Above ground oil tank outside of a person’s home

Where’s the Best Location to Install an Oil Tank?

In most cases, installing a new tank in the exact location as the one you’re replacing is the best option. However, if the old tank was leaking or showing signs of stress, it may be time to consider a different location for the new unit.

When it comes time to install an oil tank, it can be challenging to decide where to locate it on your property. First, you will need to determine if you want an indoor or outdoor oil tank. Then, you will need to consider a few different factors, such as the stability of the tank and the size of your property, before choosing a specific location to store the tank. Most importantly, you must consider the safety of you and your loved ones when selecting a location for the tank.

Benefits of Indoor Oil Tanks

Indoor tanks are just that — they are located inside your home. Usually, these units will be placed in a utility closet or the basement.

These types of heating oil tanks are protected from outdoor elements, including dramatic temperature changes, so they are less prone to rust and have longer lifespans. These units are also easier to inspect and maintain. If there are any oil leaks or issues, they will be easy to detect.

Benefits of Outdoor Oil Tanks

Installing your heating oil tank outside can protect your home from oil leaks and potential fires. This is especially crucial if you have kids or animals in the house who may not understand what oil leaks are. An outdoor tank is also more accessible for your oil delivery company. They will not need to come into your home or disturb you to refill the tank.

Your outdoor oil storage tank can either be aboveground or underground. An aboveground tank is located outside your home on a concrete pad or solid surface. This tank is easy to install and inspect by repair technicians. Underground oil tanks in PA, however, are located entirely under the earth’s surface and are therefore discreet and protected from the elements.

Other Considerations When Choosing an Oil Tank Location

Whether you choose an aboveground or underground tank, you will need to comply with a few regulations established by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) as well as consider a few personal factors.


One regulation established by the NFPA that you need to consider is ensuring the stability of the home heating oil tank. Whether the tank is located inside or outside, you will need to make sure the tank is properly stabilized.

Basements are ideal for indoor tanks because they have a large concrete floor. This type of flooring is usually level and firm enough to support the weight of an oil tank.

For aboveground tanks, the bedding surface should consist of natural materials such as bark or sod. Then, a concrete pad should be poured to provide a solid foundation for the tank to rest on. A subgrade should be placed around the pad’s perimeter to support proper water drainage.

All tanks, indoor or outdoor, should be outfitted with support legs to keep the tank in one spot.

Vehicle Traffic

A vehicle hitting an oil tank could lead to significant damage and injuries. That’s why the NFPA has established a regulation stating that oil tanks cannot be located near vehicle traffic.

Whether or not you regularly use the driveway or your garage, you should never install an oil tank in these locations. Additionally, you should not locate the tank on a public road, even if it is “abandoned.”

Oil Supply Lines

These supply lines connect your oil tank to your home. According to NFPA guidelines, you must protect these lines from extreme temperatures and forces, such as heavy ice or snow. You can do this by installing supply line covers.

You will also need to ensure the oil supply lines are installed on a decline towards your house to allow proper flow of the oil to your home. Because of this guideline, you may need to install the tank at a point higher than your home. It can also mean an outdoor tank is not ideal if your home is located at the highest point of your property.


Now that we’ve covered the NFPA regulations you need to follow for oil tank locations, we wanted to discuss a few major personal factors that will ultimately determine the final destination of your tank.

If you take great pride in your landscaping, you may not want to mar it with a giant heating oil tank. In this case, an indoor tank or underground tank may be a better option. However, installing an underground tank involves digging up your lawn, and it could take a while before you’re able to get the yard back to your standards.

You could install an aboveground oil tank and take steps to disguise it. If you go this route, you should ask your professional tank installer for their opinion so you can ensure your concealment options are safe.

Size Restrictions

Unfortunately, not every space is ideal for home heating oil tank installations. Your basement may be too small for an indoor oil tank. Or, your yard may not be the right size to safely support an oil tank, and your only option is installing an underground tank.

Your oil tank installer can help you determine if the location you have in mind is big enough for a tank. If it’s not, they can recommend alternative locations that will still meet your needs and preferences.

We’ll Help You Find the Best Location for Your Oil Tank

Determining the best location for your heating system’s oil tank depends on a number of factors, including NFPA safety regulations and your personal preferences. Our team at Professional Tank & Environmental will help you determine the ideal location for your tank and ensure your peace of mind with quality oil tank installations. Our tanks will meet your family’s heating needs for years to come. We can also help with oil tank removal in Harrisburg, PA, if the old oil tank is leaking or decommissioned.

Contact us today to schedule a free estimate for a new oil tank!