So you have a smart bunded oil tank in your garden which has a 10-year warranty and is relatively maintenance-free, however, once it has been in situ for a couple of years, there are a few things that you can do to avoid any potential problems during bad weather.
Have your boiler serviced before the winter. It is part of the boiler engineer’s checklist to look over the tank, check the filter and to ensure that the isolation valve works. If there is a problem, he can let you know, and you can get an engineer out to repair it for you in plenty of time – and before everyone else has the same idea. Very often these small problems are something that you would not notice or crystalize yourself, so make sure that you are proactive.
As well as the tank and filter, it is worth checking over your pipework carefully. If it runs above ground it is easier to visually inspect it to check that all is well. Sometimes oil lines can be trodden on and crushed by mistake and this could reduce the oil feed to your boiler or even stop it completely. Your pipework should be coated with plastic as this protects the copper and makes it less vulnerable to pin holes forming. If you are concerned that you are using much more oil than usual, and your pipework runs underground, it may be worth having the line pressure tested just to make sure that there is no underground leak that you are not aware of. If the oil line is leaking and the oil going straight into the ground, it is unlikely that there will be any smell or any indication at all that this is happening apart from an unusually high use of fuel. Any old oil lines should be replaced before winter sets in. If there is water or sludge in an old line, it can freeze, and this is as serious as the water in an old tank freezing as there is nothing that can be done until the weather relents.
If your tank is close to a hedge or other vegetation, make sure that it is kept cut well back. It is very difficult to check a tank if it is overgrown and similarly any fencing should be at least 600mm away to ensure that a good inspection is possible.
Put some oil in your tank lock! It seems silly but sometimes fuel deliveries can be aborted if the driver cannot get into the tank. Do you have a padlock on the tank? Give it a good squirt of WD40. At busy times of year, it may be days before the fuel company can attempt another delivery and it is really not worth risking running out because you did not check that the lock was lubricated before winter arrived.
Don’t be caught out by thinking that installing a bunded oil tank is all that is required and that “non-maintenance” means that you do not need to look at it for 10-years! It is really in your best interests to perform these simple checks in the autumn to avoid your boiler suddenly stopping when the snow is piled deeply on your tank in the depth of winter.