check your tank for winter

How To: Prepare Your Oil Tank for Winter

November 11, 2015 | Heating Oil Advice, Heating Oil Tanks

With temperatures dropping and the threat of snow hovering over our heads, it’s safe to say that winter is well on it’s way. Whether you’ve used heating oil for a while or are new to the game, it’s important to make sure that your tank is prepared for the frosty season, as any issues can be made much worse during cold weather.

The last thing you want to be dealing with over Christmas is an unexpected oil leak, so to avoid disaster just follow our simple checklist and make sure your oil tank is prepared for winter.

Prepare Your Heating Oil Tank for Winter

Check Your Tank Levels and Order Early

Generally, as temperatures drop more people turn on their heating. This results in a sudden surge in demand for heating oil, which can cause prices to spike. It’s also more difficult for Suppliers to make deliveries over winter, as cold weather can affect driving conditions and lead to delays. If you want to avoid running out of heating oil over winter it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your oil levels and order as early as possible (you may also be able to take advantage of pre-winter prices!).  

Get Your Boiler Serviced

If you use your boiler less over warmer months, it’s important to make sure that your system is prepared for the extra strain it will experience over winter. Unfortunately, oil-fired boilers are particularly prone to soot build-up, which can cause expensive maintenance issues and deadly carbon monoxide leaks. By booking a boiler service with an OFTEC-registered technician you can avoid unexpected winter breakdowns and make sure your boiler is working as efficiently and safely as possible.

Examine Your Oil Tank for Signs of Damage

It is important to regularly check your tank for signs of damage, especially over periods of bad weather. You should look out for cracks, rusting and tank bulging or distortion, as well as loose or damaged caps and filling points. If left unattended, these issues could result in oil leaks or allow water to enter the tank, resulting in pipe blockages and boiler damage.  

Check Your Tank Base and Pipes for Damage

Over winter, small cracks in your tank base or pipes can expand. This increases the chance of oil leaks and makes the area around your tank unsafe. If your base or pipes are not up to code, you may be unable to receive oil deliveries, and your tank is more likely to be damaged by flooding or high winds. For this reason, it is important to make sure that all external parts of your tank are structurally sound, and any cracks are fixed before cold weather hits.   

Cut Back any Overgrown Plants Around Your Tank

If you’re an avid gardener it’s likely that you’ll already be in the process of preparing your garden for winter. If so, make sure you pay attention to the area around your oil tank. Any plants that cover your tank or base area should be removed as these can restrict delivery access and make it harder to spot tank damage. It’s also a good idea to check any vents or bund areas, as they can become clogged with leaves and debris over autumn.

Lubricate Your Tank Lock

Heating oil theft is more common over winter so it’s important to make sure that you can easily use any security equipment you have available. If you think your tank lock could seize-up during cold spells, make sure you lubricate it regularly. When it comes to tank security, it’s better to be safe than sorry!    

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