What to Look for in an Oil Tank Inspection

 October 05, 2020

Completing heating oil tank inspections at regular intervals is crucial to ensuring that your tank operates at an optimum level. Therefore, in this article we’re going to explain the four things to look our for in an oil tank inspection, so any issues can be spotted early on to prevent environmental damage and any heavy repair costs in the long run.

Who Is Responsible?

Any individual who stores hazardous substances, such as oils, is responsible for ensuring the substance is contained correctly, along with being responsible for cleaning up any spills, to prevent any releases that can damage the environment.

The Environment Agency has warned homeowners that failing to carry out basic oil tank inspections as well as an annual check by an OFTEC registered technician, could lead to spills and leaks that can amount to a large financial and environmental cost.

Protect the Environment

Jonathan Atkinson, a Groundwater and Contaminated Land Technical Specialist, said: “Oil can be hazardous in the wrong setting and escapes can be harmful to plants and animals and a threat to their habitats, as well as impacting water quality and resources.

“We believe the best way to protect the environment is through pollution prevention. Most leaks can be easily spotted, so we are encouraging people to check around the tank, pipework, taps and gauges, looking particularly for any signs of corrosion, bulging, damage and drips.” says Alison Gidlow for the Environment Agency.

Heating Oil Tank Inspections

Here are just a number of basic checks that need to be carried out in a heating oil tank inspection:

1. Check for signs of degradation or corrosion

The following visual signs of corrosion or degradation can become apparent when completing an oil tank inspection:

  • Discolouration
  • Cracks
  • Rust
  • Weeping
  • Oil staining
  • Any signs of bulging

These are all signals that your heating oil tank will need attention, and your heating oil supplier may be able to offer further advice or provide a range of boiler services. Even if the crack/split is on the outer-bund of your tank, you must replace this immediately to avoid fuel contamination and leaking. 

2. Check for a build-up of debris and vegetation

Your tank vent outlet and tank bund should be dry and free of all debris and vegetation to offer the best protection. If you have a rainwater shield or an insect screen, this should also be cleared of all dirt and rubbish.

Rix can provide you with heating oil tank health checks and replacement services where we dip for the presence of water, ensure the removal of any water and complete a water-absorbing tank dryer fitting for you.

3. Inspect the area surrounding your heating oil tank

The area surrounding your heating oil tank should also be checked for any signs of changes to the base and supporting structure, such as oil staining. Site tanks must be as far away from drains, streams and ponds to avoid any environmental damage.

4. Secondary containment

Having secondary containment surrounding your heating oil tank will prevent oil from escaping if a leak occurs. If you have a domestic tank which stores over 3,500 litres, having a secondary containment is a legal requirement.

Remember: Regular Check-Ups are Key

Completing a heating oil tank inspection at regular intervals is crucial to ensure that any potential issues can be spotted and tackled early on, and you could save yourself a lot of money and effort in the long run.

What’s more, if you’ve recently moved to a property with a heating oil tank, it is especially important to arrange a professional inspection as you really don’t want to pay the price for someone else’s neglect of arranging oil tank inspections.

You also must monitor how much oil you use. Therefore, if the volume of oil being utilised suddenly escalates, you may have a leak. Underground tanks are to be tested in three to five-year intervals, and if your underground tank is over 20 years old, you must ensure that it is leak tested once a year.

If you wish to know more about our heating oil tank inspection services from Rix, please fill out a form on our website so we can arrange a call back. Alternatively, you can speak to your local depot directly.

7 Tips for a Lower Heating Bill

 September 18, 2020

According to Compare the Market, 44% of people in the UK worry about rising energy bills. This is largely due to the increased amount of time spent at home during the pandemic, especially when people have been working from home. As a result, consumers are increasingly looking for effective ways to save money on heating bills.

To give you a hand, we’ve rounded up ten top practices to follow for a lower heating bill and to notice a real difference in your budget.  

1. Bulk buy heating oil

More often than not, buying heating oil in bulk is an effective way to save on heating bills. In fact, in July 2020, heating oil prices hit a five-year low. According to Which?, heating oil prices were only 25p per litre between May and July. The Coronavirus pandemic played a significant role in this price plummet. As lockdowns were imposed across the world, traffic slowed to a halt and businesses shut down, causing the global demand for fuel to fall.

You could lower your heating bill significantly by taking advantage of these prices and bulk buy heating oil in preparation for winter before prices creep back up again. If you need to, you can club together with others in your neighbourhood or even join a heating oil club. Our domestic heating oil community oil buying scheme is a great way for the whole neighbourhood to save money on heating bills.

