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Take steps to prevent water ingression in your heating oil tank this winter

Home heating oil tank

Each and every winter, thousands of UK heating oil users are left out in the cold, when water makes its way into their heating oil supply. The result is not just a cold house, but frequently an expensive boiler engineer’s bill, that can often be avoided.

In most instances, water forms within the oil storage tank as a result of condensation forming as the tank heats up during the day and cools down during the evening. On a daily basis, the amount of condensation forming inside the tank is negligible. However, over the course of a year, several litres of water can easily accumulate inside.

Understanding this and recognising too that water is heavier than heating oil, plastic oil tank manufacturers position the outlet above the floor of the tank – to minimise the risk of water entering the oil supply line. Metal tanks make allowances for water too. Frequently, they will either have an inbuilt sump, or will be installed at a slight angle, to encourage water to settle as far away from the outlet as possible. Assuming the tank is serviced annually by an OFTEC Registered Technician, or a similarly competent person who checks for the presence of residual water and arranges its removal, both approaches readily suffice.

However, if the tank is not inspected annually and instead, condensate is simply left to accumulate, problems will almost certainly follow. At some point, condensate will enter the oil supply line until sufficient water accumulates to prevent the boiler from firing. In extreme circumstances, water may even freeze inside the oil supply line, effectively isolating the supply of fuel to the boiler. Worse, when the frozen water thaws, the oil supply line may well be split, causing a significant pollution incident.

So before the worst of the winter weather sets in, it’s worth spending a few minutes getting up close and personal with your tank to ensure it’s not just weatherproof, but winterproof too. Check all caps and lids are secure. Take a quick look at seals, gaskets and vents to ensure they are present and correct. And if they’re not… replacements are generally readily available, cost a fraction of an engineer’s call out charge and can be fitted in minutes, with no specialist expertise or tools required.

Source: Tank Depot

For more information on how we can help you with ensuring that your heating oil tank is ready for winter please contact your local depot.