Oil tanks and fire are best kept as far away from each other as possible, unless you’re looking for a colossal fireball. Heating oil is indeed highly flammable and even doing something as ordinary as smoking near your oil tank can risk a blaze if there is a leak.
But how well protected are the tanks themselves from fire? After all, they store such a combustible liquid that it wouldn’t make any sense for them to be poorly protected.
Fortunately, fire rated oil tanks provide a barrier of protection between your heating oil and any potential fire hazards. If you would like to discover more about fire rated oil tanks, or perhaps you require some help deciding whether or not to invest in one, then please read this guide.
Fire rated oil tanks contain a flame-retardant layer that prevents a fire from reaching the flammable oil inside within a specified time period. Domestic oil tanks placed close to a building or boundary must offer complete fire protection for at least 30 minutes while those in an uninhabited building must last 60 minutes.
Fire rated oil tanks prevent the fuel inside from igniting, even if they are completely engulfed in flames. Their protective makeup also means there’s no need for a protective barrier or screen to be constructed between the oil tank and any significant structure. This makes fire rated oil tanks visually more appealing than those requiring additional elements to control any potential fire hazards.
Regulations in the UK state that conventional heating oil tanks must be located a minimum of 1.8 metres away from buildings and structures. But, in upgrading to a fire rated oil tank, this could be positioned closer to a property, making heating oil a viable energy solution for those who currently don’t have the space.
Thanks to their fire-resistant ability, owners have the peace of mind of knowing that if the worst happens and a fire occurs, they have either 30 or 60 minutes to evacuate. To ensure their fire-resistant status is worthwhile, fire rated heating oil tanks must prevent leaks and also reduce evaporative emissions to low levels.
Fire rated oil tanks provide an excellent solution for protecting our homes and properties from potential blazes. Fitting flame retardant materials to act as a barrier to create a fire rated tank is an effective method but it’s not the only way.
For situations where a conventional heating oil tank is to be positioned near fire hazards, it must be made with fire-resistant materials to act as a barrier from any flames. This protective barrier must provide at least 30 minutes of fire protection and be built higher and wider than the tank to ensure it is capable of remaining between the tank and any fire.
Building regulations state that heating oil tanks must be installed in an isolated location away from any significant structures. This is not because the heating oil tank is a fire risk itself but to prevent it from catching fire from nearby buildings. Conventional domestic oil tanks must be kept away from boundaries to varying degrees depending on the building or structure.
The minimum distances for oil tanks are:
- 1.8 metres away from building openings – doors and windows
- 1.8 metres away from the eaves of a building
- 1.8 metres away from oil-fired flue terminals
- 1.8 metres away from a building or structure
- 0.76 metres away from non-fire rated boundaries – such as a wooden fence
- 0.6 metres away from screening that’s not part of the boundary – foliage and trellises
Fire rated tanks offer increased protection against a blaze and can therefore be placed closer to a property than a non-fire rated tank.
Is it time to upgrade your oil tank?
Finding the perfect oil tank for your home is made simple thanks to our expert installation team. We have over 20 years of industry experience and can help guide you, from choosing between a plastic or steel heating oil tank to which size works best for your home.