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 11-16-2002, 06:35 Post: 45045
TomG

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This a more a maintenance than a building comment. The furnace guy came around to do his annual bit and found rust bubbles and slight dampness on the bottom of our inside oil tank near the outlet. I guess that 40 years of condensation even with an inside tank is too much to expect a tank to withstand. The old style tanks with the outlets on the ends rather than bottoms don't completely allow water out of the tank and through the furnace even if the tank is tilted a bit.

So, we need a new tank and technically nobody can fill the old one around here until it's replaced. Not a great time of year to find this out but it's probably better than 250 gallons of furnace oil in the basement. We replaced the furnace a few years back, but nobody thought about inspecting the tank. I guess my insurance company did ask how old the furnace and tank were when we bought the place and decided we needed a new furnace if we wanted coverage. The insurance company was satisfied that it was an old tank but an inside one. I wouldn't have thought to inspect the tank and none of the pros did either, but it seems like it's a good thing to do.

On to a building issue: An addition was put on the house since the tank was in the basement. I sure hope we can get a new tank in through the house and into the basement. Outside tanks have their problems around here and it wouldn't be fun to pour a pad for one this time of year. Getting the old tank out shouldn't be a problem since they can be cut in half but as the furnace guy said: 'You can't put a zipper in a new one.'

In building, it's a real good idea to keep in mind that furnaces and oil tanks may have to be taken out eventually and plan for it. I sure hope we don't end up wishing we'd put in a basement walk-in we planned some years back but forgot about.






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 11-16-2002, 10:26 Post: 45051
cutter



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My wife works in the oil business. She tells me those tanks can be special ordered in any size and can be purchased in 150 gallon size off the shelf. I assume you have a 275 in the basement? We have many people in our area that hook two in tandem to achieve the storage capacity they require, enabling them to be installed in the basement.






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 11-17-2002, 06:28 Post: 45059
TomG

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Cutter: Thanks for the info. Seems pretty silly, but I wouldn't have thought of that solution. Imagine that! Fit the tank or tanks to the house rather than the house to the tank. Seems pretty obvious once you hear it. Guess I fell into taking experience as a given. I've only seen one size oil tank for houses.

As it turns out, the oil guy came by last evening and doesn't think there'll be a problem getting a standard tank in. Just some muscle work and his brother used to play semi-pro football. We'll also take the opportunity to get everything up to the new codes--vent pipe 7' above grade, relocate the tank further from the electrical service, run new copper around the wall instead of buried in the concrete floor, replace compression with flared fittings. Whew! That's all the code deficiencies I remember right now.

Tanks are in short supply around here. Insurance companies went on a rampage this year and tried to get a max 25-year code on tanks. They backed off and now require new tanks only when properties are sold but there's still a lot of new tanks going in. There's also probably a new government policy lurking around because oil delivery guys are telling people that can't make more deliveries unless certain types of installations are corrected.

Seems like we've got sort of a new backdoor inspection system here. Can't say as I think it's a bad idea, but I do wish policy makers would just own up to the fact there's going to be more regulations. Then we could simply have inspections and might get needed work done during the summer rather than when everybody is scrambling around at the start of heating season.






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 11-17-2002, 12:50 Post: 45064
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Happens to me all the time, I think way past the problem/obvious solution when the answer is right in front of me. I believe there is a name for that but it eludes me now. We have a rebate here in this state for replacing old tanks. They have to be vented and have an alarm outside to prevent overfill but don't know of any other regulations other than those for burried tanks. You are in Canada aren't you, I am sure our laws aren't the same.






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 11-18-2002, 06:17 Post: 45088
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No requirements for an alarm here. There is a whistler that (what else) whistles when filling the tank. I'm guessing that the whistle stops when the tank is full. That's one of the parts we hope to salvage from the old tank to hold the price down a bit. No government rebate program here.

The governments here do spend millions subsidizing city sewer systems and then increases codes for septic systems that nearly doubles their costs. Country folks pay the whole shot for their new code systems while city people just whine about the taxes for delivering their subsidized infrastructure.

