5 Oil Tank Maintenance Tips

Oil tank maintenance and oil tank care are of the utmost importance, especially during the colder months. 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 these past few years, it is definitely worth the effort.


Carrying out regular maintenance of your heating oil tank could help to avoid costly repair bills, and ensures that your tank is working at its optimum level at all times. To help you in the long run, we’ve put together our top 5 oil tank maintenance tips and an oil tank care checklist to ensure your oil tank stays in the best condition possible.




Heating Oil Tank Maintenance Tips


Looking after your heating oil storage tank is essential in maintaining efficiency, reducing pollution and prolonging longevity. Heating oil tanks usually have a lifetime of 15 to 20 years if looked after well, with some tanks coming with a 10-year guarantee.


We have put together a short video that details some important safety checks that will help to conserve your tank. Rix Petroleum Director, Duncan Lambert, shares his top oil tank care tips to help get you ready for winter.



1. Know your heating oil tank


The most common heating oil tanks are a plastic tank, which is often green, or a steel coated tank. Variations come as single-skinned (1 layer fuel container) or double-skinned (twin walled tanks are usually steel) or an integrally-bunded tank.


An integrally-bunded tank is essentially a tank within a tank that protects from spillage, heating oil loss and damage. Knowing which type of heating oil tank you have will help you to care for it correctly, resulting in optimum performance.


It's also important to check for any damage to your oil tank. Large dents, cracks, discolouration, bulges or rust could all be signs of damage that requires attention. If you find that your boiler does need replacing, then your new tank should meet the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) standards.


2. Know where the fittings are


Be aware of the fill point, vent and most importantly the contents gauge so that you can check the 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. It would help if you also made yourself aware of the supply pipes; these may be either over or underground and should be kept easily accessible.


If you are unsure about any of the fittings on your oil tank, ask your heating oil delivery driver to go through it with you. At Rix, our drivers are always happy to help!


A Green Oil Tank


3. Consider your oil tanks position


Oil tanks can be installed outdoors, indoors or underground as long as the position is compliant with building regulations.


Installing your oil tank indoors helps to protect it from damage and theft. Plus, the higher temperature indoors 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
  • The tank has a secondary container
  • 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
  • You follow the recommendations in the Environment Agency's Pollution Prevention Guidance note PPG 27
  • Any necessary planning permission is obtained


4. Protect your oil tank against theft


Heating oil is valuable, which is why protecting your heating oil from theft is vital. Make sure your tank is locked and secure to help prevent any incidents from occurring. If your oil tank is outdoors, make sure that it's visible from inside your home but out of sight from passers-by on the road.


We also recommend installing flood lighting around the area your tank is located. If your oil tank isn't visible from your home, installing CCTV and light sensors around your tank are great for additional security.

A Yellow CCTV Sign


5. Check your oil tank for water contamination


The wintry weather in the UK can play havoc with your heating oil tank. Although most people carry out a general inspection of their tank every few months, often the external condition is only considered. 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 several ways such as a filler cap not being closed correctly, corroded seals, damaged vents or even a split or hole in the tank itself. The problem 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 meaning it can't be seen and removal is therefore difficult. Often, you'll recognise if your oil tank is contaminated when you start having problems with your boiler or Aga.


A Close Up Of Water Being Splashed


To prevent water contamination, check your oil tank for bulging, which can indicate a weakness in the exterior walls and ensure all lids are secure. If your tank is bunded, make sure the bund is secure, in good condition and could withstand an oil spill. Make sure the bund is not full of water or oil and remove any leaves or other garden waste.


Oil Tank Care Checklist


It's recommended to have your heating oil tank and oil boiler inspected at least once per year by an OFTEC qualified heating engineer. You can also regularly perform visual inspections, and general upkeep by following this oil tank care checklist:

  • Remove debris from the external bund
  • Close any 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
  • In case of an emergency, have an oil spill kit at home before an engineer arrives


A Large White Tick Behind A Green Cirlce


As well as following the oil tank care checklist, here are some additional oil tank maintenance tips to help extend the life of your oil tank:


1. 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 on the environment. The level of protection can vary according to the area you live in, such as a bund (secondary containment).


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


2. Debris


Make sure that access to the tank is clear of any debris or clutter and that the oil tank is easy to reach. If your oil tank is in a fenced-off area, there should be enough space around the tank for someone to walk by. The recommended space is roughly about 2 feet from the oil tank to the fence.


Keep leaves away from your heating oil tank.


3. Blockages


To prevent any blockages, ensure that the area around your tank is clear of plants and that access points, vents and gauges are 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, or water is possible. 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.


4. Tank components


Checking the key components of your oil tank regularly, such as alarms and gauges, according to manufacturers' instructions, is crucial. In case of a leak or emergency, check where the isolation valve is on the tank in case the heating oil supply needs shutting off. 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 registered technician.


5. Additives in winter


How do I keep my oil tank from freezing in winter? 


Heating oil can freeze in winter, especially if your oil tank is outside. This is because 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, make sure your tank and pipes are insulated.


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.


Frozen Red Berries In Winter


Oil Tank Maintenance and Service


Rix recommends booking in with an OFTEC qualified heating engineer for an annual service on your heating oil tank and boiler. A service ensures any oil tank maintenance is up to date and that you have a healthy oil tank. Whether it's refilling, fixing or removing, always use a professional, registered and fully qualified heating oil engineer to carry out any work on your tank. It's also useful to keep a log of your oil tank details, so you are prepared should you need to make an order or speak to an engineer. This log should include dates of services, make, model, material, capacity and date of installation if known.


