Choosing the size, type and placement of an oil tank and the importance of planning regulations

Oil tank near buildingHeating oil tanks typically last about 20 years, after which they can crack and leak. A damaged oil tanks should be replaced urgently before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Replacing an old oil tank provides the opportunity to review its size, type and location. We offer a huge range of oil tanks of different sizes and footprints to best fit with your available space. Installing a larger tank will provide you with more flexibility to buy oil at low prices and avoid oil price spikes.

Replacing your old oil storage tank provides the opportunity to review its placement, in line with Building Regulations. Many customers take the opportunity to reposition their tank. We offer a free site survey, when we can advise on optimum positioning for your replacement oil tank. We offer unique Fire Protected oil tanks from Tuffa Tanks that allows placement adjacent to, or even inside, buildings.

Please contact us now for a no-obligation quote. We won’t be beaten on price and are OFTEC Approved.


Replace your damaged or leaking oil tank as soon as possible to prevent costly clean up and lost oil

Heating oil tanks typically last for about 20 years, after which they can crack and leak. Oil tanks located in exposed locations (in full sun, for example) may experience cracking earlier. We strongly recommend that you regularly inspect your oil tank for signs of damage or cracks. Failure to do so could result in a leak (costing you significant suns in lost oil) and environmental damage. If you discover a crack or leak, we offer an emergency, same-day oil tank replacement service, so please contact us now. Our emergency pump-out service, using our portable tanks, allows you to save the oil in your existing oil tank.

Please do not ignore any signs of oil tank damage, such as:

  • cracks and splits
  • bulging
  • a significant increase in oil usage
  • a strong smell of oil.

Oil leaks can possibly reach ground water, causing pollution. This could be very costly to clean up, so please do not delay!


Replacing your oil tank provides the opportunity to review its size and footprint

Replacing your old oil tank provides the opportunity to review its size. We supply and install the full range of oil tanks from Atlantis Oil Tanks and Tuffa Tanks, which have different footprints and sizes from 900 to 20,000 litres.


Our slimline 1,000 litre oil tank is our most popular tank due to its small footprint and affordability

Oil tankOld, ageing oil tanks are often considered an eyesore, so many households are keen to minimise the space taken up by a new oil tank. Oil tank design has come a long way in recent years, and the choice of different models and capacities has never been greater. Over the years, we have seen increasing demand for slimline tanks.

Slimline 1,000 litre oil tanks are the most popular of all the oil tanks we supply and install. They look modern and sleek, and are very affordable.

They come with a 12-year warranty. The polymer used includes additives that make them resistant to harmful UK rays from the sun. As a result, they offer a long life with no maintenance required.

If you are currently running an old boiler with low efficiency, we urge you to consider upgrading it to a modern, ultra-efficient oil boiler. Older boilers may have an efficiency of only 60-70% compared with well over 90% for a modern condensing boilers. A household consuming 2500 litres of oil with an old boiler (with 60% efficiency) would consume only 1579 litres with a new, modern boiler (with 95% efficiency). Upgrading your boiler would allow you to significantly reduce the size of your oil tank.

To get a free quote for installation of a new slimline oil tank or to upgrade your oil boiler, please contact us now.


A larger oil tank can save £100s in oil costs annually and avoid oil price spikes

Oil supplier Rix expects to deliver about 2,500 litres of heating oil to an average-sized property in a year.  An average-sized property would need about three refills per year with a 1,000-litre tank. A larger oil tank reduces the number of refills needed.

As a rule of thumb, Tuffa Tanks recommends that domestic heating oil tanks have a capacity of at least 500 litres per household bedroom, but there are advantages from going even bigger than this. While smaller tanks will take up less space, larger tanks may not be much more expensive and can provide more flexibility to store heating oil over longer periods of time. If you have the space available, larger tanks reduce the number of refills needed during the year and provide the opportunity to buy larger volumes of oil when the price of oil is cheaper. Unlike electricity, where you have the pay the rate at the time of use, a big advantage of oil heating is that you have more freedom when you buy oil and, therefore, how much you pay for it. A larger tank often pays back in months.

The price of heating oil has varied significantly over the last ten years, as shown in Figure 1 (below), driven by seasonal trends and global developments (such as actions by OPEC and the Ukraine war). According to Crown Oil, generally speaking, summer is the best time to buy heating oil and you can expect the price to go up during periods of high demand, such as winter, when most households are filling up their tanks. Crown Oil’s analysis of heating oil prices in August compared with December during the period 2016-2019 varied by 14%. Having a larger oil tank allows you to avoid filling up when demand is high.

