Oil is dangerous to both the natural habitats and wildlife around us. Once a home oil spill occurs it is difficult to clean up and will contaminate surface and underground water sources. If your oil tank leaks, contact us immediately on 01722 714514.
Groundwater provides 75% of the South West’s public water supply and is very vulnerable to contamination as it can travel over square miles very rapidly.
Some of the worst oil spills happen more often than you might think in our counties and can be very difficult and come with expensive cleanup costs.
Any amount of oil-contaminated ground around your home could turn a preventable small garden or house fire into an uncontrollable maelstrom. Best to be safe rather than sorry.
It’s common sense to have suitable insurance to cover you when you are heating your property with domestic oil heating stored in an oil storage tank. If you are not sure if you are covered, we advise you to check with your insurance company. The policy should have a high enough liability limit to cover you if neighbouring land and/or boreholes are affected. As you are required to clean up an oil spill under the Water Resources Act 1991, it is advisable to check your policy if the clean up on your own property is covered as well.
Prevention is always the best course of action. It can take months, even years, to clean up a large oil spill and it will cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds. Here are some tips to prevent a possible oil spill:
The technician should check for:
Unfortunately, in some cases oil leaks will occur; you might smell the oil in the air, see oil patches or you can see the tank splitting and dripping. If this is the case, stop what you are doing and act:
We have a highly trained team of OFTEC certified engineers who can assess and help you to solve any problems caused by oil spills. Please don’t hesitate to call us if you need any further advice.
We’re often asked what the best bunded oil tank for home heating oil is. That’s a broad question and it’s why we offer a free site visit to assess your oil storage requirements. Every homeowner’s requirements are different. However, there are a few common factors for choosing the best oil tank for you and your heating system.
OFTEC guidelines suggest a tank size with enough oil capacity to last a year, although not many customers want to store that much fuel in their garden. Below is a table of typical sizes we use, but each household will consume heating oil at a different rate due to individual use. It’s worth considering whether you need extra oil for a range cooker, i.e. an AGA, Rayburn or other oil fire range. An AGA typically uses seven litres of fuel per day, that’s 49l per week, approximately 2500l per year. So AGAs affect oil consumption even when they are switched off over summer. Perhaps you could use a smart option to help you keep track of that oil? We can also provide fuel levels in the form of a Watchman Sonic that lets you check from the comfort of your home.
As you can see from the table, there is a large choice of shapes and sizes to choose from. All the above examples are from our plastic bunded oil tank range, from leading manufacturers. We also offer a range of oil tanks with steel bunding. This flexible manufacturing method allows for bespoke sizes and capacities to suit any requirements.
Atlas Tanks, among others, provide us with Slimline tanks. In short, they are designed to be narrow and tall so they are best suited to installations where space is a premium. These are also typically used alongside a garden path or areas with narrow access like garden gates. This tank shape works well behind a garage or along a boundary. Likewise, 1000l to 1550l tanks is a good replacement for older, 300-gallon single skinned tanks. These older tanks were 2′ wide, 4′ high and 6′ long.
Vertical shape tanks, with a round footprint, offer the best value per litre. They also require less moulding material due to a cylinder’s inherent strength, these vertical bunded tanks work well in corners and new installations. As a result of their strong design, vertical tanks can be manufactured in capacities from 10,000 litres up to 15,000L for oil storage. They also perform equally as good in smaller sizes.
Horizontal tanks, square in general shape, are the best choice in the 1650L – 2500L range, replacing the old, steel, 600gl tank. 6′ x 4′ x 4′. Ideal for larger houses with enough outside space for a tank of this size.
The majority of tanks we supply are of the plastic bunded variety and most of our domestic heating oil storage tanks use a medium-density polyethene (MDPE). The inner tank is rotationally moulded as a single piece with no seams or joints. It is then placed into a 2 part, outer bund and the bottom half of the bund must have at least 110% capacity of the inner tank. Finally, the bund top is then bolted to the bottom half of the bund to complete the tank as an integrally bunded unit.
The fill point, inspection hatch and level gauge are installed on the inner tank. This protects them from accidental damage, the environment and keeping them out of direct sunlight. The outer bunded top has a large lid which conceals access to the inner tank and fittings. These bunded fuel tanks often come with up to 10 years warranty.
Steel tanks have their own benefits too, see more in the comparison table below.
Tanks designed for sale in the UK should have a ‘Declaration of Conformity’ from the manufacturer for their tanks. The primary (inner) tank should also have a CE mark if it was manufactured to EN13341. OFTEC produce their own standard for both plastic and steel tanks; OFS T100 for plastic tanks and OFS T200 for steel tanks. But all OFTEC approved plastic tanks will have an OFCERT number. A list of approved manufacturers and each tank is also on the OFTEC approved list.
