Get The Most From Your Heating Oil Tank, Says

9th July 2011
There are over 1.5 million heating oil storage tanks throughout the British Isles, which when installed and maintained correctly, can provide many years of dependable, reliable services for homeowners and householders.
To help consumers get the most from their tanks, Steve Beech from online fuel tank specialist, provides a series of useful tips to ensure oil tanks remain in tip top condition all year round.
Oil Heating Technician1. Has your oil heating system been serviced within the past 12 months, by a professional, independently accredited service technician? If it hasn't, then now's a good time to make the necessary arrangements with a suitably competent technician - many technicians offer reduced rate servicing during the summer months.
It always makes sense to choose a technician who has been assessed and independently accredited as being an expert in their field e.g. a member of the Oil Fired Technical Association (OFTEC) or Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors' (APHC) Competent Persons' Scheme. And if you've been used to gas heating in the past, remember that Gas Safe Registration does not extend to oil fired central heating systems, which are specialist systems requiring specialist expertise.
2. Is your oil tank manufactured from steel? If so, be sure and check for signs of corrosion - remembering that steel oil tanks often rust from the 'inside out'. So no matter how good your oil tank might look on the outside, it could be days from failure on the inside.
If your oil tank is manufactured from plastic, check instead for signs of cracking or crazing. Any plastic fuel tank with a crack (even if it is above the maximum fuel level) should be replaced immediately. Modern bunded fuel tanks are affordable and represent an environmentally responsible fuel storage choice.
3. If you have an oil tank contents gauge fitted, is it working? If not arrange to have it replaced or repaired, remembering that old fashioned sight gauges in particular, can represent a potential pollution hazard.
4. Check pipe work and ancillary components (e.g. filters, isolation valves etc.) for signs of damage, corrosion or leakage. Even the smallest leaks can often be detected by an increase in heating oil consumption; a strong smell of heating oil; or by a 'rainbow' sheen from any affected component on a rainy day. If you think you may have a leak, isolate the supply of fuel from the tank immediately and make arrangements to have it remedied.
5. Water and oil don't mix - so don't allow them to. Ensure all inspection points and fill points fitted to your oil tank are firmly shut and vent covers are intact and correctly affixed.
6. Remember there are strict regulations in place for the installation of new and replacement oil tanks. Even at residential installations, almost all new and replacement oil storage tanks should be a bunded tank. A bunded oil tank consists of a 'tank within a tank'. Bunded oil tanks are proven to dramatically reduce the risk of oil pollution in the event of a spillage, when compared with old-fashioned single skin oil tanks.
Watchman Sonic Oil Tank Contents Gauge7. Check the level of fuel remaining inside your oil tank regularly. There's nothing worse than running out of fuel in the middle of a cold snap. can supply the Apollo, Apollo Visual and Watchman Sonic electronic oil tank gauge, which allow you to monitor your tank from the warmth and convenience of your own home. If you wish to combine security and remote tank monitoring, then there's always the Watchman Alarm, which is also fitted as standard to all Titan Ecosafe Bunded Fuel Tanks.
Apollo Smart Heating Oil Energy will also shortly be adding the revolutionary Apollo Smart to the company's range of fuel tank level monitors. The world's first heating oil energy monitor, Apollo Smart allows heating oil users to not just monitor the level of fuel inside their tank, but to monitor heating oil usage in litres; energy costs in £Sterling or Euros; and kgCO2 emissions too. Usefully, the system can also predict the number of days supply remaining and benefits from a low level warning alert. Integral USB connectivity also allows usage and consumption data to be uploaded to almost any Mac or PC for further interrogation and analysis.
8. Make sure your tank is correctly supported. Plastic oil tanks in particular must be fully supported across their entire base and good practice dictates the base should extend 300mm beyond the widest point of the tank. Failure to properly support a tank will almost invariably result in premature product failure and a potentially catastrophic environmental pollution incident.
9. If you have a bunded tank fitted with a bund warning alarm when was the last time you checked it? In the event that the alarm indicates there is liquid present inside the bunded area, contact your fuel supplier or local competent, oil storage technician. More often than not, such liquid will often be condensation, which forms naturally as a result of changes in ambient temperature and humidity - but it makes sense to get it removed.
10. Finally, make sure your home insurance covers homes with oil heating installations. Many home insurance policies do, but some don't. Your insurance broker or insurance company will be able to advise. If you're not currently covered, it makes sense to upgrade to a policy which does provide the necessary coverage.
For more information on environmentally responsible oil storage, click here to visit online; contact your local fuel supplier; speak with your local Building Control Department or Environmental Authority; or, better still, arrange to have your oil storage system inspected by your local OFTEC or APHC Registered Technician.

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Article Last Updated 9th July 2011
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