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.

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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.