Oil tanks and things to consider

When buying a new Oil tank you need to ensure you are complying with the law, but you also need a tank that suits you and your home’s needs. Hopefully this information will help you inform you on things you should think about and ask when getting a quote.

  • Where should you put your tank?

  • What type of tank do you need?

  • Is there east access for you and your delivery driver?

  • What is the best way to install you tank in order to maintain your tank warranty and reduce fire risk?

  • What is the most efficient way to remove your old tank and pipe work?

Firstly, we recommend you get in touch with competent tank installer, like Abbey Boilers, for advice. An installer can advice you on how to comply with various legislation, and make sure the tank works to suit your needs. They will look for nearby watercourses, loose fitting manhole covers, boreholes, a high water table, wells or sensitive groundwater areas. This is because any of these features can affect your tank and may mean you will need a secondary containment around your tank in order to comply with the law. This can all help you save money and avoid illegal tank installations. The best way to find legitimate oil tank installers is check OFTEC to find your local certified installers.

Where should you put your tank?

An undetected oil leak, especially from an underground tank or pipework, can have catastrophic effect on the surrounding environment, waterways, your property and your health. You need to think carefully about where is best to place your tank and and make sure you comply with building regulations.

It is recommended that your tank is installed above ground, outside and within a secondary containment system. You ought to position your tank to minimise risk of pollution and maximise its security, for example within viewing distance of a frequently occupied room so you can monitor it. Theft from oil tanks in becoming increasingly common.

It is likely you will need planning permission to install a tank underground or inside a building. If you think installing your tank underground is your only option contact your environmental regulator before ordering or installing a tank to discuss your situation. There could be restrictions on where you can install underground tanks in sensitive groundwater areas.

If you wish to install a tank indoors, it will require a second containment . The tank needs to be contained within a fire resistant chamber located at the lowest possible point in the building. If you have, or are considering this type of installation get in touch with Abbey Boilers for advice.

What type of tank do you need?

Above ground tanks:

Choose a tank that has been manafactured to a recognised, European, Uk or industry standard. This ensures your tank has adhere to stringent quality standards. Your tank should be marked with it’s maximum (nominal) filling capacity to assist with ordering fuel. All new tanks should display what to do in case of a spillage or oil leakage.

Underground and domestic tanks:

Only tanks that are specifically designed and constructed for underground use should be buried partially or wholly underground. Special design allows underground tanks to withstand the pressure exerted on the outside of the tank when it’s empty. We recommend you seek specialist advice if you are planning on installing an underground tank. Ensure your tank installer follows the tank manufacturer’s instructions for installing an underground domestic oil tank, especially the maximum depth, amount of infill and concrete. Tanks should be encased in concrete and be located a minimum of two metres away from any vehicle movement or parking areas.

Second hand tanks

If you’re considering buying a second hand tank make sure you have it inspected by a competent person before you have it installed. There’s a risk that previous use and moving the tank may compromise the container. This could include corrosion, ageing effects of sunlight or damage to threads, seals and fittings. While this damage may appear to be slight it can lead to longer term problems and you are responsible for the oil you store at your home; see our page on the impacts of oil spills for what this could involve.

Never buy a tank that’s deformed or out of shape, or for metal tanks with visible rust and plastic tanks with whitening, cracking or splits.

Abbey Boilers has a selection of approved second hand tanks they can offer if this suits your budget better.

Access to your tank

Both you and your deliver driver will need clear access to and around your tank so you can regularly check your tank is OK and to allow the tank to be filled safely.
Think about:

  • where the tank is, make sure there’s room all around the tank so you can visually inspect it and for the driver to stand when the tank is being filled

  • where the fill point is, can the delivery driver get there, with the delivery hose, without climbing over obstacles or through hedges

  • where the oil tanker can park

If you’re in any doubt, ask your fuel delivery company to check your site.

Correct installation

Get the base for your oil tank right
Building Regulations require oil tanks to be installed on a stable level base that extends a minimum of 300mm past the widest point of the tank in all directions. This will help prevent fire spreading to your tank from near-by plants or buildings.
The base can be constructed of either a 100mm thick slab of concrete or closely butted paving slabs of minimum 50 mm thick. In both cases, the base must be constructed on a sound foundation appropriate to the ground conditions.
Elevated tanks
Where oil tanks need to be elevated, for example to supply a range cooker, it’s important that the tank is correctly supported and the manufacturer’s installation instructions are followed. Plastic oil tanks must be supported across their entire base.

Remove your old tank and pipework

Any oil tank and pipework you no longer use should be decommissioned, disabled, and clearly marked. Preferably, have the tank and pipework removed by a professional as soon as possible to avoid them being filled in error and causing a pollution incident. If the pipework can’t be removed it should be permanently capped to make sure no one inadvertently tries to use it. Your competent tank installer should be able to take the old tank and pipework away as part of the work to fit your new tank; you should specify this in your contract of work.

Your insurance company’s requirements

We advise you to take advice from your insurance company who may have a view on the location of the tank in relation to how it may affect your building and contents insurance. They may also be able to offer advice on the tanks security which may have a bearing on your premiums.