Check Your Oil Tank to Avoid Disaster

    Check Your Oil Tank to Avoid Disaster

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    Everyone knows how important it is to make sure their central heating and boiler system is working properly and to have it regularly checked and serviced. Yet if you have an oil-powered system, there is one important component that often gets overlooked, and that is the oil storage tank itself.

    If your tank develops a leak, the resulting environmental damage can be immense, polluting your land and potentially any nearby water course. No less significant is the financial loss of hundreds of litres of oil, and the inconvenience of being without your home heating system when you need it most.

    Now that the weather is getting warmer, the time is ideal to check your tank and deal with any small problems before they can evolve into major emergencies.

    Check Your Oil Tank to Avoid Disaster

    Who can check my tank?

    Ideally, your tank and all the supply pipes should be checked every year by a competent expert, at the same time as they check and service the rest of your system. However, all too often this important area is neglected, so it pays to make sure.

    There are also some basic checks you should carry out yourself every month, just to make sure that there are no leaks or problems. These vary depending on whether you have a metal or plastic tank. If you have concerns or need advice, log on to to get in touch with an expert.

    General checks

    Whatever type of tank you have, you should start by looking on and around it for any sign of a leak, or anything that could cause one. In addition, cover the following points:

    • Keep the area around the tank clear of vegetation so that everything is in clear view.
    • Clear bunds (the secondary containment area around the tank) of debris and rubbish.
    • Look at the ground around the tank for any stains or suggestions that oil has escaped.
    • Inspect all visible pipework, valves and filters for any sign of damage or leaks, especially around joints.
    • Check the base supports are in good order, with no cracking or subsidence.
    • Make sure the contents gauge is working

    Metal tanks

    Metal tanks bring their own additional potential for trouble. If you have one, you should also check for signs of rusting, blistering paintwork, dampness on the surface of the tank and bulging tank sides.

    Plastic tanks

    Most homes these days have plastic tanks. While these do not rust, they are not infallible, and if a plastic tank fails, there is no way to repair it. If you have one, check for whitening, cracking or splits, and also watch out for any deformation in the overall shape. All are signs of a potentially catastrophic failure.

    If in doubt, get help

    A tank failure can cause immense trouble, worry and cost, so it pays to be vigilant. Even if there is no physical sign of problems, be aware of telltale indications such as a sudden increase in fuel consumption that could mean a hidden leak, and if you have the slightest concern, contact an expert.


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