Oil Tank Vent Alarm/Whistle - PA Law?
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  1. #1

    Oil Tank Vent Alarm/Whistle - PA Law?

    My first posting, please forgive me if it's in the wrong spot - I saw "outdoor fuel tank" and came here. Anyway! I can't find if there's a law on this - A residential oil company will not deliver to my home unless we dig up the tank and have a fuel tank vent alarm/whistle put on the tank. Our previous oil supplier retired and closed his company. So, is this some PA law now? We'd never had a problem before, no one ever said a thing. Do we REALLY have to dig and put this thing on? Thanks in advance, friends....

  2. #2
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    Tank must be vented to work properly, the whistle prevents overfilling. If the oil company requires it, there is probably a reason. You can always call another oil company or your state fire martial. I believe it is a national code.

  3. #3
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    The whistle is used to indicate to the oil company that you tank is full. It whistles as air is pushed out a secondary pipe connected to the tank next to the fill pipe. This is to prevent the oil provider from unknowingly overfilling your tank, and possibly creating an EPA superfund site by having a large oil spill. In the event a spill occurs it is very costly to remediate, and this whistle is for both parties' protection.

    Now, on to the question. I dont have one in front of me, but if you go to PA Department of Labor and industry, you will find(although its not that easy), a boiler installation guide. This lists all pertinent information related to the installation of any boiler.

  4. #4
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    I delivered oil in Pa 20 years ago. For an underground tank, everyone used a "lance" that was dropped into the top of the tank, and a small bracket was pulled up against the top of the tank on a rod. That rod had the whistle on the end and allowed us to safely fill an underground tank. I would start by calling another company. The fill whistle that is permanently installed goes on an indoor tank so you can hear the whistle through the vent pipe. I've never heard of burying a whistle. HTH.
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  5. #5
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    Homeowner.

    has anybody changed the piping on your tank, that the oil company can't use their fill whistle.
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  6. #6
    Thank you! This is all very helpful information. I do understand the purpose of the whistle and definitely would not want to risk some spill or worse. I am just hoping to avoid digging if this is possible. Thanks again...

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by timebuilder View Post
    I delivered oil in Pa 20 years ago. For an underground tank, everyone used a "lance" that was dropped into the top of the tank, and a small bracket was pulled up against the top of the tank on a rod. That rod had the whistle on the end and allowed us to safely fill an underground tank. I would start by calling another company. The fill whistle that is permanently installed goes on an indoor tank so you can hear the whistle through the vent pipe. I've never heard of burying a whistle. HTH.
    That's how I recall it, and I have never buried a STiP-3 tank with a whistle. Straight fill for the whistle rod.

    When you think about it, how would you ever clean a whistle in a UST anyway?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hydronicsman View Post
    That's how I recall it, and I have never buried a STiP-3 tank with a whistle. Straight fill for the whistle rod.

    When you think about it, how would you ever clean a whistle in a UST anyway?

    The whole thing seems a little strange to me. I have seen buried tanks with vent pipes 15 feet away, coming up the outside of a building. Hearing a whistle from 15 feet on a breezy winter day would be nearly impossible.

    I'd stick with the underground lance.
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  9. #9
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    On larger commercial tanks 8,000 plus gallons. The vent is so far a way, and so high. You would need an extension ladder to hear a whistle. And then be too far from the truck to stop an over flow.


    I wonder if there is more to this story then we have been told.
    Such as, did someone at some time pipe the fill and vent to the house. So that a lance can't be used? And they can't stick the tank to see how much oil is in it. Ye even set the meter to stop pumping oil at X gallons.
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  10. #10
    Thanks again. One more question please - the secondary pipe next to the fill pipe that you mentioned - wouldn't it be possible to attach a whistle/alarm to THAT? Again, I ask these questions with the preface that I'm not a professional and although I really would like to NOT dig (for a host of reasons), we'll do the Right Thing.

    I say I'm not a professional, but this is all so interesting - if I decide to get out of MY profession (I'm a psychologist), I'm going to consider HVAC training.

  11. #11
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    if you dug up your tank, it would be possible. Thats what they want you to dig up your tank and do. Install a whistle on that kine at the tank.


    Are both of your pipes ran over to the house?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC Homeowner View Post
    Thanks again. One more question please - the secondary pipe next to the fill pipe that you mentioned - wouldn't it be possible to attach a whistle/alarm to THAT? Again, I ask these questions with the preface that I'm not a professional and although I really would like to NOT dig (for a host of reasons), we'll do the Right Thing.

    I say I'm not a professional, but this is all so interesting - if I decide to get out of MY profession (I'm a psychologist), I'm going to consider HVAC training.
    You could ask them to "stick" the tank to see what the current oil level is. Sticks are about 6-7 feet long, incremented, there's a chart to convert to gallons. Just about every UST homeowner I've had has one, it's usually a promo from the oil co.

    It'll be apparent real quick what the deal is when they check your level and find out if they can or can't.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HVAC Homeowner View Post
    Thanks again. One more question please - the secondary pipe next to the fill pipe that you mentioned - wouldn't it be possible to attach a whistle/alarm to THAT? Again, I ask these questions with the preface that I'm not a professional and although I really would like to NOT dig (for a host of reasons), we'll do the Right Thing.

    I say I'm not a professional, but this is all so interesting - if I decide to get out of MY profession (I'm a psychologist), I'm going to consider HVAC training.
    Just so I understand you clearly. The tank is buried in the yard, and you have two pipes sticking up out of the ground at the side of the house? Not just one?
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