tank.

Tanks located in areas exposed to vehicle traffic should have protection.

Tank Stability:

  • All outdoor tanks are in danger of movement, especially new installations placed on unstable ground shall be placed on a bedding surface that was prepared before with organic materials.
  • The tank must be centered and supported properly to prevent it from movement or falling over. The support legs must be installed on a concrete pad.

Additional support should be considered for areas of high wind, or on a flood plain, this will require a shelter or some kind of anchoring that does not disrupt the operations of the tank.

Product Supply Lines:

  • The product supply lines between the tank and the building should be protected from damage.
  • The product supply lines must be installed on a downward slope to prevent the accumulation of water and the subsequent freezing of the product.
  • To allow movement, the line must have a horizontal loop before it enters the tank.
  • Product supply lines should not be less than 10mm outside copper tubing.

Venting Domestic Oil Storage Tanks:

  • The vent pipe material must contain 40 black steel.
  • Joints in the piping should be made fuel oil tight by using joint compound.
  • Vent pipe must measure 2in nominal.

Installing Above Ground Oil Tanks Details:

  • All tanks must be connected to a vent alarm which is a way to prevent spills.
  • The fill pipe must measure 3ft above the grade. The vent pipe measures 6in above the grade.

Fill and Product Piping Connections to Domestic Storage Tanks:

The fill pipe material must measure 2in and contain 40 black steel. Joints in the fill piping must be fuel oil tight by using joint compounds. All connections in the piping and tubing should be made fuel oil tight. Product piping connections where liquid rises should have a shut off valve.

When installing Above Ground Oil Tanks, Product filters should:

  • Have enough clearance for replacement.
  • Burying lines is not recommended since concrete can corrode the piping which leads to leakage. When burying is necessary to protect the line from traffic, the copper tube should be placed inside a corrosion-resistant tube.
  • The ends of the corrosion resistant tubes must protrude 2in above the concrete.
  • The supply lines should run directly to the tank.
  • Cross-connected tanks provided with a single fill pipe, should have the fill pipes linked to the tanks.

Tank Movement and Leveling when Installing Above Ground Oil Tanks:

  • Bottom outlet tanks must be installed with the correct slope.
  • Tanks that have settled should be adjusted by a technician.
  • Tanks cannot be moved without draining the contents out first.
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