There have been many reports in the newspapers, from police, agricultural organisations and insurance companies over the last year about the increase in the number of oil and fuel thefts. These are not just reports by homeowners who have had heating oil stolen from their oil tanks but also rural businesses such as farms, schools, churches and lorry depots.
Fuel and oil prices are steadily rising, which is pushing an increasing number of people into fuel poverty and making home heating oil and diesel fuel into “liquid gold” and a prime target for thieves. So what can be done to safeguard your home or business?
Last week, BBC One’s The One Show was the first to bring this issue into mainstream national media. Farmers and homeowners have two concerns; how they safeguard their fuel supply and how they cope with rising fuel prices. They discussed various preventative measures for combating oil theft including; locking vehicles in a secure building overnight, installing security cameras on the premises, deterring thieves using a guard dog and even the “smart option” of a “Sonic Sensor” or Sonic Signalman as it is correctly known, an electronic fuel monitor.
Earlier this week, there was a feature on oil theft on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s breakfast show, which included an interview with local businessman and security expert Roman Cooper from Allcooper. Again, the discussion highlighted, among other things, the value of using electronic wireless system for remotely monitoring fuel levels.
First alert for oil theft
In both programmes, it was clear that those interviewed had no knowledge of the theft of their oil until long after the event. Initially, their concerns had been raised when the radiators did not work – which led to the immediate and reasonable assumption that the boiler was broken and a plumber was called out. Of course, the boiler was fine but the oil tank was empty. The message here is check your oil and fuel levels regularly
The cost of oil/fuel theft
The cost can be high. Not only will the tank probably have to be replaced, as well as the oil, but there is also the cost of cleaning up. Sadly, oil theft may not be covered by home insurance There is also an environmental cost, which can be high as oil leaks not only pollute the ground, they can also leach into groundwater.
How Oil Tank Alarms Work
There are various oil tank gauges or oil tank alarms currently available. The latest technology or Sonic Signalman as we refer to it, can monitor the levels of either diesel in a fuel storage and dispensing tank, or kerosene in a bunded heating oil tank. It has GSM capability that can send text alerts to the owner if there is a drop in fuel or oil levels. This notifies of a potential fuel theft in real time. In other words, it provides a means for the owner to monitor, constantly, their oil tank supplies. The wireless electronic monitor is suitable for any existing or new oil tank installation, whether it’s a bunded heating oil tank or a single skin oil tank.
You may want to know if your oil tank is suitable for this technology. The simple answer is yes, any plastic or steel oil tank can be suitable, depending on the condition of the oil tank- in other words as long as there are no leaks or the tank is showing signs of wear or tear due to age.
Servicing and Maintaining Your Oil Tank
Clearly, with oil being such a precious commodity (and of course any losses can be devastating) it is more important than ever that your oil tank is in good condition and your oil boiler is working efficiently. With regular maintenance both will run more efficiently and cheaply. What’s more regular maintenance will prolong the life of the overall heating system. Through our Titan Accredited Installer Network we are offering a FREE, NO OBLIGATION survey of where your oil tank is situated and advise, if necessary, on oil tank replacements to help secure your oil supply.
To find out more about the free survey and the latest innovation in oil tank security, including oil alarm functionality and SMS text alerts, please contact Kingspan Environmental and talk to a member of our team email: email@example.com or call +44(0) 28 3836 4400