At Rix, we offer an array of heating services related to an oil-fired home heating system. All of our experienced engineers are fully qualified, and OFTEC registered so you can have peace of mind that your oil tank is in safe hands with Rix. Our quick response team of OFTEC engineers are also on hand in case of an emergency even after hours, to ensure you have a safe and efficient heating system. For excellent oil tank care, oil tank maintenance, heating oil or home heating oil tanks please don't hesitate to contact your local depot.

Benefits of Using an OFTEC Engineer for Oil Boiler Servicing

When it comes to oil boiler servicing, there’s no room to take risks with safety. Therefore, it’s strongly encouraged that you use a fully-qualified OFTEC engineer to service your heating oil boiler. Every single one of Rix’s heating oil engineers are qualified by OFTEC to ensure we’re delivering the highest standards in terms of safety and quality to our customers.


But what exactly is an OFTEC engineer and how can you be sure you’re receiving a qualified OFTEC boiler service? Keep reading to learn more.

What is OFTEC?

The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) is an independent body authorised to register businesses working with oil-fired equipment, like Rix.


OFTEC is an integral organisation that helps to maintain and uphold safety standards throughout the industry.


In 2002, the British Government officially recognised the ‘competent person schemes’ for tradespeople to self-certify as installers without needed building regulations approval. OFTEC’s scheme for heating engineers was the first to be formally recognised on the scheme.


What is an OFTEC Engineer?

Heating oil engineers can complete a regulated training course with qualifying assessments in order to become OFTEC registered. Once an engineer has successfully passed this programme, OFTEC will regularly reassess them to ensure they continue to meet strict quality requirements.


At Rix, before any of our engineers are allowed to visit our customers, they have to complete training to become OFTEC registered. This ensures that our engineers are fully-qualified to the highest level. In turn, this ensures a comprehensive and reliable service for our customers.

A Rix OFTEC engineer smiling at the camera, standing in front of his truck with a clipboard.

Why Use an OFTEC Boiler Service?

We strongly recommend using engineers, like our Rix engineers, who are fully qualified to deliver an OFTEC boiler service. Here are some of the benefits this will give you:

  • Regular assessments: OFTEC engineers have their work assessed from time to time to ensure they are maintaining standards and safety.


  • Work meets building regulations: You can certify that their work meets current building regulations. This is something a non-OFTEC qualified technician cannot do which means local authority building control have to become involved in any work being undertaken. This takes extra time and effort.


  • Essential re-certification: To continue with OFTEC oil boiler servicing, qualified engineers need to be re-certified every five years. This ensure they are kept up-to-date with the latest regulations and developments within the heating oil engineering world.


  • Photo ID: OFTEC engineers will carry photo identification with them showing exactly what type of oil heating work they are certified for. This gives customers added clarity and reassurance. 


  • Direct guidance from OFTEC: If needed, qualified engineers can access guidance and advice directly from OFTEC. This means that if any potential issues arise, your engineer will be able to get extra feedback, support and guidance from the regulating body.


  • Insurance and documentation: They are suitably insured to provide an OFTEC boiler service in your home and will provide you with documentation for any work they have undertaken in your home. This helps to minimise risk and helps you to manage your oil tank’s service record.


  • Warranty: Any OFTEC oil boiler servicing carried out by a qualified engineer will have a warranty covered by OFTEC. This gives you added protection in the unlikely case that something were to go wrong.


  • Widely recognised: As OFTEC is an independent, specialist body that is recognised by the Government, you can trust that qualified OFTEC engineers from oil companies to heating appliance and tank manufacturers are both reliable and knowledgeable.

Does an Engineer Need to be OFTEC Registered to Service Boilers?

No – it is not a legal requirement for engineers to obtain OFTEC qualifications before installing an oil fired boiler. However, using an OFTEC engineer is recommended for enhanced safety and quality. The Northern Ireland Government and Environment Agency explicitly encourage home owners to use OFTEC engineers.


How Often Should My Oil Boiler be Serviced?

It is recommended by OFTEC that oil fired boilers are serviced by an OFTEC engineer once a year. However, there are a number of basic checks you can do to see if your heating oil tank needs inspecting by a qualified engineer.


If you would like to learn more about our OFTEC engineers at Rix, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. If you would like to book an oil service appointment, please click here.

What to Consider When Choosing the Right Boiler


Choosing the right boiler for your home can feel overwhelming because there’s so much choice out there; not only do you need to think about boiler type, but you also need to think about fuel type and boiler size. It’s important that you carry out proper research into choosing the right boiler so you don’t waste your money on a boiler that isn’t fit for your home or your household.


In this complete guide, we’ll walk you through everything you should consider before investing in a new boiler and explain what options you have.

What Fuels Boilers in the UK?


In the UK, most boilers are fuelled by one of three elements:


1. Oil

2. Gas

3. LPG (liquified petroleum gas)


Only households connected to the national grid can be fuelled by a gas boiler. Off-grid homes have the choice of heating oil or LPG.

What to Consider When Choosing the Right Boiler


1. Hot Water Usage


Before choosing your boiler, think carefully about how much hot water your household uses in a day. This will help to determine what size boiler is right for you. Consider the following:

  • How many showers are taken in your household per day?
  • How many sinks do you have in your house?
  • How many baths do you have in your house?

2. Size of House


The size of your home is one of the most important considerations when choosing the right boiler. The most common method to measure your boiler output is in kW. As a general rule, 1kW is required per 10m3.

You should also consider the following:

  • How many bathrooms are in your house?
  • How many people are typically in your house at a given time?
  • How many rooms are heated?
  • How big are the radiators in these rooms?

If you have a large house and/or a large household, then a combi boiler is not recommended. You should instead consider a heated-only boiler or a system boiler, and you’ll need to think about the size of the boiler, too.


