Protecting your home heating oil this Christmas
For many homeowners in Northern Ireland, home heating oil is a significant household expense, so when you buy it you want to make sure that you keep it and aren’t the victim of fuel theft. Sadly, at this time of year, fuel thieves are targeting homes more frequently, so you need to make sure you are doing everything you can when it comes to protecting your home heating oil this Christmas. Here’s our expert advice on how to do this:
Protect your property with gates or fences
Make your oil tank harder to access from the outside of your property with a gate or fence around it that you can lock up if you’re out of the house over Christmas. As long as your delivery driver can still access the tank when you unlock your gates, anything else that you can do to prevent access will help in protecting your home heating oil this Christmas.
Make the tank less obvious
Some people talk about ‘defensive planting’ and this is a great alternative to protecting your oil tank if you can’t have gates or fences to protect your property perimeter. When it comes to protecting your home heating oil tank with shrubbery, the pricklier the better! These are a very effective deterrent, as well as adding some greenery to your garden to enjoy. Just make sure access is still easy for your home heating oil top up.
Get a fuel tank lock
You can pick these up from any hardware store and you will instantly have peace of mind. Having a visible lock on any item you cherish is automatically a deterrent for thieves, so what better way to protect your home heating oil if you’re heading away this Christmas on holiday or to stay with relatives? You should also make sure that your tank looks in good condition too – no damaged valves or obvious vulnerabilities which could make it look more attractive to target.
Fuel tank alarm
Installing a fuel tank alarm will alert you when your heating oil falls below a certain level. In most cases, it’s used to monitor your oil usage and help you plan ahead when it comes to ordering oil, but it can also let you know when the level in your tank falls rapidly so that you can alerted more quickly to suspected fuel theft. You can also get alarms that are linked to your phone so that you get instantly notified wherever you are.
Check your home insurance
For many homeowners, their home insurance policies will cover oil theft, so if you are the victim of this crime, you might be able to claim something back to recover the costs in ordering more oil. Check with your current insurance provider if this is something offered at present and if not find out how much it would cost to add this to your policy.
Be vigilant and be a good neighbour
Keep an eye out for your heating oil and that of your neighbours, especially if you know they head away over the festive period and their house will be empty. Always report any suspicious activity to the police, and if you know of any fuel theft in your area, let your neighbours know about it so that they can be more aware of this too.