Ask the Inspector: Should I Be Worried About a Buried Fuel Tank?

Welcome to our latest in the Ask the Inspector series where Al Dingerfeld, one of only 6 Certified Master Inspectors in the State of Connecticut, answers your questions related to home inspections, safety and regulations you should know about. 

Our most recent question is one we hear frequently from home buyers who are in the market to purchase a property and suddenly hear an underground oil tank may be present. They’ve either never heard of this type of fuel tank before or had someone tell them to be beware of it and now it becomes a make or break question in their journey. 

Keep reading and learn how home inspectors can help you verify that the buried fuel tank is present and/or safe.



I am buying an older home and my father said I should watch out for buried fuel tanks. What should I do?



First, you should always have your desired property inspected by a licensed professional. He will look for a lot more stuff than even the most well-meaning relatives will.

Also note that before completing the purchase of a property that has or had a buried oil tank you will need to have it removed, abandoned in place, or tested.

As the home inspector goes through his process, he will operate the heating system, analyze the zone layout, determine the fuel type with how it enters or is stored, look for safety devices and try to determine if the system is being professionally maintained.

During the overall inspection, fill and/or vent pipes for an underground storage tank (UST) might be spotted outside or in a crawl space. Fuel lines coming from the UST and into the basement near the heating device position are sometimes found. Both of these findings will cause the need to research the local municipality records for any approved and documented removal or vacating in place. Proof of these types of action should be secured. If there is still uncertainty on the presence of USTs, ground penetrating radar can be used by professionals licensed to remove tanks following DEEP and EPA protocols.


Have questions? Want to book a dependable home inspector? Call Accuracy Plus Home Inspections today! We’ve been providing inspections for both buyers and sellers for over 13 years and are accredited by the CT BBB with an A+ Accreditation Certified Master Inspector Badge!