Ditching oil tank, have some questions and not sure what to do with $1k of oil?

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Old 09-25-12, 10:40 AM
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Ditching oil tank, have some questions and not sure what to do with $1k of oil?

I recently bought a property in Tenafly NJ which has a buried oil tank. I know that is a bad move, but we got the tank inspected and I got a great deal of money off the asking price on the basis that we would have to remove the tank once we moved in.

However, there are a few issues…

I agreed to buy the oil that was left in the tank as I was told this was standard procedure. I had no idea how much this would be though, and was amazed to see that this came out to over $1k worth of oil.

I still want to ditch the tank though.

Can anyone help with these questions I have about what is involved with doing this?

Some background:

I already have a gas line into the house which feeds a gas burning stove and a gas firing water heater for the hot water. The gas hot water heater is next to the oil burner which still operates the heating system in my basement, so I am assuming that this should represent a relatively straightforward job?

The oil burner feeds a steam boiler based central heating system which works well and I have no desire to change at this point.

Questions:

1) For a five bedroom home at around 3,000 sq ft, how much am I looking at to convert the heating system to a gas system? Is this a big job? Something that can be done in a day? I know this depends on the house, but I am just looking for a ballpark figure. Also, if anyone has any recommendations for a good company to carry out the work I would really appreciate it.

2) I got a quote for $1,500 to have the tank removed. However, there is $1,000 worth of oil in the tank. Is it possible to somehow sell this oil? Does anyone have any ideas on what to do with it?

3) Do I have to have the tank taken out and the conversion done at the same time? Is it possible to wait a few weeks between doing the gas conversion and then removing the tank and the oil?

Many thanks!
 
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Old 09-25-12, 05:23 PM
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Oh, the well worn cliche about ASSuming!

I am assuming that this should represent a relatively straightforward job?
No, I would not assume that. There is a good possibility that the gas line may not be large enough to supply all of the appliances in addition to the boiler.

The following two quotes may not be able to co-exist:

The oil burner feeds a steam boiler based central heating system which works well and I have no desire to change at this point.
I looking at to convert the heating system to a gas system?
You are talking about having someone pull the oil burner and install a gas burner? Not sure if that's what you are saying... I think it is?

It MAY be possible. There are retro-fit gas burners manufactured for this purpose. Whether or not it's advisable or wise to do so with your boiler can only be determined by a QUALIFIED heating professional.

Is it possible to somehow sell this oil? Does anyone have any ideas on what to do with it?
It is possible, but you will likely not get more than 10 cents on the dollar for it. If you bring it down here to Monmouth County, I'll give you 20 cents a gallon. Call around... you should be able to find a construction company who will come and pump it out. They can use it in their heavy equipment.

Do I have to have the tank taken out and the conversion done at the same time?
I don't think so... but you durn well better hope that tank ain't been leaking for 30 years!

Oil Tank Remediation pictures by JeffPicks - Photobucket

IN SITU remediation July 2012 pictures by JeffPicks - Photobucket
 
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Old 09-25-12, 05:27 PM
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You can remove the tank whenever you want. My mother's house had the tank sit in the ground for at least 10 years after she converted. The smartest thing to do is have the oil pumped out. But if they find water in the oil, they have to report that to the state. Then you will have a big environmental cleanup on your hands.

I wouldn't have payed for the oil. I would have told them to take it when the moved out.
 
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Old 09-25-12, 05:38 PM
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if they find water in the oil, they have to report that to the state.
Not exactly. Nearly every fuel tank has some water in it from plain old condensation. It's when the soil borings are done OUTSIDE the tank and OIL is found in the SOIL, or on the GROUND WATER that you are in deep doo-doo.

I wouldn't have payed for the oil.
Me either. But then, I would have walked away from the deal right off the bat. The only thing that might have lured me back would have been if the seller had offered to have a new tank installed in the basement, and the old tank removed with a 'clean bill of health'. But then, I'm just a wee tad 'gun shy' of in-ground tanks these days!
 
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Old 09-25-12, 06:19 PM
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I'd keep the oil burner through the winter and use up the oil in the tank. You already paid for the oil, so the best bang for your buck is to let it heat your home. If you have to get another delivery to get you through to the spring, so be it. In the meantime you can "bone up" on your current boiler, and steam heat systems in general, and figure out what your true options are. When the warmer weather comes back around, you'll be much better informed with a (near) empty oil tank (assuming you manage things correctly).
 
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Old 09-26-12, 07:19 AM
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I'd keep the oil burner through the winter and use up the oil in the tank. You already paid for the oil, so the best bang for your buck is to let it heat your home. If you have to get another delivery to get you through to the spring, so be it. In the meantime you can "bone up" on your current boiler, and steam heat systems in general, and figure out what your true options are. When the warmer weather comes back around, you'll be much better informed with a (near) empty oil tank (assuming you manage things correctly).
This is what I was going to suggest. get it all checked over and confirm it's safe enough to get you through the winter.
When the weather gets warm, you'll be in a better position to shop around for new gear and contractors. Heating stuff tends to be cheaper when it's warm out.

As for the $1k worth of oil... my tank sets me back ~$1800 to fill from empty.
 
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Old 09-26-12, 05:20 PM
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He might save $1k in fuel costs if he switches to gas now and dumps the oil. I was going to say going through the house first and insulating would help him get a smaller boiler, but that isn't going to apply in this case because he has steam heat. The boiler must be sized to the radiation to work properly.
 
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Old 09-27-12, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it. I guess I'll try and stick with the oil for a few months and use it up before switching. I didn't make it clear in the original post, but I meant that I have no desire to change the heating system istelf - i.e. the radiators. I want to get a gas firing system that will work with my existing steam radiator system and ditch the oil burner.
 
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Old 09-27-12, 01:48 PM
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Yes. All you have to to is change th boilers and leave the radiators in place.
 
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