Looking Under the Surface -- Can You Dig It!

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

In the past I have written a number of articles about underground fuel tanks, both heating oil and gasoline tanks. Such tanks were common in older homes and, sometimes, I find homes where the tanks are still in use supplying a furnace.

The most common signs of a storage tank underground consist of seeing either the vent, or breather, pipe.

Or a fill pipe or cap.

The first photo is a vent at an underground oil tank. The next one is the fill tube and cap for an old underground gasoline tank. Another thing the inspector might see is a small diameter copper pipe entering a basement or a crawl space wall.

Since I have written about this topic before, my intent here is to show a schematic view of what these systems look like if one can only get under the soil. I have had clients who are confused by the configuration. They cannot visualize how the system is setup. I think the photo below makes it all pretty clear. That is the fill pipe at the right and the vent at the left. You can also see a fuel line entering the home.

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Steven L. Smith

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Topic:
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Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
Tags:
buried oil tanks
bellingham home inspector
ferndale home inspector
blaine home inspector
sumas home inspector
lynden home inspector

Comments 4 New Comment

Anonymous #1
Anonymous
Anonymous

Not being able to see what is under the ground, it looks like you have to be a good detective to know what is going on.

November 09, 2009 03:22 PM
Rainmaker
66,049
Tammy Woodin
Sudden Valley, Washington

Do these tanks deteriorate underground? Just wondering how  to determine the condition of the tank.

November 09, 2009 03:32 PM
Rainmaker
1,167,817
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Yep, buried.

November 09, 2009 03:42 PM
Rainer
67,262
David Helm
Bellingham, Wa. Licensed Home Insp
Helm Home Inspections

These tanks do deteriorate, leaking oil into the soil.  They can become a major nightmare for the homeowner since all contaminated soil has to be removed and disposed of in an ecological manner.

November 10, 2009 12:57 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,480

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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Additional Information

Steven L. Smith, King of the House Home Inspection, provides information for real estate buyers, sellers and real estate industry professionals. Blog posts emphasize issues commonly found in Bellingham, WA and Whatcom County. Smith is Washington State Licensed Home Inspector #207, a state licensed structural pest inspector, ASHI certified inspector #252760 and one of the most experienced inspectors in the northwest corner of the Pacific Northwest. Steven L. Smith is lead instructor of home inspection at Bellingham Technical College and teaches classes for Washington State University and the Washington State Department of Agriculture. Steve was a two-term member of the state licensing board.