This blog is the first in a series from Wendi Whittle at J Seed & Co Ltd, specialist providers of heating oil tanks and storage containers. Wendi has put together some of the most frequently asked questions about heating oil tank maintenance and installation that she is asked by customers, which we hope will help you too.
My Old Steel Tank is Rusty, Does it Need Replacing?
Rusty steel tanks may not be as bad as you think and the critical thing is checking them on a regular basis. Steel tanks start to seep and can show as a damp patch on your tank. You may start to smell fuel more and see a rainbow effect on the ground when its been raining. Steel tanks tend to start leaking on the bases and where they are in contact with your pillars. Put your hand under to see if you feels damp and if you can smell fuel on your fingers,get an Oftec registered engineer to give you a price for a new one.
Who is OFTEC?
Oftec is the oil equivalent of Gas Safe (Corgi) however, unlike gas, it is not illegal for people to work on oil with no qualifications, so take care finding a reputable engineer who is Oftec registered or recommended by other oil users. You can replace tanks yourself but tank and boiler replacements are a controlled service under Building Regulations and need to be signed off by either a competent person or by your local Building Control Officer. There is a handy locate a technician search at http://www.boilerjuice.com/boiler-servicing
Should I Have a Plastic or Steel Tank?
The regulations are the same if you install a plastic or a steel tank. Plastic tanks are lightweight so easier to fit and readily available “off the shelf”. Steel tanks are as popular as ever and can be made to fit in any space you may have available aswell as can offer far greater security for you fuel than a plastic tank can.
My Tank is Next to a Wooden Shed – Can a New One go Back in the Same Position?
When your tank needs replacing (or for new installations) tanks need to be 1800mm away from any combustible buildings (i.e. sheds, garages etc.) or they can be right up against a non combustible building as long as there are no windows or door within 1800mms of any part of the tank. The top of your tank must also be 1800mm away from the eaves of your building. If this is not possible you can put some form of fire protection in between the tank and the fire risk (a wall or fire barrier) or purchase a tank which is ready fire protected such as http://www.jseed.co.uk/catalog/fire-protected-tanks/192-fire-protected-plastic-bunded-tanks.html
Many new domestic tanks (and replacements) need to be a bunded tank (which is a tank within a tank). Here is a useful risk assessment which may help you decide if you need a bunded tank and where it can go. You can download an oil tank risk assessment here.
How Do I Know if my Tank is Situated in a Ground Water Protection Zone?
Pop your postcode in at The Environment Agency to see.