Regular Oil Tank checks

Your oil is a valuable commodity and you need to look after it.

When should I check my oil storage?

We recommend you have a look at your tank at least once a month and every time before you place an order to have your it filled to make sure it isn’t damaged or leaking.

What should I look for?

You should look for anything on or around your tank installation that could indicate a leak is likely to happen, or oil has been lost to the environment. You should:

  • make sure that the tank installation isn’t becoming over grown with vegetation that would hide the condition of the tank
  • check the tank base or supports for cracking or subsidence
  • ensure the tank has a working contents gauge; if this has a valve make sure it’s closed
  • check all visible pipework, valves and filters for damage and signs of leaks, such as dampness or staining, especially around joints
  • check vegetation around the tank for signs of die-back
  • check secondary containment (tank bunds) for liquid or rubbish
  • check that drip trays for remote fill pipes haven’t got any oil or water in them, check the waste oil information for how to dispose of any liquid


Cracking on a plastic tank

Cracking on a plastic tank

If you have a plastic tank you also need to check for:

  • whitening, cracking and splits in the plastic
  • bulging or deformation of the tank profile








Rust and oil staining on a metal tank

Rust and oil staining on a metal tank

If you have a metal tank you also need to check for:

  • signs of rust, pitting and blistering of paint
  • oil dampness on seams and welds


If you see anything you’re worried about or that’s changed since you last looked you should take advice from a qualified oil heating professional. A plastic oil tank can’t be repaired; if it’s starting to show signs that it’s deteriorating you are likely to need a replacement tank.

If your oil use suddenly increases unexpectedly, you should check your tank and pipework immediately for leaks. Tank monitoring devices are available that give early warning of a rapid drop in oil level.

Annual checks

Make sure your oil storage tanks and oil supply pipes are checked by a competent person at least annually; usually at the same time as your annual boiler service.

Where can I get further advice?

For general advice on the installation of heating oil storage tanks and oil tank maintenance, contact a competent person. Competent Person Scheme (CPS) operators typically offer a local technician search facility online or by phone. CPS operators can be found online at the Competent Persons Register.