2. Monitor heating oil prices

There are many factors that can affect the price of heating oil, from weather to politics to a global pandemic. Heating oil prices fluctuate, so it’s good practice to monitor the news so you can buy at the right time, especially if you’re bulk buying.

A graphic of oil tanks overlayed by a red arrow with an upwards trajectory.

3. Install an energy-efficient boiler

An energy-efficient oil boiler could be the ideal way to ensure that you don’t end up paying heating oil prices that stretch beyond your budget. The additional incentive for taking this measure is that you’ll also conserve energy and save on heating bills in the long term, offering a dual purpose appeal that more and more people are starting to consider.

4. Turn off your heating when possible

In the UK, we can experience warm weather from April to October (if we’re lucky!), so keep on top of the weather forecast and adjust your heating accordingly. If you can, consider turning your heating off altogether on warmer days. Or, you can always adjust your central heating timer to only come on as you wake up and get ready for bed. Either way, this is a simple way to reduce heating bills throughout the year.  

5. Turn your thermostat down

Turning down your thermostat by one degree can help you lower your heating bill significantly without compromising comfort. Most of us wouldn’t even notice a one degree difference in temperature, so this is a great initial step to take to save some money on bills. Obviously, don’t make any drastic changes and sacrifice your health and comfort, but a one degree shift should hardly feel different.

A woman turning down her thermostat at home for a lower heating bill.

6. Have your boiler serviced

When was the last time you had your boiler serviced? Getting your boiler checked regularly is important for efficiency and safety. Proper maintenance can improve the efficiency of your boiler, which in turn, should noticeably reduce heating bills. It’s wise to get your boiler checked out before the colder months arrive so you can maximise efficiency, however the team at Rix are available to assist you year-round.

7. Understand your heating system

Every house, every heating system, and every set of dials is different. So, it’s definitely worth taking the time to understand your heating system and how it functions fully. For example, you can learn how long it takes to heat up a specific room. With this knowledge, you can utilise your fuel more efficiently and not leave your heating on for any longer than is necessary.  

To save money on heating bills through winter, we recommend buying or bulk buying heating oil before the prices hike back up to their post-pandemic rate. With more affordable fuel and our handy tips, you should reduce heating bills in no time.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about the domestic heating oil and fuel we have available, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Rix team.

4 Benefits of Insulating Your Home

 

There are many long term advantages of a well insulated home which can be beneficial for your home all year round, not just in the winter. One of the biggest reasons homeowners are losing heat and energy from their domestic heating oil is through a lack of or poor quality insulation. Home insulation is a great investment, and we’re here to give you the four benefits of insulating your home to help you decide whether it’s worth your investment.  

 

A well-insulated home has many long term advantages. Significantly it helps reduce heat loss, lowers energy bills, increases comfort and has less of an impact on the environment.

 

Advantages of a Well Insulated Home:

 

1. Lower Energy Bills

 

advantages-of-a-well-insulated-home   

Rising energy costs and domestic heating oil bills are putting increasing strain on the disposable income of many households, and with poor insulation many homes are effectively just throwing money away.

 

One of the many benefiits of home insulation is that it can help cut the cost of both heating and cooling by up to 40%. However, this depends on several factors such as the size of your home and type of property, to keep the bills as low as possible.

 

Home insulation could decrease your energy bills by . Although a loft insulation, for example, would be an initial spend of approximately £300, this will pay for itself in two years with the savings you make! Also, if you already have insulation installed in your loft but it is not up to the recommended 270mm, you could make further savings by simply topping up the thickness for a small price!

 

Improving the insulation on the roof, walls and windows means domestic heating oil systems don’t have to work as hard or long to reach a moderate temperature. It will also maintain and in some cases, increase the value of your property by helping it run more efficiently.

 

2. Reduces Heat Loss

 

rix-petroleum-home-insulation

 

Due to the fact that hot air in your home rises and escapes through the roof, this means that insulating your attic will prevent the hot air from escaping and trap it inside. Therefore, the more thermal insulation your property has, the less you will have to rely upon your domestic heating oil to keep you warm.

 

Having it throughout the home means more heating energy is kept inside, helping to keep pleasant temperatures all year round.

 

When domestic heating oil systems, gas or electricity are used to heat the home, it first warms up the air then the masonry. Poor insulation results in energy being released and then not used effectively, with up to 30% of energy possibly going to waste just through outside walls.

 

3. Reduced Environmental Impact 

 

benefits-of-home-insulation-rix

 

Homeowners are becoming increasingly mindful of the environmental impact building materials used in their homes have.

