If you have a plastic heating oil tank then you may not realise that it needs just as much care as a metal one. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your tank in tip-top condition and what to do if you see any cracks.
Do I need to check my plastic tank regularly?
Yes, you do. When plastic tanks were first introduced around 15 or so years ago, people thought they’d last a lot longer than they’re actually designed to. These tanks are only meant to last for around 10-15 years so if you’ve had yours for a while, it may be approaching the end of its life.
The plastic in some tanks has faulty polymers in it which have led to premature cracking and failure, so you need to look at your tank on a regular basis. At least once a year and preferably whenever you have a delivery from Super Saver Oil. If your tank is often in full sunshine then it’s at an increased risk of cracking, so do keep an eye out.
I have seen some cracks on my tank; what do I do?
If the cracks are above the oil level in your tank then you should replace the tank before your next delivery. If you can see open cracks then you must cover the tank over with a tarpaulin or similar to prevent water getting in and mixing with your fuel as this can lead to sludge and blockages.
If you can see cracks that are below the oil level, then, for now, use some solid soap and rub it on the crack, which will prevent it from worsening. This is a very short-term measure, however, because you should then have some fuel taken out so its level is below the cracks and sort out a replacement tank ASAP.
Never buy old tanks online
You may see old tanks for sale online and the vendor promises that the “tiny” cracks can be fixed easily. They can’t! Tanks simply cannot be repaired once they start to fail, so don’t fall for it.
What about my warranty?
Many plastic oil tanks do have a ten-year warranty so you may be able to get some money back as long as the manufacturer is still trading. Newer tanks with single skins only have a two-year warranty nowadays so only buy one if you’re on a very tight budget. Ideally, opt for a bunded tank, which will have a ten-year warranty.
If you can remember who installed the tank, you should speak to them because they’ll probably be able to come and dismantle it for you. You don’t necessarily need to have kept your proof of purchase because most tanks have a serial number stamped on them which will help to identify it.
A last important tip for your plastic tank
All plastic tanks must be fully and properly supported by a concrete or flag base as this will help to avoid cracking and other damage. If your current tank isn’t supported, make sure you re-base it when you replace it. You shouldn’t use timber as it can rot and fail and using timber may actually invalidate your warranty.