A bunded heating oil tank is a tank within a tank. Their construction is either steel or plastic and some are steel/plastic hybrids. Bunded tanks offer the best protection from the environment and condensation because of the insulation provided by the air gap in the bund. Moreover, other advantages include inner tank weather protection, prevention of water ingress and other organic garden material like leaves, insects and spiders. Lastly, tank filter kits and pipework, feeding the boiler, are often blocked by these foreign contaminants.
Single skin plastic oil tanks are only fit for areas when an existing bund is in place. As a result, they are significantly cheaper but come with a fair amount of risk. With no built-in protection from oil leaks, for example, the clean up can become costly which would eat into your savings from purchasing a single skin tank.
First of all, any tank installation must comply with current building regulations in the OFTEC standards. This also includes the physical location of the tank and its distance from certain risks. Secondly, this part of the installation process is the ‘Oil Storage Risk Assessment’ which covers environmental and fire risks. OFTEC form TI/133D Oil Storage Risk Assessment is used prior to installation to record and identify the risks involved with the proposed installation.
If the answer is ‘yes” to any of the above questions then a bunded tank will be required.
In this case we install fire barriers or screens. These include any material with a 30-minute fire rating. Some examples are cement particle board, 4″ block work walls and other fire resistant material like rockwool panels. Their specific fire resistant design stops the transmission of any potential fire getting to the tank.
Installation of an oil storage tank is not generally considered a DIY job. Especially if you are replacing an existing tank with kerosene heating oil still inside. Transferring fuel from an old tank to the new one should also be undertaken by a professional. This way the redundant tank can also be taken away to be recycled. In order to install an oil tank, the installer will also need to be registered and qualified. Either with a competent person scheme such as OFTEC and have an OFTEC 600A qualification.
All domestic oil storage tank installations need to comply with Building Regulations. However, in England and Wales, OFTEC registered technicians can self certify their own work without involving Local Authority Building Control. However, you can choose to use someone who isn’t registered with a ‘Competent Person’ scheme like OFTEC. In that case, you will have to obtain a Building Control Notice and arrange for an inspection. These are costly and time-consuming and similar rules apply in Scotland where you may need to apply for a warrant. More information can be found on the Government website.
Most installations don’t require planning permission. Unless the overall height is above 3.5m or the tank is going to be located nearer to a public highway than the existing house. However please check with your local planning office if you are in any doubt before installation starts. Also, check any local regulations and by-laws that may place restrictions on an installation. An example would be Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of these require bunded tanks regardless of the oil storage risk assessment.
At Tank Services, we also install a wide range of tanks as you would expect. This is our selection of the best bunded oil tanks, above all these tanks fit best in gardens and tight spaces. Hence why we use them so frequently.
Well done! You’ve made it to the end of the article. Still not sure which tank is going to suit your needs? Please call us on 01722 714514 or use our contact form. We hope this helps!
Is your water pressure low, with a slow flow rate? Dreaming of a powerful shower? Is your bath taking aeons to fill up? Then you need to know how to increase water pressure with a booster pump set-up.
The flow rate at which water is delivered depends on two factors:
There are many reasons for increasing your water pressure, but ultimately it’s to improve your quality of life. With a small investment in the correct hardware, it’s simple to achieve.
You might think a simple solution would be to install a pump in the main water pipe, thus increasing the water pressure. For several reasons, this is not a viable solution. Pumps are great at pushing water but not designed to pull it. Pumping directly from the water main will make the pump pull from the water main (which may already be limited). This will drag down the pump capability and wear it out faster, without much improvement in flow rate. Due to the water company and local bylaw regulations, pumps capable of delivering above 12 litres/minute are not to be installed in the water main.
It’s not difficult to achieve a good flow rate for the whole house, but you need two key components:
The water break tank is supplied from the cold water supply and fills up with a float valve. The storage tank should be sized to allow for peak demand. Otherwise, there won’t be enough capacity to fill your needs when you want to use the water. When there is space in the break tank, the water main refills it. Then it turns off when it’s full, ready for the next demand. Your water meter shouldn’t change too much since the same amount of water will be used thanks to the tank.
Typical sizes of break tanks will depend on the property size and number of occupants.
A typical 1 or 2 bedroom flat with one bathroom – 125L to 150L water tank
A 3 to 4 bedroom house – a 200L to 250L water tank will work well.
If you have multiple bathrooms like a guest house or bed and breakfast, a bigger tank will be required depending on the expected peak demand.
It’s best to install the break tank at ground level where the mains water flow will be at its best. The kitchen, utility room, and the nearest incoming water main as possible are the best places to install one.
The water booster pump should be installed next to the break tank, so it’s pushing water to the rest of the dwelling’s water main pipe. A good quality pump that is quiet in operation is a must.
