How Much Does Oil Tank Removal Cost?
A worn-out or leaking oil tank can contaminate the soil and nearby water sources, so it’s recommended that homeowners address this issue immediately. Oil tank removal costs $400 to $3,000, or an average of $1,489.
- The typical cost to remove an oil tank from a home is between $400 and $3,000, with a national average cost of $1,489.
- The main factors that can influence oil tank removal cost include the type and capacity of the tank, the costs for abandonment or decommissioning, the cost of labor and permits, the home’s geographic location, and the accessibility of the oil tank.
- A homeowner may need to have their oil tank removed if they notice leaks or moisture, clogged filters or pipes, a cracked or frozen gauge, weak or unstable legs, or decreased energy efficiency.
- Oil tank removal is not a DIY-friendly job. Instead, homeowners will want to hire a licensed and certified professional to ensure that the tank is removed correctly and safely.
Residential oil tanks are used to store oil for home heating use, but as they age, they can start to rust, crack, or develop slow leaks. Even if the used oil tank appears to be in good condition, some cities or municipalities require that the tank be replaced after it has hit a specific age. It’s recommended that homeowners start thinking about investing in a new oil tank if their current tank is more than 15 years old or has signs of damage.
According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the cost of residential oil tank removal is about $1,489, though the cost can range from $400 to $3,000. It’s important for homeowners to keep in mind that there are many factors that can influence the total cost of this project, such as the location of the oil storage tank. Generally, basement oil tank removal cost estimates will be less than quotes for underground oil tank removal. Homeowners can use this guide to learn more about oil tank removal cost factors to come up with an accurate budget for this project.
Factors in Calculating Oil Tank Removal Cost
The cost to remove a heating oil tank can vary based on a variety of factors, including the type of tank, tank capacity, local labor rates, and permit costs. Depending on the oil tank removal company, it’s even possible for homeowners to save money with a free oil tank removal estimate, though not every company offers this deal. Homeowners can find out more about oil tank removal cost factors below.
The type of oil tank can affect the cost of the project due to the varying level of difficulty. Above-ground oil tank removal is the easiest and most affordable at about $300 to $1,000. Because the oil tank is located outside the home and above the ground, no excavation is required to remove it, hence the lower cost. If the oil tank is located in the basement of the home, then the removal project will cost a bit more due to the added time and difficulty involved.
To remove a basement oil tank, the removal company will generally need to drain and dismantle the oil tank inside the home, so that it can be taken out in pieces small enough to fit through a window or door. Homeowners will typically pay about $500 to $1,500 for this service. The most costly oil tank type to remove is an underground or buried oil tank. These tanks need to be excavated and extracted, adding to the cost of the project. On average, it costs between $1,000 and $3,500 to remove an underground oil tank.
The bigger the tank, the more difficult it will be to remove and the longer it will take, leading to higher labor and service costs. Smaller oil tanks will still typically cost about $400 to $1,200 to remove, depending on the type of tank, but as the size increases, the cost of the project will also increase. For tanks that boast a massive 3,000-gallon capacity, the oil tank removal cost can quickly grow to $3,000.
Before homeowners schedule an oil tank removal, it’s recommended that they find out the size of the tank so that this information can be used to come up with a realistic estimate. Also, it’s a good idea for them to get quotes from more than one oil tank removal company to ensure that they are getting a fair price for the work.
|Tank Size (Gallons)||Average Removal Cost|
|550 or less||$400 to $1,200|
|1,000||$1,300 to $1,800|
|1,500||$1,900 to $2,200|
|2,000||$2,300 to $2,700|
|3,000||$2,800 to $3,000|
Abandonment or Decommissioning
An alternative to removing the oil tank is to have the tank abandoned or decommissioned. This process involves leaving the tank buried in the ground instead of having it hauled away by an oil tank removal company. However, before the tank can be abandoned, it needs to be cleaned and filled, and the soil around the tank needs to be tested. This service will typically cost about $1,000 to $3,000.
