Oil tank checks
If you’re filling up your tank ready for the winter season, now’s a great time to check your tank. There are some simple checks and precautions you can take yourself to ensure your tank is in a good condition:
- Check for signs of damage, such as bulges, deep scratches, cracks, discolouration, rust or major dents.
- Look out for any oil that has leaked out externally, particularly around pipes, valves and seams.
- Make sure that any external protection, such as a bund, isn’t filled with large amounts of water, oil, rubbish or plants.
- Keep access to and around the tank clear, and don’t allow plants to grow near it.
- Make sure vents, gauges and access points are closed and protected so that rainwater, insects or dirt doesn’t get into them.
- Check gauges and alarms are working correctly, and in particular the batteries.
- Consult the manufacturer for advice on how to do this.
- Keep an oil spill kit with drain blockers, leak-sealing putty and absorbent materials.
- Make sure your tank is only filled to around 80-90% of its capacity to avoid overfilling and ensure your tank has an overfill protection device or alarm.
- If your boiler’s on its last legs, make sure you get a reliable replacement.
Will heating oil freeze?
Heating oil won’t technically freeze and become a solid lump. However, in very cold weather (usually minus 39 degrees), heating oil can ‘wax up’, which is where it forms crystals that stop it from flowing as easily. There are two types of heating oil – gas oil and kerosene. The latter is less likely to become waxy. You can also buy additives to add to your oil that will help prevent crystals from forming. For 1,000 litres of heating oil, expect to pay around £15 for additives.
Buying heating oil in winter
Regularly check how much oil you have left to avoid suddenly running out in cold weather – particularly on those occasions when a supplier can’t get to you, such as during heavy snow. Order more oil before your supply gets less than a quarter full. To avoid risks and save money, order most of your oil in summer, then simply top up in early winter before the weather gets too bad. If you run out unexpectedly, contact your supplier.