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What's the best domestic bunded oil tank for home heating?

We're often asked "What's the best oil tank for my home heating oil?".  That's a broad question and why we offer a free site visit to assess your oil storage requirements.  What is important to one home owner may be different to another, but there are a few common factors for choosing the best oil tank for your needs.

What size oil tank did I need?

OFTEC guidelines are to have a tank size with enough oil capacity to last a year, but often clients may not want to store this quantity of fuel in their garden.  Below is a table of typical sizes we use, but each house hold will consume heating oil at different rates due toindividual circumstances, whether any additional oil is used for cooking with in a range cooker such as an Aga, Rayburn or other oil fire range.  An Aga will typically use 7L per day, that's 49L per week, approximately 2500L per year.  So that will effect oil consumption even if the Aga is switched off during the summer months.

 

Oil Tank Size & Typical Properties
Capacity Typical house size Slimline Tanks Vertical Tanks HorizontalTanks
650L - 1000L
1-2 Bedroom House
Holiday Cottages
Park Homes
Deso SL650BT
Harlequin 650HQI
Deso SL1000BT
Harlequin 1000HQI
 
 
1000L - 1550L
2-3 Bedroom House
Holiday Cottages
Small Commercial premises
Deso SL1000BT
Harlequin 1000HQI
Deso SL1250BT
Deso SL1400BT
Deso H1550BT
Deso V1230BT
Envirostore 1300EVB
Deso V1340BT
Tuffa 1400VB
Harlequin 14500HQI
Deso LP1200BT
Deso H1235BT
Envirostore 1300 
Harlequin 1400HQI
 
1650L - 2500L
3-4 Bedroom House
Commercial Premises
Village halls / Churches
Titan SSL2000 
Deso V2455BT
Envirostore 2500EVB
Titan ESV2500 
Harlequin 1650
Deso H1800BT
Envirostore 1800EHB
Titan ES1800
Harlequin 2000HQI
Deso H2500BT
Titan ES2500BT
Envirostore 2500EHB
Harlequin 2500HQI

2500L

plus

Larger homes - high demand
Schools, Village Halls
Commercial premises
Titan ESSL4000
Deso V2455BT
Envirostore 2500EVB
Titan ESV2500 
Deso V3500BT
Titan ESV3500
Tuffa 3500VB
Deso V5000BT
Envirostore 5000EVB
Harlequin 5400EVO
Tuffa 6000VB
Envirostore 8050EVB
Deso H2500BT
Titan ES2500BT
Envirostore 2500EHB
Harlequin 2500HQI
Harlequin 3500HQI

 Tank Size & Shape

slimline-bunded-tank.pngAs you can see from the table above, there is a large choice of tank shapes and sizes to chose from, all the above examples are from our plastic bunded oil storage tank range, from leading manufacturers, we can also offer a range of bunded tanks manufactured in steel, this flexible manufacturing method allows for bespoke sizes and capacities to suit any requirements.  

Slimline tanks, designed to be narrow and tall, are best suited to installations where space is a premium, typically alongside a garden path, narrow access locations through garden gates.  This shape of tank works well behind a garage or long a boundary.  Tanks in the 1000L to 1550L range will usually be a good replacement for the old single skins 300 gallon tanks which are 2' wide, 4' high and 6' long.

Vertical shape tanks, with a round footprint, offer the best value per liter, requiring less moulding material due to there inherent strength, these vertical bunded tanks work well in corners and new installation. Being the strongest design, vertical tanks can be manufactured in capacities unto 15,000L for oil storage but equal good in the smaller sizes.

Horizontal tanks, square in general shape are best choice in the 1650L to 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 theses dimensions.

Plastic V Steel - Which is the Best tank material?

When it comes to domestic heating oil storage tank construction and material, the majority of tanks we supply are the plastic bunded variety manufactured from a medium density polyethylene (MDPE).  The inner tank is rotationally moulded as a single piece with no seams or joints.  This tank is then placed into the 2 part outer bund, where the bottom half of the bund will have at least 110% of the capacity of the inner tank. The bund top is then bolted to the bottom half of the bund to complete the tank as an integrally bunded unit, where the fill point, inspection hatch and level gauge are installed on the inner tank - protecting them from the environment, against accidental damage and out of direct sunlight.  The outer bunded top has a large lid to access the inner tank and fittings, But steel does have some benefits too, see the comparison table below.

Material Pro's Con's
Plastic
Will not rust.
Can be reinforce with steel frames for greater strength.
Will not require painting.
Does not suffer from condensation.
UV Stabilised material.
Easy to install with moulded in handles and lighter material for handling.
Only available in 'off-the-shelf' sizes - But lots of choice.
Not as secure as steel.
UV light from the sun can effect life span, but still expect 20+ years from most good quality tanks.
Steel
Bespoke sizes are simple to achieve.
Can be manufactured to larger sizes than plastic.
Better security, harder and louder to drill or cut.
Long lasting and robust when maintained regularly.
Can suffer from rust (Inside & Out) if not regularly painted.
Slightly more condensation.
Needs more space to allow access for painting
Steel is only as strong as the weakest weld on the joints.
Will be heavier than plastic so harder to manoeuvre in a domestic garden.
 

