How often does an oil tank need replaced? (and what signs to look out for)

November 17, 2020
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Whether you’ve been living in a house with an oil tank for a while, or just moving into one, it’s handy to know how often the oil tank might need replacing.  

It’s not the most exciting of purchases, but it’s important to understand, to allow you to plan and budget accordingly

In this article we’ll look at how often you are likely to replace your oil tank, and signs to look out for so that you know it’s time. 

How often will you need to replace your oil tank?

Every tank is different so it’s hard to put a number on the lifespan of one, but tanks are built to last upwards of ten years. And most will last 15 – 20 years with proper care and maintenance. 

It is recommended that you routinely check your oil tank for damage or degradation to eliminate risk to the environment and financial losses for yourself. 

Oil that leaks may lead directly to rivers, streams, lakes and even garden ponds, and can be poisonous to fish and other wildlife.

So, how do you know when it’s time to replace your oil tank?

Signs that your oil tank is ready to be replaced…

You should routinely check your oil tank if you are already living in a home with a tank. 

We would also recommend that you have your oil tank inspected if you are planning on buying a house, even if it is only a few years old. It’s best to know what condition it is in, so that you can ensure it’s safe and budget in a new one if necessary.

While a professional service should provide the ultimate prognosis, there are signs you can keep an eye out for yourself to get a sense of whether your oil tank is either failing or due for repairs:

Here is a basic maintenance checklist that you can look for on and around the oil tank:

  • Check your tank for bulging (plastic tank) or corrosion (metal tank)
  • Look for physical damage to your tank
  • In summer months, check for condensation build-up
  • Look for any oil leaks
  • Keep overhanging tree branches cut back 
  • Make sure there no water dripping continuously onto the tank
  • Check lids and caps are secure and seals for corrosion

If you notice anything wrong during the visual checks then we would recommend that you call a professional, as they will be able to provide the final diagnosis and advise whether it is time to replace the tank or not.

Related content: What is the best location for an oil tank?: 5 key considerations

How to protect an oil tank during Winter?

It’s crucial that you have a working oil tank during Winter, but it’s also when it’s most likely to get damaged, especially if it’s a year with heavy snow. 

If the weather is particularly cold or snowy, then it’s worth doing some additional visual checks and maintenance on your oil tank to check it’s condition. 

  • Clean off any snow using a soft brush (do not use a shovel as this could damage the tank)
  • Remove any icicles hanging above them 
  • Inspect the oil tank for any cracks, dents or damage post-snow fall

This will help ensure that your tank remains undamaged and lasts longer. Again, if there is any damage then it’s time to call your service provider. 

How to make your oil tank last longer

The better you take care of your oil tank, the longer it is likely to last. 

Carrying out all the visual checks detailed above is a great start. But the best way to make your oil tank last longer, is to ensure that it is properly maintained with regular servicing. 

Your oil tank & boiler system should be checked regularly by an OFTEC-qualified heating engineer. We recommend having it checked every 12 months.

Related content: A simple guide to taking care of your oil heating system

How much does a replacement oil tank cost?

So if it’s time for your oil tank to be replaced, how much will it cost?

Buying an oil tank is certainly not the most fun purchase, but at some point it will be necessary. 

If you are approaching the end of your oil tank like or, if you are buying a new house and it looks like the oil tank is about to go, then you will need to budget for a new one. 

Again, there is no set price, it will depend on a number of factors, but on average an oil tank can cost between £800 – £4000 in the UK to replace. 

Find out about our fuel tanks

In summary: How often does an oil tank need to be replaced?

Buying an oil tank isn’t the most exciting of purchases. But it’s an important one. And hopefully, if you take care of it, it won’t be a regular purchase – somewhere between every 10 and 20 years. 

The best thing you can do to extend the life of your oil tank is to continually carry out visual checks, and get regular professional maintenance carried out.

If you do find that it’s time for you to get a new tank then please don’t hesitate to get touch.

Got questions? Talk to our tank specialist.

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