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Drawbacks Of Buying A Home With An Oil Tank
In: Business

Drawbacks Of Buying A Home With An Oil Tank


I remember the first time I saw my new home. It was so perfect I couldn’t believe it. The kitchen had all the appliances, the large and cozy bedrooms, and everything looked comfortable and clean, just as I had imagined. I wanted an equally beautiful backyard with zen-Like design ideas for a relaxing retreat. I bought a white picket fence and flower beds to go with it. I hired landscapers to power wash the backyard each week and install a gazebo, but something was wrong. My flower beds would not grow and withered away each time I planted them. The grass was growing in patches. Couldn’t pinpoint the issue till I hired Jacksonville home inspectors through a friend’s reference. 

The inspection took hours, and the report came the next day. The report revealed my backyard was not growing because, no wait. 

My house has an underground oil tank! 

The revelation astounded me. That explained the dark brown patches in the flower beds that never dried! The inspection report said the oil had leaked and seeped into the soil below. The tank had to be excavated, and the cost was a whopping $10,000.

Many homeowners had to unfortunately go through a similar dilemma when an oil tank was found on their property. Many people are taken by surprise since they didn’t even know they existed. If you fear you may have an oil tank buried under your home, read on. 

Risks Of Living In A Property With An Underground Oil Tank

When renting or leasing a home, it’s essential to consider the potential risks of having an underground oil tank. Many homeowners have no idea whether there are underground oil tanks on their property. It was common in the 20th century to install underground tanks on a property to save space indoors. Most of these tanks are still left buried underground. The home may have changed owners, with the new owners oblivious to the planted tank. You can look for signs to check if you have an underground oil tank on your property. One of these is the exterior vent and fill pipes visible on the outside wall of the home. (these are located near the ground, and the tank is usually buried under these.)

When To Have Your Home Tested For An Oil Tank

Underground oil tanks can go undetected for years. But, if you notice these signs around your home, you may be in for a surprise. Corroded and leaking oil tanks often cause the following damage to homes. 

-If you are experiencing unexplained black streaks on your basement walls.

-Excessive moisture in your basement or seepage under doors.

-If you are experiencing unexplained odors in your basement or house.

-Find a chock-full of water from the basement floor.

-If you are experiencing unexplained seepage from any area of your home, contact a professional for evaluation.

Home inspectors in Jacksonville Florida, should be consulted immediately on seeing such signs to avoid an accidental release of toxic chemicals in the event of a leak.

Drawbacks Of Buying A Home With An Underground Oil Tank

The use of oil tanks stopped decades ago. However, buying a home with an underground oil tank comes with its drawbacks. This is because the oil tank is not meant to be used as a primary gas source, and the risk of leaks is high. Other drawbacks include:

  • Not getting buyers for your property since people don’t want to buy homes with oil tanks.
  • Disposing of oil tanks can cost thousands of dollars.
  • If oil tanks leak, they can cause damage to the ground below as well as your property.
  • Lenders don’t give mortgages to houses with oil tanks below them.
  • The homeowner is usually responsible for an oil tank cleanup and damage to surrounding properties, and it can go up to $100,000.

The Oil Tank Dilemma

An estimated 19,000 underground fuel oil storage tanks in Florida were buried underground during the 20th century. The size of these tanks ranges from a few thousand gallons to more than 100,000 gallons. Florida officials are concerned because many of these fuel oil storage tanks are located near densely populated areas and could pose a risk if they fail or leak.

The state has been dealing with the oil tank leak issue for decades, but it has only recently started to take action because there is no easy way to locate these buried tanks without digging them up and destroying them. However, with the discovery of these fuel oil storage tanks, the state has begun to look into what they can do to prevent more leaks from happening in the future.

If you are buying a home, it is your responsibility to ask the seller if they have an oil tank. You will need to call a licensed co to inspect the tank before signing the contract if they say yes. If you are selling your home in Florida and want it inspected for oil tanks, call Home Inspectors In Jacksonville, Florida, to do so.


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