Oil Tank Safety Recommendations & Advice

Oil gauge showing nearly empty on a tank

Heating oil tank safety advice

Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to your heating system, and especially your heating oil tank. Keeping an eye out for any signs of wear, ageing or security breaches will help to keep your heating oil and tank safe. 

Cracks or rust can lead to leaks and costly repair jobs, not to mention having to replace all your heating oil. Maintaining your tank and checking it regularly can help to extend its life and increase fuel efficiency.

We’ve gathered some helpful tips and recommendations to stay on top of the maintenance and safety of your home heating oil tank.

Heating oil tank maintenance

We recommend that you check your oil storage tank once a week. Have a look for any corrosion, rust or discolouration and keep an eye out for 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 leaks. If you suspect a leak, get in touch with a qualified engineer straight away.

When you’re getting your annual boiler service, ask the engineer for a tank inspection too. OFTEC recommends that you get your tank inspected once a year to keep it properly maintained.

Heating oil tank security

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

  • Tank lock (particularly one that can’t be cut with bolt cutters) and oil tank alarm
  • Tank level gauge or fuel monitoring device for keeping an eye on your oil level
  • Motion sensing security lights
  • CCTV

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

Heating oil tank replacements

If you’ve had your heating oil 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 technicians. 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.

Learn more about our domestic heating oil tank services.

If you need to top up your tank, get a heating oil quote from us.

Oil tank safety FAQ

What should you do to keep your tank safe?

  • 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 or create sparks or smoke near your tank, even when it’s not in use.
  • Never check the contents of your tank by hitting or rocking it.

Make sure to keep yourself safe while checking your tank too:

  • Don’t inhale the fumes when inspecting or checking a tank.
  • If you come into contact with oil, wash your skin or clothing immediately.

What do I do if my oil tank has a leak?

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, your local heating oil supplier 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.

Find out more about how to handle oil tank leaks and other common heating oil tank issues from our troubleshooting guide.

What is OFTEC?

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.

How do I get a new heating oil tank?

If your plastic single skinned or bunded tank has a hole or crack, you will normally need a new tank. We have teamed up with some of the biggest tank suppliers to provide you with the best new tanks at fair prices.

Get in touch to ask about our heating oil tank options and to find out how soon we can arrange installation.

Can I insure my tank?

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

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