How to Deal with Domestic Heating Oil Leaks and Spills

July 11, 2013 | Heating Oil Tanks

Dealing with a heating oil leakHeating oil leaks can be sudden or happen over a period of time and with domestic heating oil they are normally found coming from the tank, valves or the supply line. As most domestic heating oil tanks are located in the garden or outdoor areas, the potential for damage to the environment can be great.

If you suffer from a leak or spill from your domestic heating oil tank, it is important that you deal with it quickly and correctly to avoid damage to the environment. We have put together a list of top tips to help if you detect a leak or spill:


  • Turn off the stop tap at the source to prevent any further flow
  • Prevent the spill from entering nearby ground water such as drains, rivers or soaking into the ground by using sand or soil to absorb the heating oil. You can buy oil spill kits that include drain blockers, leak sealing putty and sorbent materials to deal with leaks and spills.
  • Prevent the spill from entering nearby buildings with sand or soil.
  • Try to establish how much oil has been lost by checking the level on the tank and thinking about usage and when you last had a delivery. This may be useful to the various agencies and contractors you need to speak to.
  • Call the environment agency on 0800 807 060 to get professional advice
  • If heating oil has entered a nearby building and resulted in fumes or contamination of the drinking water contact your local Environmental Health Officer.
  • If the leak is the coming from a broken seal on a plastic tank you may be able to initiate a temporary repair on the seal by rubbing some soap into the area that has broken.
  • Don’t try washing away the leak with detergent or water as this can make the problem worse and could lead to the oil entering nearby ground water.
  • Contact a local heating oil supplier to arrange to have the remainder of your oil removed until you can have the leak repaired.
  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to notify them of the leak and get advice on your cover.  Please note that they won’t cover tanks or pipes that have not been maintained properly or are in a poor condition.
  • Make sure any repairs are made by an OFTEC registered engineer.


Once you have had your heating oil leak repaired, you can arrange with your heating oil supplier to have your oil delivered.




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