In preparation for the coming winter season, many people who choose to use heating oil need to be aware of the need to check their current fuel tanks. Here we provide helpful advice about tank maintenance and even the possibility of installing a new tank. Without further ado, here are some important tips and things to consider when thinking about your heating fuel tank.
Where should a heating fuel tank be located?
Assuming compliance with building regulations, fuel tanks can be installed indoors, outdoors or even underground.
Most households install their fuel tank outdoors, where it is easier to access and maintain. To reduce the risk of your fuel tank being targeted by potential thieves, it is recommended that your tank is placed out of sight of the road, but is still visible from the inside of your home. Another anti-theft measure to employ is having some floodlighting around the location of your tank.
Indoor fuel tanks are safer from the risk of damage or theft. There are also some benefits; as the higher indoor temperature boosts the overall burning efficiency and it also greatly reduces the risk of freezing.
There are certain criteria for installing a fuel tank indoors:
- The tank is located at the lowest possible level
- There is adequate ventilation to the outside
- The tank has secondary containment in place
- The tank capacity is 3,500 litres or less
- The tank alone is within a one-hour-fire-resistant chamber
An underground fuel tank saves on space, but is more difficult to maintain. You can install fuel tank underground if:
- You have the necessary planning permission in place
- The tank is specifically constructed for underground usage
- Recommendations from the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidance are followed
How long do heating fuel tanks last?
Heating fuel tanks usually have a lifetime of between 15 and 20 years. Although some tanks come with a 10-year guarantee.
How do you maintain a heating fuel system?
You should have your heating fuel tank and oil boiler inspected at least once per year by a qualified heating engineer. This is alongside any additional monthly visual checks you complete yourself on your fuel tank.
How to perform visual inspections on a fuel tank:
- Remove any debris from the external bund
- Close all access points when out of use
- Clean any oil spills made during deliveries
- Check for oil stains on the tank supports or the ground beneath the tank
- Check for bulging, rust, cracks or any discolouration on the tank
- Check that all the connections are secure
How do you prevent heating fuel from freezing?
The paraffin in heating fuel can freeze and then clog your fuel line, which potentially prevents you from properly heating your home. To reduce this risk, you should insulate your tank and pipes.
There are also additives that can be purchased that lower the freezing point of heating fuel, or you could simply purchase pre-treated fuel. Some homeowners even choose to install an electric heat sheet, which works to warm your heating fuel tank when the temperature drops, although this method is relatively costly.