3. Home Insulation


A well-insulated house offers a range of benefits, however the key advantage is that you’ll be able to cut down on heating consumption and lower energy bills without compromising on comfort. The type and size of boiler you choose will be determined by the level of insulation your property has. 

The type of property that you have can influence how insulated your house is. With fewer external walls, semi-detached houses and terrace houses tend to hold heat better than detached houses.

There are a number of other characteristics that will impact how well-insulated your home is, so you should answer the following questions:

  • Do you have cavity wall insulation?
  • Do you have loft insulation?
  • Do you have double glazing?
  • How many windows do you have?
Windows with white framing looking onto a garden. There is a windowsill with two white flower vases and a white teapot ornament. The type of windows you have is an important factor when it comes to choosing the right boiler.

4. Boiler Efficiency

Sourcing the most efficient oil burner, gas boiler or LPG boiler is typically high on the priority list. You can find extremely efficient boilers nowadays, which is better for your purse and the environment.

Condensing boilers are proven to be more efficient than normal boilers and will help you to save energy. As the name suggests, they use the hot water return to condense the gases in the flu exhaust to gain recovery heat to the water. Condensing boilers typically have an efficiency level of around 90% or more.

A condensing boiler will also reduce the carbon dioxide you emit into the atmosphere. An estimation of around 60% of the carbon dioxide generated by domestic use comes from home boilers. If every British home installed a high efficiency boiler, we would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere by 13 million tonnes! In fact, with a drive to cut carbon emissions and further improve energy efficiency, a condensing boiler must be fitted by law to all new properties.

The only disadvantage of a condensing boiler is the fact they are more complicated than a standard boiler. As a result, there’s a greater chance of something going wrong. However, they are only getting more and more reliable as time goes on.

There are government grants available to help you make your home more energy efficient, this includes upgrading your boiler. For more information on this, the Energy Saving Trust is a helpful resource to explore.

5. Location

If your property isn’t connected to the natural gas grid in the UK, then choosing a gas boiler is not an option to you. The two most popular alternatives are an oil fired burner or an LPG boiler.

If there is a community oil buying scheme in your local area, then it may be worth investing in an efficient oil burner. Oil clubs allow local residents to club together and bulk buy oil to cut down on deliveries and take advantage of bulk savings.  

If you live somewhere particularly remote, for example the roads leading to your house may be inaccessible to oil trucks at certain times of the year, then you may want to consider a larger heating oil tank for extra capacity. Average domestic tank capacities will range from 1,000 litres (220 gallons) to 1,360 litres (300 gallons).

A dark green heating oil tank located outside. You need a heating oil storage tank if you use a oil boiler burner.

How to measure the efficiency of a boiler


From 1999 to 2015, boilers in the UK were given a SEDBUK (Seasonal Efficiency of a Domestic Boiler in the UK) rating to measure efficiency. However, since September 2015, every new oil burner, gas boiler or other type of boiler is given an ErP energy label.

SEDBUK ratings were measured on a scale of A to G. Boilers in the top rating were classed as A boilers with an efficiency level of 90% to 91.3%. ErP ratings are also alphabetical, however the principles used to measure efficiency are slightly different, which can lead to different ratings.

Practically all modern gas condensing boilers in the UK are given an A rating on the ErP scale, so if you’re looking for further detail it’s recommended to review the SEDBUK rating, too.  

Pros and Cons of Oil Fired Burners, Gas Boilers and LPG Boilers


1. Oil Fired Burners




Suitable for off-grid homes: If your home isn’t connected to the gas grid, then an oil fired burner is a practical and efficient option for you. Oil boilers are the most popular choice for households off-grid.


Bulk savings: With an oil boiler burner, you can purchase fuel in bulk and take advantage of bulk savings. Doing this when heating oil prices are low (typically in the summer months) can save you a significant amount of money in the long-run. This is something you can’t do with piped gas. What’s more, you can also save on delivery costs.


Choice of supplier: Homeowners have more choice when it comes to oil supplier. With a gas boiler, you’re typically tied to a contract which is not the case with an oil boiler burner. This gives you more flexibility to shop around and compare heating oil prices and heating oil suppliers.

A friendly Rix oil boiler burner engineer smiling at the camera with a clipboard in front of a Rix oil delivery truck.

Efficient: Oil is a highly efficient fuel, which helps to keep down costs. The most efficient oil burners are modern, condensing boilers which are typically 90% (or more) efficient. To achieve this, condensing boilers make use of hot flue gases that a standard boiler wastes. If you’re investing in a new oil burner, it’s worth considering a condensing boiler as they’re readily available and should lower your heating bill in the long-term.


Safe: Oil is not prone to explosion as gas is, and doesn’t produce carbon monoxide. You can also store your oil tank outside of your property for extra safety.


Easy to upgrade: If you want a new oil burner, it’s usually easy and quick to replace.




Price fluctuations: There are many factors that affect the price of heating oil, which means prices can fluctuate. Of course this can play in your favour, however you still have to accept that prices can fluctuate unexpectedly.


Forward planning: With an oil fired boiler, you’re responsible for buying your own heating oil. If you don’t forward plan, you risk facing steep delivery charges for quick turnarounds. And, without forward planning, you may end up in a situation where you run out of heating oil.


Space: To store your heating oil, you need a heating oil tank which can take up extra room. Plastic (moulded polyethylene) tanks are not the most attractive, yet they remain a popular choice because they’re durable and relatively inexpensive. You also don’t have to worry about maintaining a plastic tank’s interior over the years as you would with a metal tank.


