Old unprotected oil lines have been the root cause of countless hazmat claims over the years. Another problem is, old side-tap oil tanks trap water and sludge at the bottom, which leaks from the inside out with little to no signs until it’s too late.
Fuel Spill Coverage
A new law went into effect in Massachusetts addressing oil leaks from home heating systems (per Chapter 453 of the Acts of2008). The law has two major provisions requiring:
- The installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices, by September 30, 2011; and
- Insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil, beginning July I, 20 l 0.
If an insured is in compliance with the new law, coverage will be made available via one of the following Property Remediation for Escaped Liquid Fuel and Limited Escaped Liquid Fuel Liability Coverages endorsements:
- CIC-2164 – For use with policy forms HO-2 and HO-3
- CIC-2165 – For use with policy form HO-4
- CIC-2166 – For use with policy form HO-6
Homeowners are exempt from taking these leak prevention steps if:
- The oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank; or
- An oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January I, 1990*;and
- Those changes comply with the oil burning equipment regulations.
A copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department (Form I) and/or a copy of the Fuel Remediation Questionnaire (ClC-2167) may be used to demonstrate compliance.
* – Heating oil systems installed on or after January 1, 1990, most likely are already in compliance. State fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.
The state government has stepped in and cracked down on old oil tanks and unprotected oil lines, requiring insurance companies to offer pollution coverage for home owners willing to upgrade their oil tanks and oil lines. This covers home owners from an expensive clean up if a slip or leak occurs.
Thankfully, there are two options for a newer and safer oil tank. The first is a double wall tank, which is actually a tank within a tank. The inner tank is made of plastic and the outer tank is constructed from galvanized steel. If, for any reason, the inner tank fails, the outer tank will contain the fuel and alert the home owner of the leak.
The second option is a standard steel tank with tapping off the bottom. This allows any sludge or moisture to flow out of the tank where it can then be caught in the filter. The filter is then replaced and properly recycled every year with your pre-scheduled preventative maintenance and tune-up.
Benefits of Newer Oil Tanks
Unlike older models, which feature a tap on the side with the potential to corrode over time, newer oil tanks have a tap on the bottom. This ensures proper drainage, preventing buildup and extending the life of the tank. Some additional advantages of updating to a modern oil tank include:
- Built with corrosion-resistant materials
- Greater flexibility in terms of placement (i.e. garage, storage, underground, etc.)
- Enhanced leak-detection system
- Long-term warranty
When Should I Replace My Tank?
The rule of thumb used to be that oil tanks and lines should be replaced every 30 years. Recent changes in the way modern tanks are designed, however, have created additional incentives for home owners to consider making the switch sooner.
According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), the use of alternative fuels can significantly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, sulfur, hydrocarbons and particulate matter. One such alternative is called bioheat (aka biofuel). This fuel alternative is derived from natural sources, such as cooking oil and soy beans. Not only is this better for the environment, but because these elements are locally sourced from the US, using this type of fuel also supports local farmers and the economy.
Several additional benefits of biofuel are as follows:
- The most refined grade of heat oil on the planet
- Clean burning with virtually no environmental footprint
- Near-zero levels of particular matter during combustion
- Reduction in equipment issues and maintenance
- Supports more efficient equipment
- Provides even temperatures throughout your home
The good news is, all home heating oil contains a blend of biofuel. The concentration of that blend, however, will vary from one oil supplier to another. A blend of 20% to 25% is ideal. Any blend over 25% may cause problems with the oil burner and how it operates. (Wilson Brothers uses a blend of no more than 25% to insure the best possible combustion and the lowest emissions.)
Of course, the best way to reduce your energy consumption, maximize efficiency and save money over time is to combine a new oil heating system with the use of optimized fuel. Not sure where to begin? Our experts will tell you honestly whether a new system really makes sense, and if so, provide you with a free, no-obligation quote.
You have nothing to lose and so much to save – including the environment. Get in touch today!