The contractor will drain the tank, then cut it open for better access. They will then drain and wash the inside of the tank before cutting holes through the bottom of the tank to test the soil. When this is complete, the contractor will fill the oil tank with foam or a concrete slurry. Sand has been used in the past, but it is less effective, so many professionals suggest foam or concrete.
Labor and Permits
Typically, homeowners can expect to pay about $30 to $160 for oil heating removal permits. These permits are issued by the local government permit office or by the fire department. Oil tank removal doesn’t have high material costs, so the bulk of the charges go to paying the labor rates of the workers.
Location is a key part of coming up with accurate cost estimates for a wide range of projects. This is because costs can fluctuate depending on the supply and demand of a service or product. If a location has a high number of oil tank removal professionals but a low demand for this service, then the cost will be lower than in a region where there is a high demand for the service. The table below shows the average removal cost of a 550-gallon oil tank based on the geographic location.
|State||Average Removal Cost (550-Gallon Tank)|
|Connecticut||$2,150 to $2,350|
|Illinois||$1,650 to $1,800|
|Minnesota||$1,650 to $1,850|
|New Jersey||$2,100 to $2,300|
|New York||$2,150 to $2,400|
|Oregon||$1,850 to $2,050|
|Pennsylvania||$1,650 to $1,800|
|Tennessee||$1,450 to $1,650|
|Washington||$1,700 to $1,900|
The easier it is to access the oil tank during removal, the lower the cost of the project. This is because it takes less time to complete, keeping the labor costs low. Above-ground oil tank removal is the most affordable, since the tank doesn’t need to be excavated from underground or dismantled inside the home before removal. If the tank is buried underground, homeowners will need to pay about $500 to $1,000 extra for excavation and extraction. A similar fee may be added to the removal of a basement oil tank if it needs to be partially excavated or dismantled to remove it from the home.
Additional Costs and Considerations
While it would be ideal for every project to be neat, clean, and easy to complete with no added costs, this is rarely the case. During oil tank removal, the removal company may charge additional fees for various services, including existing oil removal, soil testing, soil remediation, fuel line removal, or a furnace inspection. Homeowners will want to speak to the oil tank removal professional to get a breakdown of the process and a clear outline of the costs involved with the work.
Existing Oil Removal
One factor that will often come up during the removal of an oil tank is the additional cost to remove and dispose of existing oil that is remaining in the tank. Ideally, the homeowner will have used the majority of the oil in the tank before hiring a professional oil tank removal company to remove the existing tank.
However, in some cases, the tank may need to be removed as soon as possible, such as if the oil tank develops a large leak soon after a heating oil delivery. In these situations, there may be a significant amount of oil left in the tank at the time of removal. Existing oil removal and disposal rates can vary depending on the city or municipality, but homeowners can expect to pay between $10 and $70 per pound, including any service fees.
Soil Testing and Remediation
The soil below and around the oil tank may need to be tested if the tank is found to be cracked, ruptured, or leaking. A soil test for the presence of oil will cost between $500 and $1,800 on average. This costly expense can often be avoided if homeowners replace the oil tank every 10 to 15 years instead of waiting for the tank to show signs of damage.
If the soil testing indicates that the surrounding soil is contaminated, the homeowner will need to pay for remediation services, which cost between $500 and $10,000. Additionally, the state may require the homeowner to report the leak to the regional-level environmental agency. Homeowners can speak to the oil tank removal professionals or call their state-level environmental agency directly to ask about the proper reporting procedure.
Fuel Line Removal
In most cases, when a worn, aged, or damaged heating oil tank is removed, it is quickly replaced with a new tank. However, if the homeowner is researching the pros and cons of gas and oil heat and considering switching to a gas or electric furnace, or changing the location of the existing oil tank, then there may be an additional fee for fuel line removal. If the homeowner chooses to remove an above-ground oil tank and replace it with a basement oil tank, then the fuel line to the old tank will need to be removed at the same time. This service typically costs about $40 to $100 per hour to close off supply lines and patch any holes in the exterior and interior of the home.
