heating oil tank
April 18, 2016

With the relatively mild winter now behind us and the warmer weather on the way (hopefully), remember that it’s still important to check your Heating Oil tank. OFTEC (The Oil Firing Technical Association) the trade association which represents oil manufacturers and suppliers suggest checking your tank every week. Not only will this help you plan deliveries better, it will also enable you to check for rust, leaking, cracks or any signs of bulging.

We have put together some guidance advice for keeping your tank in tip-top condition.

Clean the area around your tank

If your tank is located outside, leaves, weeds and other debris all accumulate around your tank during winter, which holds moisture and can make the walkways around it hazardously slippery. Take a minute to clear them up and your delivery driver will thank you for it!

Check for leaks

Leaks or cracks in your tank can be caused by a number of factors, weather conditions, the age of the tank or even over-filling. Check the pipes for rust or cracks, and that all fittings are tight. Look over the tank itself for any areas of weakness, especially if it is an old metal style. If in doubt call out a Rix engineer who will happily advise you on any repairs that may be needed. And remember, if you do need to replace your old tank it is much easier done in summer when your oil requirement is at a minimum. It is recommended that you get your tank serviced every year, by OFTEC –trained engineers, to avoid any breakdowns and problems that could be costly and inconvenient during winter.

If you discover that your tank is leaking, you should call the Environment Agency's 24-hour incident hotline (0800 80 70 60). The cost of cleaning up spills can be very expensive so it's advisable to get insurance that covers this.

Be aware of your oil levels

Regularly checking your tank will help you spot any sudden drops in oil level that could indicate a leak or that your tank has been targeted by thieves. Read our blog about tank protection here.

Be prepared

We would also suggest you check your tank before the temperatures start to drop again. Oil that has been stored for a long period of time might form a sludge at the bottom of your tank. 

The sludge is caused by a build-up of tank rust, dirt and the oxidation of the hydrocarbons. This could occur during the time you switch your heating off for summer and switching it back on for the colder winter months.

Over time and/or with heat and sunlight, fuel reacts with oxygen in the air to procedure particles. These particles fall to the bottom of your tank and grow to form sludge. If the sludge is left without being removed or treated, you might find that it blocks your line filter at the bottom of the tank. This could occur when the pressure of new oil being pumped into your tank disturbs the sludge and mixes it with the rest of the oil.

To help prevent the sludge forming you could use a Premium Heating Oil like K+.  K+ oil has extra additives that can help prevent sludge developing in your tank.


If you think that your tank could be affected by any of these factors, or you would like some more information, please use our contact us form to find your local depot.

Rix Petroleum has boiler servicing technicians in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and on the East Coast of Scotland. Find out more here

Don’t forget to check your Heating Oil levels; you might need a top up. Get a free instant quote on our website

comments powered by Disqus