Imagine striking oil – in your basement! Under normal circumstances, you never actually see the fuel oil that heats your home. To keep it that way, Massachusetts homeowners who heat with oil will need to upgrade their home heating system equipment to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to their furnace under the provisions of a new law that takes effect on July 1, 2010.
This law has two major provisions:
• Fuel supply lines or return lines in direct contact with concrete, earth or other floor surfaces shall have a continuous non-metallic sleeve installed to enclose the fuel line, or have an oil safety valve installed at the tank end of a fuel supply line.
• Insurance companies that write homeowner policies are required to offer elective coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil.
Installation of oil safety valve devices or the installation of a protective sleeve must be performed by a licensed oil burner technician. Heating oil systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 are most likely already in compliance with the new law since state fire codes started implementing these requirements on new installations at that time.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), “The typical cost of installing either an oil safety valve or oil supply line with a protective sleeve ranges from $150 – $350 (including labor, parts, and local permit fees).” Compare that to the cleanup cost for a “simple” leak which MassDEP claims, “can be as much as $15,000. In cases where the leak impacts the groundwater or is more extensive, the cleanup costs can reach $250,000 or more.” This new law makes both good financial and environmental sense for homeowners who will spend a little now to potentially save a lot later.
Homeowners who have been certified to be in compliance with the leak prevention measures will also be qualified to purchase new insurance coverage that:
• Provides “first party coverage” of at least $50,000 for the cost of cleaning up a leak to soil, indoor air, or other environmental media from a home heating system at the residence itself and reimbursement for personal property damage, AND
• Provides “third party coverage” of at least $200,000 for the cost of dealing with conditions on and off the insured’s property if the leak has or is likely to impact groundwater or someone else’s property. The coverage also includes costs incurred for legal defense, subject to a deductible not to exceed $1,000 per claim.
About Commonwealth Tank
Commonwealth Tank, founded in 1994 and located at 84 New Salem Street in Wakefield, MA, specializes in the removal and installation of above and underground storage tanks and site remediation, including emergency spill response, site assessment, excavation, and site closure.
Commonwealth Tank’s services are available Monday through Saturday, with emergency service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Commonwealth Tank’s service area includes most areas of Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and Maine. For further information please visit www.commtank.com or call 1-800-628-8260.