Home heating oil is more vulnerable to theft in the winter months. Of course, the main reason for this is that it’s colder, so there’s more demand for it. If thieves are selling it on they’ll get a better price per litre or if they’re using it for themselves, they’ll be “saving” even more.
Thankfully, increased awareness and security in recent years has meant a significant drop in the numbers of oil thefts, but it does still happen. Here’s what you can do to make your tank and its precious contents fresh from Emo Oil safer over the colder months.
Look at your insurance
Look over your insurance policies to see if they cover you for any losses to or theft of your heating oil, as well as for damage or spillages. If your current policy doesn’t, you should be able to buy an add-on for only a few euros.
Make sure all your gates are closed and locked at all times, as well as being in good condition. You might want to think about installing rows of burglar-deterring spikes along the tops of gates and fences.
Light the place up
If your area has seen a few break-ins, or oil thefts, then installing CCTV and motion-sensitive lights around your house might be the way forward. Just seeing a notice saying that there’s CCTV will be enough to put off the more opportunistic thieves.
Use a sensible location for your tank
The location of the tank itself is also an important factor. To be the most secure, it should be within sight of your house but not visible from the road or to passers-by. If your tank is visible and you can’t re-position it, then growing spiky bushes around it can be a big help.
If a tank is surrounded by dense, thorny bushes, thieves will think twice about trying to get through them. It’ll take too long, make too much noise and (hopefully) be too painful to be worth the effort. If they do get pricked or scratched, or their clothes get ripped, then they’ll be leaving behind valuable forensic evidence for the police.
Monitor your oil levels
You should check your fuel levels weekly to watch out for any sudden drops. If you only check every few weeks, then you won’t notice any excessive drops and this may mean you run out of oil when you least expect it. There are remote oil level sensors which set off alerts if the oil levels drop suddenly and most of these can be retrofitted to tanks.
You can also use lockable tank caps and bolt cutter-proof padlocks and chains to keep your oil safe. If your oil hoses and pipes are soft and relatively vulnerable, then you can fit harder covers over them to make the more resistant to cutting.
If you’re really worried
Then you can re-site the tank to an alarmed, ventilated and stronger building or structure, or even place a cage around it. This will keep your tank safer, but you must remember to maintain easy access for your tanker driver.