Heating your home with oil means that you have an oil tank in your home or somewhere on your property. It's important to make sure your tank is safe and functioning properly.

1. Vent Alarm Inspection

The vent alarm is a necessity on every tank. This alarm alerts the delivery technician if there is a problem while filling the tank, as well as letting them know when the tank is full. When the alarm goes off, the tech knows to check the tank to see if it is full. If not, then they can survey the tank for problems that could be triggering the alarm. A malfunctioning alarm is more likely to result in an oil spill.

2. Annual Tank Checks

Damage to your tank can lead to a major risk since flammable oil leaks are more likely. Have your tank inspected every year, preferably before having it filled ahead of the winter heating system. If there are rusty areas, weak joints, or failing valves, you can have them replaced before you need to have a full tank on hand for warming your home.

3. Leak Supplies

Even with care, a leak or oil spill can occur. If the spill occurs when the tech is filling the tank, they will have the supplies on hand to deal with it. It's also a good idea to have some leak supplies yourself in the event your tank leaks. You can purchase small home kits that come with an absorbent berm that contains the spill, as well as an absorbent material that you can sprinkle on the spill to quickly soak it up for disposal.

4. Delivery Path Safety

Make sure that there is a safe path for the tech to use when filling your tank. Most oil tanks have a fill valve located either on the side of the tank or just outside your home. Keep snow, weeds, and other debris away from the fill valve at all times. Never cover the valve with anything or store anything near the valve. The path from the parking area the truck will use to the valve needs to also be clear so the tech can lay the fuel hose down safely.

5. Run-Out Avoidance

Keep a close eye on your oil tank gauge at all times. If the gauge malfunctions, have it repaired promptly. You don't want the tank to run dry. There are always some impurities in heating oil, which settle to the bottom of the tank. If the tank runs empty, these impurities will become stirred up when oil is then added. They can then clog fuel lines or damage your furnace. Always fill the tank before it is less than 1/4 full to avoid this problem.

Contact a fuel oil delivery service for more assistance.