Many people are waking up to the fact that buying and using an external oil storage tank allows home-owners to heat their properties for less, and in today’s cost-conscious times it makes sense to pursue every reasonable route to lower spending. However, it isn’t as straightforward as simply purchasing the tank and placing it somewhere adjacent to the home.

Before siting, there are a number of considerations which need to be thought through, and while some of them are just instances of practicality, others are legal requirements. If you fail to heed them, you will be placing you and your family members in potential danger, as well as breaking the law of the land.

The all-important safety issue

The legal issues regarding positioning will depend on the size of the tank and various criteria relating to the property, so professional advice should be sought beforehand. Having said that, much of it will consist of simple common sense. For example, tanks shouldn’t be positioned on rooftops, because the weight of them, especially when full, will make them dangerous.

An adequate bund or other secondary containment system is also a must. In the event of a spillage, the repercussions for the surrounding area can be extremely serious. Therefore a mechanism to contain the spilt oil must be in place, before the episode becomes a potential fire risk as well as an environmental disaster. OFTEC provide useful guides for safely storing domestic heating oil.

Access is vital

Although safety has to be the top priority, it certainly shouldn’t be the only one. The new tank will have to be located in an area which enables delivery drivers and maintenance specialists to get to it whenever they need to. Therefore, it pays to take a little time to think through exactly where you want to place it.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that any non-permeable surface can be compromised by spillages, even the smallest ones, so you need to consider the way deliveries are made. And don’t forget, just because a flexible hose can reach the newly-positioned tank doesn’t mean the driver will be able to get the truck close enough to implement a suitable delivery.

Never forget the environment

Oil provides an effective and relatively inexpensive way to heat the home, of course, but it must always be handled with care. In the wrong place, it can damage the local environment, so there are a number of regulations about its delivery and storage that home-owners need to think about. Thankfully, there’s plenty of advice and guidance to be found on the Internet.

In the past, it was fairly common practice for storage tanks to be sited underground, but this is definitely not a good idea nowadays. If such a container developed a split, the consequences for the surrounding area are likely to be significant.

Always consider the security aspect

Unfortunately, thefts from external oil storage tanks are relatively common, so when siting a new one you need to give some thought to the security issue. If possible, you should make sure it is visible from at least one window, which will provide a small degree of deterrent to the criminal, especially the opportunist ones.

Because of the value of a tankful of heating oil, a successful theft can be very profitable for the thief, so it’s worth looking at other security options, too. These can include CCTV cameras, motion-activated lighting, lockable security cages and strong padlocks.