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FAQs

Your Oil Delivery

Do I have to be in when you deliver?

As long as the driver has safe access to your property and tank, you don’t need to be at the property.

My tank is difficult to access and I need to be there for the delivery

Please let our representative know, at time of your order, how our driver can safely access your property and tank and what arrangements you need for the delivery.

If you need to be at home we can set up a call( text or email to contact you the day before delivery is due, or our driver can ring you on the day.

How far can the tank be from the tanker?

Our tanker hoses are approximately 30 metres (100 feet) long. Please notify our representative if our tanker has to park further away than this distance

My tank filling point is what is called an offset fill, i.e. my tank is located away from the access or filling point. Can you deliver to this tank?

Yes, we can deliver to an offset fill as long as:

  • Our driver can safely access the tank before and during the delivery
  • Your tank is in good condition
  • The driver can safely check there is enough room in the tank for your delivery
  • The driver can monitor the level of fuel in the tank during the delivery

Can I have my oil delivered by a smaller tanker?

If you know your property is difficult to access by normal LGV vehicles. e.g. refuse collection, furniture/white goods deliveries, our standard tanker may not be able to safely access for your oil delivery. We do have smaller 4-wheeler tankers available for this situation.

Can you deliver where the hose has to go through a dwelling/living quarters?

No deliveries are made through the living quarters of properties.

There are serious health, safety and environmental risks if our tanker hose burst in your living quarters. There is also the risk of damage and oil contamination to furniture, carpets, fittings etc. if our driver pulled hose through these areas.

We define living quarters as any area, room or passageway which has been closed off, plastered, decorated, carpeted, tiled, furnished etc. which forms an integral part of the regular living area of the property.

Can you deliver to an IBC or other non-standard oil tank?

An IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container) is not suitable for use as a domestic heating oil tank.

Deliveries cannot be made to any containers, tanks or fill points that do not meet recognised standards or are deemed unsafe. If our driver, on arrival, considers the tank unsafe or not fit for purpose the delivery will not be completed.

Can you deliver to my underground storage tank (UST)?

Yes – however we must confirm if your tank is suitable. As the tank is underground it is not possible for our driver to check before delivery. You will need to provide some information about your UST,

Is tank a suitable type? – the plastic UST design normally has a tell-tale mushroom shaped lid.

Has tank been correctly installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions? – we would require written confirmation from your installer or from your local authority building control.

Please contact us if you need further advice on your UST

Why does driver switch off my tank sight gauge – I can’t keep check how much is in my tank?

The Environment Agency recommends that tank sight gauges are turned off except when checking the tank contents level. There have been numerous occasions where a site gauge tube has fallen over or valve has leaked causing serious leaks and spills. Our driver will switch off your sight gauge after delivery. If your sight gauge is found to be suspect or defective we will notify you.

My tank is at height and needs a ladder to access the fill point – can your driver make delivery?

Ideally we would much prefer if all oil tanks were installed at ground level but we recognise this is not always a practicable option.

Providing our driver can follow our safe working practice using the ladder carried on our tanker we can safely make your delivery.

Certas Energy have a legal duty under the Work at Height Regulations to help our drivers avoid working at height where this is at all practicable. 

Over the years, in the oil distribution industry, serious injuries have occurred where drivers delivering fuel have fallen from ladders propped up against the tank, often in slippery conditions.

For this reason we ask our drivers to always report when they use a ladder to safely make a fuel delivery. 

Does your driver check my tank before making delivery?

Before making a delivery, our driver will assess the site and check that it is safe. The kind of safety issues our driver would look out for include:

  • Safe access to your property
  • Location and access to your tank including working at height
  • The condition of the tank and associated equipment

What if driver deems my tank to be unsafe and delivery is not made?

If our driver deems your tank unsafe he will let you know if you are at home or leave a written report stating why delivery cannot be made. We will actively look to provide help and advice on practical solutions to allow future deliveries to take place safely.

Can you deliver to a houseboat?

Unfortunately due to the possible risk of injury to our driver gaining safe access and the serious environmental risk of oil spillages into water we are unable to make deliveries to domestic houseboats.

Can I help the driver with my delivery?

Our drivers welcome any information and directions to your property and tank. Once our driver has carried out his checks please stay well clear while the delivery is in progress. Our drivers come fully equipped and are instructed not to permit any assistance with the delivery for your own safety. Our driver is not permitted to use your ladder, stepladder, portable steps etc.

Can my dog be left out while driver is making delivery?

We would appreciate if you keep your dog and any pets, poultry or animals secured while we make delivery. Our driver will always check before opening gates etc. but if there are loose dog, pet or livestock, our driver may be at risk, and your pets or livestock may escape.

