How often do you have to test your fuel oil tank?

How often do you have to test your fuel oil tank?

In Germany, around six million households are heated with heating oil. As a rule, the oil heaters work with a tank that is in the basement. What many do not know: The owners are responsible for ensuring that this tank is tight and should therefore check regularly whether the tank is working properly. So far, there is no national regulation for how often a fuel oil tank must be checked. Therefore, many owners of such tanks wonder how often a check is actually necessary. Our Guide to the Future Brings Light Into the Dark!

Frequency of Verification Depends on Various Factors

Each state regulates how often the fuel oil tank needs to be checked. This is defined in the "Anlagenverordnung wassergefährdende Stoffe". It differs depending on the state in some places. It also depends on other aspects:

  • Do you live in a water reserve?
  • Is the fuel tank underground?
  • How big is the tank?

A rule of thumb is that below and above ground tanks with a capacity of more than 1000 liters located in a water protection area, as well as all tanks with a capacity of more than 10,000 liters should be checked at least every five years. For tanks that are located outside of water protection areas and have less than 10,000 liters capacity, there is currently no obligation for regular security checks. Each new plant is checked before it is put into operation. In addition, there are other exemptions for underground tanks depending on the state.

The request for fuel inspection comes from an authority

In general, you can not forget the check, because as soon as a control for your heating oil tank is due You notified in writing. In most cases, the request for tank testing comes from the Lower Water Authority.

The authority also stipulates which experts may carry out such an examination at all. You will need a qualification to qualify as an "expert in testing facilities dealing with substances hazardous to water & ldquo;

There are no uniform fees, but depending on the cost of the check, you can count on about 100 euros.

The regulations vary according to the state

The fact is, however, that there are no uniform rules for the different federal states exist. In most regions, tanks of up to 1000 liters are distinguished from those that can hold up to 10,000 liters. In North Rhine-Westphalia there is currently an intermediate stage for all fuel oil tanks, which can hold a maximum of 5000 liters.

Likewise, the federal states disagree as to when a specialized company must be commissioned for the test. In Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Schleswig-Holstein, such a duty is only available from 10,000 liters. Other countries even require such a test by a specialist even from 1000 liters onwards.

Regular testing always makes sense

Regardless of whether or not there is a duty to check, the tank should be checked regularly. Otherwise, there is a risk of the fuel oil tank rusting and pitting with increasing age.

Leaks can have dire consequences for the environment, especially in the case of underground tanks. Even a tiny amount of fuel oil is enough to sustainably damage the surrounding soil and groundwater. Thus, you also endanger the quality of your drinking water.

As the owner of the heating oil tank, you alone are responsible for the leakage of oil and the damage to the environment. This is true even if you have checked the tank periodically.

Nationwide regulation will come at the earliest in 2016

For many years, a nationwide ordinance has been in progress. It is to be renamed the "Regulation on Installations for the Handling of Substances Hazardous to the Wastewater" & ldquo; (AwSV). In May 2014, the Federal Council approved the AwSV, provided that certain stipulations are taken into account. However, the necessary discussions on the regulation have not yet been completed within the government. Once the negotiations have been completed, the regulation will have to be re-examined by the EU. For this reason, it is unlikely that any nationwide regulation will come into force until 2016.


Many owners of heating oil tanks wonder how often they have to have this tank checked for leaks. However, there is no nationwide uniform rule, so there is sometimes considerable deviations from state to state. If a security check is pending, you will usually receive a written notification from an authority. Even if there is no obligation for the tank inspection, a regular check makes sense, because if a leak causes damage to the environment, the owner is always liable. In 2016, a nationwide regulation is to come into force that specifies uniformly how often which fuel oil tanks need to be expertly checked.

Artikelbild: © Lisa S. / Shutterstock