Alaska's winters are among the most severe in the Northern Hemisphere especially in the interior regions where low temperatures can reach minus 80 degrees. Industrial, commercial and residential property owners rely heavily on a variety of heating systems that use wood, coal, propane, or fuel oil to keep working and living spaces warm in such a hard climate. To ensure safety, it is critically important that heating appliances are properly installed. 

In this new video "A Guide to Alaska Home Heating Oil Tanks: What you need to know before installing a Home Heating Oil Tank", Crowley Fuels' Andrew McAlister, senior account executive, explains the best practices for installing or replacing an above-ground home heating oil tank.


You can also read more details about what you need to know about home heating oil tanks by scrolling to the content below the video.


Before Installing a Home Heating Oil Tank

Always check with local building authorities and fire departments before installing a heating oil tank. Local codes may be more strict than state or federal codes. These are general guidelines about home heating oil tank installation. 

Confirm any size restrictions on your tank, and how far from the windows or doors the tank must be. These are all things that you need to know prior to starting an installation so you don't have to reinstall the tank, downsize or make costly and time-consuming changes. Once installed, remember to inspect tank and filtration systems regularly as freezing temperatures may cause damage, cracks or ruptures.

Most frequently asked questions about Alaska heating oil products and services.

Consider the location

The above ground tank should be accessible for the fuel delivery provider. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation recommends locating the tank and its piping away from areas with high foot traffic and plowed snow storage areas. They also recommended to install the tank on the gable side of the house or at least 18 inches from the drip line off the eveThis is to avoid damage to the tank from ice and snow falling off the roof. If your eve or overhang is long enough to completely cover the tank, it's fine to put the tank underneath that eve, but always taking into consideration the local codes and requirements.

A well-built foundation

You need to put the above ground tank on a cement pad equal to or larger than the outside diameter of the tank and it should be three inches thick. The tank's legs should be made of steel, up to 12 inches high, and provide six inches of clearance between the bottom of the tank and the pad. The tank can also be put on a pressure treated wood platform on top of the pad if elevation is needed to protect it from heavy snow fall. Once it's on a pad and/or platform, the tank needs to be secured with threaded floor flanges.

Foundation rules of thumb:

Minimum thickness of the pressure treated wood platform or cement pad
Clearance between tank bottom and platform or pad
Steel pipe tank leg height; threaded into a flange and lagged into platform or pad
 Location away from the drip line or on the gable side of the house


Selecting the right hardware: shut off or ball valve

A shut off, or ball, valve will allow you to stop the flow of fuel at the source. This is especially useful if maintenance work is needed on the tank, or in case of a spill. The valve will let you immediately stop the flow of fuel.

Water-block filter

It is important to have a good filtration system on your heating tank to prevent damage or harm. A water-block filter is recommended as its absorbing polymers swell and trap the water and other microscopic particles to prevent them from flowing into your home heating appliance.

Fill access and tank vent

Every heating tank needs to have a fill access with a locking cap and a vent. A fill access is where the fuel is pumped into the tank, and the locking cap prevents debris, water or snow from getting in. The vent allows the tank to breathe. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation requires home heating fuel tanks to be vented to the atmosphere, tanks 660 gallons or larger are required to have a two-inch vent with a weatherproof cap or a gooseneck, and the vent should be located at least two feet from any building opening.

Pipes and piping

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation states that fuel lines that run underground, in or under floors should be continuous, with no connections, from the tank to the home heating appliance. Supply and return lines in the ground or encased in concrete should be in a non-metallic, liquid-tight conduit.

Optional accessories for your home heating tank

To help fuel providers deliver home heating fuel quicker and safer, it is convenient to have a step ladder close to the tank. In the example shown on the video, the homeowner secured the ladder to the platform with a bungee cord to prevent it from falling or blowing into the backyard and causing harm.

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Alarms and gauges

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation recommends all tanks should have a method for determining fuel level; and underground or remote fill tanks should have a whistle alarm to prevent overfills.

Accessibility to the tank

To ensure the safety of your home, family and the fuel supplier, the tank area must be readily accessible and kept clear from obstructions, including unleashed pets.

Remember, these are general guidelines about home heating oil tank installation. Inspect tank and filtration systems regularly as freezing temperatures may cause damage, cracks or ruptures. Always check with local building authorities and fire departments before installing a heating oil tank. Local codes may be more strict than state or federal codes.


If you have additional questions, you may contact one of Crowley Fuels home heating fuel tank experts by using the form on this page or calling one of our professionals at 888-457-1422


Since 1953, Crowley has transported and delivered home heating fuel to 280 communities throughout Alaska via our extensive terminal network. For more information about all the services Crowley Fuels offers, visit:


Andrew McAlister

Andrew McAlister, of Wasilla, has worked in the petroleum industry for the last eight years, starting right out of high school. Andrew began his career as a fuel dock attendant in Valdez with Crowley and is now serving as a senior account executive at Crowley’s headquarters in Anchorage. In his current role, Andrew provides expert advice on propane service, and assists customers with propane-related needs, including tank installation by Crowley Fuels. Over the years, Andrew has continually expanded his knowledge through his various roles at Crowley, as well as other forms of education, including graduating from the University of Alaska Anchorage with an Associate in Process Technology.


To contact a Crowley Fuels expert,  call or complete the form below.