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Heating Oil Leaks: Associated Dangers & Prevention

Posted On: December 9, 2015


Heating oil prices can rise and fall like a roller coaster, but one of the best times for homeowners to stock up is just as the weather turns cold. Consumers who use oil heat are aware that this is the the busiest time of year for heating oil delivery companies. However, it is also a great time of year to have your heating oil tank and heating oil system inspected.

If you are already planning on having a technician come to your house to refill your tank, then you could take advantage of this by having them do a full inspection. By doing this, you will ensure that your family stays safe and warm during the winter.

Another good reason to have your tank checked for potential issues is because the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is warning homeowners to be aware of heating oil leaks in their homes. In the following article by the Insurance Journal they discuss why this is so important:

N.Y. Agency Advises Homeowners to Check Heating Oil Tanks to Prevent Leaks

heating oil spilled out of tankThe agency says more than 2 million homes in New York are heated by fuel oil, and hundreds of spills from home heating oil tanks are reported each year to the DEC Spills Hotline

Spills have contaminated basements, groundwater, wells and soils. Cleanups are often not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

To see the full article, click here.

This article discusses the importance of maintaining your oil tank. If your heating oil tank leaks, it can cause some major environmental issues that will affect the health of your family and even your neighbors. Knowing what to do when your oil tank leaks is important. Heating oil leaks are also extremely expensive to clean up and can be avoided by simply maintaining your heating oil system.

Prevent Damage from Heating Oil Tank Leaks

Being aware of the dangers and associated costs of heating oil leaks and spills will inspire any homeowner to do anything to prevent it from happening. There are preventative measures that you can take to make sure that you don’t ever have to deal with a spill or a leak. In the following article titled “Spill prevention for your home heating oil tank” by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, they share some prevention tips that you can take:

  • Keep oil lines between the tank and the furnace either under concrete or in protective tubing.
  • Keep all pipe connections clean and tight.
  • Measure and monitor fuel usage and compare it to past seasons.
  • Check the condition of the tank and lines. The life of your tank depends on many variables, such as the tank construction, tank installation, soil and ground water conditions, and maintenance of the tank.
  • Check the stability of the legs and the ground beneath your above-ground tank. Many tanks have buckled or tipped due to instabilities.

By checking your system frequently, you can help prevent an oil spill or leak in your home. If you do not maintain your heating oil tank, it may take years before any leaks are detected. By then, the health of your family and neighbors has potentially been compromised. Avoid this by scheduling proper maintenance of your furnace and oil tank from your local heating oil company. To learn more about the benefits of maintenance or to schedule an appointment in PA, NJ, and NY, contact SOS Xtreme Comfort today!

What to Do If You Suspect a Heating Oil Leak

An oil leak in your home should not be viewed lightly and you should take immediate action if you have one. An oil leak in your home should not be viewed lightly and you should take immediate action if you have one. If you do suspect that you are dealing with a heating oil leak in your home, then there are guidelines you can follow to help keep your family safer and to prevent it from becoming an even bigger issue. In the following article by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, they discuss some of the most important steps you should take if you have an oil spill:

Report the spill

If an oil delivery company was involved, call them immediately to report the spill. If the oil delivery company caused the spill, they can be asked to take care of the cleanup.
Report the spill to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 24-hour hotline, 1-800-943-0003.
Contact your local fire department to determine if there is an explosion hazard. They may also be able to provide fans to ventilate the area.

Prevent exposure

Consider staying at a motel or with relatives until the cleanup is complete. Moving out of your home for a day or two may be a good idea, especially if there are young children, elderly, or medically compromised people in the home.

Contact a cleanup company about cleaning up the oil

Call a professional cleaning service. Your local health department or DNR office may be able to give you a list of professional cleaning services in your area.
If fuel oil has escaped the building as noted above, an environmental consultant may be needed. They may collect soil and groundwater samples to define the extent of contamination resulting from the fuel oil that left the building, and to determine an appropriate cleanup strategy.

This section was originally found on the “WIDeptHealthServices” website which can be viewed here.

By following these steps, you can have your oil spill cleaned properly. It is important that any oil spills are dealt with by the appropriately to prevent further contamination. This will keep your family safe and your house livable.

If you believe you have a heating oil leak in your home, contact SOS Xtreme Comfort or, give us a call at 570-618-8055 in Milford, PA, or 845-351-4700 for our Tuxedo Park, NY office. 


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