If you are a resident of Northern Ireland and thinking about replacing your old oil tank, it is important to consider whether a bunded heating oil tank may be necessary instead of a single skin oil tank. In this article, I will discuss the keys differences between bunded and single skin storage tanks and answer a common question many householders have, do I need a bunded heating oil tank?
Bunded vs Single Skin Storage Tanks
A bunded oil tank consists of two tanks: an inner skin that holds the heating oil and an outer layer that is larger than the inner skin. The purpose of having two skins is to prevent oil leaks. In the event that the inner tank fails and leaks oil, the outer skin will contain the oil. However, the construction of a bunded tank requires additional materials and manufacturing costs, which is why the prices are generally double that of a single skin tank. For example, a single skin tank with a capacity of 1000 litres typically costs between £400 and £550. On the other hand, a bunded tank with the same capacity will cost between £950 and £1100.
Do I Need A Bunded Heating Oil Tank?
A domestic property may not require a bunded oil tank if it is storing less than 2,500 litres of fuel. The need for a bunded tank depends on the risk of environmental pollution. However, there are situations where a bunded tank is legally required in a domestic setting:
- If your oil tank is situated close to an open drain or manhole cover.
- The tank your installing holds more than 2,500 litres of heating oil.
- Your storing heating oil for a building other than a single family dwelling.
- The location of your oil tank is within 10 metres of a river, lake, pond or the ocean.
- Your tank is located within 50m of a borehole, spring or well.
- In close proximity to any other environmental hazards.
Disadvantages of Single Skin Tanks
Single skin oil tanks, particularly in the UK’s weather conditions, are susceptible to condensation that forms on the inner walls of the tank. This can lead to water accumulation at the bottom, posing a risk of entering the fuel line and causing damage to the boiler.
Additionally, exposure to sunlight and UV rays causes the plastic of the tank to gradually discolour and turn white. Over time, this can lead to the plastic expanding, twisting, and bowing, resulting in hairline cracks. During the winter months, any moisture that seeps into these cracks can freeze, causing further damage and potentially leading to the tank rupturing.
The majority of domestic oil spills across Northern Ireland occur in single skin oil tanks.
Should I Install a Bunded Oil Tank?
Since the implementation of new oil tank regulations on January 1, 2020, the NIEA has classified all domestic oil tanks as hazardous waste. This is significant because over 60% of homes in Northern Ireland rely on heating oil (kerosene) to warm their home. If you find yourself needing to replace an old or damaged oil tank, it would be wise to consider investing in a bunded oil tank. Not only does this come with an additional warranty, but it also offers peace of mind in the event of an oil leak. The outer skin of a bunded tank is designed to contain any kerosene that may escape, preventing an environmental disaster from occurring.
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