Keeping Your Oil Tank Safe and Secure

Do I need insurance to cover my oil tank?

Your heating oil tank can contain thousands of pounds worth of heating oil, which may be at risk of being stolen.

There is the risk of oil leaking from your tank, which has the potential to cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage to your property and neighbouring land/watercourse.

Did you know that most household insurance doesn’t cover heating oil tanks? The Environmental Agency recommends every heating oil customer takes out insurance to cover their oil tank.

When you’re comparing policies, make sure yours covers:

  • Loss of oil
  • Cost of clean up on your property
  • Enough liability to pay for clean up of neighbouring land
  • Environmental clean up

How do I maintain my heating oil system and tank?

You should have your heating oil tank and oil boiler inspected at least once per year by an OFTEC registered heating technician.

We recommend you take a look at your tank and the surroundings once a week. You should be checking for any signs of damage or deterioration such as:

  • discolouration or cracking (plastic tank)
  • corrosion (metal tank)  
  • Leaks/drips from pipes, valves, gauges, filters connected to the tank
  • If you see dark patches of soil, dying vegetation, strong odour it could indicate an oil leak.

Do you know where the shutoff valve is for your tank? It’s worth finding out, so you can shut off your supply in an emergency.

Seek professional advice from an OFTEC registered technician if you notice anything of concern.

Where can I find further information about looking after my oil tank

Click here for the Oil Care Campaign website which includes lots of useful information about looking after your oil tank including regular safety checks, theft prevention and dealing with spills.

How can I identify a heating oil leak?

You should be suspicious of an oil leak if you notice any of the following:

  • Heating oil levels dropping more quickly than usual.
  • A strong smell of oil around your tank or inside your home.
  • Black stains on your tank supports or the ground.

What to do if you have a leak or a oil spill?

Firstly stop it spreading further by turning off your tank shut off valve.

If you find a leak on your tank:

  • Use a bucket to collect any leaking oil.
  • On metal tanks, apply clay based sealing putty to seal the hole.
  • On plastic tanks, rubbing a bar of soap across the split/puncture can temporarily seal the hole.

If there is a strong smell of oil in your home:

  • Keep your home well-ventilated by opening windows and doors.

If there is oil on the ground (hard standing e.g. concrete/tarmac):

  • Do not attempt to clean with detergent, as this spreads the oil and makes the spill worse.
  • Do not wash oil into drains or soakaways, as this can pollute watercourse.
  • Absorb spilled oil with dry cloths, sand or earth.
  • Once oil has been absorbed, use gloves and a shovel and put the material in a sealed bin bag
  • Refer to www.ukspill.org for list of accredited spill/cleanup contractors
  • Call your oil supplier for guidance

If oil has soaked into the ground or entered the watercourse:

  • Call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.
  • Call your oil supplier for guidance
  • The Environment Agency and your insurance company will advise you on the best course of action for clean-up.
What is the expected lifespan of my plastic oil tank?

OFTEC guidance indicates that above ground plastic tanks have a life expectancy of no more than 20 years at which point replacement is advised. This is mainly due to the effects of sunlight on the plastic material used to make the tank. If the tank has not been properly supported this life expectancy could be greatly reduced due to the possible stress placed on the plastic which can cause cracking and splitting failure of the tank skin.

If your plastic tank has a hole or crack then you will need a new tank – it cannot be repaired.

We have teamed up with leading tank suppliers to offer a replacement service.

Can a plastic oil storage tank be repaired?

Unfortunately we do not make deliveries to plastic oil storage tanks which are cracked or split. There is no industry recognised method of repairing a cracked or split plastic tank. We have teamed up with leading tank suppliers to offer a replacement service.

What base is needed to support a plastic oil storage tank?

Plastic oil tanks must be supported across their entire base on a stable level surface that extends beyond the widest point of the tank. The base can be constructed of concrete or paving slabs. If a plastic tank is not properly supported it may bend, distort and fail with weight of oil.

How can I improve the security of my tank and deter oil theft

Unfortunately, fuel theft is becoming increasingly common. To prevent this, you could consider the following safeguards:

  • Tank lock (one that isn’t accessible for bolt cutters)
  • Tank level gauge which can sound alarm inside your property if sudden change in oil level is detected.
  • Motion sensing security lights – providing tank can be seen – otherwise this could help would be thieves.
  • Gravel surfacing around tank area – deter would be thieves – noisy surface for walking
  • CCTV – or dummy camera/signage can act as deterrent
  • Your local police may also offer security advice,

What are the building regulation requirements for tank installation?

