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.
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
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.
O.K., who's â€˜fessin' up to this one?
Rich Schuster has worked in many phases of the HVAC and plumbing industries since 1991, from apprentice to general manager in the contractor segment, and later as a rep for a large HVAC wholesaler. He has written two books with a focus on installation training basics, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.