All Jersey Home Inspection in South Plainfield, New Jersey, offers comprehensive home inspection services that cover everything from the foundation to the rooftop, including all major systems and structural components of a home. Pre-purchase home inspections are vital for prospective home buyers, but it’s also becoming more common to request a tank sweep. Our professional home inspectors are also trained to search for undiscovered or undisclosed oil tanks buried beneath the ground. Tank sweeps are becoming increasingly important due to serious financial liability and health concerns over leaking oil tanks that contaminate surrounding soil and groundwater.
What Is An Oil Tank Sweep?
Many gas-heated homes were once heated by oil. Homes built in the early 1900s and up to the mid-1990s may have utilized oil supplied by underground oil tanks. Newer homes that never used heating oil tanks still may have been built on a site where an oil tank was previously buried. An oil tank sweep investigates whether an underground oil tank exists on a particular property using visual cues and subsurface detection instruments. The purpose is to confirm whether a tank exists and its location so it can be assessed and removed. Many abandoned tanks have leaked, which makes removal and the resulting cleanup very costly. Detection is critical before you purchase a property that may have an expensive contamination issue.
Why It’s Important
While some sellers might not disclose the fact there’s an abandoned underground oil tank on the property, some sellers are simply not aware one exists. In many cases, there’s no documentation of the tank’s existence once the home has been converted to a different heating source and system. We recommend tank sweeps for prospective home buyers to avoid significant risks, including:
- Banks and mortgage companies may not approve your home loan without a tank sweep.
- Mortgage lenders won’t approve loans on properties with underground storage tanks.
- Property owners may face thousands of dollars in cleanup costs and even more in soil remediation.
- Homes with buried oil tanks lose value and are difficult to sell.
- Empty tanks not properly backfilled can collapse and create dangerous sinkholes.
- Leaks from underground tanks often produce vapors that can lead to combustion and fire after entering the home.
- Leaks that impact nearby soil, groundwater, aquifers and water supplies can lead to millions of dollars in cleanup and soil disposal.
- Heating oil contains numerous carcinogenic ingredients, which pose serious health risks to anyone in the vicinity.
After years of being buried, it’s not a question of if the oil tank will leak but when. Corrosion will eat away at the tank and if it’s not already leaking, it will eventually. Let us give you peace of mind with a tank sweep to determine whether a property hides a dangerous secret.
Tank Sweep Process
Most oil tanks are within a few feet of a home’s foundation. The components associated with an underground oil tank leave evidence, such as vent and fill piping, tubing and gauges. We begin the tank sweep process with a visual inspection to search for this evidence both outside and inside the home. Our technicians are trained to identify these components and attempt to trace them back to the location of the tank. Although the tank may have already been removed, these components may remain and so can contamination if the site wasn’t properly cleaned up following removal.
The next step is a subsurface detection scan using specialized equipment. We scan the entire surface area of the property and see if the equipment detects the presence of a mass consistent with the size of an underground storage tank. Because tanks are metal, homeowners may mistakenly think they can search for them with a standard metal detector. However, these devices lack the depth range required to detect the tank. Furthermore, these detectors are going to pick up underground pipes and other buried metal that will only confuse an untrained individual. Once we complete our tank sweep, we provide you with a detailed report that covers all our findings.
Sweep Before You Buy
If you’re in the market for a new home or considering selling your current home, conduct a tank sweep for your protection. We’ve built a reputation for reliable service, including oil tank sweeps you can count on. Our knowledgeable technicians service all of New Jersey, so contact us at 908-917-0194 to schedule your tank sweep today.