If your home relies on heating oil to power the heat system, there is a pretty good chance that you have a storage tank on your property beneath the ground. Heating oil tanks are often placed underground instead of above ground simply because of aesthetic purposes, but being underground also means the tank stays at a more consistent temperature. The only problem with having your heating oil tank beneath the ground is the fact that you may not always be able to spot leaks right when they happen. Nevertheless, there are a few sneaky indications of a tank leak that you can be on the lookout for to help you out.
The ground around your underground storage tank is discolored.
If the heating oil has been leeching out into the ground it will have an affect on the soil consistency, color, and appearance overall. You may also spot signs of vegetation dying if the tank is leaking oil. In some cases, these discolored spots, whether it is the soil or vegetation, will appear only in small spots, but they will be quite noticeable in comparison to the rest of the surrounding ground. If you see odd coloring, it is best to have the tank checked out because it likely needs to be replaced.
Water on the ground after rain appears to have oil in it.
If you get a good heavy rain, head out to the location of your underground heating oil tank and take a closer look. If puddles have formed on the ground, check them out to see if you notice any telltale indications of oil floating around in the water. The oil and water will not mix, but the heating oil is lighter than water, so if there is heating oil in the ground, it will likely float to the top of whatever water it comes in contact with during rain.
Your heating system's pilot light will not stay lit.
In some cases, the signs of a leaking underground heating oil tank will come as an issue with the heat system, specifically the inability to keep the pilot light burning. This is a reaction caused by water or moisture actually leaking into the tank, which means the fuel that comes in contact with the burner once it is routed to the house is not pure enough to combust as normal. The pilot light may burn intermittently, but will not offer a continuous flame as usual.
For more information, talk to a professional like Plastics Inc.