Oil Tank Security and Heating Oil Theft
The rising cost of heating oil over the last few years has led to an increase in heating oil theft, so it is important to be sure you are taking the necessary steps to improve your oil tank security. There is nothing worse on a cold winter's day than discovering you have no heat in your house because your oil tank is empty!
Heating oil thefts go up during the winter when most people have topped off their tanks, and the loss and inconvenience to homeowners can be significant.
Improving oil tank security
There are many steps you can take to improve the security of your oil tank:
- If you have a choice as to where you situate your oil tank, make sure it is visible from your home and not visible from the road. Also, keep the tank away from any external access such as gates.
- Install heating oil tank locks with padlocks that are difficult to crop with bolt croppers (closed shackle padlocks).
- Protect fuel hoses with hardened cases to make it difficult for them to be cut easily.
- Install an oil tank alarm that can detect when the inspection cap is lifted or when there is a sudden drop in the oil level.
- Install an oil tank monitor that allows you to easily check the level of oil in your tank and can also alert you if there is a sudden drop.
- If you are installing a new tank, consider installing it in a lockable cage or enclosure to add additional security.
- Install security lighting around your tank. Motion sensor lights are good deterrents.
Other steps you should consider to prevent heating oil theft
In addition to the above steps to improve oil tank security itself, there are other things you can do to prevent heating oil theft at your property including:
- Shielding your heating oil tank with thorny plants such as roses, hawthorns, or holly will make it less visible and less desirable to potential thieves.
- Make sure access to the oil tank’s location is secure. Make sure gates are kept locked and any fences or walls are in good condition.
- Be vigilant; thieves have been known to follow oil delivery vehicles to identify properties with full tanks.
- Get involved with local neighborhood watch programs to be aware of what is happening in your local area.
- Make sure your heating oil is covered by your homeowner’s insurance, even though that is not a preventative step.
One final important consideration:
Implementing the suggestions outlined above will improve the level of security for your heating oil, but some of the steps mentioned may make it more difficult for the oil delivery driver. Remember, while working to make your tank more secure, you still need to allow access for the delivery driver. This may mean compromising on certain security measures such as the location of the oil tank and having to be available when oil is being delivered.