Well, I guess there are fairly unadvertised rebates for conversion to pitless submersible well pumps. Something for everyone but sort of an empty program though. Most country people did the pitless thing a long time ago. Who wants to dig a 5' pit just to replace a foot-valve, truck in water while you're doing it and just hope it's not winter? Ah country life--it is my cup of tea though!






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 11-18-2002, 08:33 Post: 45099
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 furnace oil tanks

It is difficult to have a cup of tea in the south. Tea is cool not hot and loaded with sugar. Take the suger out and it tastes like the stems.
I am suprised that they have not restricted in side tanks. We had everyone paranoid over the formaldihyde released by foam, plywood and chipboard why not the fuel oil.
I suppose we had data on the formaldihyde and none on the potporri of chemicals.






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 11-18-2002, 16:17 Post: 45119
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The alarm is the whistler. Don't know of any restrictions YET on inside tanks so don't say it too loudly. Since a leak will usually develop slowly over a period of time and #2 doesn't have the flash point of some other fuels it is pretty safe. I have seen basements filled with it as a fireman and never seen a home lost from it. Of course the full basement was due to either homeowner or distributor error, not a leak. I can't tell you how many gas (propane and natural) explosions I have been involved with, lost count over the years.






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 11-19-2002, 07:04 Post: 45143
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Glad to know the alarm and whistler are the same thing. The outside vent 7' above grade is supposed to take care of vapour problems, and a window isn't supposed to be close. The 7' code is because some people's vents became covered with snow.

What Cutter is saying about furnace oil and incidences of fires compared to gas sounds right to me. Supposedly our insurance companies went on a rampage because there were a few claims. In our case, the furnace guy said that there were several damp spots on the tank but usually oil can be smelt when a tank starts weeping, and there's no oil smell. Even so, I can see the dampness and rust bubbles and don't mind replacing the tank even if it might last another decade.

I guess it's easy though for insurance companies to scream safety to government regulators and cause many to spend thousands replacing tanks that actually are low risk just to save insurance companies a few claims. Of course, maybe those few saved claims would have been people burning up in their houses, so it's a tough call. I don't mind a new tank but I'd rather be doing it in the summer.

The new tank probably will defer installing a steel chimney liner, which is something I'd rather do than have a new tank. The chimney has a poured liner that's probably OK but it has considerable surface erosion. More code stuff. Poured liners can't be used any longer. It's a pain, this code stuff, but I suppose they do help protect us from ourselves.






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 11-19-2002, 17:33 Post: 45182
cutter



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I think replacing the old tank is a good idea simply as a preventative measure in your case. What I was trying to say was the reason I believe we don't have much regulation on inside oil tanks is because they are low risk. But you certainly are correct about having to protect people from themselves, unfortunately. I have a stainless steel liner in my chimney due to poor maintenance by the previous owner. That thing cost me 2k ten years ago and I don't think they used 20' of pipe total. It is one heck of a chimney now though, fireproof insulation in the anular space around it, then tile and lastly cement block. Not much worry when the fire is vented into something like that, been to many chimney fires where folks lost part or all of their house due to poorly maintained stacks and never wanted to be on the receiving end!






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 11-20-2002, 06:12 Post: 45203
TomG

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We lost an exterior steel insulated chimney for a basement wood stove. It was a home-brew installation by a previous owner and friends. It sat on an inadequate base, so it sank and tore a t-section at the basement exit. The top section wasn't guy-wired and blew off sometimes. It was finally left off and the chimney then didn't go far enough above the roof ridge. The weather cap also was left off and that seemed to finish off the usefulness of the chimney.

A guy came out to clean it not long after we bought the place. He said, well, I could clean it, but I've got to tell you that this chimney will never get past an inspection. A new chimney was more expensive than we were willing to spend so we ended up using the hole for the air intake for a furnace heat exchanger.

I sort of wish we had a usable wood stove but a basement isn't a great place for one. I'm sure everybody, and especially the insurance company, is happy we aren't using the old chimney. Who knows, maybe we would have bargained a little harder on the selling price if we noticed the chimney, but the main thing is to notice poor maintenance before using things. The electricals were full of nutty work too. I try to take care of things. Burning down along with the house doesn't seem like it would be much fun.






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