Can You Remove Your Own Oil Tank

Can You Remove Your Own Oil Tank

A common question raised on many forums by homeowners,”Can You Remove Your Own Oil Tank”?

Homeowners all over the UK are switching to renewable heating sources to heat their homes. More homes are making the change from heating oil to gas in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs.

Plastic oil tanks have been a common feature of many homes for decades. They are used to store heating oil (kerosene) which powers our boilers and heats our homes. Due to climate change, fossil fuels are being phased out and oil boilers will no longer be installed into new homes by 2025.

If all homeowners changed to an alternative source of fuel to heat their homes other than heating oil. Where then do all the obsolete heating oil tanks go? and can you remove your own oil tank or do you need to call a professional.

How do I get rid of my oil tank?

Disposing of a domestic oil tank is not as simple as you may think. Due to new legislation passed by the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency on the 1st January 2020, all oil tanks and their contents (kerosene) are deemed as hazardous waste.

So what does this mean, can you remove your own oil tank? YES. Below I explain the steps and equipment required to safely remove your oil tank.

1. Heating oil removal

The first thing you must do is assess the level of heating oil remaining in the tank. Never try to remove an oil tank that still contains heating oil. The easiest way to evaluate the level of oil remaining is use a long stick or simply peer through the 4 inch fill point at the top of the tank.

100 litres of heating and below is a realistic amount of oil to remove on your own. If your oil tank is quarter full and the size of your tank is 1000 litres, you will have 250 litres remaining. At this point due to amount of heating oil left, I recommend calling a professional to remove this amount of oil.

For smaller amounts of heating oil, proceed as follows. The equipment you will need, 12v fuel transfer pump, 12v car battery, 20 litre plastic drums a reciprocating saw or a sharp hand saw.

Heating oil removal equipment

Drain as much heating oil out of your tank using the 12v fuel transfer pump. Once the tank is fairly empty and its weight has been greatly reduced, elevate one end so the remaining oil runs to the end of the tank. Continue to drain until all of the heating oil has been removed into drums.

You may be surprised by how much heating oil is left in the tank. Even when your boiler stops working, there can still be as much as 50 – 120 litres remaining below the outlet valve.

Heating Oil Disposal Northern Ireland

Heating oil left in tank after boiler stops working

Please note, you cannot dispose of heating oil at your local recycling centre.

2. Cutting a plastic oil tank

There are two main reasons for cutting your tank into sections, 1) If your working on your own, the shape, size and weight of your tank will make it unrealistic to move by yourself. Empty single skin oil tanks weigh on average 60kgs and bunded oil tanks 100kg.

2) The other reason for cutting your oil tank in half is disposal. Some council recycling centres allow plastic oil tanks, but they must be empty of oil and cut in half.

Cutting a plastic oil tank into manageable sections is made simple by using a reciprocating saw. We regularly cut tanks in half that have limited access for removal, it takes on average 2 minutes to cut a standard tank in half. You can use a hand saw to cut up a tank, it will be laborious, tiring and you will probably end up with a sore arm.

Can You Remove Your Own Oil tank

18v Reciprocating Saw w/ 240mm Wood Blade

3. Disposing of an oil tank

How and where to dispose of old heating oil tanks? As I mentioned earlier some council recycling centres in Northern Ireland allow oil tanks. The stipulation is that they must be empty of all traces of heating oil and cut in half. Before you set off with your cut up oil tank squeezed into your car, check with your local council first.

Oil tank cut into manageable pieces due to limited access

Alternatively if your local council do not accept oil tanks, give us a call on 0743 469 1809 and ask for Andrew. There is a charge for our oil tank removal service of £140 per tank. All tanks are disposed off legally following the guidelines of the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency.

Any company who is moving an oil tank must submit a prenotification to the NIEA. Submitting a prenotification informs the NIEA that on a certain date an oil tank will be moved from (your address) to a licensed waste facility for processing.

It is an offense to move hazardous waste without informing the NIEA of your intentions.

Can you remove your own oil tank? Yes and NO, you are as a homeowner obligated to follow the guidelines implemented by NIEA. On the other hand if you do remove your own oil tank you are far less likely to be fined.

Boiler Replacement Scheme

Did you know that you may eligible for grant to replace your old boiler and remove your old oil tank.

You may qualify for the boiler replacement scheme if you:

  • live in Northern Ireland
  • own and occupy your property as your main home
  • have a household gross income less than £40,000 per year
  • have a boiler which is at least 15 years old

Should you qualify, you will need to provide three pieces of paperwork 1) Waste carriers license, 2) Waste management facility license 3) Prenotification.

Removerr can provide all the relevant paperwork required by the housing executive for claiming a grant. If you have any questions or would like to book an oil tank removal, call us on 0743 469 1809 or email We cover all of Northern Ireland.