Oil Tank Maintenance Guide

Once your oil tank is installed, it becomes crucial to maintain it properly. Regular oil tank maintenance ensures its proper functioning and consistent system efficiency. It also extends the tank’s lifespan (they can last up to 20 years with good care) and helps you avoid costly repair expenses.

Is the location of my oil tank important?

Surprisingly, the placement of your oil tank on your property is quite significant. Your tank can be installed outdoors, indoors, or underground, but it must comply with any applicable building regulations. Each option has its advantages:

Benefits of indoor oil tank installation:

Installing your oil tank indoors protects it from environmental damage (such as adverse weather conditions) and theft. Indoor temperatures are typically higher than outdoors, increasing burning efficiency and reducing the risk of freezing. However, there are rules to follow when installing a tank indoors:

  • Capacity must be 3,500 litres or less.
  • Must have a secondary container.
  • Should be within a one-hour fire-resistant chamber.
  • Must be located at the lowest possible level.
  • Requires ventilation to the outside.

Benefits of underground oil tank installation:

Underground tank installation saves space but makes maintenance more challenging. Specific rules apply when installing an underground tank:

  • It must be designed specifically for underground use.
  • Planning permission must be obtained.
  • Compliance with recommendations in the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidance note PPG 27 is necessary.

How can I protect my oil tank from theft?

The oil stored in your tank is valuable and can attract thieves. To protect against theft, ensure your tank is securely locked or, if outdoors, conceal it from public view. Consider installing sensor lighting around the tank area or even CCTV.

Should I inspect my oil tank’s fittings?

After installation, familiarize yourself with the fill point, vent, and contents gauge to monitor oil levels. The gauge and spillage alert alarm, if present, may be located inside your property. Regularly inspect supply pipes, whether above ground or underground. Knowing the location of the isolation valve in case of emergencies, such as leaks, is also wise.

How do I handle water contamination in an oil tank?

While maintaining the exterior of your tank is essential, don’t overlook the interior. Water contamination can be a serious issue. Water can enter your tank through improperly fitted or closed filler caps, corroded seals, damaged vents, or even condensation during hotter months. Detecting water contamination is challenging through visual inspection alone, as water settles at the bottom.

Preventing water contamination:

If you suspect contamination, have an expert check your tank regularly. Preventative measures include ensuring seals are functioning correctly, keeping lids and caps tightly closed, and maintaining a sufficient oil level to prevent condensation. Protect your tank from cold weather conditions by providing appropriate shelter.

Oil Tank Care Checklist:

Apart from expert checks and cleaning, here’s a checklist to maintain your oil tank:

  • Remove debris from the external bund.
  • Securely close access points when not in use.
  • Clean oil spillages made during deliveries.
  • Check for oil stains on tank supports and surrounding ground.
  • Inspect for bulges, holes, or cracks on the tank itself.
  • Examine for rust or discoloration on the tank.
  • Ensure all connections, seals, lids, and caps are secure.
  • Check the integrity of all pipework.
  • Treat or paint steel tanks when necessary.
  • Have an oil spill kit on hand for emergencies (sorbent materials, leak-sealing putty, and drain blockers).

What else can I do to maintain my oil tank?

Regularly check for leaks at connections, seals, lids, caps, and pipework. Keep the area around your tank clear of clutter and debris. Prevent blockages by sealing vents, gauges, and connections to prevent debris, rainwater, or insects from clogging the system. Water or sludge entering your heating system can cause damage.


If you need any further assistance or advice, please find out more by visiting our Oil Tank Replacement page or by calling one of the team on 01278 431451 or email info@westernfuel.co.uk

Tank Replacements