Guides and Tips

How much does replacing an oil tank cost?

October 30, 2022
How much does replacing an oil tank cost

Replacing an oil tank at a house typically costs from $800 to $3,800 or $1,900 on average, including the new tank and its installation.

But many factors can affect the price such as the type of the new tank (whether single or double-wall), its total capacity, place of installation, leak cleanup from the old unit, and other things.

If you’d like to know more about the costs of oil tank replacement, we will walk you through them in this detailed cost guide. This is so you’ll know how much to budget for the project.

What affects oil tank replacement cost?

What affects oil tank replacement cost

Here are how each factor plays a role in the overall oil tank replacement price:

1) Type of the Tank

The type of oil tank you’ve chosen takes a large slice of the total price you have to pay. Mainly, you can opt for a single or double-wall oil tank.

Let’s first differentiate these two kinds of oil tanks:

  1. Single-Wall Oil Tank 

As the name suggests, a single-wall oil tank only has a single layer of protection against fuel leaks. It does this through its epoxy-coated outer shell of concrete.

Being smaller than the double-walled type, it’s flexible in that it can be placed either inside (say, in the basement or garage) or outside of the house.

However, single-wall oil tanks aren’t as durable as double-walled ones, though they cost cheaper. You can actually use an existing concrete structure as a secondary containment layer in case the heating oil spreads out from the unit.

They can last 15 years or more, but if a problem occurs in the course of using them, then they will have to be replaced promptly.

  1. Double-Wall Oil Tank

Whereas, a double-wall oil tank has a secondary containment vessel that will prevent the leaks from spilling out of the unit and causing a mess. 

Due to this, even if their capacities are the same, it appears larger in form than single-wall oil tanks.

With two strong layers, the double-wall fuel tank is far more resilient and long-lasting. In fact, most manufacturer warranties cover this unit for as long as 25 to 30 years.

And while getting this is more expensive than its single-wall counterpart, it can be a solid investment for homeowners.

2) Full Capacity of the Oil Tank

Your oil tank’s capacity also plays a role in determining the final price of the replacement project. In simple terms, the larger the tank you get, the more you will pay.

Residential-size oil tanks are available in 275, 300, 330, or 500 gallons. 

The first is suitable for smaller families with one to three bedrooms, while the second and third are for at least three bedrooms, and the fourth fits bigger families with three to five bedrooms.

Here’s a table showing the typical rates for some of these oil tank sizes:

Oil Tank SizeTypical Cost
275 gallons$1,500
300 gallons$1,700
330 gallons$1,850

3) Location of the Old Tank

Location of the Old Tank

Besides the type and capacity of the new tank, the contractor will have to remove the existing tank, and the work difficulty can vary depending on its location.

Your old tank could have been installed above-ground indoors, above-ground outdoors, or below the ground.

Look at the table below for a cost overview of removing an oil tank in different locations:

Old Tank LocationTypical Replacement Cost
Above-ground inside the house$800 - $2,500
Above-ground outside the house$1,500 - $3,000
Below the ground$2,000 - $4,500

Furthermore, allow us to provide a word of explanation for each one so you can better understand why its costs are such and what sort work it will involve:

  1. Above-Ground Indoor Oil Tank

In the US, it’s common to install an oil tank indoors in the basement because it’s the easiest and most affordable of all three options, costing between $800 and $2,500.

It won’t involve building a concrete foundation on which to support the oil tank nor complex excavation work.

  1. Above-Ground Outdoor Oil Tank

The total cost for building an above-ground outdoor storage tank is $1,500 to $3,000, which is a middle-tier cost.

Many homeowners that don’t have ample space to keep the oil tank indoors go for this option.

But note that they will have to get a builder to build a concrete slab where the oil tank will be set.

  1. Underground Oil Tank

A buried heating oil tank entails a costlier work, generally ranging from $2,000 to $4,500, since it would require excavation and digging work.

That means the task will require manual labor and heavy-duty equipment and vehicles to complete, which translates to more effort and time expended.