During the removal or replacement of an oil tank, it’s a good idea for a homeowner to have the furnace inspected for any leaks, damage, or other issues. This service will typically cost about $70 to $130, though the oil tank removal company may offer a discounted price for bundling the furnace inspection with the oil tank removal.
This is not guaranteed, however, so before agreeing to a furnace inspection, homeowners will want to be sure to get all the details from the oil tank removal professional to avoid surprises on the bill. Also, if there is a significant issue with the oil furnace, the homeowner may need to pay to replace the appliance. The cost of an oil furnace replacement ranges from $2,500 to $6,000.
Oil Tank Removal Cost by Type of Tank
There are three main types of oil tanks, based on the construction and installation location. These types include above-ground, basement, and underground oil tanks. In general, homeowners can expect to pay more for the removal of a buried oil tank than they would for the removal of a basement or above-ground oil tank. Below is more information on each type of tank and its average removal cost.
|Tank Type||Average Removal Cost|
|Above-ground||$300 to $1,000|
|Basement||$500 to $1,500|
|Underground||$1,000 to $3,500|
Accessing an above-ground heating oil tank is relatively easy compared to digging up a buried tank or dismantling a basement tank. Due to the increased accessibility and ease of work, the cost to remove an above-ground heating oil tank tends to be less expensive than the cost to remove a basement or underground oil tank. Homeowners will typically pay about $300 to $1,000 for above-ground tank removal, though there may still be additional fees that can affect the price for unused oil removal and disposal, soil testing, or remediation services.
Removing a basement oil tank doesn’t cost as much as removing an underground oil tank, but it is more involved than removing an above-ground tank. The oil tank removal professionals will need to dismantle the oil tank inside the home so that pieces can be passed through a window or carried out a door. Basement oil tank removal costs range from about $500 to $1,500. However, if the basement tank is at least halfway buried in the ground, then the cost can increase to $2,500 or more.
When the oil tank is buried, the cost to remove it is typically higher than if the tank is located in the basement or above-ground. Homeowners with an underground oil tank can expect removal costs to range from about $1,000 to $3,500. This estimate takes into account the tank capacity, accessibility, labor rates, and the excavation costs necessary to complete the job. However, it’s also important to mention that the harder the ground where the tank is buried, the more the oil tank removal is likely to cost.
Do I Need Oil Tank Removal?
As part of the heating system, an oil storage tank is important for ensuring the health and safety of the residents, especially during the winter months. However, over time, the tank can become rusted, develop leaks, or show signs of cracking. Parts of the oil tank may become clogged or broken, requiring an update to keep the heating system functioning properly. Homeowners can use the following signs to determine if oil tank removal is necessary.
Leaks or Moisture
One of the most obvious signs that the oil tank needs to be removed is an active leak, though oil tank leaks can sometimes be difficult to detect, with some even going undetected for years without anyone realizing it. If fuel bills seem to be more costly than normal, homeowners are advised to inspect the oil tank for any cracks, ruptures, or leaks.
Another way to detect leaks is by looking for wet spots or puddles around the tank or along the piping. Leaks will also give off a persistent odor of heating oil. When the tank leaks, the oil levels drop, which allows enough space inside the tank for condensation to form, leading to rust or corrosion. While some leaks can be patched, if a homeowner spots one, it’s likely time to replace the oil tank.
Clogged Filters or Pipes
When the oil in a heating oil tank begins to get low, there is a chance that sediment could get pulled into the system, where it may clog the filters. If the sediment gets sucked into the fuel line, it can cause the system to fail. The more rusted and corroded the tank, the higher the chance that sediment will be pulled into the fuel line, causing significant damage to the heating system.
Homeowners can hire a company to come clean out the tank if it’s in relatively good condition, but if the oil tank is badly rusted or corroded, then the best option is to remove and replace the oil tank with a new product.
