Maintenance and proper care of your furnace, lines and oil tank can lower your chances of spilling oil or being faced with expensive repairs that may have been preventable. The best time to have your tank and lines inspected is prior to winter. In this way, any problems can be discovered and remedied before they become major issues.
System problems that are overlooked or not repaired in a timely manner can result in the following:
- Fouled septic systems requiring replacement
- Contaminated soil and drinking water
- Health problems or odor in the home
- Contaminated surface water and drainage ditches
Checking for Leaks
The best course of action is to evaluate your oil heating system for problems on a regular basis. Looking for leaks should be a priority. Signs of a possible leak can include wet spots or visible stains under the tank or on its surface, unexplained increase in fuel costs, signs of oil or dead or withered plants or grass near the tank or its vent pipes, and water seeping from the tank.
In addition to looking for leaks, you should check the stability of the ground underneath the tank and the condition of its supports. Certain tank models tilt or buckle because of frost heaving or other instabilities.
The tank’s fill pipe should be visible and accessible to the oil delivery company. Oil lines should be placed between the furnace and the tank either in protective tubing or concrete. The fuel line should be checked for crimps and any damaged part should be repaired by a qualified technician. The piping connections should be tight and clean, as drips from the filter or fittings are a sign that the piping is wearing out.
Like all equipment, fuel tanks have a limited life expectancy. The longevity of each tank will depend on a variety of factors, such as environmental conditions and the construction of the piping or the tank itself. Replacement is typically necessary if any sign of a leak exists. Underground tanks made from unprotected steel last approximately 15 years, while those made from cathodically-protected steel or fiberglass often last beyond their 30 year life expectancy.
It is wise to check with your local heating contractor when winter is approaching, as such individuals can help you get your tank in ideal shape for cold weather. A licensed oil tank technician has the experience and training to evaluate the system or install a new tank if necessary. It is never wise to procrastinate, rather, you should make sure your oil heating system is functioning at an optimum level so you can enjoy a safe and comfortable winter.
Better Home Heat Council concentrates on educating consumers about the economical and efficient use of oil heat. We also help consumers address energy efficiency issues within their homes and find solutions to make their homes more energy efficient. We support local oil companies of Lehigh Valley that provide a range of services and products. Click here to search for a home heating oil supplier in your area. Many of our oil dealers provide energy consultations for their customers.