In just viewing them, above ground storage tanks do little to raise the pulse. When you think of an API tank, you probably picture something big, boring, and bland; they are a classic case of function over fashion and normally a company logo is about as exciting as it gets. However, there have been examples of some fantastically decorated API 650 tanks, adorned with murals, bright colors, and other creative artwork. Recently however, there has been a trend of returning above ground storage tanks to their monotonous best and although we hate to say goodbye to these beautiful API 650 tanks, we do understand the reasoning behind it.
One example of current tank repaintings is in Windsor, Canada. Three bunker fuel tanks had murals painted on them 15 years ago by Montana artist Ron Capser. For maintenance and energy conservation, the above ground storage tanks have been painted black or sky blue to cover the murals.
Cover Ups for Energy Reasons
The biggest reason to cover up these API tank murals is for energy efficiency. When tanks store temperature sensitive products in a northern region that has cold winters, painting an API 650 tank a dark color, particularly black, helps the tank absorb heat from the sun. The rule of thumb that Heartland Tank Services uses is that any location north of the I-70 corridor should be concerned with heat absorption of a tank. Especially if the tank uses a heated and insulated system, making the external panelling black is important to reduce the energy needed to keep the product at a constant temperature.
Many murals look absolutely fantastic when they are first painted, and the API 650 tanks can create a striking image on the horizon. However, as with anything that is exposed to the daily elements for a long period of time, they eventually become a tired shadow of their former selves. In actual fact, if not regularly maintained, an API tank with a painted mural can become more of an eyesore than an attraction. If an above ground storage tank is painted in a block color then it’s a fairly straightforward maintenance job; asking the mural artist to return once a year and touch up their work is not so easy.
There are still a few interesting designs around but it probably will not be long until these beautiful tanks are consigned to the history books for the sake of efficient tank function.