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Heating oil Leaks

Heating oil Leaks

There are lots of properties in the UK with heating oil tanks and these are normally in gardens and owners should be prepared for heating oil leaks.
A leak can emanate from the tank itself or from its valves and fittings. There’s also the potential for the property’s supply line to the boiler to spring a leak.
Owners should also appreciate that heating oil leaks can be sudden but can also take place over a long period of time and the impact of these leaks will vary.

Heating oil leak: take prompt action

The one thing all owners of heating oil tanks should be aware of is that if they detect heating oil leak then they need to take prompt action because failure to do so could lead to a potentially serious issue.

For instance, when leaking fuel oil impacts on a building’s structure or buried services such as water pipes, there could be an impact on the people living there and in surrounding properties who will need to be removed from their homes so a clean-up can take place.

However, when heating oil leaks impact on controlled waters such as streams and watercourses then the action must be prompt to prevent contamination spreading.

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What to do for heating oil leaks

This is a checklist of what to do for heating oil leaks:

  • Identify the source of the heating oil leak and stem it if it is safe and possible to do so
  • If there is spilled heating oil on the ground, then try to absorb it to prevent the spillage spreading to watercourses and buildings
  • Check whether the leaking heating oil has spread to third-party land
  • Notify the insurer as quickly as possible as they will have accredited contractors they can mobilise to respond to a spill
  • The oil tank owner should also calculate how much heating oil has been lost by examining delivery records and usage.

When heating oil leaks occur

t should also be appreciated that when heating oil leaks occur that the owner’s home contents insurance policy may not cover for this incident and they should check carefully that they are covered.

In addition, if they are covered, the insurance company may be unwilling to pay out for repair work if the owner has not undertaken regular maintenance checks, for instance using an accredited technician for an annual service of the boiler and heating oil tank.

If someone does detect heating oil leaks, then they should have it fixed by an Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) accredited technician or they can arrange a clean-up by an accredited UKspill company.

While trying to fix the heating oil leak, owners should also consider contacting their oil supplier to remove any remaining fuel and if the watercourse has been affected by the leak then they need to contact the Environment Agency. If the leak has affected drinking water or fuel vapours can be detected in a property, then the local authority’s environmental health department must be notified.

Simple steps can be taken to prevent heating oil leaks and regular checks of the tank’s pipework will help the owner from dealing with a leak that could become a serious incident.