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Protecting Your Heating Oil

From preventing oil leaks to protecting your tank against theft, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about maintaining and protecting your heating oil tank.

Heating Oil Tank Checklist

  • Locate your tank as far away from open water sources and drains as possible
  • Keep the access to and around your tank clear and free from plants
  • Inspect your tank regularly for any damage, cracks and rust Check for leaks around pipes, valves and seams
  • Keep an oil spill kit, leak sealing putty and oil absorbent materials to hand in case of spillage
  • Ensure access points are closed when not in use to stop debris from contaminating the tank
  • It is a legal requirement for domestic tanks over 3,500 litre capacity to have a secondary containment such as a bund for additional protection against leaks
  • Check that your tanks bund is also free from leaks, debris and water Ensure all of your tanks gauges and alarms are in full working order
  • Only fill your tank to around 90% capacity to avoid overfilling
  • Take out specialist insurance for your tank and its contents against theft, leaks and clean up and the event of an oil spill


As well as completing your own maintenance checks, it’s good practice to have your heating oil tank service on a yearly basis by a registered Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) technician.

Heating Oil Leaks

If you ever experience an oil leak, you need to seal your tank and cover the spill with a highly absorbent material to stop it from spreading.

Oil is extremely harmful to the environment and is highly toxic to plants, animals and water sources. In the event of an oil spill or leak you should call the Environment Agency’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0800 807 060.

You should also notify your insurance company. Oil clean ups can be costly so make sure you have specialist oil tank insurance that covers clean up costs on your properties and neighbouring lands.

Heating Oil Theft

Heating oil is a valuable commodity which makes it an attractive target for thieves.

To help keep your heating oil safe, we’ve pulled together some useful tips to help protect your home from heating oil theft.

Oil Tank Installation

When installing your heating oil tank you need to consider its location; finding the right balance between access, aesthetics and security while ensuring you comply with relevant regulations.

It’s a good idea to position your tank so that it isn’t visible from the roadside but so you can see it from inside your home. If possible, installing your heating oil tank in a shed or garage will not only keep it hidden from view but will also provide the added benefit of shielding it from low temperatures, helping your heating oil to burn more efficiently.

How to Secure Outdoor Oil Tanks

Most heating oil tanks are stored outdoors. Where this is the case, there are a number of security measures that will help to deter and catch thieves:

  • Cages and tank locks are excellent security measures to help keep your heating oil safe from theft
  • Tank alarms that react if your oil levels suddenly drop are useful for notifying you of both theft and oil leaks
  • Gravel pathways create a noisy route up to and around your heating oil tank that will deter intruders and also help to alert you to their presence
  • Installing motion sensitive security lighting will help to deter thieves and alert you to their presence
  • Installing CCTV will help to deter thieves and provide valuable evidence for the police and insurance claims

It's often cheaper to buy your heating oil bulk, but if you think you could be a target for oil thieves that also means that you have more oil to lose.

If you're uncomfortable with storing larger quantities of oil, but still want to benefit from the reduced prices of bulk buying, then joining a heating oil club can help to keep your costs down.

Heating Oil UK

If you have any questions on maintaining or protecting your home heating oil tank, get in touch or call us on 08000 235 905.

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