Guides and Tips

Oil Tank Removal Cost: What You Need to Know 

December 13, 2023
Oil Tank Removal Cost What You Need to Know

Oil tanks are essential components in a home because they store the fuel used for heating systems such as furnaces or boilers. 

However, if you want to remove them because they’re no longer in use or have become a safety and environmental concern, it’s best to understand the costs associated with this project. 

Oil tank removal costs can vary significantly based on various factors, and knowing what to expect is important. In this guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of oil tank removal costs to help you make informed decisions.

How much does it cost to remove an oil tank? 

How much does it cost to remove an oil tank

Having an oil tank removed can typically amount to an average of $1,700, assuming that there are no underlying environmental concerns within your soil. 

However, it’s important to note that there is a big difference between the removal of aboveground and underground oil tanks. If an oil tank leak needs environmental remediation, project costs can increase.

Cost of Oil Tank Removal Based on Type 

Cost of Oil Tank Removal Based on Type

Oil tanks come in three primary types based on their construction and installation location: above-ground, basement, and underground oil tanks. 

Typically, the removal of an underground oil tank tends to be costlier for homeowners compared to removing a basement or above-ground oil tank.

Tank TypeAverage Removal Cost
Basement$500 to $1,500
Aboveground$300 to $1,000
Underground$1,000 to $3,500

Basement

Basement

The removal of a basement oil tank is a more intricate process compared to removing an above-ground tank, but it tends to be less expensive than removing an underground tank. 

In the case of a basement oil tank removal, professionals will be required to disassemble the oil tank within the house. This step allows them to pass tank components through a window or bring them out of a doorway. 

Typically, the cost of removing a basement oil tank can vary from approximately $500 to $1,500. However, if the basement tank is partially buried in the ground, the cost may increase to $2,500 or more.

Above-Ground

Above-Ground

When it comes to accessing an above-ground heating oil tank, the process is a lot more straightforward compared to excavating a buried tank or disassembling one located in a basement

The reduced complexity contributes to the lower cost. Homeowners can generally anticipate an expense ranging from approximately $300 to $1,000

However, it’s important to note that additional fees may apply that can affect the total cost, which can include expenses related to the disposal of unused oil, soil testing, or remediation services.

Underground

Underground

If your oil tank is buried underground, the removal expenses are generally higher compared to tanks located in a basement or aboveground. 

Homeowners dealing with an underground oil tank should expect removal costs to be within a range of approximately $1,000 to $3,500

This cost estimate takes into account various factors such as accessibility, tank capacity, labor rates, and the expenses incurred for excavation. 

It’s also important to note that the solidity of the ground where the tank is buried also plays a significant role in the overall cost of oil tank removal, with harder ground conditions likely to result in higher removal expenses.

Signs You Need an Oil Tank Removal 

Here are some indicators that you need an oil tank removal.

Oil Tank Age

Oil Tank Age

An indoor oil tank that gets proper maintenance can last up to 30 years due to protection from adverse weather conditions. 

However, outdoor tanks typically require replacement every 10 to 15 years to prevent leaks or soil contamination. 

Homeowners with oil tanks around 10 to 15 years old should consider budgeting for an oil tank removal and replacement, as older tanks are more likely to develop leaks that can lead to costly remediation services. 

Replacing the oil tank within this age range can reduce the chances of requiring soil testing or contamination remediation.

Weak or Unstable Legs

Weak or Unstable Legs

Basement and above-ground oil tanks are typically supported by a set of legs that elevate the tank off the ground to prevent rust and corrosion from moisture. 

While protecting the tank, these legs can also accumulate rust and corrosion over time due to ground moisture. If the legs weaken or become unstable, homeowners may consider getting them replaced. 

However, if the tank is around 10 to 15 years old, it’s recommended to replace the entire tank to avoid potential issues.

Leaks

Leaks

The most obvious sign that you need an oil tank removal is the presence of an active leak. However, detecting oil tank leaks can sometimes be challenging, with some going undetected for many years. 

If you notice that your fuel bills are unusually high, it’s advisable to inspect the oil tank for cracks, ruptures, or leaks. You can also detect leaks by looking for wet spots or puddles near the tank or along the piping. 