Heating Oil Theft: If you store your heating oil outside, you are vulnerable to heating oil theft. However, there are a whole host of effective methods you can use to deter thieves and protect your oil.  

2. Gas Boilers




Affordable: Gas is used to fuel most UK homes, and natural gas is a relatively cheap source of fuel, especially compared to electricity.


Stable prices: The cost of natural gas tends to remain relatively stable throughout the year, which can help you plan financially.


Convenient: Unlike with oil boiler burners, you don’t need to monitor your heating oil levels or schedule deliveries. As long as you’re connected to the gas grid, you shouldn’t need to worry about not having a supply.




Unavailable to off-grid houses: There are approximately 4 million homes in the UK who are not connected to the gas grid. A gas boiler that runs on natural gas is not a viable option for these houses.


More susceptible to faults: Gas boilers are typically made up of more internal moving parts. As a result, there’s a greater chance that one of these components will develop a fault, affecting the functionality of your boiler. This could also incur added costs for maintenance and repair.


Potential gas leaks: Although unlikely, with a gas fuelled boiler you are at risk of a gas leak. Gas boilers produce carbon monoxide, and therefore a leak can be hazardous. This is why it’s vital to install a functioning carbon monoxide monitor if you have a gas boiler.


Expensive to install: The initial cost involved with installing a new gas boiler is often costly.

An engineer installing a gas boiler.

3. LPG Boilers




Lower upfront cost: Typically, installing an LPG boiler has lower up-front costs than an oil burner boiler or a natural gas boiler.


Environmentally friendly: Like natural gas and oil, LPG is a fossil fuel. However, it is a cleaner source of energy than oil, producing about 15% less carbon.


Suitable for off-grid homes: If your home is not connected to the gas grid then, like an oil fired boiler, a LPG boiler is an alternative solution. 




Storage tank: Like with an oil boiler, you will need a storage tank for your LPG boiler in order to store the LPG.


Higher ongoing cost: The unit price per kWh of energy is higher than oil and natural gas, so an LPG boiler is likely to cost you more over time.


Organising delivery: Like with an oil boiler, you need to monitor your levels of LPG and be proactive in ordering more so you don’t run out.

What are the Different Types of Boiler?


1. Combi Boiler


A combi boiler (combination boiler) is the most common type of boiler in UK homes. In fact, combination boilers now account for over half the domestic boilers installed in Britain every year. A combi boiler can heat your home and give you hot water on demand. They can run on gas, oil or LPG.




Compact: Combi boilers tend to be compact because they provide two household functions in one, which is one of the most attractive features. Because they’re compact and popular, they also tend to look more modern and sleeker.


Efficient: Modern combi boilers are typically much more efficient than older boilers. New combi boilers in the UK should have an efficiency rating of 90% or more.


Affordable: Because combi boilers are so popular, it’s easy to find replacement parts if necessary. Also, installations are typically more straightforward and therefore less costly.


Instant hot water: Combi boilers give you instant hot water so you don’t have to wait around before taking a shower or warm bath.




Small households only: You should only consider a combi boiler if you have a small home and/or a small household. This is because, with a combi boiler, hot water can only be delivered to one place at a time. For example, you won’t have access to hot water for cleaning the dishes if someone else is running a hot shower.


Relies on strong mains pressure: If you install a combi boiler and your mains supply has poor pressure, then your shower head and taps won’t have strong pressure either.


No immersion heater: Combi boilers don’t have an immersion heater so, if your combi boiler broke down, there’s no backup solution. You would be without hot water and without heating until you could have the boiler repaired or replaced.


2. Heat-Only Boiler


A heat-only boiler, also known as a regular or conventional boiler, is a two-tank system. With this type of conventional heating system, you’ll typically have a tank of cold water situated in the loft and a hot water cylinder situated in the airing cupboard. The cold water is fed into the boiler where a heat exchanger will warm it up. This is then pumped into your hot water cylinder and stored until you turn on your shower or taps. Regular boilers can run on gas, oil or LPG.




Good for large homes/households: As heat-only boilers store hot water in a tank, multiple people in your household can access hot water at the same time.

Immersion heaters: You can fit an immersion heater to the back of your hot water tank to continue getting hot water even if your boiler breaks down.




Requires a lot of space: With two separate tanks required, you need a bit more space to install a heat-only boiler. You also need to store the cold water tank at a height, which demands a larger home.


No instant hot water: Once you’ve used up all the hot water stored in the hot water tank, you’ll have to wait again for more water to be heated.


Susceptible to heat loss: As the day goes on, the hot water sitting in the tank will lose some of its heat. This means you need to think about effective insulation to minimise heat loss.


3. System Boiler

Also known as closed vent boilers, system boilers have a hot water cylinder and an expansion vessel built into the boiler. They can be fuelled by gas, oil or LPG.




Good for large homes/households: Like a heat-only boiler, a system boiler can distribute hot water to multiple taps at a time. This is ideal for larger households where more than one person needs hot water at a given time.


No cold water tank: Unlike a heat-only boiler, a system boiler doesn’t need a cold water tank in the loft. This means it should take up less space than a heat-only boiler would. However, as it still requires a hot water cylinder, it takes up more space than a combi boiler. 


Water pressure: With a system boiler, you’ll enjoy a stronger water pressure from your taps compared to a combi boiler. This is because the water supply is taken directly from the mains.




No instant hot water: Once you’ve used up all the hot water stored in the hot water tank, you’ll have to wait again for more water to be heated.


Susceptible to heat loss: As the day goes on, the hot water sitting in the tank will lose some of its heat. This means you need to think about effective insulation to minimise heat loss.


We hope this guide has been helping for choosing the right boiler, whether you want a new oil burner, a gas boiler or an LPG boiler. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Rix team.

