O.K., who's ‘fessin' up to this one?

December 9, 2010

The other day a friend called me to help him with a problem on a job. His customer had an oil tank in their basement that began to leak, and obviously needed it replaced. Now, I know that a lot of you don’t see oil systems too often, if ever, but for those of us who live in the northeastern part of the country, it’s pretty common. Oil tanks can be placed indoors or out, and come in a variety of different sizes and shapes, however, by far the most common are the 275 gallon verticals. These tanks are universally used because they are about 29-inches wide, and can fit through most doorways. In larger homes, you may see two or more of these piped together, or perhaps a 330 gallon tank, which is just a longer version of a 275.

So anyway, I drove out to the jobsite to see what the problem was. As I approached the smallish home, my friend waved to me in the driveway, “over here” he said. We shook hands, and entered through the kitchen door. As always, I surveyed the surroundings for obstacles, breakables, and babies. Everything seemed workable so far, except maybe for that mangy, troll-looking, animal (?) thing snarling in the corner. “What the hell is that?” I wondered, as we descended down the stair case.

Once in the basement, no explanation was needed. Instead of what I described above, someone had installed a 500 gallon, 48-inch round tank here when the house was being built. “Yeah, the only way to get that out is to cut it up” I said. “But, can’t you…” “Nope; cut it up. Sorry, my magic wand is in the shop.” Why would you ever install something that you knew could never come out if you had an option to do something else?

We climbed back up the stairs, and I tried to console my friend and the homeowner. Neither one wanted that news, but that’s what they were stuck with. With that, we said our goodbyes and headed out when that “dog” let out a scream like a Screech owl with kidney stones, as it leapt forward about a foot. “That’s even scarier than that tank” I thought to myself. Maybe they should have that removed too.

So, today’s lesson is, 1) don’t install a piece of equipment that you can’t remove, and 2) don’t confuse a gargoyle for a dog.