Cracked, Stuck, or Frozen Gauge
There are a variety of problems that can occur if the oil tank is left mostly empty, so it’s important to keep a close eye on the fuel gauge. By monitoring the gauge, the homeowner can stay on top of refilling the tank to avoid potential issues with clogged filters or pipes, rust, corrosion, and condensation. However, it can be difficult to remember to refill the oil tank if the gauge gets damaged.
A cracked, stuck, or frozen gauge will need to be repaired to give an accurate reading of the current oil levels. If the gauge continues to be a problem, it may be a sign that the entire tank needs to be removed and replaced with a new heating oil tank for the home.
Weak or Unstable Legs
Basement oil tanks and above-ground oil tanks typically stand on a set of four legs that keep the tank off the ground. This reduces the risk of rust and corrosion from moisture, allowing the oil tank to last longer before being replaced. However, the oil tank legs are still in contact with the ground. Indoors, the difference between where the legs sit and the position of the tank is minimal because the environment is generally dry.
Outdoors, however, there is moisture in the ground and in any low-lying vegetation, like grass, which can accelerate rusting and corrosion. The legs lift the oil tank off the ground to protect it from moisture, but to do that the legs need to be in contact with the ground. This can lead the legs to become weak or unstable from the buildup of rust and corrosion. Homeowners may be able to get the legs replaced, but if the tank is around 10 to 15 years old, then it’s recommended that they replace the entire tank.
Oil Tank Age
An indoor oil tank that is well.maintained may be able to last for up to 30 years before it needs to be replaced. This is because the tank is protected from rain, wind, sleet, and snow, reducing the damage caused by rusting and corrosion. However, most outdoor tanks need to be replaced about once every 10 to 15 years to avoid any issues with leaks or soil contamination.
If the current oil tank is around 10 to 15 years old, it’s recommended that the homeowner put together a budget for an oil tank removal and replacement project. They’ll want to keep in mind that the older the tank, the more likely it is to leak, leading to costly remediation services. Homeowners can reduce the chance of needing soil testing or contamination remediation by replacing the oil tank at 10 to 15 years of age.
One sign of a worn-out oil tank that may be difficult to miss is the decreased efficiency of the heating system. The reason this can be hard to spot is the normal fluctuation in utility costs, but if the homeowner does notice a decrease in the heating oil efficiency, it’s likely the oil tank or the oil furnace is in need of replacement. Fixing or replacing the oil tank can help homeowners cut the costs of home heating in the long run.
Before hiring an oil tank removal company to remove and replace the existing oil tank, homeowners are advised to monitor the heating oil usage, as well as the monthly utility bills, to determine if there is a noticeable decrease in efficiency. It’s also worth it for a homeowner to book a furnace inspection appointment to ensure that the heating system is in good working order.
Oil Tank Removal: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When the heating oil tank in the yard reaches 10 to 15 years of age or there are clear signs that point to a leak, then it’s necessary for a homeowner to have the old oil tank removed to avoid soil or water contamination problems. However, even if the homeowner is an experienced DIYer, it is essential that the oil tank removal be completed by a professional oil tank removal and disposal service.
Homeowners will want to look for a company that is licensed, certified, and insured for safe oil tank removal and disposal. Any attempts by a DIYer to take on this job could result in a loss of heat to the home, costly oil spill remediation services, or a possible violation of environmental laws. Additionally, many cities and municipalities require a permit for oil tank removal that cannot be acquired without the proper licensing. Homeowners can research and get quotes from three or more oil tank removal companies to ensure that they get a fair price for the work.
How to Save Money on Oil Tank Removal Cost
The cost to remove a heating oil tank can vary depending on the capacity, location, tank type, local labor rates, and tank accessibility, so it’s important to find ways to keep the cost of the project down. Keep these options in mind when researching and selecting oil tank removal companies to help reduce the overall cost of the job.
- Schedule tank removal during the offseason. Most oil tank removal and replacement jobs take place in the late spring and summer because the weather is typically warm enough for residents to go without using the heater. However, homeowners may be able to get more affordable rates if they schedule the work for the early spring or fall.
- Get multiple quotes from oil tank removal professionals. Researching and getting cost estimates from at least three different oil tank removal companies will help ensure you get a fair rate for the job.
- Act to resolve issues as soon as possible. An old, leaking oil tank can contaminate the soil and nearby water sources, leading to increased costs for soil testing and remediation services. To keep the cost of oil tank removal down, make sure to replace the oil tank as soon as issues occur, instead of waiting as the problem gets worse.
- DIY parts of the job. While oil tank removal is a task that needs to be handled by licensed professionals, there are parts of the job that can be managed by a DIYer. For instance, homeowners can fill in the hole left by an underground oil tank or patch holes in the exterior of the home after fuel line removal to reduce labor costs.
Questions to Ask About Oil Tank Removal
Oil tank removal is a job that needs to be left to the professionals, but the homeowner will still need to be aware of the general process, timeline, work required, cleanup process, and any charges or fees associated with the work. Before hiring a professional oil tank removal company, homeowners are advised to ask the following questions to ensure that they have all the information necessary to proceed without any surprises when the job is underway or when they get the bill.
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have any testimonials or online reviews?
- Are your workers licensed, bonded, and insured?
- How will additional charges be handled?
- How will you resolve contractual disagreements?
- Can you provide a list of past client referrals?
- Will you obtain the permits for the job?
- When can you start, and what is the projected timeline for completion?
- How frequently should the tank be replaced?
- Do you provide a written quote?
- Is the tank leaking?
- Will you be testing the soil?
- Does the area require remediation services?
- Do you offer furnace inspection services?
- How will you clean up at the end of the project?
Oil tank removal cost estimates can range from just $400 to as much as $3,000, so it’s important for a homeowner to have as much information about oil storage tank removal as possible. Homeowners can find out more about signs that home oil tank removal is necessary, indications of a leaking heating oil tank, as well as some additional considerations that affect the cost of replacing an oil tank.
Q. Why should an oil tank be removed?
An oil storage tank may need to be removed for several different reasons. In some towns and municipalities, the local government may mandate that a tank be replaced after a specific number of years. If the tank is leaking, severely rusted, or otherwise damaged, then it will likely need to be removed and replaced with a new tank. Another factor that could force the homeowner to remove the storage tank is if the home is being sold, though they may just need an inspection to certify that the tank is in good condition and leak-free.
Q. What are the signs that my oil tank is leaking?
There are a few ways to tell if the oil tank is leaking, including oil spots around the property, an oil smell in the yard, or a thin oil sheen on the groundwater supply. An oil tank leak can also lead to rising energy bills as a homeowner pays for oil that is seeping into the ground. Once the oil seeps into the soil, it can cause the plants in the area to die, so if suspicious plant deaths occur, it’s wise to check the oil tank.
Q. Do I have to report a leaking oil tank?
You should report a leaking oil tank to your state’s environmental agency as soon as possible. The oil can contaminate the soil and nearby water supplies, leading to a significant health risk to wildlife and any people who use the water or grow edible plants in the soil.
Q. Do I need a permit to remove an oil tank?
Moving and disposing of an oil tank can be hazardous, so the task is highly regulated. This means that you will need to obtain a removal permit and hire a qualified tank removal company to complete the work.
Q. Will my insurance company cover the oil tank removal cost?
Typically, homeowners insurance policies don’t cover oil tank removal, though there may be some exceptions to this depending on your specific policy. Speak to your insurance agent to find out if the oil tank removal cost is covered.
Q. Is it safe to cut up an old oil tank?
An oil tank can be cut up safely with the correct equipment. However, it’s recommended that homeowners leave this task to a trained and qualified tank removal professional with the tools and know-how to get the job done.