What are the main signs of an oil leak from my central heating system?
The main things to look out for are evidence of staining (dampness) or vegetation die-back around your oil tank and boiler unit; oil odours inside your house; greater than expected oil usage (the oil runs out unexpectedly); weeping or drips from the pipework at the boiler and oil tank and the filter bowl and fire valve; strong oil odours from the base of the oil tank; stronger than normal oil odours inside the boiler shed.
Do I need to clean up the oil contamination?
Oil contamination at a residential or indeed commercial property can spread if the oil leak occurred next to a building or underground pipes. If the oil contamination spreads and you were aware of the oil leak at the time then your insurance company could choose not to cover you if you fail to act in a reasonable timeframe. The cost of cleaning up oil pollution can run into thousands of pounds/euros and in most cases your house insurance will provide cover for an escape of oil from your central heating system if you act reasonably and quickly.
Can the resulting damage from an oil leak devalue my property?
In our experience if the oil damage at your property is not cleaned up then it can have a significant negative impact on the value of your property. We have seen cases wherein residential properties have been rendered valueless when the oil pollution has not been correctly cleaned up.
Can an oil leak damage my home?
Depending on the degree of saturation oil contaminant impact of building structures can weaken the load bearing potential of concrete blocks and footings. In some cases we have reported oil saturated foundation blocks that have crumbled. Also oil contamination beside and beneath buildings can result in oil odours inside the building that can persist for many years if the contamination is not cleaned up.
Is oil pollution dangerous to my health?
Oil contamination can be dangerous if the oil contamination is ingested or comes into contact with your skin. The vapours released inside your home from an oil spill can be damaging to your health depending on the concentrations. Exposure to low level kerosene vapours can irritate the mucous membrane, cause headaches and nausea and can slow down your reaction times. Prolonged exposure to high level vapours can be very damaging and asthmatics, children and the elderly can suffer more adverse reactions.
What do I need to do if I discover an oil leak?
If you are able to turn off the fuel supply at the oil tank. If there are oil odours inside your home open windows to ventilate the affected rooms and if possible try to isolate the affected rooms by closing and sealing doors. At your earliest opportunity you should contact a specialist oil spill response company for assistance.