Heating oil price

Figure 1: Variation in heating oil pricing (pence per litre) over 10 years [Source: Office for National Statistics, April 2022]


The Ukraine war has demonstrated that international events can dramatically affect the price of heating oil, which is tied to the price of crude oil. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, heating oil prices spiked well above £1 per litre. Having a large oil tank allows households to avoid filling up when heating oil prices spike to abnormally high levels.

By using a highly-efficient oil boiler and purchasing oil at the best times of the year, oil heating is demonstrably the cheapest form of heating currently available, beating heat pumps (powered by electricity) by a significant margin.


We usually recommend bunded plastic tanks for the best balance between value, safety and longevity and these come with a 12-year guarantee

There are two basic types of oil tank:

  • single skin
  • twin-layer (bunded).

Single skin oil tanks have a single layer of steel or plastic. Due to the reduced manufacturing costs to produce a single layer of material, single skin oil tanks are the cheapest of all available options. However, they are subject to stricter regulations due to the risk of land and water source pollution.

Bunded oil tanks have two layers, with an inner tank and an outer tank (bund). In the event of a leak, the outer bund should contain the leak, to prevent any contamination to the local area. Oil tank installations sited near water sources or with a capacity in excess of 2500 litres are required to be bunded.

We also fire protected oil tanks from Tuffa Tanks, which contain a flame-retardant material that offers 30 or 60 minute fire protection, to allow placement very close to buildings or boundaries, or even indoors.

Oil tanks are made of either plastic or steel. Plastic tanks are made of polyethylene, which is a recyclable, extremely hard-wearing material. Plastic oil tanks have a designed life expectancy of about 20 years or more. Steel oil tanks are more expensive than oil tanks but offer a designed life expectancy life expectancy in excess of 30 years.  For most situations, we usually recommend bunded plastic tanks for their combination of value, safety and longevity. Our bunded plastic tanks come with a 12-year guarantee.


We can advise on the optimum placement of a replacement oil tank, guided by Building Regulations

Replacing your old oil tank provides you with the opportunity to review its position, as there may well be a better location for a replacement oil tank, which is more hidden from sight for example. As oil storage tanks are subject to Building Regulations, we will help you determine the best placement for your new oil tank that fully meets these regulations.

Building RegulationsPlease contact us now to book a free site survey, where we will advise on possible and optimum positioning of a replacement oil tank, guided by expert knowledge of the appropriate Building Regulations and with access to the broadest range of oil tanks available.

Please do not ask us to break Building Regulations as we always insist on following legal requirements for your safety. Building regulations are there for very important reasons. They ensure that any oil tank installation is reasonably protected from fires, which may occur in buildings or beyond boundaries. They also minimise the risk of oil leaks and pollution.

With the most comprehensive range of oil tanks available, with different footprints, we are able to maximise placement flexibility, even in the most challenging locations and gardens. For example, we supply and install unique Fire Protected oil tanks from Tuffa Tanks. The fire protection system has been awarded Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Assured Status, and allows placement very close to buildings or boundaries, and even indoors.

Links are provided to UK Government websites below, which detail building regulations for oil tanks:

Building Regulations For England: Fuel Storage Systems (UK Government website)

Storing Oil At Your Home (UK Government website)


Oil tanks should be positioned at least 1800mm from the building and at least 760mm from a boundary. Closer location is possible, through the use of a fireproof oil tank or a fire wall (which we can supply and install).

If you are considering using an installer who is prepared to turn a blind eye to Building Regulations, we urge you to reconsider as you could end up paying a heavy price. In the case of fire, you may be putting yourself and your family at risk. Also, any subsequent investigation by insurers that finds that Building Regulations have not been followed could invalidate your insurance. Moving house or selling your home could also become problematic, as buyers’ solicitors (as part of the legal process) often seek confirmation that installations have been done properly. A bodged oil tank installation could potentially prevent your house sale and leave you at risk of future legal action. It really isn’t worth cutting corners.


Contact us now

There’s never been a better time to replace your ageing old tank. Slimline tanks offer the opportunity to cost-effectively enhance the aesthetics of your oil tank dramatically, with a small footprint. If you have the space available, why not replace your oil tank with a larger one and eliminate any price spikes in heating oil prices and reduce the number of refills required?  As your local OFTEC-approved oil specialist, we can provide an immediate quote, so please contact us. We won’t be beaten on price and we have the highest ratings of all heating companies in the area.


Other pages you may be interested in:

Guide to the Watchman Sonic, which we fit for free as part of our oil tank installations

A fireproof oil tank allows placement adjacent to buildings and boundaries

Oil tank replacement in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia