Fuel such as kerosene is quite literally your lifeline in the winter. Without it, your home could become so cold as to be uncomfortable. In really cold weather, it could become downright dangerous not to have oil heating your house. You can pre-order and make sure your tank is full at all times, but that is only about half the battle. The other half is ensuring that the kerosene stays clean and safe so that it can effectively work to warm your home. Because of this, you should be asking yourself, How Can I Protect My Fuel This Winter?
The first step to securing your cache of oil is to inspect it regularly. Start with the outside of the tank, which should always be free of any dents, scratches or leaks. The leaks part is especially important, because if any oil leaks, then you have contaminated the soil. This means that you will have to pay for a hazard cleanup, which can cost you quite a bit of money.
The next issue is contamination, which happens in stages. If you catch the contamination in the early stages, you may be able to have the fuel removed, filtered and cleaned, and then replaced into your tank, which will also need to undergo a thorough cleaning. Though this seems like a pain, it is still cheaper and easier than paying for disposal of the tank and fuel and then replacing both.
One of the most common forms of contamination is water in the fuel. You will want to look for any kind of drops or texture in the oil. The color may appear cloudy as well, which is an indication that the liquid has emulsified. If you see something, call your provider immediately so they can come out and inspect. The kerosene may be able to still be saved, but only if it is caught early.
Bacterial contamination may also occur. These microbes start with a small amount, but they multiply very quickly. You may see sludge or other anomalies when you do your inspection. If you see anything floating or discoloration, then call for a professional inspection as soon as possible.
Since contamination spreads quickly, you will want to inspect every two weeks or so during the winter. At the very least, a monthly inspection is necessary. When you get delivery of fresh fuel, the driver may do their own inspection, but you should still spot check between deliveries.
Contamination is unfortunately not the only way that you can lose fuel. Theft is a reality in almost any city, as thieves love to steal from tanks that look like easy targets. They then resell the oil for profit, sometimes to the very person they stole it from. You can install a lock or an alarm on the door for prevention. There are also tank cages with locks that are great at deterring thieves.
Since most tanks are installed outside and above ground, they are easier to steal from. If possible, bury it underground or move it indoors. If it is not possible, you can still take proactive steps to stop theft. Try spreading gravel around the tank so that it makes loud noises when someone walks over it. Thieves like quiet, so they may run away once the noise kicks in. Plant bushes or other foliage in the area, making it harder to get to. Finally, motion detection lights are great at scaring away potential thieves.