4) Leaking on the Existing Tank

You may want to get your current tank replaced because its fuel has spilled. In this case, an oil tank specialist will have to carry out the cleaning and disposal of this substance.

Depending on how much liquid the unit has leaked out, measured in ounces or pounds, you can expect the job to add an extra $10 to $70 to your bill.

In some cases, you can get a discount on the price tag if you let the team pump out the excess oil that’s leaking out for them to reuse. Since the oil is reusable, there’s value to this.

Having said that, if you’d want to keep the oil for yourself, then you have to pay a certain cost for them to extract and filter the leftover oil.

5) Outdated or Damaged Oil Lines

Switching or upgrading to a new oil line can cost you an additional cost of about $500.

The purpose of the oil line is to convey oil from the tank to your furnace or other heating systems.

If your oil line is buried underground and is within concrete made of old materials like brass, copper, steel, or iron, it might have to be changed or upgraded to meet the standards of modern building codes for efficiency and safety reasons.

When the oil line is redone by a specialist, it should then run along the floor or on the ceiling. This would significantly fight corrosion and accidental leaks that will lead to exorbitant repairs.

It’s also possible that your oil line may need to be insulated so that it won’t freeze or develop ice crystals and malfunction over the winter.

6) Labor

In general, labor costs go from $500 to $1,200. But different oil tank tradesmen charge differently depending on their skill level and the project scope. 

Although licensed and higher-experienced contractors charge higher than those that aren’t, you can rest assured that the work will be done in the best and safest way.

As mentioned earlier, the harder the job is, the more you will pay. Replacing an underground oil tank as opposed to an above-ground indoor or outdoor tank will cost higher.

Hiring qualified and adept contractors will most likely result in a safe and properly installed oil tank that will have max efficiency, fewer repairs, and less oil waste buildup for your house. 

You can have total peace of mind about having it in your home for the many years to come.

How much will DIY oil tank replacement cost?

How much will DIY oil tank replacement cost

Since labor isn’t included, the cost of replacing the oil tank on your own will be $500 to $1,200 less. 

While it drastically brings down the price, we don’t advise embarking on this DIY project. Oil tank replacement is dangerous work with heavy, harmful, and flammable materials involved.

You may also have to change the oil line if it is outdated to prevent sudden leaks or natural corrosion. Installing it wrongly not only endangers you and your household but also costs the earth.

For these and other equally important reasons, it’s best to rely on a licensed and trained oil tank expert. After all, the work won’t be that hard nor take that long for them to do, leaving you free to focus on other things instead.

When should I replace my oil tank?

When should I replace my oil tank

Oil tanks may have to be replaced every 10 to 15 years, which is usually their max lifespans. That is provided you have given them the right care as they need.

But if you own a double-walled oil tank and take great care of it, it may last far longer than this—even up to 30 years. So you can just replace it if it is showing negative signs like corrosion, less heat from the furnace, an unsightly appearance, and so on.

And remember, in order to achieve a lasting oil tank, you’d have to do your part, which is to take care of the unit as advised by a trusted professional, report any faults promptly and get it repaired quickly, and also, have it regularly inspected.

Helpful Tips to Spend Less on Replacing Your Oil Tank

Below are practical ways that allow you to spend less on replacing your oil storage tank:

  1. Get a smaller oil tank

A smaller oil tank costs cheaper than a bigger one. See if your family and pets can benefit from the heat supply coming from a 275 or 300-gallon oil tank rather than 330 or 500 gallons.

  1. Install it inside the home

If possible, have a pro install the oil tank inside your home garage or basement or other indoor spaces where it is spacious and safe.

Installing it indoors won’t require you to build a concrete slab. It will merely involve a simple removal and installation, which will cost you less.

  1. Make it accessible for contractors

An accessible location implies that the tradesmen won’t have to struggle to get the work done. One way of doing this is to clean the area regularly and clear the clutter and debris around it.

Furthermore, it may also be better to take down a wall rather than work through the concrete foundation to access the oil tank. You could actually save thousands of dollars doing this.

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