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Sound of a safe delivery

Why does an oil tank whistle?

Customers who live in a home with a basement oil tank often ask us why they hear a whistling noise whenever our driver makes his oil delivery. We always tell them not to worry because this is perfectly normal.

In addition to your oil tank, your heating oil storage system includes the fill pipe, vent pipe and vent alarm. Here’s what happens when our driver arrives at your home to make an oil delivery.

  • Our driver connects the hose from his oil truck to the fill pipe.
  • As oil flows into the tank, air is pushed back out.
  • As the air goes through the vent alarm (located between your tank and vent pipe), it makes a whistling sound.
  • When the whistling stops, the tank is just about full.

In short, a whistling vent alarm prevents overfilling and the possibility of a spill. Safety codes do not allow us to deliver your fuel if the vent alarm is not working.

Avoid Problems with Proper Piping

Here are a few more things you should know about your oil piping:

  • The vent pipe should be at least 1.25 inches in diameter. A narrow diameter allows excessive pressure to build up inside the tank during filling, which can cause a tank rupture.
  • Your piping should be made of iron, steel, or brass. Pipes made from PVC need to be replaced because they are more likely to crack when tanks are being filled.
  • It is the homeowner’s responsibility to properly maintain fuel tanks and all associated piping.

If you have any questions about your oil storage system, please contact us. Our tank experts will be happy to answer your questions.

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