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Storing your heating oil safely this summer

Summer time, even in Ireland, means it’s generally mild enough outside so that you don’t have to have your heating on all the time. However, that tends to mean that we forget about it until we really need it – a case of out of sight, out of mind. Who knows what’s happening to your oil when you’re not using it? Here’s a few tips for storing your heating oil safely this summer, so that it’s ready for when you need it again come autumn.

  • Make sure the oil tank is structurally sound. You can read more about basic oil tank safety in this handy checklist, which will detail the things you need to look out for. An unsafe oil tank could potentially cause an oil spill, which is very dangerous not to mention a big waste of money.
  • Know who is responsible for storing your heating oil safely if you rent your property. Your landlord is responsible for the tank and the pipework, and keeping both in good condition. They will also need to ensure there is adequate insurance in place to replace the tank if necessary. As a tenant, you should keep the landlord informed about spills or possible damage to the pipework or equipment, and also be available to take delivery of home heating oil when required.
  • Check your oil tank is secure. Fit it with a padlock to ensure the contents stay safe, otherwise you’ll go to turn the heating back on in September to find that your supply of home heating oil might have been stolen without you realising until it’s too late.
  • If you are having a new home heating oil tank installed on your property in preparation for the colder months ahead, make sure you are using a registered professional, who will comply with all necessary building control regulation and building control issues that could arise.
  • Sometimes, your oil tank will need to be bunded, which is a secondary containment around the tank to catch any potential leaks or spills. There are only some instances where this would be necessary – for example, where oil spills could run into an open drain, within 10m of coastal waters, within 50m of a source of drinking water.
  • Summertime is the perfect time of year for showing off your green fingers and transforming your outdoor space into a lush, colourful space to enjoy, however we would advise that you steer clear of planting anything around your oil tank for safety reasons. Creeping plants and heavy plant pots might look attractive, but when you restrict access to your oil tank it’s not safe. Spend the time in the garden away from it if you can.