By Fella, Lee
07/10/2012

Storing Domestic Heating Oil

Domestic oil storage.

This applies to oil storage tanks with the capacity up to 3500 litres supplying oil to single family households fro heating and cooking needs.

There might be slight variations with the location you live in. All the information provided is a general guide, you should check any information taken with an OFTEC registered technician which regulations effect you.

Oil storage tanks.

There are many variations in shape and sixe and can be made out of plastic or steel. The size and type are all dependant of your requirements. You are recommended to have your tank manufactured to OFTEC standards (OFS T100 for plastic tanks or OFS T200 for steel).

Protecting the environment. 

We have to minimise the risk of a spill, some installations must have a secondary containment (a bund). You can achieve this by either choosing an integrally bunded tank or by building your own bund around a tank. The bund must me 110% of the size of the tanks contents. An OFTEC registered technician can provide you with all the advice needed about whether you need a bunded tank by doing a risk assessment. The most common tanks that need bunding are close to a watercourse.

Tank Location

The likelihood of a fire being caused by an oil tank is low but you must still comply with fire separation distances in order to adequately protect your stored fuel from a fire or heat source, which may originate nearby.

Tanks should be sited:

1.8m away from non-fire rated eaves of a building.

1.8m away from a non-fire building or structure.

1.8m away from openings (such as doors or windows)

(e.g brick built house/garage).

1.8m away from oil fired appliance flue terminals.

760mm away from a non-fire rated boundry such as a wooden boundry fence.

600mm away from screening (e.g. trellis and foliage) that does not form part of the   boundry.               

If it is not possible to comply with the above requirements then a fire protection barrier with a minimum of 30 minutes of fire rating should be provided. There should be a 100mm minimum distance between the tank and the fire rated barrier unless there is a larger distance specified by the tank manufacturer.

If a oil storage tank is sited inside a building such as a garage or outhouse the tank must be contained within a 60 minute fire related chamber.

The Basics

The base for your tank is extremely important and you should consider the base and supports for both safety and environmental protection. The base should be:

Adequate for the weight of the tank.

Non combustible.

Constructed of concrete, paving stones or stonework.

Large enough to extend 300mm beyond all sides of the tank.

If your tank is not stored adequately the tank itself can become weak leading to the tank failing and leaking stored fuel. During the life of a base of a storage tank it must provide continual support. Even though ground conditions may alter from year to year and season-to-season it is imperative the base remains solid.

Building Regulations

Your oil storage tank needs to be contained in an installation that complies with building regulations. In England and Wales OFTEC registered technicians can self certify their own work without the involvement of your local authority building control. By getting someone to construct who is not considered a ‘competent person’ by not being registered to a scheme like OFTEC you will have to obtain a building control notice which will need to be inspected bringing on more cost and will take time. In Scotland you will need to apply for a warrant.

Annual Inspection

It is important you get your tank inspected once a year by an OFTEC technician.

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