Smart Touch Energy Blog

Horizontal vs. Vertical Heating Oil Tank

Posted by Smart Touch Energy on Nov 29, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Horizontal vs. Vertical Heating Oil Tank

In a world where many energy options exist for heating your home, you may find yourself considering heating oil. Or, perhaps you've been using heating oil for years and have decided to upgrade your fuel storage tank.


Wherever you are on your home heating journey, you can rest assured heating oil is a safe, affordable option for your home's heating needs. 

You may wonder which style of fuel storage tank is the best and safest for your purposes, though. 

The good news is you've come to the right place to find your answer. In the following sections, you'll learn more about the different types of tanks available so you can solve the debate between horizontal and vertical heating oil tanks. 

Heating Oil Tank Locations

You have a few options regarding the location of your heating oil tank. If you're replacing an existing tank, you can still choose another location for your new one. You have the flexibility to pick the location that's right for you, but depending on your property, you may have fewer options. 

Most people choose from three types of heating oil tank locations: 

  • Above-ground indoor tanks
  • Above-ground outdoor tanks
  • Underground tanks

Let's take a closer look at each type. 

Above-Ground Indoor Tanks

Above-ground indoor tanks are large fuel storage containers that most people keep in their basement, utility room or attached structure like a garage. These tanks can hold a few hundred gallons of heating oil, but some smaller options are available to fit even the tightest space restrictions. 

Of course, it's important to remember that the smaller the tank, the more often you'll need refills. 

The size of your above-ground indoor tank will also change depending on your comfort requirements. If you have a large house or like your home to be extra warm during the colder months of the year, you may want a bigger tank. 

Depending on how much space you have to spare, you may have limited size options.

Above-Ground Outdoor Tanks

Above-Ground Outdoor Tanks

Above-ground outdoor tanks are like the indoor variety, but these tanks exist outside the walls of your home. You'll often install your outdoor tank near your home at the rear or side of the structure. 

This tank type is common in rural areas since homeowners will have the land needed to install their above-ground outdoor tank. 

Above-ground outdoor tanks withstand various types of weather. They're exposed to the elements 24/7 and could face extreme snowfall, ice, rain, heavy winds and drastic temperature shifts. 

Outdoor tanks also come in a variety of sizes to accommodate a broad range of needs and space requirements. 

Underground Tanks

Underground fuel storage tanks get buried beneath the earth's surface so they're out of sight and protected from the elements. 

Often, the supply pipes that feed the heating oil to your home will also live underground. People who have underground tanks must make sure the fill pipe is at an easily accessible location for their fuel delivery person. 

Since these tanks are underground, they come in a vast array of sizes. 

People who want over 500 to 1,000 gallons in their fuel storage tank should think about choosing an underground tank for their heating oil needs. Not everyone has the land needed or the right type of property for an underground tank, though. 

This reason can lead people to consider the other two types of fuel storage tanks, and more specifically, whether they should install a vertical or horizontal variety. 

When to Use a Horizontal or Vertical Heating Oil Tank

Once you determine your heating needs and your space restrictions, it's time to decide whether you should install a horizontal or vertical heating oil tank. 

Here are some factors that could affect your decision: 

  • Tank shape: Heating oil tanks generally come in two sizes — cylindrical or oval. You can install an oval tank in a horizontal or vertical configuration, but cylindrical tanks usually require horizontal installation. It's important to keep that in mind when choosing the shape of your tank. 
  • Space limitations: How much space you have to spare is a strong factor in determining which configuration is best for you. This is especially true when installing an above-ground indoor tank. If you have low ceilings, you may need to install a horizontal heating oil tank. If you have high enough ceilings but are dealing with space limitations, a vertical configuration may work best. 
  • Tank location: Choosing between indoor and outdoor locations for your fuel storage tank also has a strong influence on which style of tank you need. If you need or want to install your tank outside, you should choose a horizontal configuration. The earth can shift and move beneath your tank, so you'll want the tank to rest horizontally to make sure it stays safe and secure during these moments. A vertical tank can tip over more easily. 

Benefits of Horizontal and Vertical Fuel Storage Tanks

Now that you're closer to knowing whether a flat or upright oil tank is right for you, it's time to look more closely at their benefits. 

Various factors can influence how many options you have, but if you're stuck at a crossroads, comparing the benefits can help you make a confident choice. 

Benefits of Horizontal Heating Oil Tanks

Here are some of the benefits of a horizontal fuel storage tank for your home:

  • Unlock outside storage: If you want to keep your heating oil tank outside, a horizontal configuration would be your best choice. A horizontal tank will be safe and secure throughout extreme weather and the shifting of the earth. 
  • Maximize spaces with vertical limitations: If your basement or utility room has low ceilings, a horizontal tank could serve as a great solution. Horizontal tanks are shorter than vertical ones, making them the perfect answer when you have vertical space limitations. 
  • Increase location options: Since a horizontal tank could work both inside and outdoors, you have more location options available when choosing where to put it. 

Benefits of Vertical Heating Oil Tanks

Vertical heating oil tanks also have their fair share of benefits, including the following:

  • More space: You can save space in your utility room with a vertical heating oil tank. Its upright position means more room for moving around and storing your other equipment. 
  • Better stress distribution: The vertical layout of these tanks allows for a more unified distribution of weight. You'll be able to enjoy less of a need for supporting hardware while potentially storing more heating oil in the process. 
  • Great efficiency: A vertical heating oil tank uses gravity to give it great potential energy. This design puts less strain on your pumps to help you save on energy and repair costs. 

Choose Smart Touch Energy for Your Heating Oil Needs

Choose Smart Touch Energy for Your Heating Oil Needs

Smart Touch Energy is your destination for your residential heating needs. 

Our heating oil delivery services will keep your vertical or horizontal fuel storage tank full so you can be ready for those chilly winter nights. We've been serving areas of the Northeast, from Maryland to Maine, for over 80 years. Our goal is to bring our expertise to every customer we serve, and we hope you'll choose us as your new energy supplier. 

Contact us online today for more information about how we can help meet your heating oil needs. We look forward to serving you!

Topics: heating oil, heating systems


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