Why Service a Boiler?


As most boilers are usually tucked away out of sight, oil fired boiler maintenance is often overlooked. It's easy to forget how important boiler maintenance is to provide warmth to your home in the colder months.


Here, we take you through our top maintenance tips on why servicing a boiler is so important and who is responsible for it.


A Male Engineer In A Blue Top Servicing A Boiler


Why Service a Boiler?


1. Efficient fuel and reduced costs


A serviced boiler gives you peace of mind that your boiler is working efficiently. An efficient boiler burns less domestic heating oil whilst producing the same amount of heat, meaning your heating bill accurately reflects how much warmth you are receiving.


2. Prolongs the lifespan of your boiler


When a boiler is serviced, an engineer ensures it is as safe and healthy as possible for your home. Not only does a serviced boiler guarantee that each component has been looked at carefully, but an annually serviced boiler has a lifespan of between 10 and 15 years.


3. Prevents against carbon monoxide


Boilers that aren't properly installed, maintained or ventilated can give out carbon monoxide. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, drowsiness, nausea, breathlessness and stomach pains. However, these signs are sometimes difficult to identify and can be confused with tiredness or a cold. Unfortunately, this silent killer can't be seen or smelt, so it is important to make sure your boiler is serviced to reduce the chance of this happening. Carbon monoxide alarms are readily available on the market and should be fitted near to your boiler to keep you safe.


4. Prevents against unexpected costs


Without servicing your boiler regularly, you are risking a breakdown. Depending on the type of boiler you have, a full replacement can cost anywhere between £500-£2,500 with additional labour costs on top. That's a considerable cost to cover!  


A boiler service is far cheaper than repairs or a full replacement, so be sure to keep a note of when your next service is due. To protect yourself against any surprise problems your boiler may have and the associated costs, Rix customers can get an exclusive 10% discount off their oil boiler insurance with Boilerplus.


How Often Should I Service My Boiler?


The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) recommends a boiler be serviced each year or as per the manufacturer's recommendation. To ensure your boiler operates efficiently and safely, a qualified and experienced OFTEC engineer should carry out the service.  For more information, please take a look at our dedicated page which answers our most frequently asked questions about how often your boiler should be serviced?


A Hand Turning The Dials On A Boiler


Does My Landlord Have To Service My Boiler?


Under the 1985 Landlord and Tenant Act, landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure the safe supply of sanitation, water, gas and electricity. Therefore, it's the landlord's responsibility to stay on top of oil fired boiler maintenance by having the boiler serviced annually. It's also the landlord's responsibility to fix any issues found within the boiler once serviced. If you have noticed any boiler issues, inform your landlord straight away.


What Happens If I Don't Get My Boiler Serviced?


No legislation states homeowners must have their boiler serviced. However, if you don't get your boiler serviced, this could void your warranty. Hence, if you run into an unexpected issue, you may have to pay the full cost of the repairs yourself. To avoid this scenario, be sure to read the terms of your oil fired boiler warranty carefully.


Oil Fired Boiler Maintenance Tips


1. Know your boiler


Familiarise yourself with your boiler's location, make, model and it's different functions. This way, you will recognise any obvious issues and supply your engineer with the correct details.


2. Look and listen out for any issues


To ensure your oil fired boiler is running smoothly, use your senses to look, listen and smell for any issues. If you haven't had your boiler serviced for a while, then you may begin to notice some of the following signs that your boiler isn't running efficiently:

  • There is soot around your chimney
  • The smoke leaving the chimney is black
  • Unusual noises such as a rattling sound
  • Unexplained odours coming from the boiler
  • You can see that there is an oil leak
  • The reset button on your boiler trips the burner off

If you notice any of the above issues, this may mean that the oil isn't being effectively burned. In this instance, contact an OFTEC registered engineer.


3. Book your boiler maintenance service in the summer


There's nothing worse when it's cold than realising that your boiler isn't running at maximum efficiency. Booking your oil fired boiler maintenance service in advance of the cold months ensures that you won't run into any problems. By being prepared and having your boiler serviced before the temperatures drop, you can rest assured that you can comfortably heat your home.


Service Your Boiler with a Rix OFTEC Registered Engineer


As well as our heating service, our professional OFTEC registered engineers provide oil boiler services and repairs. A regular check-up can reduce the risk of finding yourself in an emergency breakdown. Although, if you find yourself with an oil boiler emergency, we have a dedicated team of professional engineers who can resolve the issue.


Booking an annual service is one of the best ways of making sure your heating system is operating correctly. At Rix, our oil boiler service ensures your energy bills are reduced, you and your family have a safe boiler, and there's no chance of carbon monoxide poisoning.


If you have any queries or questions, please don't hesitate to get in contact with one of our experienced team members. If your boiler is past the point of repair, please take a read of our guide on choosing a new oil fired boiler.

5 Benefits of Oil Tank Monitoring

Rix Engineer Topping Up Oil Tank


Each year the cold weather takes people by surprise, and without a heating oil gauge, some people find themselves short on domestic heating oil in the winter months. Have you ever considered how much heating oil you are using and at which level you should top-up? Let's discuss the importance of oil tank monitoring and how a heating oil gauge can help you stay warm throughout the year.



5 Benefits of Oil Tank Monitoring

  1. You won't run out of domestic heating oil

With a home oil tank gauge, you will be able to keep an eye of how much domestic heating oil is available in your oil tank. This helps to avoid running out of heating oil in the cold months and having to contact an emergency supplier. For example, a smart oil tank gauge notifies your mobile, tablet or computer when it's time to top up your heating oil tank, making the whole process of ordering heating oil more streamlined. To see how streamlined and simple the process is, take a browse of our guide on ordering heating oil from your local Rix depot.

