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Checking your oil tank for damage this winter

In winter, our homes and gardens can suffer when the weather turns nasty. One area we don’t check often enough is our home heating oil tanks. Your home heating oil tank probably doesn’t get a lot of attention unless something’s wrong with it, but when that happens it’s normally too late to do anything about it, other than replace it which can be a costly expense. How often do you check your oil tank for damage? If the answer is ‘not very’, then you’ll want to read this blog post and get outside to check it right away, to prevent any of these disasters from happening.

How should you check your oil tank for damage this winter?  

Your oil tank is probably situated in an unused corner of the garden, so you probably don’t pay much attention to it unless you’re getting a delivery of home heating oil. You should however be checking it more regularly over the winter when bad weather, storms and garden debris can lead to damage, or camouflage damage that’s already been done. Look out for the following:

  • Dents, cracks, scratches and bulges on the tank exterior
  • Any rust or cracks around the seals, pipes and openings that could be a sign of corrosion
  • Clear leaves and garden rubbish from around the base of the tank to ensure the underneath of it is still level and sturdy, and if it’s resting on soil that it’s still secure and safe and not at risk of subsidence.
  • Don’t let flowers or plants grow over the tank – yes, it helps it to blend into the garden and is nicer to look at, but it could also be masking issues and makes it harder for your oil delivery driver to top it up
  • Be aware of any dark patches under the tank which indicates that the oil tank is leaking
  • If your oil tank is made of plastic, watch out for signs of cracks or splits in the plastic, as well as a whitening effect

What can happen if damage goes untreated?

If the worst should happen, and you don’t notice any of the signs of damage until it’s too late, here’s just a few examples of what you could be in for:

  • Run out of oil more quickly: You might find that your home heating oil delivery doesn’t last as long as expected, and if you can rule out fuel theft, you need to establish if there are other areas where it could be escaping from your tank and stop this fast.
  • Boiler breakdowns: Having cracks around the pipes and seals can allow water into your tank, and when water and sludge build up this can block the fuel lines and lead to faults with your boiler – and costly repairs.
  • Oil tank replacement: If your oil tank damage is beyond repair, you might have to buy a new oil tank and have this professionally installed. The cost of this could be a few hundred Euros.
  • Harming the environment: If you have an oil leak, this is a serious environmental concern, and you need to alert the proper departments to make sure any oil spills are handled safely and with as little damage as possible.