Oil gauge showing nearly empty on a tank

Oil tank safety

Safety should always be a top priority and never more so than when it comes to your heating oil tank. Cracks or rust can lead to leaks and costly repair jobs, not to mention having to replace all your heating oil. Maintaining your heating oil tank and checking it regularly can help to extend its life and increase fuel efficiency.

Tank maintenance

Check your tank once a week and have a look for any corrosion like rust or discolouration, or signs of damage such as cracks or small leaks. Dark patches of soil, dying vegetation or unusual odours could all be signs that your tank is leaking. When you’re getting your annual boiler service ask for a tank inspection too. OFTEC recommends that you get your tank inspected once a year to keep it properly maintained.

Tank security

Sadly oil theft can be a problem for homes with heating oil tanks. To protect your tank and prevent theft, consider one or all of the following:

  • Tank lock (particularly one that can’t be cut with bolt cutters)
  • Tank level gauge or fuel monitoring device
  • Motion sensing security lights
  • CCTV

Consider taking out heating oil tank insurance too, as your household insurance is unlikely to cover this.

A new tank

If you’ve had your tank for a long time, or it’s started to show signs of damage and is no longer safe, it could be time for a new one. We supply heating oil tanks in various sizes and all of our tanks are installed by OFTEC registered engineers. All of our tanks comply fully with the oil tank regulations so you can rest easy knowing your new tank is totally safe and secure.

Oil Tank Safety FAQ

  • Complete a visual inspection of your tank once a week and look for any corrosion, damage or leaks.
  • Make sure you know where the shut off valve is so you’re prepared for any emergencies
  • Don’t use naked flames, smoke or create sparks near your tank, even when it’s not in use
  • Don’t inhale the fumes when inspecting or checking a tank
  • If you come into contact with oil, wash your skin or clothing immediately
  • Never check the contents of your tank by hitting or rocking it

Firstly stop it spreading further by turning off your shutoff valve and contacting your local heating oil supplier or tank manufacturer.

If it’s a small spill, rubbing soap on a small crack can temporarily seal the crack while you deal with the spill. Clay based sealing putty can also seal the crack.

If you have a spill kit then they can help you deal with it. If not, and the spill has occurred on a hard, non-porous surface (like asphalt), then use dry cloths and kitty litter.

Once the majority of the oil has been absorbed, use gloves and a shovel and put the material in a sealed bin bag.

Seek professional advice from The Environment Agency and your insurance company. They will advise you on the best course of action for the clean-up.

OFTEC is the Oil Firing Technical Association. OFTEC is a trade association with the aim of improving standards in the heating industry across the UK and Ireland. OFTEC engineers are recognised and approved to install heating oil tanks safely and in full compliance with oil tank regulations.

If your plastic tank has a hole or crack then you will normally need a new tank. HeatingOil.co.uk has teamed up with some of the biggest tank suppliers. Get in touch to ask about our heating oil tank options and how soon we can arrange installation.

Standard household insurance doesn’t cover heating oil tanks. It’s a good idea to get standalone insurance for your tank incase of damage or even theft. When you take out a policy, you should check that it covers:

  • Loss of oil
  • Environmental cleanup
  • Cost of cleanup on your property
  • Enough liability to pay for cleanup of neighbouring land