  1. Helps to identify an unhealthy oil tank

Not only does monitoring your heating oil level help you to stay warm in the cold weather, but it can also help to detect any vital issues that your tank may have. For instance, if your oil tank level monitor shows that your oil levels have decreased rapidly, this could indicate that your oil tank has a leak or is damaged somehow. If this is the case, make sure to do an oil tank inspection to assess the best way to deal with the issue.

  1. Automated technology takes away any pressure

A heating oil tank gauge takes the pressure off you guessing how much heating oil you have left. The technology within a home oil tank gauge will notify you when your oil levels are running low and when it's time to top-up; preventing any arguments about your home being too cold! The SMART oil tank gauges are most efficient at reading your oil level, whereas alternative methods like float gauges are harder to read due to issues such as sludge build-up inside your tank.

  1. Helps you to keep track of your heating oil use and bills

A heating oil gauge is a valuable tool to outline how much domestic heating oil your household uses throughout the year. Oil tank monitoring is useful to see which months of the year you are using the most heating oil, and when your heating bills are rising.

Perhaps you've recently insulated your home to reduce your energy bill? A home oil tank gauge can help evaluate how the insulation has reduced the amount of heating oil you are using and, in turn, your heating bill.

  1. Leads to affordable heating oil

It's no surprise that ordering your heating oil in advance and in bulk is one of the most effective ways to have affordable heating oil. By regularly checking your heating oil levels, you can make cost savings by ordering fuel when demand is low. Typically, heating oil prices are lower in the summer months.



Which Heating Oil Tank Gauge Is Best?


At Rix, we offer two types of heating oil gauges to ensure you can accurately measure your domestic heating oil levels.

  1. Traditional Home Oil Tank Gauge

We offer the Apollo Visual Gage to monitor your oil tank levels easily. And, when it comes to heating oil gauges, Apollo is one of the leading market brands. This useful tool measures your heating oil level to keep you warm throughout the colder months. The on-tank transmitter can easily be attached to your oil tank, which then sends readings to a wireless receiver. You can have this wireless receiver up to 200metres from your oil tank, meaning you can easily read your heating oil levels from the comfort of your home.

A Green Heating Oil Gauge And Monitor

  1. Smart Oil Tank Gauge

For a more advanced system, the Apollo Smart Tankpack is a smart device, meaning that in the cold winter months you don't have to go outside to check your oil tank levels. The smart LED monitor clearly displays the quantity and cost of heating oil used and informs you when it's time to top up your tank. With over 85% customer satisfaction, you won't be disappointed as this oil tank level monitor will help you keep warm throughout the year.

A Smart Heating Oil Gauge


An Efficient Way to Stock Up Your Heating Oil Level


If you do find that your heating oil levels are low, don't worry. At Rix, we are a leading heating oil supplier meaning we can give you the most competitive heating oil price. Why not get a quick heating oil quote for your home?


There are different varieties of domestic heating oil, from kerosene to K+ to aga cooker fuel. Your oil type will depend on the property you have and the performance needed from the heating oil.


Whilst different providers vary their prices depending on the oil's quality and durability, Rix offers great, high-quality choice at competitive prices. Whether you need a lot or just a little oil, getting your domestic heating oil order in early will mean you can store it up ready for when the cold sets in.


And there you have the benefits of oil tank monitoring! If you have any questions about our heating oil tank level gauges, please don't hesitate to get in touch. For more information on our competitive prices, please take a read of our heating oil price guide.




Types of Oil Tanks Explained



Selecting an oil tank can be a daunting process as there are many different types of oil tanks to choose from, with multiple shapes, sizes and capacities to consider. To help you decide on the best oil tank for you, we’re going to explain the differences between the four main types of oil tanks, as well as offering some guidance on the best size and construction of oil tank to opt for based on purpose and usage.

Rix engineer inspecting a heating oil tank.

Types of oil tanks:


1. Single-Skinned Oil Tanks


One of the many types of oil tanks you can choose from is a single-skinned oil tank. As single-skinned oil tanks only offer one layer of protection against an oil leak, they’re usually installed in a secondary containment system, such as reinforced concrete or masonry bund.


Although single-skinned oil tanks are less expensive, they have an increased risk as they don’t have built-in protection from oil leaks. This means that the clean-up resulting from a potential oil leak can be expensive and reduce your overall savings in the long run.


Here are some conditions that need to be met for single-skinned oil tanks:

  • The capacity of the oil tank must be less than 2500 litres
  • No other potential environmental hazards nearby
  • The tank isn’t located within a Ground Source Protection Zone
  • Cannot be installed if the tank is within 10m of controlled water (stream, river, septic tank etc.)


2. Double-Skinned Oil Tanks


Double-skinned tanks (aka, twin-walled tanks or dual containment tanks) have two layers. The two layers provide secure containment of chemicals and liquids, along with helping to protect against an oil leak in the case of a tank failure. It is recommended that double-skinned tanks are also installed in a secondary system.

Rix engineer in hi-vis jacket and gloves refilling a green heating oil tank.


3. Integrally Bunded Tanks


Integrally bunded tanks offer the best protection against an oil leak, as the attached bund can hold 110% of the inner tank’s capacity as well as the fittings. Bunded heating oil tanks are usually made out of steel or plastic, however, some are steel/plastic hybrids.


An integrally bunded tank is considered to be the best oil tank on the market. This is because they offer the very best protection from any oil leaks and condensation due to the insulation provided by their air gaps in the bund.


4. Underground Tanks


Oil tanks are not limited to being installed outdoors. If compliant with building regulations, oil tanks can also be installed indoors and underground.


