Designed to provide an extra layer of protection for your tank, property and family, there’s no surprise that fire-rated oil tanks are becoming increasingly popular. This article explains the benefits of having a fire-rated oil tank.

What are fire-rated oil tanks?

Also referred to as fire resistant or fire protected oil tanks, these are like any other conventional heating tanks but with an additional internal layer of protection.

They’re specifically built with an integrally fitted flame-retardant material that sits between the bund and inner tank. This acts as a fire barrier, protecting the fuel from catching fire even if the tank itself is alight.

A Tuffa fire-rated oil tank in a garden location

How does water get in an oil tank?

Like all heating tanks, fireproof oil tanks come with rules and requirements. Under building regulations (Document J, Section 5, p.63) oil tanks must be installed in an isolated location with strict ‘fire separation distances’ from other buildings:

The minimum required distance must be:

  • 1.8m away from a building or structure (e.g. garage or shed)
  • 1.8m away from the eaves of a building
  • 1.8m away from building openings such as doors or windows
  • 1.8m away from oil fired appliance flue terminals
  • 760mm away from a non-fire rated boundary such as a wooden fence
  • 600mm away from screening (e.g. trellis and foliage) that does not form part of the boundary

These distances are not only there to protect existing structures, but they also reduce the chances of the tank from igniting if any nearby fires should occur. By installing a fire-rated oil tank, you can choose between a 30 or 60-minute barrier which relates to the amount of protection time before the fuel ignites. It’s recommended that:

  • A 30-minute fire barrier is required for domestic tanks adjacent to buildings or boundaries
  • A 60-minute fire barrier is required for tanks inside uninhabited buildings
  • A 60-minute fire barrier is required for tanks adjacent to commercial buildings (find out more about our commercial oil tanks)

Plastic vs Steel Fire Rated Oil Tanks

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Plastic Fire-Rated Oil Tanks

  • They’re bunded – meaning they have an inner tank that contains the fuel and an external layer that prevents any leakages
  • A fire-retardant material covers the inner tank, protecting the fuel
  • They have an average life expectancy of up to 20 years (10-year warranty)
  • They are generally seen as a more cost-effective option
  • They’re durable and weather-resistant
  • Available from 650 litres to 2400 litres
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Steel Fire-Rated Oil Tanks

  • They’re also bunded – meaning they have an inner tank that contains the fuel and an external layer that prevents any leakages
  • A fire-retardant material covers the inner tank, protecting the fuel
  • They’re made with durable mild steel
  • They’re sturdier and more resistant to damage
  • They have a longer life expectancy of up to 30 years (10-year warranty)
  • Sizes available from 900 to 2300 litres

The benefits of a fire-rated oil tank

Have more freedom on the location of your tank

A fire rated oil tank still needs to follow requirements in regards to its location. Details of these can be found via the Government’s guide to storing fuel systems or read our blog on finding the right location for your oil tank.

Due to the increased safety measures of the internal fire barrier, you have some flexibility with where it can be installed and won’t need to purchase an external fire safety barrier.

Your fire-rated tank can also:

  • Be located closer to buildings
  • Be placed in more convenient locations, saving space in your garden
  • Be hidden out of sight

Lower your home insurance

By investing in a tank that has additional fire protection, you are putting extra steps in place to keep your property safe. This may reduce your building insurance but it’ll be dependent on each individual policy and insurance provider.

A Tuffa Fire-Rated Oil Tank situated in a garden protected by a structure

Is a fire-rated oil tank right for me?

We’ve gone through a lot of information in this article, so we’ve summarised the top 6 benefits for you:

  1. The additional fire barrier provides safer storage of combustible fuel
  2. You have increased protection for yourself and your property
  3. A fire-rated oil tank offers even more flexibility with the installation and location of your oil tank
  4. You’ll save money by not having to purchase an external fire-resistant screen
  5. They’re OFTEC approved so can be signed off by Building Control, whilst still being in line with OFTEC requirements
  6. Available in both plastic and steel, and in a range of sizes, catering for all storage requirements

We can only see the positives in investing in a fire-rated oil tank, so why not view our full oil tank range to find the right size and material for you, and if you’d like to discuss the installation of a new oil tank or replacing your existing one, then simply request a free quick quote and our friendly experts will be in touch to help you.