Posted 7th January 2019
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!
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