In this section you’ll find everything you need to know to keep your oil heating system running efficiently, economically and safely.

Oil Tank Security

The oil in your tank is valuable and you should consider taking appropriate security measures to prevent its theft, or unauthorised use. You can’t totally protect your tank against theft, but you can greatly reduce the chance that your oil will be stolen by taking a few simple precautions.

We recommend:

  • Making sure the oil gauge is secured correctly to the tank
  • If your tank has a lid design, consider fitting suitable locks and/or lockable valves where necessary and then ensure that they are used. This may be a legal requirement for some tanks. Your tank installation engineer or fuel delivery company will be able to advise you.
  • If of a vent and fill type, you can buy a special lockable cap
  • Don’t forget to provide the keys/combinations for these devices to the delivery company when a delivery is expected and you may not be present.
  • Monitor your oil tank on a regular basis. Remote electronic oil level gauges are available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full. These gauges can be located in the kitchen or perhaps a utility room to warn of any potential problem. There are different versions on the market at the moment.
  • If the need arises to replace your tank, consider where you position the tank and make more secure. But remember to leave clear access for the fuel distributor at the fill point and the gauge can be seen.
  • You MUST never lock or block the tank vent/ breather, as this will cause the tank to split and cause further damage.
  • Consider fitting CCTV to monitor the tank
  • Security lights can have a very positive effect and make any property a much harder target for the thief. It’s not always necessary to floodlight the area with high power beams, as a more subtle level of lighting may be all that is needed. Low energy “dusk till’ dawn lights positioned close to the tank should, in most cases, provide sufficient light to illuminate any suspicious activity. This type of light can be both effective and inexpensive. High powered lights can be used but care should be taken not to cause any nuisance to neighbours or road users.

Further guidelines and advice can be obtained via your tank installation engineer or fuel delivery company.

Ordering Heating Oil

Unlike most other heating customers, oil users can shop around for the best deal and buy fuel when prices are lower, helping you to save money. When you place an order here are the things your distributor will need to know:

  • Your details:
  • Your name, address and postcode
  • Home, daytime and mobile telephone numbers
  • Email address
  • VAT number (if applicable)
  • Your tank:
  • Type of tank, age and manufacturer
  • Size of tank and type of connections
  • Height of connection above ground, i.e. will the driver need to use a ladder?
  • The condition of the tank
  • The oil:
  • Type (e.g. kerosene, gas oil etc) and quantity required
  • Whether the driver can establish the tank contents before and during delivery?
  • What the oil is being used for (information required by HMRC)
  • What appliance the oil is feeding, eg Aga
  • Can the delivery driver put a contents label on the tank?
  • Accessing the tank:
  • Distance of the tank from where the tanker parks
  • Is there any restriction on size of tanker that can get access to the site?
  • Location within your property, e.g. behind the greenhouse
  • Can the delivery driver get access to the tank without special conditions, e.g. garage must be unlocked; access across a fence, dogs to be restrained?
  • Will you be there when the delivery is made?
  • How you want to pay:
  • Credit card, Debit card, Budget payment, Cheque or other payment method
  • We recommend that you download a copy of the FPS customer charter which contains useful advice for oil users.

Servicing and Maintenance

Just as regular servicing maximises the performance of your car and minimises the risk of breakdown, so it will keep your oil heating system operating at peak performance, reduce fuel bills and save on costly call out fees. Servicing work requires the use of combustion efficiency testing equipment so is best carried out by a skilled OFTEC registered technician. Service is normally required every year, but for a few appliances, six monthly attention is recommended by the manufacturer.

As well as the boiler itself, your heating system controls need to be regularly checked for correct operation and this should form part of the annual service. It is also important that your oil storage tank is inspected annually.

Find an OFTEC registered technician in your area

Oil delivery companies who are members of the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA) are committed to providing you with excellent service

Find details of oil suppliers in your area

Get to know your oil tank is a booklet published by the Environment Agency with the support and assistance of UKIFDA and OFTEC.


Buying Group

Communities will sometimes band together to make group purchases of heating oil. By doing this these communites can reduce the tanker traffic into their area and also make savings on the price they pay for their oil. This is good news.

However a customer should consider carefully the pro’s and cons of buying through buying groups. To assist in this UKIFDA has produced a guide for buying groups.

We would recommend that people considering joining or starting a buying group read the document to help them decide on whether buying through a group would suit them.

Find out more here

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Any fuel-burning appliance that is not properly installed or maintained can release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a clear, odourless gas that is extremely poisonous. If inhaled in sufficient concentrations it can be fatal. It’s something that all homeowners should be aware of and take precautions to avoid.

Oil heating appliances have a very good safety record where carbon monoxide is concerned and is among the safest fuel choice for domestic use. However, while oil is a very safe fuel, it would be wrong to be complacent. Every carbon monoxide poisoning fatality is a tragedy. Regular servicing by an OFTEC registered technician will help minimise the risk of an incident occurring. It is also worth considering installing a carbon monoxide detector as an additional safety measure.

The symptoms of CO poisoning include tiredness, muscle pains, upset stomach, dizziness and headaches. If you think there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home, you should leave the property immediately and contact an OFTEC registered heating technician straight away. If you or anyone affected has these symptoms, get urgent medical attention from your GP or A&E department.

Frequently Asked Questions


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