Oil Tank Standards

Tanks designed for sale in the UK should have a 'Declaration of Conformity' from the manufacturer for the tanks they produce, the primary tank (inner tank for a bunded tank) should have a CE mark if 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.  All OFTEC approved plastic tanks will have an ofcert number, a list of approved manufactures and each tank is on the OFTEC approved list

Bunded oil tank or single skin?

A bunded oil tank is basically a tank within a tank, constructed from steel or plastic and even a steel/plastic hybrid.  These tanks offer the best protection to the environment, better protection against condensation and have other advantages such as the outer bund protecting the inner tank from the elements, less likely to get water ingress and other organic garden material like leaves, insects and spider in the tank to block filters and pipework feeding the boiler.

Oil Storage Risk Assessment.

Firstly, any tank and installation must comply with current building regulations which are incorporated in to the OFTEC standards.  This includes the physical location of the tank with respect to distances for certain 'Risks'.  Part of the installation process is the 'Oil Storage Risk Assessment' which covers environmental risks and fire risks.  OFTEC form TI/133D Oil Storage Risk Assessment is used prior to an installation to record and identify the risks involved with the proposed installation.

Environmental considerations:

  • Is the tank capacity over 2500L?
  • Can the vent pipe be seen at the fill point (Extended or remote filling or the tank)?
  • Is there a river, stream or water course within 10m?
  • Is the tank over hard ground, enabling a spill to enter a water couse or drain?
  • Is there a drain, manhole or open drain near the tank?
  • Is there a well, borehole or spring within 50m of the tank?
  • Are there any other hazards unique to the location?

If the answer is 'Yes" to any of the above questions then a bunded tank will be required.

Fire Risks to consider:

  • Will the tank be with 1.8m of a combustible structure? (Typically this can include sheds, wooden garden builds & summer houses, wooden garages etc....)
  • Tank within 0.76m of a combustible boundary, this includes hedges, wood fencing, open link fencing and other material which is not fire resistant.
  • Is the tank within 1.8m of an opening in a building, including doors & windows in houses, garages and other buildings.
  • Is the tank within 1.8m of the boiler flue outlet/exhaust?
  • Internal fences, trellis and combustible material should be 600mm away.
  • The tank base should be fire resistant at least 300mm around the tank.
  • Any combustible roof eves or thatch should be 1.8m away.

Where these distances can not be achieved, fire barriers or screens can be installed, these include any material with a 30 minute fire rating. Some examples we use are cement particle board, 4" block work walls and other fire resistant material like rock wool panels specifically designed to resist fire and stop the transmission of any potential fire getting to the tank location.

Can anyone install an oil tank for domestic heating?

Installation of an oil storage tank is not generally considered a DIY job, especially if you are replacing an existing tank and have kerosene heating oil to transfer from the old tank and the redundant tank to recycle.  To install an oil tank the installer will need to be registered and qualified with a competence person scheme such as OFTEC and have an OFTEC 600A qualification.

All domestic oil storage tank installations will need to comply with Building Regulations. In England and Wales, OFTEC registered technicians can self certify their own work without involving Local Authority Building Control. But if you choose to use someone who isn’t registered with a ‘Competent Person’ scheme like OFTEC, then you will have to obtain a Building Control Notice and arrange for an inspection which can be costly and time consuming. Similar rules apply in Scotland where you may need to apply for a warrant.  More information can be found at the government website here.

Some installation may require planning permission, but most don't less the overall height is above 3.5m or if the tank location is going to be nearer the public highway than the existing house but please check with your local planning office if you are in any doubt before installation starts.  Also check for any local regulations and by-laws that may place restrictions on an installation, examples are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, most of these require bunded tanks regardless of the oil storage risk assessment.

Our Favourite Tanks

At Tank Services, we install a lot of tanks as you would expect. Our favourite tanks, the ones we install most frequently are the tanks that suit the location and the garden space the best, but the tanks that seam to fit the best are:

Tank Image Why we love it Dimensions 
Deso SL1000BT DESO SL1000BT Bunded Oil Storage Tank for home heating

With its slim design and compact dimensions, it has similar dimensions to some 1200L size single skin tanks and 300gl steel tanks, so makes for a good replacement in these locations.  Internal steel frame for strength and rigidity, but not in contact with the oil.

Length 1.89m

Width 0.64m

Height 1.35m

Deso SL1250BT DESO SL1250BT Bunded Oil Storage Tank Like the bunded SL1000BT, compact dimensions and enough capacity to accept a 1000L fill without being too near to empty.  Slightly taller the its little brother, but still only 650mm wide (2'1") for narrow access and installations.

Length 2m

Width 0.66m

Height 1.66m

Deso H2500BT DESO H2500BT Bunded Oil Storage Tank This is the most compact 2500L bunded tank available at the moment, square in shape for efficient storage and at 1.25m wide, it is a similar width as a 600gl steel tank and most single skin plastic 2500L tanks. Galvanised steel frame adds to the strength for a long life span.

Length 2.3m

Width 1.25m

Height 1.45m

If you've read this article all the way to the bottom and still not sure which tank is going to suit your needs, please call us on 01722 714514 or use our contact form.  I hope this helps!