Our top tips for inspecting your fuel tank

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Warmer and (mostly) dry summer weather makes for a great time to check your tank.

Your fuel tank has likely been indispensable during the winter months, helping keep you warm and dry during lockdown. Now that the warmer weather has arrived, it is a good time to check on the state of your tank. Along with the usual wear and tear that comes with regular use, your tank might have sustained a bit of damage during prolonged cold spells or particularly violent storms.

A quick check-up won’t take long or cost you anything, and it may well save you time and money later on repairs or problems. In fact, checking your tank is a perfect task for a lazy, hazy summer afternoon.

Here are some top tips for spotting damage and managing any issues before next winter.

Start with the surrounding area

Before you look at the tank itself, take a moment to inspect the area around it.

Firstly, look for any obvious signs of degradation such as oil streams, discolouration, rust or cracks. Stains on the ground may be an indication that your tank is leaking, which should be addressed as soon as possible. You should also make sure there are no changes to the supporting structures or base of the tank.

Clear any debris

If you haven’t inspected your tank for a while, there is likely to be some debris around it. Clearing it away is an important task for maintaining the integrity and performance of your tank.

The outer bund is a crucial part of the external protection, so make sure it is as dry and empty as possible. Clear out any excess water, leaves and oil. Checking that all access points like air vents are clear and that gauges are in place, secure and in good condition will help make sure your fuel isn’t contaminated by rainwater or dirt.

Check the integrity of the tank

Take a good look at your tank to see if you can see any cracks or splits in the tank itself. If you see any indication that your tank is leaking you should contact a qualified heating engineer immediately. Leaking oil into a grassy area for prolonged periods could end up contaminating the groundwater below, which could lead to environmental damage.

Inspections are not just about spotting damage that has already occurred though. There are some clear signs that your tank could crack in the future. If you see any stretch marks, bulging, discolouration, rust or weeping, you should act now to avoid issues later.

Test the control mechanism

You also need to ensure that any control mechanisms are still working correctly. The vent whistle should sound when the tank is being filled, so make sure there is nothing blocking it. The gauge should never be cracked or loose. Make sure that it is giving you an accurate reading if there is currently heating oil in the tank.

Look at the pipes

Next, move onto the pipes. As with the rest of the tank, you want to make sure there are no signs of weeping, perishing or corrosion. This is especially important around the connection points as these are common places for leaks and drips to occur.

What to do if you spot a potential issue

Your heating oil tank is a crucial part of your home heating system, so giving it some much needed care and attention during the summer months is always going to be time well spent. Spotting any issues early also usually prevents a larger and unexpected expense later on.

If you spot any issues or irregularities with your fuel tank, contact an expert heating tank technician straight away. If you don’t know where to find one, you can contact the manufacturer of your tank. If you are still within your warranty period, they will likely send someone to take a look or suggest someone that can.

Making sure your fuel tank is up to the task of another winter is crucial. Summer is also a great time to stock up on heating oil too, and you can get an instant quote online right now.

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