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April 13, 2018

The wintry weather that hit the UK over the past few months has probably played havoc with your heating oil tank. Although most people carry out a general inspection of their tank every few months, often they tend only to concentrate on its external condition. This means they could be missing one of the most damaging problems lurking within … water contamination.

Water can get into your home heating oil tank in a number of ways; a filler cap not being closed correctly, corroded seals, damaged vents or even a split or hole in the tank itself. The problem, however, is that rainwater contamination is all but impossible to detect from an inspection alone. Any water that has found its way into the tank will sink to the bottom. This means it can’t be seen and removal is therefore difficult. Often, the first someone knows of their tank being contaminated is when they start having problems with their boiler or Aga.


How to Prevent Water Contamination

The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is very relevant here because getting water out your heating oil tank is difficult. So, the best way to avoid having to do that is to ensure water can’t get into your tank in the first place. To do that, follow these useful tips:

  • Have your heating oil tank inspected by an OFTEC Registered Engineer annually
  • Ensure your tank and pipework are free from signs of corrosion, oil stains, cracks and other physical damage
  • Ensure the area around your tank shows no signs of leaks
  • Check your oil tank for bulging as this can indicate a weakness in the exterior walls
  • If your tank is bunded, make sure the bund is secure, in good condition and could hold an oil spill
  • Make sure the bund is not full of water or oil and remove any leaves or other garden waste
  • Ensure lids are secure
  • Cut back any over-hanging trees or foliage as these will drip water on to your tank after any rain has ended
  • To prevent the build-up of condensation in your oil tank, install a couple of water soakers (also known as tank driers) at the bottom. These can be purchased for £16.86 incl. VAT from our heating services team.

How to Detect Water in your Oil Tank

If you suspect water is in your oil tank, or you want to test it for peace of mind, the good news is that with the right equipment and a bit of know-how, it is a relatively easy job.

You will need some water finding paste and a long stick that will reach all the way to the bottom of your tank. A clean garden cane should do the trick.

Simply attach the paste to one end of your stick and put this end into the tank. Lower it all the way to the bottom, keeping hold of the top end so you can easily remove it. Wait a couple of minutes (or for however long the instructions on the water detection paste recommend) and pull it out. If the paste has changed colour, then water has been detected and contamination is confirmed.

Keep a Close Eye on your Tank

By following these simple tips, you will hopefully avoid water contamination in your oil tank and a costly repair bill for your boiler or Aga. Keeping a close eye on your tank is the best way to ensure you have problem-free home heating, and with the weather still proving to be as unpredictable as ever, it is definitely worth the effort.

Service your Heating Oil Tank with Rix Heating Services

Our team at Rix Heating Services offer an array of services related to an oil-fired home heating system. Our tank maintenance service starts from £106.80 incl. VAT, which includes the removal of water, fitting of water soakers and treatment with anti-bug. All of our experienced engineers are fully qualified and OFTEC registered, so you can have peace of mind that you are in safe hands with Rix.

Book a Tank Service Today


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