Using heating oil to keep your home warm comes with many benefits, including comparatively low fuel costs, efficiency and a choice of suppliers. It also comes with the responsibility of maintaining your oil tank to ensure you, your home and the environment are protected from potential oil spills or leaks.
It is your responsibility to maintain any oil tanks on your property and to avoid them failing. Spills and leaks can be extremely costly to clean up and can contaminate ground water supplies and building foundations.
There are many factors to consider when it comes to installing your oil tank as well as the ongoing care your tank will need once in place, and it’s recommended you contact your local fuel supplier or OFTEC registered engineer if you have concerns with your oil storage tank or with installing a new tank.
An OFTEC-registered tank installer will advise you on the best place to store your heating oil. Identify where nearby drains, bore holes or sensitive groundwork areas are as any of these will affect the location of your oil tank – you want to avoid potential problems arising in the future or an illegal oil tank installation.
Your oil tank should also be placed in accordance with building regulations, which are designed to protect homeowners from a fire if started nearby. An oil tank needs to be a minimum of 1.8metres from any openings to buildings, and if this distance is not possible then a fire barrier can be built between the tank and the hazard. It should be placed on a stable level base that is at least 300mm bigger in all directions than the tank itself.
The oil tank should sit on either a 100mm thick concrete slab or on paving slabs that are a minimum of 50mm thick, and the foundation should be appropriate for the ground conditions.
Consider access to your oil tank and make sure there is enough space for you to get around it to carry out regular checks, and space for the oil tanker to safely fill the tank.
It is your responsibility to maintain the oil tank in your garden and to prevent it from leaking. Spills and leaks are often extremely costly to clean up and can contaminate ground water supplies and building foundations.
Carry out a thorough check of your oil tank every six months, paying particular attention to warning signs of wear and tear that include:
When you have your boiler serviced, have your oil tank inspected at the same time.
Your OFTEC registered engineer will check the overall condition of your tank and whether any water or condensation is present, which collects at the bottom of the tank. If there is condensation or water, this is stirred up when oil is delivered and can be carried to the boiler and cause it to break down. Seek specialist advice from your UKIFDA distributor or OFTEC engineer how to arrange removal of the water.
Your service engineer will provide a report detailing observations of the tank and any actions you need to take to prevent an oil spillage.
If your OFTEC-registered technician highlights your oil tank as being at risk of failure, you will need to replace it with a new one.
Replacing your old tank with a new oil tank gives you the peace of mind that your storage system is up to modern standards and you’ve done all you can to prevent an oil leak.
When it comes to installing a new tank, we have some advice to ensure you choose one that provides the greatest environmental protection against oil escaping through leaks or being overfilled and that you install the tank legally and safely:
If you are concerned about your oil tank or want advice on the replacement, installation and maintenance of your oil tank, contact an OFTEC-registered technician or your local fuel supplier who’ll be able to help you further.
It is important to install your tank at ground level and ensure pipework is well protected.
It’s advisable to speak to your home insurance company regarding the type of cover you have and what happens in the event of a leak or overspill. Your insurance firm may also have advice on where to place your oil tank and on security to prevent the theft of oil.