Benefits of oil

  • Proven technology – reliable, efficient and good value
  • Among the cheapest of all other heating options including mains gas, LPG, renewables or electric
  • Freedom to buy fuel whenever you like from a wide choice of suppliers
  • Many years of reliable service if maintained correctly
  • Remember – like all other domestic equipment, your oil storage tank will eventually reach the end of its working life and will then need to be replaced.

What's in your garden?

Building and environmental regulations

If your tank is near to a drain, bore hole, river or other watercourse the chances are that you need a bunded tank by law.

An OFTEC registered technician can inspect your installation and any features particular to your property, and advise you on the best course of action to protect yourself and your home.


Oil tanks should be sited in accordance with building regulations, which protects them from a fire that may be started near by. Siting is typically 1.8m from openings into building and 760mm from a combustible boundary. If this can’t be, a fire barrier can be erected between the tank and hazard.

Look after your tank

It is your responsibility to maintain any oil tanks on your property and to avoid them failing. Spills and leaks can be extremely costly to clean up and can contaminate ground water supplies and building foundations.

What you can do

Conduct a quick visual check every six month for any of the following warning signs

  • Rust
  • Cracks
  • Splits
  • Bulging
  • Subsidence on the base
  • Gauges falling over or not working
  • Tanks overgrown with foliage
  • Unusual oil smell
  • Sudden usage increase
Annual servicing

A tank inspection should be performed annually at the time of the boiler service.

Your service engineer will check your tank for general condition and check for the presence of water/condensation, which will collect at the bottom. If condensation is, it will be stirred up on oil delivery and may be carried down to the boiler and a breakdown.

An OFTEC registered technicians will provide a report on the condition of your tank detailing observations and any actions you need to take to prevent an oil pollution incident occurring.

Things to consider:

If you have any concerns over your oil storage, contact your regular fuel supplier.

If the tank is at risk

Why have I received an at risk notice?

Your fuel distributor or service technician has advised you of your tank’s condition, perhaps by attaching a label to your tank or writing to you because they think it is at risk of failure and may need to be replaced.

Replacing your old tank with a new one is normally a straight forward job, and has the benefits of peace of mind and bringing your storage system up to current standards – essential should you sell the property.

Spills and leaks can be extremely costly to clean up and can contaminate ground water supplies and building foundations.

  • Other important factors to consider:
  • Does my home insurance cover me?
  • What could happen in the event of leak or overspill?
  • Who would pay the clean up costs?
  • What should I do?
  • Have an OFTEC registered technician fit a new steel or plastic bunded tank, preferably with a top off-take oil supply arrangement.
  • Make arrangements have your new oil tank maintained on an annual basis.
  • Why should I do it?
  • You will have peace of mind that your oil is safe and contained, and that you are unlikely to cause any pollution.
  • Who should I contact?
  • An OFTEC registered installer or your fuel distributor.
  • When should I do it?
  • As soon as possible.

What to consider if I need a new tank

  • Selecting a tank
  • You need to select a tank of a size that will accommodate two fills per year
  • Top outlet bunded tanks offer the greatest environmental protection against oil escaping through leaks or being overfilled
  • As the owner, you should ensure that your new tank is installed to current building regulations by a competent installer, or your home insurance may not cover any loss
  • Oil tanks installation work should be done by a person registered with a competent persons scheme, i.e. OFTEC registered, or advice taken from your local authority building control department.
  • What should I do with my old tank?
  • Ideally, a redundant tank should be emptied, removed from site by a licenced waste carrier and disposed of at a site licenced to take in hazardous waste.
  • Any redundant fill pipes should also be removed to avoid a fuel delivery driver inadvertently connecting on to it.
  • If it is not practical to remove a tank and associated fill pipework, the tank and fill pipe should be securely capped and labelled "DO NOT FILL".

Useful Links

Oil Firing Technical Association

Federation of Petroleum Suppliers

Oil Care

Environment Agency for England

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Natural Resources Wales

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