Does Your Home Insurance Cover a Heating Oil Spill?
Prevent Heating Oil Tank Troubles to Protect Your Financial Security
Last September, when the remnants of Hurricane Ida whipped through the northeast region, epic flooding caused heating oil tanks to fail and spill in many homes. While FEMA stepped in to help with the cleanup of those storm-related spills, it should be known that most homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover the often-massive costs related to heating oil tank failure.
If a tank failure does occur, the cleanup and replacement costs can run to nearly $200,000 and higher to cover the expense of removing contaminated soil and other remediation.
Taking Routine Care of Your Oil Tank
The best way to protect yourself from a heating oil tank failure and spill is to take good care of your oil tank—which is actually not too hard to do!
Aside from natural disasters, the main culprit is corrosion. Without proper maintenance, corrosion can occur no matter how old your tank is, but you can take steps to prevent it. Keeping your fuel tank full over the summer is an easy way to curb corrosion. Here’s why:
- When your heating oil tank sits empty in the warm summer months, condensation forms on the interior walls of the tank.
- Because water is denser than heating oil, it will drip down and sink to the bottom of the tank, where it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms that turn it into sediment or sludge that corrodes your tank. That sludge can also clog your lines and result in performance problems in the winter.
In the winter, your tank doesn’t stay empty long, so these issues don’t typically come up. Plus, condensation is less likely to form in colder temperatures. But in summer—especially if your tank is outside—condensation will form quickly.
The Age of Your Oil Tank Matters
To keep corrosion at bay, you need to pay attention to your heating oil tank no matter how new—or old—it may be. But once your heating oil tank hits the two-decade mark, you should start planning or saving for its replacement.
You should also be more proactive about visually inspecting your tank for signs of decay. Set a reminder on your phone’s calendar to inspect your heating oil tank at least once a month.
Keep an eye out for these signs of trouble, which could include:
- Oil pools or spots on the floor or ground around the tank
- Large or multiple patches of rust, especially on the underside of the tank
- Warping or dents on the tank
- Damage to the tank legs, brackets, or platform
- Pinhole leaks
- Condensation on the exterior of the heating oil tank after it was filled
If you notice any of these, no matter how old your heating oil tank is, please contact us right away so we can come take a closer look. If you need a new tank, we’ll help make it a hassle-free process.
If your heating oil tank is more than 30 years old—or if you don’t know how old it is—you should begin now to plan its replacement.
Bolkema Fuels Has Got You Covered!
We know your home is your biggest investment, and you work hard to take care of it. That’s why we offer ProGuard, a clean-up and protection plan specifically for residential oil storage tanks. ProGuard coverage defrays first-party clean-up costs, as well as soil remediation and site restoration up to $100,000 for an underground tank and provides between $1,400 and $2,000 for tank replacement.
When you’re ready, Bolkema provides oil tank removal and replacement. And we’re known for reliable heating oil deliveries in Northern New Jersey and lower New York State. For more details, please contact us today.