The building regulations require tank to be installed at minimum distances from combustible surfaces or sources of ignition. In summary these are as follows:

  • 1.8m away from non-fire-rated eaves of a building;
  • 1.8m away from a non-fire-rated building or structure, such as a shed;
  • 1.8m away from openings in a fire-rated building or structure, such as a garage;
  • 1.8m away from oil-fired appliance flue terminals;
  • 760mm away from a non-fire-rated boundary, such as a wooden boundary fence;
  • 600mm away from screening that does not form part of the boundary, such as a trellis.

If above is not possible, a fire protection barrier fully enclosing tank from above with at least 30 minutes fire resistance is required.

Further Safety Reminders – Fire Precautions/Oil Contact

  • Don’t use naked flames, smoke or create sparks near your tank, even when it’s not in use
  • Don’t inhale the fumes when inspecting or checking a tank
  • If you come into contact with oil, wash your skin or clothing immediately
  • Never check the contents of your tank by hitting or rocking it

Fuel Deliveries at Height

I’ve just received your letter about having to use ladder to make my delivery – what do I need to do now?

You do not need to do anything, we can confirm as stated in our letter that your oil deliveries will not be affected in any way.

If you are thinking of replacing, refitting or repositioning your tank it would be great if you could consider options to allow our driver to make delivery from ground level. If this isn’t practicable don’t worry we can still make your delivery.

Why have you sent me letter about using a ladder for my delivery?

The letter is part of our legal duty to check if there is a safer way we could make your delivery if we are using a ladder, Health and Safety Law requires that we check if there are any other safer options. If we have done this and found out there is not a safer practicable way we can continue to use ladder for your delivery.  

Will I still get my oil delivery if you have to use a ladder?

Yes. Our letter is for us to check if there is a safer way, especially if you were thinking of replacing, refitting or repositioning your tank. It would be great if you could consider options to allow our driver to make delivery from ground level. If this isn’t practicable don’t worry we can still make your delivery using our ladder – you don’t need to change anything.

My tank isn’t high at all; I can stretch up and reach the top, do you need to use a ladder?

Some drivers are taller than others so some may need to use ladder where others don’t – especially if the driver needs to look in the top of the tank to check the oil level, make sure we fill your tank safely and don’t overfill it.

I haven’t got a ladder – what ladder are you using?

All our delivery tankers carry a portable ladder, this is what our driver uses to reach your tank. All our drivers have been trained to safely use the ladder we provide.

Can your driver use our ladder?

Our drivers cannot use your portable ladder or stepladder. Only if the ladder is a suitable design and is a permanent fixture to the tank can our driver use your ladder. Tied or fixed portable ladders are not suitable.

I haven’t got anywhere else to put my tank and it needs to be at this height to feed my boiler?

Our driver can still make your delivery – we recognise that it is often not practicable to site tank at ground level – we can continue to use our ladder to make your delivery.

What is an offset fill?

An offset fill is a (metal) downpipe which is connected to the tank inlet so tank can be filled remotely. If tank is at height the offset fill can be brought down to ground level and our driver can make your delivery without using a ladder. With an offset fill it is important there is a gauge fitted to the tank so our driver can check there is enough space (ullage) in the tank for your delivery quantity and avoids overfilling the tank.

You have already told me you can’t make delivery because my tank is too high and I’ve sorted this – why are you writing to me again?

Please accept our apologies, we are writing to all customers where we need to use a ladder. In your case we had already informed you tank was too high for a safe delivery and we couldn’t proceed without improvement being made. Thanks for making this improvement, you do not need to do anything else – we can continue to deliver your oil.

What can you do to help if I need a new tank – can I put it in the same place?

Our tank referral service can offer full advice on where best to position your new tank.

Where could I put a fixing point for your ladder?

It can make it safer for our driver if they can secure the ladder – we can survey your tank and see if there is a suitable place to install a fixing point. Normally this is not practicable and we can make delivery without this fixing point.

What could you do to help us improve safety when working at height?

If your tank is at height and you think we will need a ladder to make a safe delivery please let us know at time of your order

If you are thinking of making changes or improvements to your oil storage tank we ask that you might consider the following possible options:

  • If you were looking to purchase a new tank or relocate an existing tank could this be installed at ground level?
  • Could you install a tank gauge at ground level so our driver can check the fuel level without climbing a ladder?
  • Could you install a downpipe (offset fill) so our driver could make delivery from ground level?
  • Could you install a suitable permanently fixed ladder and platform to allow our driver to safely access the fill point at height?
  • Could you install a suitable fixing point for our driver to attach our ladder while making delivery?

You may well be completely satisfied with your current oil storage tank and decide that none of the above are necessary or practicable options in your circumstances.