Underground tanks require professional construction and may require planning permission. The benefits of installing a tank underground are that they can significantly save you space, and they have a reduced risk of being targeted by thieves due to being out of sight.


However, the disadvantage of underground tanks is that they can be difficult to maintain due to being underground. For this reason, most households install their tank outdoors.


The Best Oil Tank Material – Plastic vs Steel


Oil tanks can be made out of both plastic and steel. Plastic tanks require less maintenance and aren’t as vulnerable to failure and rust in comparison to steel tanks.

However, steel tanks are arguably more secure as thieves can easily drill into plastic tanks to siphon off oil. Also, as steel tanks are heavier, they’re more difficult to steal.   


Best Oil Tank Sizes - What size oil tank do I need?

  • 650 litres to  100 litres – are usually utilised in 1 to 2 bedroom houses
  • 1000 litres to 1550 litres – are usually utilised in 2 to 3 bedroom houses or small commercial buildings
  • 1650 litres to 2500 litres – are usually utilised in 3 to 4 bedroom houses or larger commercial premises
  • 2500 litres plus – are usually utilised in homes with 4+ bedrooms or larger commercial premises


Rix has a huge selection of tanks that are suitable for a variety of different purposes to suit all needs and tastes. Choosing the best oil tank for you can be quite a daunting experience, so if you are new to heating oil or are thinking of getting it for your home, please read our guide for more information. Alternatively, contact your local Rix customer service team who are fully trained and happy to help with any questions you may have.

3 Things to Consider before Storing Fuel


Did you know that oil spillage incidents from incorrectly storing fuel is one of the most common culprits for pollution incidents every year? 


Oil can be extremely harmful to the environment as it can destroy natural habitats and harm marine life and plants. This is why it is essential that you follow the set regulations in place to ensure safe storage.


In this article, we’re going to explain the three things to consider before storing fuel, so you are aware of what is safe and legal when it comes to fuel storage at home.

Rix Truck Driving Down Village Road

Rix only encourages storing fuel at home when:

1. A full fuel storage risk assessment is undertaken

You must ensure that any fuel and oil (including ) when stored is kept out of direct sunlight, out of reach of any children and is only filled up to 85%. This needs to be done to allow room for expansion and avoid any spillage.

What's more, a container which is now empty and previously held fuel or oils may be unsafe if any substance remains. Therefore, it is just as important to withhold the same safety regulations around containers that are empty.

The most reliable and secure way on the market to store your container tanks is in a bund. This is because the bund acts as an outer shell that protects the plastic tank from fire and splits. Rix provides robust bunded oil tanks that are suitable for both domestic and light commercial installations. The tanks are fully secure and bunded with a lockable lid, unique inner spill tray design and fittings kit.

It is also important that your tank is checked regularly as it is very common for tanks to contain traces of water due to condensation eventually. Water can be extremely harmful to your fuel storage tan because if temperatures drop, pipework can become blocked and cause detrimental damage.

Rix fuel storage tank health checks include:

  • Examination of tank condition
  • Dip for the presence of water
  • Anti-bug treatment
  • Water absorbing tank dryer fitting
  • Removal of any water
  • Replacing of sight tubing on the gauge
  • Fitting of electronic contents gauge
Rix Employee Filling Oil Tank

2. Any fuel that is stored is done so in the correct container as outlined by Law

(The Petroleum Spirit Regulations 1929 & The Petroleum Spirit Plastic Container Regulations 1982)


You can store up to 30 litres of fuel without having to inform your local petroleum enforcement authority (PEA).


Different containers are required by law depending on how much oil you store:

  • Up to 10 litres – plastic container
  • Up to 20 litres – metal container
  • Up to 30 litres – demountable fuel tank

If you wish to store over 30 litres but less than 275, it is vital that you write a letter to your local Petroleum Enforcement Authority immediately. Make sure you include your full name, home address and storage location.


Storing fuel


You can store up to store less than 275 litres of fuel in:

  • Suitable plastic containers
  • Portable metal containers
  • Demountable fuel tanks
  • And a combination of the options above, so long as you keep to the maximum limit of 275 litres.

Be aware that you should never put or keep petroleum in unsuitable containers. This is because petroleum can dissolve some plastic containers. Therefore, always ensure that you are using an approved plastic container that is properly marked or a secure metal container. Metal containers should be made out of aluminium or steel sheet with sufficient thickness in relation to the container's capacity and its intended purpose.


What's more, ensure that all of your containers are labelled clearly with the correct symbols and the words' PETROLEUM' and 'HIGHLY FLAMMABLE'. It is your responsibility as the owner of the containers that individuals are aware of their hazardous contents to avoid any dangerous situations.


Storing fuel over 275 litres and up to 3500 litres:


To store up to 3500 litres, you will need to gain a petroleum storage certificate and licence. Please contact your local PEA for more information regarding this.

Rix Truck Driving Down Hill

3. Under no circumstances should the fuel be stored in the home itself


Petroleum is not to be taken into anywhere where people live (for example, house, flat, etc.). Your fuel must be stored in the open air. However, if this is not possible, then the containers need to be stored in a well-ventilated location. Also, your container needs to be stored away from sources of ignition such as heaters or any electrical equipment that are at risk of combustion.


Here are some more tips on storing fuel safely in your container:

  • Avoid storing fuel in areas that are at risk of flooding
  • Store containers away from roof height
  • Store in areas where there's minimal risk of damage by weather, machinery or impact
  • Ensure your containers are 10 metres clear of coastal waters
  • Make sure your containers are 50 metres clear of a spring


Rix Services


Rix provides tank replacement and servicing to ensure your fuel storage is protected and maintained. If you wish to know more about storing fuel or tank health checks, please contact us by filling in the form below or by speaking to your local depot directly.

