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Posted on 8 December 2020

Why Regular Oil Tank Cleaning is Vital For The Health of Your Tank

Oil tanks can be used by both domestic and commercial customers to safely store a range of oils and fuels, including home heating oil, diesel and agricultural fuel. Oil tanks are extremely useful, but it’s important to adhere to a regular maintenance schedule to avoid potential problems. Regular oil tank cleaning from a professional company should be part of any tank owner’s maintenance schedule and it has many benefits for your tank.

Regular cleaning is essential for the health of your oil tank and neglecting to do so can lead to safety issues or even the failure of your heating system. Professional tank cleaning also preserves the quality of your fuel and keeps the tank clear from buildups of potentially harmful microbes. Whether you’re in charge of a domestic or commercial oil tank, regular cleaning is important, so read on to find out more.

What does oil tank cleaning involve?

Oil tank cleaning can be potentially dangerous, so it’s important to schedule an appointment with a professional company who specialise in this service. First, the tank will need to be drained so that it’s clear of any remaining fuel. Again, you should arrange for a professional company to do this for you to ensure that it’s done as safely as possible.

Once the tank is empty, the cleaning process can begin. The tank is first mechanically vented to remove any remaining gases and dangerous vapours; this ensures that cleaning workers can safely enter the tank space. Any remaining puddles of fuel are then removed using a vacuum truck and the inside of the tank is cleaned using a power washer. Power washing can be used on the walls, floor and roof of the tank, and workers will also inspect the roof pontoons (if the tank has a floating roof).

These pontoons and their seals are checked for traces of vapor or remaining fuel and cleaned/vented if necessary. Once the tank is clean, any usable fuel that was drained can be pumped back in and your tank is ready to go.

Domestic heating oil tanks follow a similar cleaning process, but in some cases you might not need a completely thorough clean. If your home’s fuel tank has a buildup of water (but low levels of microbes), the excess water can be pumped out of the bottom of the tank. This restores a normal oil level and ensures your heating system is functioning as it should. If the tank has a significant buildup of sludge or microbes, then the tank will be drained and thoroughly cleaned using the method described above.

When should you have your tank cleaned?

As a general rule, you should arrange to have your oil tank professionally cleaned at least once every five years. You might need to arrange this sooner if you have an internal inspection coming up, as the tank will need to be taken out of service, cleaned and prepped for the inspector to safely enter.

If you’re planning to store a different fuel in your tank (to the type currently being stored) then it’s also a good idea to give the tank a thorough clean. This prevents cross contamination, which is particularly important if you’re switching from an unrefined product to a refined one. Tank cleaning removes all buildups of sludge and any impurities, so you can be confident that the new oil won’t be contaminated.

You may also need to clean your tank if it’s suffered from a mechanical failure. In most cases, the tank will need to be emptied, vented and cleaned so that the necessary repairs can be carried out safely.

Why is professional cleaning so important?

Professional cleaning is vital for many reasons, including safety, preserving the health of your tank and ensuring your fuel stays in good condition.

Safety

Fuel is extremely flammable, so it’s essential that any cleaning service is carried out by experienced professionals. They’ll have all the knowledge and tools required to safely drain and clean the tank, without the risk of fire or injury. Proper cleaning is also important to ensure that the tank is safe for anyone else entering it, for example during an inspection.

Prevents water contamination

It’s normal for water to build up in your tank over time, usually as the result of excess condensation. However, this water can then combine with the fuel inside the tank and lead to the growth of microbes. These microbes can block filters and lead to a breakdown of your heating system, so regular cleaning is essential to remove excess water.

Removes condensation buildup

Condensation often forms in the inside of tanks; a small amount isn’t a problem, but if left unattended it can build up and lead to water becoming trapped in the tank. This water buildup can lead to the contamination issues mentioned above and it can also disrupt the oil levels in your tank and lead to inefficient fuel performance.

Prevents corrosion

Build ups of water, oil and rust lead to sludge forming in the bottom or your tank which can cause corrosion. If corrosion is left unattended, it can eventually lead to leaks in your tank and this can cause serious environmental damage. The oxidized metal and water can also be drawn into the outlet pipe where it mixes with the fuel supply to your heating system. This contamination can cause serious issues and lead to costly repairs if your heating system breaks down.

Keeps heating systems efficient

As mentioned above, a build up of microbes can clog filters and block the flow of oil out of the tank, leading to heating system failures in some cases. These microbes can also consume the oil stored in the tank, leading to increased energy consumption, higher energy bills and a less efficient heating system overall. Regular cleaning ensures you remove any build ups of sludge or microbes, saving you money, time and stress in the long run.

Saves money

Prevention is better than cure and regular cleaning cuts down on the likelihood of having to fork out for expensive repairs. Replacing your entire oil tank (due to corrosion of other issues) can be costly and time consuming, but regular cleaning should ensure your tank stays in good condition for years to come. You can also save money on your heating bills, as regular cleaning ensures that your home heating system is functioning efficiently.

Moorland Fuels – Professional oil tank services in Devon

If you’re looking for a professional fuel tank cleaner in Devon, get in touch with the experts at Moorland Fuels. We’re proud to offer oil tank cleaning services for home heating oil tanks in Devon, so you can ensure your heating system functions efficiently all year round. Our experts provide a fully comprehensive cleaning service and will empty the contents of your tank into a holding container, fully clean the tank and save as much usable fuel as possible. We also separate the waste from any fuel we drain and dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way, leaving you with clean, usable oil that can be pumped back into the tank.

If your heating oil tank has seen better days, we also offer professional heating oil tank replacement in Devon, alongside a range of fuel delivery services. For more information about our oil tank cleaning or any of our other services, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or contact us via our website.

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