I bought a home in July of 2012 which had on the property an aboveground oil tank for the storage of heating oil. This tank was 1/4 full when we bought the house, and at the end of January, it got low enough to need a refill. The tank was refilled with $1188 in kerosene. Three days later, we got the invoice and visually inspected the tank to verify that it was in fact full. Three days after that, a strong smell of kerosene permeated the air, and the tank was bone-dry empty. The strain of actually holding a tank full of oil was too much for this oil tank, and a hole appeared in a matter of days.
This was midnight on the night of the Super Bowl, but since the tank was near our well, we called the DEP, and an agent came by to sample our water and inspect the tank. It was at this point that we found the hole, almost big enough to stick your pinky finger through. It was so big that at first I was afraid someone had actually drilled a hole in the bottom. Immediately, however, the DEP agent said "I've seen this before. I bet you have a crown tank." Sure enough, we went and looked at the sticker, and we did.
Two days later I awoke to a yard full of construction vehicles and watched woefully as a bucket loader parked on top of my new raspberry bushes. The bushes had been a housewarming gift from my mother, who had brought them from the patch at the house where I grew up. Now, my little taste of home was sitting under a big yellow bucket loader.
While the crew dug 275 gallons of oil out of our yard, I tried to find a way to contact the manufacturer. Their website touts a 10 year warranty, good news for me, because the tank was eight years old. I faxed a form to the company with the story and my contact information. Two weeks later, I hadn't heard from them and called, only to be informed that my claim had been denied outright. As it turns out, the ten year warranty doesn't apply to tanks you've already bought, only tanks that you're going to buy in the future. This doesn't do much to alleviate the nearly $1300 bill I got from the oil company to install a new tank. And the kicker? The oil company put in ANOTHER crown!!
I'm seeing what I can do to contact the other people who have had a tank fail prematurely. Folks out there, if you're thinking of getting your oil tank refilled, check the brand name. I spent last week with a yard full of people who investigate broken oil tanks for a living, and they all thought that the sudden, massive rusty hole was "pretty typical."