How to Keep Your Heating Oil Secure this Winter
If you use oil to heat your home you’ll be only too aware of how valuable a commodity it is. It’s also more vulnerable to theft than most other forms of heating fuel because it’s stored in tanks rather than supplied by the mains. If someone steals your home heating oil, not only are you worse off financially, but you could also be left in the cold.
Although most oil thefts occur in the winter, some are reported in summer, when the tanks are forgotten about, so you need all-year-round security. Here are three handy ways to protect your supplies.
Use a tank lock
A tank lock is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep your oil safe. There are many varieties of lock, with some fitting easily over the filling point with no need for any drilling.
You need to fit locks over both the filling point and the inspection window or hole. There are also specialised tank-arms which prevent siphoning from both of these holes, as well as other options.
If you’re fitting tank locks, you might as well fit an alarm as well. These alarms sound when the levels of oil drop suddenly, alerting you to oil loss. This might not deter the thieves in the first place unless it’s very visible, but at least you’ll be able to replace the oil in time and you may even be able to call the police before the thieves get away.
To deter would-be thieves, you should put up warning signs to say your tank is alarmed and locked.
Don’t forget about your tank just because it’s nicely filled. Make sure it’s visible from your house, but, if possible, not visible from the road – lots of thieves are opportunistic and will take a chance if they see a tank. Installing motion-sensor lights is a good idea, as is CCTV. Make sure you advertise your security measures so that ne’er-do-wells are discouraged in the first place. It’s easier to prevent a crime than it is to call the police, fill out the insurance forms, order more oil and so on…
If you are in an area where lots of people use heating oil, then you should help each other out. Watch out for news of oil thefts and pass the message on so that everyone can take extra measures to keep their oil safe; club together to work out ways to prevent further thefts and improve tank security. When you go away on holiday, as a friend or neighbour to watch over your tank and offer to do the same for them.
Watching out for fuel theft is one of the best ways to keep it to a minimum – monitor your oil levels every week or so, especially over the summer, when you shouldn’t be using too much of it. The sooner you’re aware of oil going missing, the sooner you can report it to the police and warn your friends and neighbours.