Leaks also often emit a persistent odor of heating oil. 

When the tank leaks, the oil level drops, which allows enough room for condensation that can lead to rust or corrosion. While some leaks can be patched, if you spot one, it’s likely time to replace the oil tank.

Clogged Filters or Pipes

Clogged Filters or Pipes

As the oil level in a heating oil tank decreases, sediment could get pulled into the system and clog the filters. If the sediment is sucked into the fuel line, it can cause system failure. 

The more rusted and corroded the tank, the higher the chance of sediment entering the fuel line which will result in significant damage to the heating system

Homeowners can hire a professional to clean out the tank if it’s in relatively good condition. However, if the oil tank is severely rusted or corroded, the best course of action is to remove and replace it with a new one.

Cracked, Stuck, or Frozen Gauge

Cracked, Stuck, or Frozen Gauge

Keeping a close eye on the fuel gauge is very important, especially when the oil tank is running low. 

Monitoring the gauge allows homeowners to ensure timely refilling to prevent potential problems such as clogged filters, rust, corrosion, and condensation. 

However, it can be challenging to remember to refill the oil tank if the gauge is damaged. A cracked, stuck, or frozen gauge will need to be repaired to provide an accurate reading of oil levels. 

If the gauge remains a problem, it may indicate that the entire tank needs to be removed and replaced with a new heating oil tank.

Decreased Efficiency

Decreased Efficiency

A less obvious sign of a worn-out oil tank is a reduction in heating system efficiency. This may be challenging to detect due to the normal fluctuations in utility costs. 

However, if you observe a decrease in heating oil efficiency, it’s likely that either the oil tank or the oil furnace requires replacement. Fixing or replacing the oil tank can lead to long-term cost savings for home heating. 

Before hiring an oil tank removal company, it’s best to monitor heating oil usage and monthly utility bills to determine if there is a noticeable decrease in efficiency. 

It would also be wise to schedule a furnace inspection to ensure the heating system is functioning properly.

Factors Affecting Oil Tank Removal Costs 

Factors Affecting Oil Tank Removal Costs

Anything that makes the process of removing the oil tank take longer will make it more expensive. Here are several factors you should consider when budgeting for this project:

  1. Tank Size: The size of the oil tank plays a significant role in determining the cost of its removal. 

    Larger tanks are a lot more difficult to remove, which in turn results in higher service costs. While smaller oil tanks generally cost from about $400 to $1,200, the project’s expenses rise as the tank size increases.

    Before homeowners schedule oil tank removal, it’s best to determine the tank’s size to enable them to come up with a realistic cost estimate. 

    Asking for quotes from multiple oil tank removal companies is also a wise step to ensure a fair price for the job.
  2. Amount of Oil in the Tank: If you need to remove unused oil, this will contribute to higher removal costs. Local heating oil service providers typically price hazardous waste disposal based on weight, in pounds or ounces. 

    While the final rates may vary depending on your specific location, you can expect costs ranging from $10 to $70, inclusive of service fees.
  3. Remediation: If soil testing reveals a leak on your property, it’s important to get leak remediation done. The costs associated with cleaning up and removing harmful contaminants from the soil can often exceed $10,000

    Additionally, your state may require you to report the leak to the state-level environmental agency to initiate the necessary actions.
  4. Accessibility: The level of ease in accessing the oil tank when removing it directly influences the cost. More accessibility results in less time to get the job done which can reduce labor costs. 

    Above-ground oil tank removal is the most affordable, as it doesn’t have to be excavated from below ground or dismantled inside the home prior to removal. 

    When dealing with an underground tank, homeowners should budget an additional $500 to $1,000 for excavation and extraction. 

    Similarly, if a basement oil tank requires partial excavation or disassembly for removal, a similar fee may apply.
  5. Your Location: Where you live can influence the cost of the removal of your oil tank. 

    Depending on the labor rates in your area and the specific regulations governing oil recycling, permits, and contamination testing and remediation, costs can vary from one state to another by several hundred dollars.

You Might Also Like