Heating a house with fuel oil continues to be a common source of heating for rural residents. Oil spills and leaks caused by corrosion, tank damage, unstable base or footings, overfilling and burst lines can create significant environmental, health and financial losses. Every home owner using fuel oil should adopt the following preventative measures to protect their home, family and neighbours.  
Domestic Fuel Oil Tanks

Preventative Measures to Protect your Home

  • Be aware of the smell of oil. Fuel oil contains a small amount of benzene, a known carcinogen. Contact your heating contractor immediately of you smell fuel oil.
  • Check to ensure that your oil tank is approved by Underwriter’s Laboratories of Canada (ULC) and includes a vent alarm or whistle to prevent overfilling.
  • If your tank is 15 years of age or older, consider replacing it with a new one.
  • Never buy or install used fuel oil tanks and never transfer oil from an old tank to a new one, as water and contaminants can also be transferred.
  • Ensure your oil tank and heating system is installed by a professional heating contractor to ensure efficiency and safety.
  • Oil tanks should be located at least 100 feet from the nearest well. Tanks located beside driveways should be protected with concrete posts to prevent vehicle impact.
  • Install a roof or shield above the tank to protect it from falling snow and ice.
  • Oil tanks should rest on a solid, non‐combustible, level surface. Tanks should not be touching a wall, resting on wood or raised on stacked blocks.
  • Have your oil tank, fuel lines and furnace inspected by a certified oil burner technician at least once a year.

Fuel Oil Tank Self-Inspection Checklist

Place a review the list below—if any statements apply to you, contact your oil burner technician or fuel oil supplier to arrange for a more detailed inspection.

  • The legs of my fuel oil tank are resting on a questionable footing, are bent or appear badly corroded.
  • There are signs of leakage around the fill or vent pipes, or by the tank itself.
  • There is a strong smell of fuel oil near my oil tank.
  • There are signs of dripping oil from the bottom of the tank.
  • The filter and/or fuel line located at the base of the tank is not protected from falling ice or snow.
  • There is rust or corrosion on the outside of the tank.
  • The fuel oil line for the tank runs under a concrete floor, or is encased in concrete.
  • The vent whistle is silent when the tank is being filled (ask the delivery person).
  • Oil consumption seems higher than normal.
  • The fuel oil gauge for the tank is broken, missing or faulty.
  • I did not have my fuel oil tank, connection lines and furnace inspected within the last year.
  • There are inactive fill pipes on the outside of the house that have not been removed or capped off.