Regular observation and/or inspection of your aboveground heating oil tank is a “must” for your assurance of a safe oil tank system. Keep in mind that the tank system includes the fill and vent piping and the oil supply line that feeds oil to the burner.

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) provides consumer information about oil storage tanks at the website www.oilheatamerica.com. NORA recommends that routine tank inspections be conducted as part of preventive maintenance tune-ups. NORA maintenance guidelines point out that routine inspections afford the opportunity to find and correct problems with tanks and tank system components before they cause financial or environmental problems.

NORA also recommends that spill containment trays be installed with all indoor oil storage tanks. These are specially designed plastic “pans” or “trays”, placed underneath indoor tanks, that will prevent stains on the floor from minor drips or fitting leaks. The retrofit pans are about 14 inches wide and can be slipped underneath existing tanks – they will hold about 15 gallons. The trays are larger and a new tank can be set inside them - containment trays can hold up to 50 gallons. Either choice is an inexpensive and worthwhile safety measure.

Homeowners should make sure that their tank is inspected annually by a qualified Oilheat Service Technician. Of course, as with other facets of home ownership, there is no substitute for homeowner awareness of the oil tank on an ongoing basis. It’s easy to ignore an oil tank because it just “sits there”. But a quick check by the homeowner on a regular basis could easily catch a leak or other problem before it gets out of hand.

Some Oilheat Dealers record information about their customers’ tanks. We provide a Tank Inspection and Evaluation System to help Dealers manage key safety information for oil storage tanks. It’s called TANK CHECK™ and it will highlight tank system deficiencies that need corrective action. TANK CHECK™ is a valuable tool that can help both Oilheat Dealers and tank owners keep track of oil storage tank safety issues. If you have not received a TANK CHECK™ report on your tank, ask your Oilheat Dealer about it.