If your heating oil tank is located in your basement and you’re home when a driver makes his delivery, you’ll probably hear a whistling noise as your tank starts to fill up. Did you ever wonder why that happens?
Safety codes require that all indoor oil tanks with outside fill pipes have a vent alarm to prevent an overfill. This alarm is mandatory on any heating oil tank where the tank is not visible during filling, such as in a basement.
After your delivery driver arrives, he connects the hose from his oil truck to the fill pipe that connects to the basement tank and starts pumping in the oil. As heating oil flows into the tank, air is pushed back out through the vent pipe. As the air goes through the vent alarm–located between your tank and vent pipe–it makes a whistling sound. When the whistling stops, the tank is just about full.
Since your basement tank is out of sight from the driver, the vent alarm prevents overfilling and the possibility of a spill. Safety codes do not allow your heating oil company to deliver fuel to the indoor tank if the vent alarm is not working.
The ice and snow we all experience in Maine can turn an already tough job into a potentially hazardous one for heating oil delivery drivers. Maneuvering with a heavy hose while navigating slippery surfaces can be challenging. Sometimes, delivery drivers lose their footing and get injured.
You can help the driver stay safe and injury-free by keeping the path to your heating oil tank clear of snow and ice and removing any nearby obstacles, such as fallen branches.
It is also important to shovel or plow your driveway and keep it free of ice. Safety codes prohibit your heating oil company from parking an oil truck on an incline unless it is perfectly dry.
Marking the edges of your driveway makes it easier for delivery drivers to navigate. Remember, just because you can get your car down your driveway doesn’t mean a 15-ton heating oil truck can make it too.
To make winter deliveries easier and stress-free, ask your fuel supplier if they offer automatic heating oil delivery service. When you sign up for automatic delivery, your supplier will use your fuel-usage history and predictions for upcoming weather patterns to determine the most accurate time to deliver your heating oil.
You will no longer have to worry about checking your tank level and then calling for more fuel. Automatic delivery lowers the risk of a run-out, which saves you the hassle—and expense—of ever needing an emergency heating oil delivery, which also involves start-up service for your oil burner.
However, if you still prefer to call for your heating oil, you need to give your heating oil supplier extra time when conditions are harsh to avoid running out of fuel. It’s best to call in your order when your heating oil tank falls to the one-quarter mark.
If you have any questions about deliveries or your heating oil storage tank system, please reach out to your local Maine heating oil company.