A pressure and/or flow sensors control the pump, combined into a compact unit, plumbed into the pump outlet port. This unit will automatically control the pump, switching the pump on when the pressure drops and switching the pump off when there is no demand. There are two main types of pump controllers for booster water pressure.
Pressure switch: This works by switching on and off at preset pressures. For example, the switch could be set to turn on at a low of 1.5 bar and turn off at 2.8 bar. The “off” pressure setting needs to be below the maximum pump pressure. To help smooth out pressure spikes and hammering, you use this type of pressure switch with an expansion vessel. When you close a tap quickly or the washing machine closes a valve, it regulates the pressure.
Flow Controller: This works in a similar way to the pressure switch but has the advantage of not being limited to the pressure switch setting and can use the full pressure of the pump as the “off” switching is achieved by a flow sensor allowing the full performance of the pump. This style of flow controller has the advantage of a ‘run-dry protection’ system. If the controller detects no flow, the pump will switch off, which protects the pump. Most flow controllers have an automatic restart feature, so if the pump runs dry and switches off, it will restart after a set period of time.
Hotels, guest houses and larger properties may have the same low flow rate issues, usually compounded by higher demands at peak times. Typically a hotel where multiple guests would like showers at 7:30 AM or 6 PM. The solution is similar, but the equipment is slightly different. The break tank will need to be larger, so outside the main building may be the best place for installation. The pump system will require a high level of control using variable speed pump controllers and pumps to keep up with the varying flow rates and demand cycles. Firstly a consultant will assess the requirements and measure the mains water flow. Their assessment leads to designing a system to maintain the desired flow rate and pressure at all times of the demand cycle.
We tend to suffer most from low water pressure when our shower head produces a measly sprinkle. Shower pumps can alleviate this issue specifically and are cheaper than you might think. Combi boilers can be disappointing in a larger house, so getting that little extra boost might be what you need. Otherwise, a good quality electric shower might be the answer as they take the generally higher pressure cold water and heat it actively.
You need to be aware of a few things if you intend to boost your water pressure.
If the property’s hot water cylinder doesn’t vent, the hot water tank and heating system run from mains water plumbing (i.e. no water tank in the loft), boosting your water pressure will increase water flow to both the cold and hot water supply equally.
If you have a cold water tank in the loft, a header tank, the above system will not boost the flow. The height of your existing header tank determines this, for instance. You can pump from your cold water tank in the loft, but you will need to make sure you know how the heating system works.
We always recommend a qualified plumber or heating engineer to carry out any installation of a booster system. All installations must comply with water bylaws and regulations.
OFWAT is a great source of information. If you require further assistance, contact us using the form below, or call on 01722 714514.
J & K Recovery in Leighton Buzzard needed a fuel management system to replace their existing paper-based method. With over 30 vehicles and drivers drawing diesel from their yard tank, this was proving to be a time-consuming and inefficient method. When the operations director at J K Recovery contacted Tank Services, we were keen to provide a cost-effective solution. Meeting the needs of a busy recovery yard, with drivers coming and going at all hours, was a compelling challenge.
The basic requirements were to be able to automate the recording of each fuel transaction. J & K Recovery wanted to record some simple data, including the driver name, registration number, time and date, quantity of diesel delivered and mileage.
The existing diesel transfer pump and tank were perfectly serviceable although the flow meter had stopped working. We agreed to install a Piusi MC Box integrated fuel management system as this can connect to a pulse output flow meter with a data transfer key. It also includes software for the office computer. This system uses magnetic keys programmed to ID each driver by registration number, so when the key touches the MC Box, the system allows the dispensing of fuel. It will record the date, time, fuel quantity delivered and also mileage and driver’s name if needed. Once a month the office computer downloads the data which then reconciles against the deliveries made to the tank. The data is exported to a spreadsheet where they calculate the average miles per gallon. This helps them keep track of each vehicle’s performance.
J & K Recovery have been using the fuel management system for some time now. Both the drivers and administration appreciate simplicity; no more paper records and sheets to forget or lose. The admin staff get the data they need directly to their PC to keep a careful eye on the fuel tank, vehicle performance and mileage travelled.
The whole system install is easy to complete with very little downtime. Therefore, the fuel dispensing pump is back up and running fast and we can complete the included demonstration and system training in a day.
Do you have a need for fuel management equipment for a new or existing installation? Please feel free to contact us on 01722 714514 with a brief description and we’ll find you the best option.
We have a wide range of storage tanks of all sizes and styles available. The following is a short guide to some of the different containers and bowsers for storing fuel.
Single skin oil storage tanks are the simplest form of oil storage available. The plastic manufacturers use a material called medium density polyethylene (MDPE) and mild steel.