 

Another benefit of insulating your home is that it will have a significant effect on the reduction of thermal energy consumption. This, in turn, reduces carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. This is important because carbon dioxide is responsible for approximately two-thirds of the energy imbalance that is resulting in the rise of the Earth’s temperature.

 

An increase in the level of carbon dioxide across the world results in an excess of greenhouse gases that trap additional heat. This contributes to melting ice caps and rising ocean levels, which can cause flooding.

 

By reducing the release of these emissions from your home, you can promote healthy sustainability for the environment. To find out more on how you can reduce your home’s environmental impact, check out our blog post on getting your home running with ‘zero carbon’.

 

 4. Comfort

 

domestic-heating-oil-rix

 

Dry, warm and comfortable to live in is the expectation we have of most homes. However, this is unfortunately not always the case in a house. Another benefit of home insulation is that a fully insulated property provides all of this by keeping the movement of heat to a minimum, so you stay cosy during the winter and cool in the summer. It really is a win-win!

 

Home insulation also prevents condensation from occurring, which can result in damp and mould. This can damage the paint, plaster and wallpaper in your home. What’s more, damp in the home can even have a negative impact on your health and cause chronic health problems such as asthma, depending on the level of severity.

 

Deciding how to heat up your home efficiently can be a daunting task, so for more information on domestic heating oil requirements and domestic oil delivery, contact your local depot. You can also browse our informative FAQs section to learn more about heating oil types, systems, prices, safety and maintenance.

 

Rix Petroleum has been supplying domestic heating oil to homes across the UK for over 80 years. We are knowledgeable, family-owned domestic fuel oil suppliers who meet customers’ needs without fuss or hassle.

 
 

Check your heating oil levels

 July 25, 2012

Winter. A time of coldness, darkness, hoarding and hibernation.

Domestic heating oil is a fantastic way of heating your home or property being a more affordable, economical yet equally effective means of keeping the home warm to other methods. As energy prices become more expensive, people are looking for alternate options for heating their homes and domestic heating oil provides a perfect, traditional solution.

Although the price of oil is continually fluctauting it is still one of the most cost effective options for home owners and if you check your heating oil levels regularly, can be ordered well in advance when heating oil prices are at their most competitve.

Don’t leave it to chance – stock up on domestic heating oil early and prepare for winter.

There are different varieties of domestic heating oil to choose from and depending on the type of property you have and the performance needed from the oil will affect your selection. Different providers vary their prices depending on quality and durability of the oil. Rix offer great, high quality choice at competitive prices to give our customers the best possible means for fuelling their home during winter and throughout the year.

Whether you need lots or just a little oil, getting yout domestic heating oil order in early will mean you can store it up ready for when the cold sets in so you have complete peace of mind in being totally prepared for what mother nature has to offer come winter. 

Community buying for domestic heating oil.

If you live in a remote area, a close knit village or just want to get the best heating oil prices for a bulk buy then our domestic heating oil community oil buying scheme is just what your are looking for.

The principle is simple – the bigger the bulk order, the cheaper the price and the benefits are endless –

  • The bigger the delivery for an area the quicker we can get it to you
  • Buying in advance means you can store for winter
  • Competitve prices that save money
  • Happy neighbours

With local depots around the country and retailing nationally we are a leading heating oil suppliers which means we can give the most competitive heating oil prices.

To get more information on domestic heating oil or a quote for your home call 01482 838383.

Importance of oil boiler maintenance

 February 01, 2013

A domestic heating oil boiler is in essence the heart of the home it is running in, providing the warmth and means to live comfortably. Even with this in mind it is sometimes overlooked or not appreciated just how important boiler maintenance is which significantly helps to maximise the capability and extend its working life.

Booking an annual service with your domestic heating oil supplier is one of the best ways of making sure your heating system is operating correctly. A regular check-up can not only help off set costs by helping to make fuel savings, it is less costly than having to payout for an expensive emergency breakdown.

If you haven’t had your system serviced for a while then there are a few things to look out for that if present may require calling your engineer:

  • The colour of the smoke leaving the chimney is black. This may be a sign of poor combustion
  • If the reset button  on your boiler trips the burner off
  • Soot is around the chimney
  • There are any unusual noises or odours coming from the boiler
  • Any domestic heating oil is leaking out

Familiarising yourself with your heating system is a really good idea so you know its  location, make, model, different functions etc, in case something happens will be better equipped at recognising an issue which can be relayed to your engineer.

Domestic heating oil setups require a well ventilated area with lots of air to keep the fuel burning properly. To keep your system running safely, keep this space free from clutter, dust and any debris so dirt/lint doesn’t enter the burner causing inefficiency.

