Oil Tank Sweep
Oil Tank Sweeps are outside the scope of a general home inspection and are NOT included, with any standard inspections. Oil Tank Sweeps are offered as an additional service for a fee.
We strive to provide world-class inspection and testing services within every type of budget. We have a team of Certified Inspectors and third-party contractors that are trained in all aspects of environmental services and testing to ensure that the home is safe for you and your family. Our inspectors are equipped with the latest technologies in the industry.
Visit our Services Page for a list of all inspection services we offer at SafePro Home Inspections.
What is an Oil Tank Sweep
An oil tank sweep is like a home inspection but is specific to one thing, finding an "undisclosed" buried oil tank. This is an investigation into the existence or non-existence of an underground oil tank on a particular property using subsurface detection instruments and visual cues. A tank sweep will include visual evaluation, looking for clues as to prior oil heat, and a scan of the property to detect the existence of an underground mass consistent with the location and size of a potential abandoned underground oil tank. The purpose of identifying an underground tank is to avoid the potential of costly removal and contamination cleanup from leaking tanks.
Purchasing a home with an underground oil tank is a significant risk. There is no way of determining with 100% certainty the condition of an underground oil tank without removing it from the ground. Both, sellers and buyers are having tank sweeps performed due to the large concern over leaking tanks. Most insurance companies exclude liability for home fuel oil tanks, so homeowners are left on the hook for remediation. Based on our experience, an average of about 50% of the tank sweeps find evidence of prior oil heat. That number should not be that surprising since natural gas really only became popular in the 1970's.
The risks of an underground oil tank range from environmental and legal to financial and health-related. Even if the leak doesn't reach the surface water, the health impacts of concentrated oil vapors can range from headaches and drowsiness all the way to more serious conditions if there is long-term exposure. When stored and used properly, home heating oil is safe, but it can become an environmental pollutant when it leaks.
The U.S. EPA has determined that over 50% of the regulated underground storage tanks are leaking. Undetected leaks can poison the soil, groundwater, and wildlife. While it has relatively low toxicity to humans, prolonged exposure can be harmful, even deadly. Petroleum vapors from leaking underground storage tanks have the potential to enter buildings, where they might pose a risk to the health of occupants. Also, fumes and vapors released from the tank can accumulate in basements and other areas of a structure, increasing the risk of a fire or explosion.