3 Tips to Secure the Best Oil Prices in Any Season


Due to COVID-19 and the lockdowns around the world for both customers and industry, the global oil demand has plummeted. In July 2020, the price for kerosene went down to an average of 25p per litre - the lowest price it’s been in five years.


However, despite recent events, heating oil prices are in general known to vary, depending on a number of factors. But the good news is that you can still save money if you know how! Therefore, in this article, we’re going to explain our three top tips to help you secure the best oil prices in any season.

Rix truck delivering heating oil in the snow.

Tips for getting the Best Heating Oil Prices


Here are our top tips for getting the best heating oil prices throughout the changing seasons:

1. Monitor the Weather


Check weekly, fortnightly, and even monthly weather forecasts to ensure you are keeping track of the best home heating oil prices. Also, by doing this, you can not only make sure you have enough fuel for when the weather is bad, but it gives you a little heads up on when heating oil prices might drop a little if it gets warmer or there is a change in conditions.


Typically, heating oil prices are lower in the summer due to a demand reduction. Although this is usually the case, prices have been known to still fluctuate in the summertime, so it is still wise to keep an eye out on the market in general.


During the colder months from October to March, the UK tends to experience the highest demand for home heating oil. This results in a price increase for heating oil as the rise in demand puts a strain on supply. Although it may seem counterintuitive to purchase your home heating oil during the hot summer months, it can lead to the best deals due to the demand and price going down.  


To give you an indication, most people tend to purchase heating oil two to three times a year, depending on the size of their tank and the amount of energy they consume, and order around 1,000 and 2,000 litres.

2. Compare suppliers


Along with supply and demand being a key factor affecting your heating oil prices, the local competition also comes into play.


Heating oil suppliers will usually attempt to undercut their competitors and offer lower prices. However, it is important to note that, saving a few pennies of the price per litre of kerosene may not be worth it in the long run, as you may end up experiencing slow delivery times and poor customer service.


To prevent this from happening, you should conduct your own online research and look into company reviews on both their official website and on review sites, such as Trustpilot. Reading customer reviews will allow you to make an informed decision on the company’s credibility and ultimately decide whether you trust them or not.


It is important to compare as many quotes as you can from local and online companies, as heating oil prices vary between businesses and across the UK. Also, monitoring these quotes can be very useful, so you are in the know with regards to when and where you can get the very best heating oil prices on the market.

3. Buying in Bulk

As mentioned in our post explaining the best ways to lower your heating bill, another way of getting the best oil prices is buying in bulk. The more heating oil you purchase, the cheaper it will be! However, the amount of heating oil you can store depends on the capacity of your tank. The average size of a domestic heating oil tank is between 1,000 and 3,500 litres, and they should only be filled to approximately 80% to prevent spills.


This is why heating oil clubs are so popular, where a lot of residents in the local area utilise kerosene as their primary fuel source. It is cheaper for suppliers to deliver one large ‘bulk’ order to one area than it is for them to deliver several smaller orders in different areas.


Rix Petroleum currently serves many heating oil clubs all across the country, and we always ensure that we donate the savings we have made on the reduced transportation costs to great causes and local community projects!


Rix Services


Here at Rix, we want to provide you with the very best oil prices and ensure that all of our customers live comfortably all year round in fully fuelled homes.


As Rix have supplied heating oil for almost 100 years, we have been asked plenty of questions about heating oil prices. For more expert information, check out our heating oil price guide.


Alternatively, if you have an enquiry about our heating oil services, or are running low on fuel, contact your local depot where a member of our friendly team will help in any way they can. We have an excellent reputation for quick responses, competitive heating oil prices and trustworthy services, even in the harshest of weather conditions.

Click here to get an instant heating oil prices quote 

What to Look for in an Oil Tank Inspection

Completing 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 out for in a heating oil tank inspection, so any issues can be spotted early on to prevent environmental damage and any heavy repair costs in the long run.

Rix Driver Standing Next to Van

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
Blue and Orange Bird Flying Above Water

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.

How to protect your heating oil tank against theft

 June 25, 2013

With reports of a spate of domestic heating oil thefts across the country, it is important to ensure that your heating oil supplies are properly protected.

Here are just some of the measures you can take to guard against domestic heating oil theft:

Tank positioning

If you place your tank in a remote location that is located some distance from your property, then a would-be thief may feel it is easier to strike where prying eyes can’t see. As a result, placing your heating oil tank close to your property and within full view of one or more of your windows may act as a deterrent.


Locks are one of the key ways we secure our homes, and this can also be extended to heating oil tanks. Investing in a good quality, shackle padlock will mean that the efforts of thieves are thwarted before they can even begin. This is because the metal hoop (shackle) on this type of padlock is hardly exposed, making it difficult for thieves to grip with bolt cutters.


Installing security lighting in the area around your heating oil tank is also another great way of making thieves think twice before tapping into your heating oil supplies. An illuminated area means homeowners are more likely to be alerted to any suspicious activity.

Strategic planting

Another way to disguise your heating oil tank from plain view, especially if it is sited in a remote location, is to put some tall planting around it. A prickly hedge or two could act as a simple and effective deterrent. However, as your heating oil delivery driver will need to have access to the tank you may want to opt for putting a trellis or fence around your heating oil tank.

Remote oil level gauges

Remote oil level gauges can be located in the kitchen or utility area, and will set off an alarm when the oil levels in your heating oil tank are below a quarter full or if there is a sudden drop in your heating oil. As a result this can be used for the general monitoring of your heating oil levels.