Although boiler manufacturers have improved the general durability, capability and reduced the carbon emissions of the domestic heating oil from modern models it is still vital to keeping it working at its best that you have an annual service by a professional OFTEC registered engineer.

Insulating your home when using domestic heating oil

 March 18, 2013

One of the biggest reasons home and property owners are losing heat and energy from their domestic heating oil is through a lack of, or poor quality insulation. There are many types of insulation either natural, environmentally friendly or man-made that maximise thermal performance.

The list below are just a few examples of the types of loft insulation available. Some may require a professional certified installer so always check before purchase about the correct procedure. If you are installing yourself make sure you follow the correct safety procedures and use appropriate tools and protective clothing.

It is also wise to discuss with a professional the most suitable option for your home. Many domestic heating oil properties are old buildings that some types of insulation may not be suitable for.

Blanket or Batt – One of the most common forms of insulation it is sold in rolls of glass, rock, felt or mineral fibre and is simple to install without the need for contractors. The blanket or batt is good for properties with domestic heating oil and for larger spaces such as walls but some of the materials can be an irritant on the skin so best not to use where people will be in regular close contact with it. A non-irritant, greener option is made from recycled sheep’s wool but this is more expensive.

Loose-fill – Is made from different lightweight, granular materials such as cork, mineral wool or cellulose fibre with greener options of loose-fill being from recycled products such as newspaper. It is very pliable that can fit into smaller, more difficult spaces and is an excellent top up to existing insulation, however it can come loose in draughty areas.

Sheet – Designed for the sloping sides of the roof, sheet insulation comes as firm boards and be customised being made to size, fire/moisture resistant and/or with a decorative covering. The benefits of sheet insulation for a domestic heating oil property are that it can be a greener option with some being made from natural materials like cork, straw, wood and has a high insulating value per unit thickness. Cons are that it can be more expensive than other insulating products and that the sheets use large amounts of energy during production.

Blown fibre – Installed by a contractor, the fibre is blown in between joist gaps in the roof. Quick and easy to do by a professional it is great for getting into areas where access maybe more difficult. The ‘greener’ option is that it can be done with recycled wool or paper. It isn’t recommended for domestic heating oil properties with draughty lofts and is a more expensive option.

Having an air-tight, well insulated home is essential for creating an energy efficient, sustainable home. It will also help to reduce the cost of your domestic heating oil bills and the initial cost outlay will pay for itself in just a few years.

Knowing your heating oil tank

 February 20, 2013

Looking after your heating oil storage tank is essential in prolonging longevity, maintaining efficiency and reducing pollution. Those who are new to heating oil or have just moved into a property with a tank and need some guidance will find the following points particularly helpful.

* Find out what type of heating oil tank you have. A plastic tank (often green) or steel coated tank are most common. Variations come as single-skinned (1 layer fuel container) or double-skinned (twin walled usually steel) or an integrally-bunded tank. This is essentially a tank within a tank that protects from spillage, heating oil loss and damage.

* Know what and where the fittings are. Be aware of the fill point, vent and importantly the contents gauge so you can check heating oil levels. The gauge and spillage alert alarm if you have one, can sometimes be found in your home depending on which type you have. If you are unsure about any of the fittings ask your heating oil delivery driver to go through it with you our drivers are always happy to help! You should also make yourself aware of the supply pipes which may be either over or underground and be kept easily accessible.

* Heating oil is valuable and because of this can be prone to theft. Make sure your tank is locked and secure to help prevent any incidents occurring. CCTV and light sensors around your tank are good for additional security particularly in the most remote areas where the tank isn’t clearly visible from the home.

* Keep a log of your tank details so you are prepared with the information should you need to make an order or speak to an engineer. This should include dates of services, make, model, material, capacity and date of installation if known.

* Check where the isolation valve is on the tank in case of a leak or emergency and the heating oil supply needs shutting off.

* Make sure access to the tank is clear of debris, clutter and easy to reach. If in a fenced off area there should be enough space around the tank for someone to walk. Roughly about 2 feet from tank to fence.

* Having an oil spill kit at home is great in case of an emergency to stop as much damage, pollution being made before an engineer arrives.

* Always use professional, registered and fully qualified heating oil engineers to carry out any work on your tank whether it’s refilling, fixing or removing.

Rix recommend booking in for annual servicing on your heating oil boiler to ensure you have a safe and efficient heating system. Our quick response team of OFTEC engineers are on hand in case of an emergency even after hours. Contact your local depot to find out if annual boiler serving is available to you.

Top tips for maintaining your heating oil tank

 May 28, 2013

Carrying out regular maintenance of your heating oil tank could help you go some way to avoiding costly repair bills, and ensure that your tank is working at its optimum level at all times.

