Maintaining your plastic oil tank

Plastic oil tanks need maintenance just like any other tank, as a plastic tank cannot be repaired we look at the most frequently asked questions on how to maintain your plastic oil tank and what to do if you find cracks. 

 I’ve Got a Plastic Oil Tank, Why Should I Check It?

When plastic heating oil tanks first came out in this country about 25 years ago many people thought they would last forever, but this has never been the case and plastic tanks are only designed with a 10-15 year lifespan.  There have been problems with faulty polymers causing early failure of plastic tanks and therefore it is essential you check your tank on a regular basis. Plastic tanks can start to crack (especially if in full sunshine) and if you notice any cracks appearing you need to take action.

There are Cracks Appearing on my Plastic Heating Oil Tank What Should I do?

If cracks are above the level of oil in your tank, get your tank replaced before it’s refilled and if they are open cracks cover them over with something such as a tarpaulin to stop water from getting into your fuel.
If cracks are below the level of heating oil in your tank get a good old-fashioned bar of soap and squeeze some into the crack which will temporarily stop it from getting any worse. Then get some fuel removed out of your tank so the fuel level is below the crack. However, you will need to get your tank replaced as soon as possible especially in hot weather.
You may see old plastic tanks for sale on Ebay. Be warned, these are fit for the scrap yard only. If you see cracked tanks for sale with the vendor saying they can be fixed avoid them! Tanks CANNOT be repaired once they have started to fail!

Is my Oil Tank Still Covered Under Warranty?

Most plastic heating oil tanks have 10-year warranties on them and therefore you may still be able to claim something back from the manufacturer as long as the manufacturer is still trading (some have ceased trading). All new single skin plastic tanks now only carry a two-year warranty but most bunded tanks come with the 10-year guarantees. If you remember who installed your tank, speak to them first and they may be able to deal with it for you. If you can find your original proof of purchase that is great but it’s not always essential as most tanks would have a serial number stamped into them (usually around the filler point) which most manufacturers will go off if no proof of purchase is available.

One Final Tip About Plastic Oil Tanks

It is also critical that any plastic tank is fully supported with either a flag or concrete base and if your tank is not fully supported you need to get it re-based as soon as possible.  Tanks should not be supported by timber as this will rot, could be a fire hazard and could invalidate your warranty.

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