Domestic Home Heating Oil Regulations
Domestic heating oil is essential for over one million homes in the UK but storing oil on your property comes with responsibilities. Whether you already have an oil tank at your home or you’re considering the benefits of home heating oil as your fuel source, it’s important to understand how to comply with UK regulations. You need to know where you can install a heating oil tank, what happens if your tank leaks and what rules apply. To make things easy for you, the team here at Your NRG put together this handy guide that answers all of the questions you may have about domestic heating oil regulations.
Domestic heating oil tank regulations in the UK
There are different regulations for domestic and commercial heating oil tanks. Most homes will fall under the domestic rules, which means your tank must meet current building regulations for the storage of fuel systems — these regulations apply to England so follow these links if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. Note: In England, the domestic regulations state that the capacity of your tank must be less than 3,501 litres — you can find out your tank volume by using our calculator. If it exceeds this, you need to follow the rules for commercial oil storage.
According to the regulations, your oil tank must meet the following requirements, storage tanks and connecting pipes must be separate from your home and the surrounding boundary, tanks and pipes must reduce the risk of a leak/pollution and have a notice attached detailing the actions that must be taken in the event of escaped oil. Additionally, you must comply with the following fire safety regulations, your tank must be situated 1.8 away from non-fire rated structures such as sheds and non-fire rated buildings as well as openings such as windows, doors and appliance flues. Your tank must also be 600mm away from non-fire rated screening and 760mm away from non-fire rated fences that are not part of your home’s boundary. Alternatively, you can install a fire protection barrier to comply with these regulations. To do this, the barrier must have a minimum 30-minute fire rating and there must be 300mm between the barrier and the oil tank.
Are home heating oil fumes dangerous?
Just like a domestic gas boiler, kerosene or home heating oil can produce carbon monoxide (CO) when it burns. This is an odourless, invisible gas that is poisonous when breathed in. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms such nausea, headache, weakness and dizziness, confusion and chest pain.
It’s important to book an annual service to keep your oil boiler safe. During a service, your oil boiler will be thoroughly cleaned and if required, parts will be replaced. This is essential as in addition to the risk of CO poisoning, faults in your oil boiler can contaminate or clog your heating oil which can reduce the efficiency and reliability of your heating system.
Does my domestic heating oil tank need cleaning?
The simple answer is yes, your oil storage tank should be cleaned. Over time, oil sludge can form at the bottom of your tank. This thick substance can contain rust, debris and dirt, all of which can impact your heating system. We recommend hiring a licensed individual to clean your tank every few years, as this will ensure your oil boiler is working at its maximum efficiency.
Can home heating oil freeze?
Heating oil can freeze but it has to be at a very low temperature. In fact, kerosene heating oil will not typically begin to freeze until it reaches temperatures below -8°C. It’s unusual for the UK to reach such cold temperatures and it’s therefore unlikely that you should experience problems with your heating oil freezing.
Does home heating oil go bad or evaporate and how long does it last?
Home heating oil should last between 18 and 24 months, meaning any kerosene oil that’s left in your tank at the end of winter and should be fine to use when temperatures drop again later in the year. Additionally, domestic heating oil is non-explosive and will only evaporate at temperatures exceeding 60°C.
What is a domestic heating oil tank gauge and why do I need one?
A heating oil meter does as the name suggests: it allows you to monitor the amount of kerosene heating oil in your storage tank. These devices help you check your oil levels with ease and prevent you from needing an expensive emergency oil delivery. Here at Your NRG, we go one step further by offering our Remote Tank Monitoring service, to take the hassle out of heating your home.
What are the rules for domestic heating oil disposal?
If you store heating oil at your home then you have a duty to the environment. As outlined in government legislation, this means you are responsible for ensuring no oil is released into the environment. If you need to dispose of any kerosene heating oil, contact your local council to find out the location of your nearest licensed site.
If you need to arrange the removal or disposal of an old domestic oil tank, this must be completed by a qualified individual to ensure there is no contamination to the environment. Many parts of your home heating oil tank may recyclable, so make sure you ask about recycling during the removal process.
What I should do if my domestic heating oil leaks?
Investing in regular services and maintenance is vital to preventing a leak from your domestic home oil storage tank. However, if your tank is leaking, there are steps you need to take immediately to prevent further damage to the environment.
These include, turning off the tap to prevent oil flow, trying to find the source of the leak and use sand to absorb any spilt oil. In addition to this, take steps to ensure the oil does not reach nearby water sources or buildings, and aim to identify how much oil has been lost to inform your insurance provider. We also recommend that you get in touch with your fuel supplier to remove remaining fuel. If the leak has contaminated water and/or the surrounding environment contact the Environmental Agency to make them aware of this, so that they can take the necessary actions following the leak. The leak may have damaged buildings, if this is the case make sure to arrange for OFTEC registered engineers to assess and repair your tank.
Home heating oil with no hidden costs
As home heating oil experts, we can provide you with expert advice and guidance to ensure you’re storing your heating oil correctly. If you have any questions about your storage tank, contact our experts. Equally, we can help you find the best possible oil prices. Get a quote online today, start your Savings Plan, or take a look at our energy savings advice, to help spread the cost of heating your home with Your NRG.
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