Here are just a few checks that home heating oil users can make to help extend the life of their oil tank.

Leaks

Check for any external oil leaks around the seams of your tank, valves and pipes to prevent a costly and dangerous oil spill.

Tanks are normally required to have protection around them, to minimise the impact of leakages, and the level of protection, such as abund (secondary containment); can vary according depending on the area you are in.

You should also have an oil spill kit, containing items such as sorbent materials (absorb), leak-sealing putty and drain blockers on hand to try and stem a spill while you wait for the professionals to arrive.

Blockages

To prevent blockages ensure that the area around your tank is clear of plants and that access points, vents and gaugesare sealed and closed to prevent any debris, rainwater or insects clogging the system.

Any external protection for your oil tank should also be clear of plants, rubbish, water etc.

Water or sludge in your heating oil tank can damage your heating system and as a result reduce the efficiency of your domestic heating oil.

Tank components

Checking the key components of your oil tank on a regular basis, such as alarms and gauges, according to manufacturers’ instructions, is crucial. If you suspect that you may have a problem with any part of your heating system, it may be best to seek professional advice from an Oftec (Oil Firing Technical Association) registered technician.

Signs of damage

Large dents, cracks, discolouration, bulges or rust could all be signs of damage that requires attention, and if your boiler does need replacing then your new tank should meet Oftec standards (OFS T100 for plastic tanks or OFS T200 for steel tanks).

What you need to know about energy-efficient central heating

June 03, 2013

Oil-fired central heating systems are used in thousands of home across the UK and are powered by home heating oil rather than gas.

Here are just some of the things you need to consider when looking for an energy-efficient oil central heating system.

Energy rating

Many modern-day oil-fired heating systems offer net seasonal operating efficiencies of as much as 97%, and the most efficient models fall under theSeasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boiler (SEDBUK) “A” rating offering efficiency of 90% or more.

The lowest SEDBUK efficiency rating is G, offering an efficiency of below 70%:

http://www.homeheatingguide.co.uk/sedbuk-rating.html

CO2 emissions

CO2 emissions from oil-fired boilers are higher than gas or LPG boilers, with figures from UK’s Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) show C02 content domestic heating oil (kerosene) at 0.245kgCO2 per kWh, compared to 0.184kgCO2 per kWh for gas and 0.214kgCO2 per kWh for LPG.

However, according to according to the Energy Saving Trust, oil boilers are more efficient. Boiler efficiency depends on a number of factors including the boiler type design and system controls.

Features to look for in an oil-fired central heating system

Along with energy efficient heating oil, such as premium kerosene, a number of features on your oil-fired boiler can help to contribute to its overall performance and efficiency, including the following:

  • A room thermostat as well as a cylinder thermostat on the hot water tank, with the latter used to set different temperatures for different times of the day.
  • Thermostatic radiator thermostats (TRVs) on individual radiators are also key as these allow you to control the temperature in each room according to your needs.
  • 7 day electronic timer with controls for heating and hot water

With1.5 million people in the UK turning to domestic heating oil to heat their homes, this type of fuel may be the right choice for your home.

Key steps to take in the event of an oil leak

 June 26, 2013

A leak from your home heating oil tank can be extremely hazardous and cause extensive damage to the surrounding environment.

There are a number of steps you can take to prevent a heating oil spill, such as placing a bund around your heating oil tank.

However, if these measures have been put into place and you still find yourself having to deal with a heating oil spill, here are the key steps you can take to begin to deal with it:

Turn off your tap

If possible, and depending on the scale of your oil spill, turn off the tap at your tank to prevent any more oil flowing from the original source.

Seek advice

Seek free, professional advice on what action you should take when a leak occurs by calling the Environment Agency’s 24-hour emergency pollution hotline on 0800 807 060.

Protect surrounding water sources

If your tank is located near to ground water, a river or a drain, lay down earth or sand in the area around your tank in order to absorb the oil and to prevent it from flowing further.

Block the seal

As a temporary solution, soap can be rubbed into the broken seal if you have a plastic heating oil tank.

Don’t attempt to clean up the spill yourself

Using a hose to wash away your leaking oil or detergents may make the spill worse, so it is best to leave the clean up job to the professionals.

Contact your heating oil supplier

Contact your heating oil supplier to see if they are able to remove any fuel from your property that may be likely to leak.

Contact your insurance company

Contact your home insurance company as soon as possible after the oil spill has occurred to inform them of the steps that were taken to address the spill and any damage to your property. You will also need to put in a claim to recoup the cost of your oil.