Heating Oil tank and maintenance advice
As winter fast approaches and the heating is turned on once again, many people who use heating oil to heat their homes look at ways to update their current tank. The below blog provides some useful tips and important things to consider with regards to your heating oil tank.
Where should my heating oil tank be located?
Assuming compliance with building regulations, oil tanks can be installed outdoors, indoors or underground.
Most householders install their oil tank outdoors, where it is easy to maintain. To reduce the risk of being targeted by thieves, you should place your tank where it is out of sight of the road but visible from inside your home. We also recommend installing flood lighting around the area your tank is located. See our blog: How can I protect my heating oil from theft? for more information.
Installing your oil tank indoors helps protect it from damage and theft. Plus, the higher temperature boosts burning efficiency and reduces the risk of freezing. You can install your tank indoors if:
- The tank capacity is 3,500 litres or less.
- There tank has secondary containment.
- The tank alone is within a one-hour fire-resistant chamber.
- The tank is located at the lowest possible level.
- There is ventilation to the outside.
Installing an oil tank underground saves space, but it also makes it harder to maintain. You can install an oil tank underground if:
- The tank is specifically constructed for underground use.
- Recommendations in the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidance note PPG 27 are followed.
- Any necessary planning permission is obtained.
How long do heating oil tanks last?
Heating oil tanks usually have a lifetime of 15 to 20 years. Some tanks come with a 10-year guarantee.
Heating oil system maintenance
How do I maintain my heating oil system?
You should have your heating oil tank and oil boiler inspected at least once per year by an OFTEC-qualified heating engineer.
You should also regularly perform visual inspections, and general upkeep:
- Remove debris from the external bund.
- Close access points when out of use.
- Clean any oil spillages made during delivery.
- Check for oil stains on the supports or ground.
- Check for bulging, cracks, rust or discolouration on the tank.
- Check that all connections are secure.
- Treat and paint steel tanks as required.
Seek professional advice from one of Rix Heating Services OFTEC-qualified engineers or another OFTEC registered company if you notice anything of concern.
How do I prevent heating oil from freezing?
The paraffin in heating oil can freeze and clog your line, potentially preventing you from heating your home. To reduce the risk of this happening, you should insulate your tank and pipes, and have your oil filter installed indoors.
You can also purchase additives that lower the freezing temperature of heating oil, or purchase pre-treated oil. Another option is to install an electric heat sheet that warms your tank when the temperature drops, although this is relatively costly.