Safety First with a New Fire Protected Oil Tank

Emma Simpson is a property developer who purchased a house in a village located near to Tuffa Tank’s factory in Uttoxeter. The village isn’t connected to the gas grid and instead the residents rely on heating oil as their main form of heating.

Emma explained she didn’t originally plan to replace the existing oil tank as part of the property’s renovation. However, when she began work on the house, and upon removing the brick surround from the existing oil tank, she began to notice some serious issues.

Renovations reveal the poor state of an old oil tank

Firstly, the tank wasn’t bunded but single skinned. When the tank was installed the brickwork was intended to provide a level of protection in the event of a spill. However, it was clear to Emma that was no longer the case and a leak would enter the ground unimpeded and risk spilling into the foundations of her house, the neighbour’s house, and into the drainage systems nearby. The clean-up operations for such spillages are renowned for high-costs, and with a single skin oil tank sited so close to her house and the adjoining property Emma questioned whether the house insurance would payout for such a job.

The next issue was the tank’s proximity to non-fire rated boundaries including the fence, foliage, the eaves of the house, and the kitchen. Under modern British Standards and Fire Separation Distances, non-fire rated oil tanks should be isolated from surrounding combustible materials to prevent the spread of fire to the tank.

“With three out of five home fires starting in the kitchen we potentially had a ticking timebomb right outside our back door. That’s when we decided to get fire protection – just for a little peace of mind!”

All things considered the old oil tank was well past its prime, with water seeping in and cracks beginning to appear all of which posed a danger to Emma’s house and neighbouring properties. It was definitely time for a change.

Fire separation distances

The resolution – a fire protected oil tank

When researching oil storage regulations and looking for a replacement tank Emma discovered Tuffa’s fire rated tank range and the numerous benefits that fire protection technology provides. Due to the layout of the garden, and the available access from the road, the only place she could site the tank was close to the house itself. A tank installed towards the bottom of the garden would be out of sight of the oil tanker and be too far away to enable a refill. Another possibility was installing the tank in the middle of the garden but Emma elaborated on how this wasn’t an ideal situation: “I didn’t really want a tank situated halfway down the garden in plain sight, they aren’t the prettiest of things to be sat looking at while having a BBQ in the summer.”

The only viable option was installing the oil tank in its original location – a site which required a Tuffa fire protected tank in order to remain compliant. This also has the additional benefit of making the installation of the oil tank easier and cheaper without the need for rerouting the oil pipe and constructing a new tank base.

Tuff delivery

Emma explained that due to the property’s space restrictions the Tuffa tank had to be lifted into the back garden by a specialist micro crane from Steve Foster Crane Hire. It was only due to the tanks light weight, and the lifting eyes on the top of the tank, that the crane was able to lift the tank over the shed, avoiding surrounding electric cables and trees. The alternative would have involved paying thousands to lift the tank over the entire house.

The tank is now in the garden and waiting for Emma’s local installer to replace the old tank with the new; a job the installer said is as simple as ‘pulling the old tank out and sliding the new tank in.’

Emma’s Tips for Current & Future Heating Oil Tank Owners

We asked Emma if she had any tips for current or future heating oil tank owners:

Don’t wait for a problem to arise before you do something. Initially, we weren’t going to replace our tank (although subconsciously we knew we should). We were just going to replace the patio and tidy the wall surrounding our old tank. When it came to removing the brickwork we thought to ourselves it’s no good trying to avoid it any longer, the old girl needed replacing. Honestly, it really hasn’t cost the earth, especially when you think how much it could have cost should the tank have leaked or a fire occurred. Sometimes it’s best to just bite the bullet and get the job done. We have done the majority of the building work ourselves and with Tuffa’s help we’ve got a tank that’s right for us.

We’ll catch up with the story once the oil tank has been installed. In the meantime, Emma has installed her very own fuel theft prevention – a Plummer Terrier called Amber.

For more tips, information, advice and industry insights covering everything from the basic question “what is heating oil?” to the money-saving “how can I get the best price for heating oil?” check out An Expert Guide to Heating Oil Storage. You can also view our Expert Guide to Fire Rated Oil Tanks to see how fire protection can benefit you.

If you require any advice on heating oil tanks and fire protection contact our Sales Support team by completing the enquiry form below or dialling  01889 567700.

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