Check your household oil tank for leaks

Carry out monthly checks

Every month you should:

  • cut back vegetation that could hide the tank's condition
  • check if any vegetation around the tank has signs of die-back
  • check the tank base or supports for cracking or subsidence
  • check all visible pipework, valves and filters for damage and signs of leaks
  • check secondary containment (tank bunds) for liquid or rubbish
  • check that drip trays for remote fill pipes haven’t got any oil or water in them
  • ensure the tank has a working contents gauge - if it has a valve make sure it’s closed

If you have a metal tank check for:

  • signs of rust, pitting and blistering of paint
  • oil dampness on seams and welds

If you have a plastic tank check for:

  • whitening, cracking and splits in the plastic
  • bulging or deformation of the tank profile

If you find a problem during your checks

If you see anything you’re worried about or that’s changed since you last looked, you should get advice from an Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) registered engineer

Plastic oil tanks can’t be repaired. You will need a new oil tank if it has started to show signs of deteriorating.

Supervise deliveries

Supervise oil deliveries so that your tank is never overfilled. Don’t order more oil than you can safely store.

Monitor how much oil you use

If the volume of oil you use suddenly increases, there could be a leak. You should check your tank and pipework immediately. 

Tank monitoring devices can give early warning of a rapid drop in oil level.

What to do if your tank leaks

If your tank starts leaking, you should prevent the flow of oil from reaching nearby buildings, watercourses or going down drains. 

Act quickly to:

  • stop the flow at the source by turning off the tap
  • try to find the source of the leak and reduce the flow
  • use sand to absorb any oil spilt on the ground

People you will need to contact

Notify your insurance provider. They will arrange for contractors to respond to the spill. They won't cover tanks or pipes that have not been maintained properly.

If the heating oil leak has contaminated streams, ponds, rivers or lakes, report it to us.

Contact your fuel supplier to request they uplift the remaining fuel as quickly as possible. You can try to determine the amount of fuel lost from the tank by checking records of previous usage and receipts from your supplier.

Make sure any repairs are made by an Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) registered engineer.

Servicing and insurance

Arrange for the boiler, tank and any underground pipework to be serviced annually by an Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) registered engineer.

Make sure your storage tank is covered by insurance - check the wording carefully.

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