It’s strange to think of the winter approaching when it’s still so warm and sunny outside, but time marches on and before you know it the kids are back at school, the mornings are darker and a bit – ahem – brisker and then the first frosts will appear.
If you use heating oil which I’m not really in favor of to warm your home you’ll want to avoid the problems you can face over the cold season – an oil leak from a cracked tank, or water getting into the system, for example. A bit of preparation now and you can feel snug – and maybe even a bit smug – as the temperatures start to drop.
Check the oil levels in your tank and put an early order in
As you’d expect, as soon as it gets colder, people start turning on their boilers and the demand for oil goes up sharply, causing the prices to rise pretty much in synch. As winter goes on, it might be more difficult for suppliers to deliver oil, too, causing a rise in delivery charges and customers running out of oil just when they need it most. If you want to get ahead of the curve and bag some cheap home heating oil, you need to check your tank at the end of summer and then put an order in.
Service the boiler
After an easy summer, your boiler isn’t so much rested as out of shape! The sudden drop in temperatures puts a lot of strain on your boiler, so you need to give it a quick check-over and an overhaul before it’s pressed back into service. Oil-fired burners are also prone to accumulating soot, which can cause blockage problems and even a build-up of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Head off problems at the pass by getting in a technician to make sure the old girl is working at her best.
Check the tank for damage
This is something you can do yourself, especially when the weather’s cold. Look for rusting, cracks, bulging or anything coming loose. If you see these signs, call your technician, don’t try to repair them yourself.
You also need to look at the pipes and the tank base for small cracks – all it takes is a night of freezing for these cracks to worsen and either let oil leak out or let water in. Additionally, if your pipes or tank base aren’t sound, you might not be able to take any deliveries until they’re fixed. Better to face this problem in August than December…
Trim or cut back overgrown plants near your tank
Plants that cover your tank base or wrap around pipes need to be removed because they can mask damage and make access for deliveries impossible. You also need to stop vents getting blocked by leaves and other debris over autumn and winter.
Look after your tank lock
As oil theft happens more over the winter, you need to make sure you can use your security equipment with no problems, so check over your tank lock and lubricate it regularly to stop it freezing or seizing up over any particularly cold spells.