Heating oil tank in the basement - a couple of questions

My wife and I just bought a house with a 1,000-gallon tank of heating fuel oil in the basement. It’s a system that we’re very unfamiliar with. We had it inspected and everything, so we know it’s in good shape. I just have a couple of questions for people who know more about them.

Firstly, there’s a faint but distinct odor of oil in the basement. It’s not strong enough to make me worry about a leak or anything, and I notice it in other houses too, but it’s there. Is there anything we can do to eliminate or reduce that oily smell that permeates the basement?

Secondly, the boiler also supplies our hot water, and we’ve had some issues with our shower hot water. Our hot water is very very hot, and our cold water, since it’s coming from a well, is very very cold. This means that when we shower, we have to constantly twiddle the faucets to try to keep from dying of scalds or hypothermia as the boiler turns on and off. Additionally, my wife tried to run a bath the other day and got about a half inch of hot water in the tub before it turned cold. If you wait long enough, the hot will come back on, but the average temperature isn’t warm enough for a bath. Is there anything we can do about this? Is this normal?


I have a tank in the basement also. 20 years ago while I was on a fire call the dispatcher called and siad I had an emergency at home. I get home to find the Mrs. frantic about a leak in the fuel oil tank. I find a small pin hole squirting oil about 2 feet out onto the floor. A toothpick stopped the leak but the smell was a real problem. There is a deodorant we got from the oil deliveryman (my fire chief) that took it away, but I can’t remember what it is. I will look later.
Then i hear about several instances where tanks were overfilled and spilled fuel. The deliveryman must listen to the vent pipe to know when to stop flow.
When I put the new tank in I put a 4" pipe nipple inside the vent pipe so the venting sound would happen earlier. This works to this day. When I have run out of fuel on occasion, the delivery person never fails to tell me that I wasn’t out as it only took 230 gal. instead of 260. I get called a liar. When I explain what I did hey get all puzzled:dubious:

As for the hot water, My system has that feature also, but I have it go into an electric hot water heater. In other words, It is only used to temper the water going into the electric heater.
There is a problem with that too. as we only had one bathroom for the family, and the Girls would take to long in the shower. There were a lot on pee-pee dances done.

Here is a link to some products that could help you.

Tide is also used for cleaning up spilled fuel oil. i found that in a search.:cool: