Our guide to checking and maintaining your heating oil tank

How to check your home heating oil storage tank

Our guide to maintaining and checking your kerosene tank 

If you are one of the 1.5 million homes in the UK using kerosene as an efficient and cost-effective way of heating your home, providing hot water, or fuelling your oil range cooker, it is important to check and maintain your oil tank. Heating oil can cause serious problems if lost to the environment. It can pollute rivers, harm wildlife, and contaminate ground and drinking water. 

A damaged tank can result in leaks and spills, which can be both difficult and expensive to clean up. Leaked oil can end up in groundwater supplies, rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds which could result in damage further afield to livestock and wildlife. It can cost tens of thousands of pounds to clean up the affected area. 

It is recommended that you check your home heating oil tank is in good working order at least once a month, and each time before placing an order. The area surrounding the tank must be kept clear of any overgrown vegetation and rubbish as this will enable the driver to make the delivery safely and complete the required tank inspection prior to delivery. 

If you see anything you are worried about or anything that has changed since you last looked, you should take advice from a qualified oil heating professional. Our customer service team will happily recommend someone in your area. 

heating oil storage tank

  • Check the tank base or supports for cracking or subsidence. Your heating oil tank should be based on a solid, level surface that will support its weight when full. Also, think about how the delivery driver will fill your tank - if a ladder is required, a solid surface must be available for that too. 
  •  Check all visible pipework, valves and filters for damage and signs of leaks, such as dampness or staining, especially around joints.  
  •  Check vegetation in the surrounding areas for signs of dieback, this is a good indication that heating oil has been lost to the environment.  
  •  If your heating oil tank is plastic, look for any whitening, cracking, splits, or bulging. Try and keep the tank out of direct sunlight. 
  •  For a metal tank, you should check for signs of rust, blistering of paint and oil dampness on the joints. 

If your home heating oil level plummets quite rapidly, you should check your tank and pipework immediately for leaks. To report an oil spill or leak, contact the Environment Agency’s 24-hour emergency hotline on 0800 807060.     

If your tank needs a top-up of home heating oil, click here for a quote today.