Home heating oil is a valuable commodity and because it’s stored locally it can be a tempting target for thieves. Kerosene and its storage tanks can be costly to replace and heating oil theft can leave you not only out of pocket but without a way to heat your home.
Promisingly, in September 2016, the NFU Mutual Rural Crime Report 2016 showed that although heating oil and diesel were the third most frequently targeted items in rural crime in 2014, fuel does not feature in the top 5 in 2015. OFTEC have stated that this trend is quite likely influenced by the sustained fall in heating oil prices, as well as homeowners becoming wise to the threat of oil theft with active measures taken to prevent it.
However, oil theft is still a problem in rural areas with the first few months of the year often seeing the most recorded instances of domestic oil theft. Therefore, it is still important to implement security measures around your tank and home to make it less appealing for thieves.
WP Heating have provided their top tips on how to keep your oil safe and reduce the risk of theft.
- Keep your tank hidden
When installing a new kerosene storage tank, take care when deciding on its placement. A tank should ideally be situated away from any external gates or doors and out of sight from the roadside. If your tank is already in position and clearly visible, you may want to consider erecting a fence or planting shrubbery nearby to prevent easy access and visibility from opportunists.
- Lock it up
Install sturdy locks on your caps, openings, and also vent caps if possible. In addition to tank locks, where possible, fit fuel hoses with hardened/flexible casing so they are harder to cut. Making it as difficult as possible to steal oil in a quick and efficient matter does well to put off oil thieves.
- Check your levels
Regularly check fuel levels so you easily spot if oil levels drop dramatically without explanation. Most homeowners only check their tanks every few weeks, and therefore wouldn’t realise how much oil their tank contained.
However, it can prove difficult to manually keep an eye on your heating oil levels to monitor and suspicious reductions. Installing a fuel monitoring system like a Watchman Pro can make this easier by providing an effective, automated way to keep track of your oil usage and levels. With consumption data sent wirelessly straight to your device via an app, you can keep an eye on your oil without making the physical journey to your tank during a cold and wet winter.
- Alarm it
A fuel tank alarm system is becoming a more popular piece of theft prevention equipment for many homeowners, offering convenience and security. The Watchman Pro device also provides an anti-theft alert system which will let you know if your oil levels drop suddenly due to a theft or leak.
- Check your insurance
Making sure you are fully insured for oil theft will make life easier should you ever fall victim. Find out what your household insurance covers and whether your current plan covers you for oil theft, damage and clean-up costs. If not, shop around the market to find the best deals available.
- Keep an eye in the sky
You may wish to install CCTV; this is an easy way to protect your oil when you’re not around. It is an excellent way of deterring any thieves and, if the worst was to happen and a theft did occur, the perpetrators could be identified more easily.
As most thefts occur at night, security lighting can also work as a deterrent. Installing one with movement sensors visible from your house will also alert you to possible thieves in your garden.
Oil theft is a serious problem, but by putting these simple measures into practice you can significantly reduce the risk of this crime happening to you. To speak to a member of our WP Heating team about how we can help you install theft prevention measures, contact us via telephone on 023 8089 7841 or email us at .