Saturday, February 27, 2016

How to fix a leak in a plastic oil tank

Yesterday I discovered a leak in the oil tank (newly refilled).  Apparently this happens more often than you'd like to think. The oil tank is a little over 10 years old so out of warranty.
The man who could potentially fix it was out on another call. Oil was spreading and so I decided to do it myself as I had located the source of the leak.
My first attempt with plastic mastic was unsuccessful.
 Then I remember my father fixing leaking oil in a car with a bar of soap. It was a traumatic journey from Colorado to California with stopping every few hours to re-soap the hole. Once we stopped at a fast food place and my father saw fresh oil but it wasn't our car -- rather the one next to us. My father held out the bits of soap which the owner gratefully used. For many years, I kept soap in the car just in case... But would it work on the oil tank?
So I tried that. I rubbed a bar of soap along the leak. Immediately it slowed, so I kept on rubbing it.
Once the leak had stopped, I covered the entire area with plastic mastic as there was no duct tape to hand. This time the mastic stuck.
I then went on the internet -- someone who does oil tanks in Kent put up a notice -- if you have an oil leak on a plastic tank -- first get your bar of soap. He reckoned that the bar needed to be wet but I found it worked fine dry (Pears Soap in case anyone wants to know). He said after stemming the leak with soap to cover with duct tape. I have used plastic mastic but it should be fine.
After 18 hours, it is all still holding. Fingers crossed. However I do have the bar of soap at the ready.
The current plan is use up the oil and then get a new oil tank.