We supply OFTEC standard OFS T100 certified plastic oil tanks. Rotation moulding is the technique for making a plastic, single skin, oil container as one solid piece. These have a 1″ bottom outlet, 2″ fill point and inspection hatch.
Although steel storage is available in standard sizes an important advantage is the ability to manufacture to specification. This is particularly useful where space is limited or larger tanks will not fit. Single skins are a cost-effective choice as they are a cheaper option than their bunded alternative.
Single skin storage is useful for domestic installations with a bunding after an oil storage risk assessment. There has to be an existing bunding, either constructed around the storage or built into the structure that meets current regulations. The Government website and Environment Agency have comprehensive information on oil storage regulations.
A bunded tank consists of an inner and outer wall. The inner is the primary fuel storage vessel, whilst the outer acts as a fail-safe containment system. Therefore, in the event of a spillage, surplus fuel will be safely and securely contained within the outer wall. This saves you a potentially expensive pollution incident.
Just like single skins, bunded tanks are available in plastic and mild steel. Their manufacturing complies with OFTEC standards, OFS T100 and OFS T200 respectively.
Bunded tanks are useful for domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural premises. All can connect to appliances such as boilers, cookers, hot air blowers, grain dryers, generators or a lubricating oil system.
Bunded diesel storage is used to deliver fuel to vehicles and plant machinery. Furthermore, their general description is a bunded container with an integrated pump, hose and automatic cut-off nozzle. They often incorporate some type of flow meter and can come with fuel management systems.
The fuel cabinet contains the dispensing equipment. It therefore offers protection against accidental spillage. Also, a locking door protects the equipment from theft. Smaller tanks such as the Atlas 1300FDA, 2500FDA, Harlequin 1400FP/FS and 2500FP/FS have a fuelling cabinet within the main bund. Furthermore, larger plastic and steel tanks may have a separate containment area from the main bund.
Available in plastic and steel, with a variety of pump options. Including: Hand pumps, 110v or 240v ac, 12v or 24v dc and battery powered.
Fuel Bowsers are designed to transport fuel between sites or locations. Bowsers are similar to static tanks with a few main differences. The construction of a bowser is generally stronger, the vent is usually self-closing and the container may be baffled. Baffling reduces surge when moving. Useful because the inertia from the moving fluid can cause instability.
Bowsers for public highways must be a U.N. approved Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC). The user must comply with ADR regulations for the transportation of fuel. When used to refuel vehicles, plants and static appliances these tanks must adhere to Pollution prevention guidelines PPG2. This is why we supply bunded fuel bowsers and transportable tanks for environmental protection.
A bunded waste oil container is similar to a standard bunded tank. Their design specifically includes features to tailor for waste oil use. Also, there is a ‘Tundish’ funnel-shaped lid with an oil filter holder and a 2″ evacuation point.
Available in plastic and steel. These containers are useful as independent storage. Where the user pours the waste oil directly into the tank. Or as part of a system where the storage connects to a pumping point. Here another vessel holds the waste oil and connects to the pumping point when full.
Water tanks and bowsers fall into two main categories, potable (for drinking) and non-potable water (non-drinking). Tanks and bowsers are single skin and are useful for different purposes depending on the ancillaries in use.
Bunded oil tanks, which are double skin with a top outlet, are the safest way to store heating oil. The bund or secondary containment prevents spills and leaks from the tank from affecting the environment. There is, however, still a risk of leakage in the pipework. What’s the best solution? There are options for both bottom outlet and top outlet tanks.
A bottom outlet kit uses gravity to allow the oil to flow through the supply pipe to the appliance. That’s great until you have a leak or weep in the outlet valve or any of the pipework. Unfortunately, they can go undetected for years, especially if underground. Using a top outlet, fuel oil is drawn out from the tank and then through the pipe to the appliance. Therefore, no need to have a hole in the bottom of the tank.
Using an oil tank with a top outlet and an anti-siphon valve, when the boiler demands oil, the anti-siphon valve will open and allow the oil to flow. In the event of a damaged or leaking pipe or joint, no oil will flow from the tank, saving oil loss to the environment.
Top outlet tank fitting kits will only work with boilers with pumps capable of being configured for a ‘2-pipe system’. AGAs and vaporising burners used in some range cookers need an oil lift pump installed to work correctly. 95% of pressure jet boilers will work with a top outlet tank, but we can advise you on that.
An oil de-aerator, such as a ‘Tiger Loop‘ or ‘GOK’, will be required to operate efficiently. As the oil supply will be under slight negative pressure, tiny bubbles of air can form in the pipework (similar to opening a bottle of fizzy drink). In short, the de-aerator will allow this air to bleed away and the boiler to run efficiently.
Here is a link to the OFTEC website ‘Home Guide to Domestic Fuel Storage up to 3500L’
If you would like more information on top outlet tanks for domestic heating oil, please call us on 01722 714514.
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