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Posted on July 24, 2020 in Useful Tips, .

During these unprecedented times, we are sure it has come to everybody’s notice that oil is also at a price not seen for many years. With the continuing lack of global demand at present it would seem that this is set to continue. That’s great news for the consumer, but we suggest taking a few steps to make sure you are not storing up a very costly nightmare.

Oil Tank Storage Units Can Become Weaker In The Summer

The start of the summer seemed to be very warm and clear with some people believing it was due to less pollution caused by the COVID-19 lockdown, where we had some very warm days. This was followed by mixed weather and then a warmer weather front.

Customers have been taking advantage of the pricing by giving the oil companies a bonanza with customers filling the tanks to the brim, instead of the usual smaller top-up deliveries of 500 litres at a time. This is potentially good for the homeowner, without paying diligence as to the integrity of their oil storage solution.

Here at Oil Tanks Plus, we have had numerous occasions where we get a panic phone call where up to 2 tonnes of oil has been pumped at great speed into their oil tanks, only to find the tank disintegrating because it was not built for such oil amounts. The spring through to summer can be the most dangerous time of year as tanks get warmer and are much more prone to having a failure, in particular when you have a combination of hot sun and oil companies filling tanks to their maximum capacity. We would always advise against this.

Oil Tanks Can Split and Spill

The ramifications of a split oil tank are very serious. Firstly, there is the cost of loss of oil, but this can then escalate quickly into other issues. Oil is a pollutant and it will find its way into all sorts of places and can extend to pollute the ground, sometimes involving oil in housing foundations, watercourses, drains, soakaways and onto the roads. It’s a dangerous substance that needs expert cleaning.

Expensive Hidden Costs

If your tank has too much oil or a lower quality level of oil, expect significant extra charges. Here are a few examples:

  • An emergency ‘pump-out’ callout rate including emergency temporary storage charge
  • Spill clearance work at your property that can extend into months of disruption. Furthermore, it can lead to a new tank installation being required or a potential tank move scenario
  • The refill of oil afterward any spillage or loss may not be as cheap as the initial fill. Oil prices vary daily
  • A sizeable insurance claim may be required to cover the costs of the damage caused, leading to longer-term price rises

How Can You Prevent Oil Tank Spillage?

Inspect Your Oil Tank

Every few months, inspect your tank to see oil levels and any weathering of the storage. All of this is so easily avoided by a diligent assessment of your oil tank at seasonal intervals.

old steel oil tank

Tips for inspecting an old and rusty steel oil tanks:

When inspecting your steel oil tank, look out for the following tell-tale signs:

  • Porous and flaking top where water can ingress
  • Are the tank sides “square” from side on? Older steel oil tanks have cross braces to hold it square, so if it has pulled apart, you will find it will flex and eventually split the seam at the bottom with the movement of oil levels
  • “Misting” is where the tank sits on its block or frame supports. Oil can leak over slowly and it grows in patches up the side. Take a sample and smell it. You will soon know if its oil

Tips for inspecting plastic oil tanks

If you have a plastic oil tank, check the following:

  • Micro cracks at the top of the tank
  • Splits in the oil tank itself

When a plastic tank reaches the end of its life, you tend to find the warning signs give you more breathing space. Look at the single skin (or inner vessel for a bunded tank) for signs of micro cracks on top where the horizontal radius meets the vertical and inspect just the general shape of the product. Tanks can start to stretch and move slightly as they are coming to the end of their life.

If you get a split when the tank is filled, normally along the top, it’s time to look for professional help. Steel tanks can often break open with no notice and by the time it starts to leak, it’s often too late to salvage.

A plastic tank can be temporarily remedied by rubbing a good old-fashioned bar of soap in the crack, which sounds crazy, but we can assure you it works and gives the installer time to make a full assessment.

Our team at Oil Tanks Plus strongly recommends that you regularly inspect your tank, buy premium oil where possible and do not overfill your tank. One way of gaining peace of mind is to speak to us regarding any domestic oil tank installation quote to upgrade your storage to a maintenance-free, heavy-duty, British manufactured and installed Bunded plastic oil tank. We guarantee a combination of great reliability and a market-leading 12-year product warranty.

Heat your home in the safe knowledge that Oil Tanks Plus is here to support all your maintenance requirements. Are you looking to replace your oil tank? Read our oil tank replacement guide for our top tips.