Getting Rid of the Oil Tank

by J Scott on June 6, 2014

One of the big concerns I’ve had leading up to the demo of our existing house is that there is a 240 gallon fuel tank in our basement that has been used for the past 55 years to fuel our house. We were unable to use up all the fuel in the tank before the electricity was disconnected (there’s probably about 20-30 gallons remaining), so I don’t imagine the demo company (or the EPA) would be happy about just crushing and removing it. But, with the fuel remaining in there, the tank currently weighs several hundred pounds. I’ve been stumped about how to get rid of it.

Here’s a picture:

Oil Tank

I figured it couldn’t hurt to put it on Craigslist to see if someone wanted to reuse it or wanted it for scrap metal, but I didn’t seriously believe it would be easy to even give away. I was wrong. I listed it on CL at about 11am yesterday morning; by noon, I’d had half a dozen phone calls and text messages from people wanting to take it. I told the first guy who called to come over around 5pm and told the rest of them to call me at 5:30pm to see if it was still available. Unfortunately, long story short, nobody ever came to get it.

So, this morning I relisted it, and this time when the calls started coming in, I told them, “Here’s the address, the door’s unlocked, first there gets it.” I do have the camera on the house, so I knew when someone got there. Actually, two people showed up at the same time. I headed over to the house from where I was to meet them, and by the time I got there, they had worked out the details. One was taking the oil tank and one was taking a bunch of other scrap that I had discarded on the driveway. Ultimately, it took four of us about 2 hours to get the tank out of there (and fully drained), but we did it.

Once that was gone, I told both guys that they were welcome to take anything else in the house they wanted — old furnace, copper pipes, fixtures, etc. I have a feeling they’re going to rip the place apart…who knows, maybe we’ll get a discount on our demo cost.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike June 11, 2014 at 9:22 am


Just a lesson learned the hard way… some demo contractors base their price on the place “as-is” when they looked at it, with the implicit assumption they would be able to re-coup some value from easily-accessible salvage…. e.g. oak hardwoods, kitchen cabinets, copper pipe from under the house, aluminum windows, etc. Typically quotes I have received have had a vague, if not actionable, clause about this.

If the house has been stripped when they arrive, you may have a bit of drama 🙂


J Scott June 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

Hey Mike,

We’ve done several tear-downs, and are always careful to clarify with the demo guys what they expect in terms of how the house is when they start work. In this case, demo will likely take about a day, with the company bringing in an excavator, destroying the house as-is, and loading it into dumptrucks. They aren’t interested in reclaiming anything, and the less there is on-site, the fewer dumpsters they’ll need and the lower the cost will be. So, I’m thrilled to get rid of as much as we can.


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