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Preparing for the 2012 Home Heating Season


As the heating season approaches, Norfolk Ram would like to remind you of the importance associated with the proper care and maintenance of you home heating oil system.

Here are some common practices that can help maximize the safety and efficiency of your home heating oil system:

  • Perform routine visual inspections
  • Check the conditions of the tank and lines
  • Make sure the fill cap and vent cap are in place and secured
  • Make sure all pipe connections are clean and tight
  • Schedule regular maintenance with your oil company
  • Install an oil safety valve and replace the line if it does not have a protective sleeve
  • Check for oil drips from the fittings and filter
  • Keep vent clear of any snow, ice, or insect nests to prevent over-pressurization of the tank
  • If you take your tank out of service, also remove fill and vent lines
  • Pay attention to your delivery schedule and oil consumption. If you think your usage is unusually high, look into it
  • Look for signs of spillage around fill and vent pipes
  • Replace old tanks

If you have any question about heating oil tanks and systems or heating oil spill cleanup, please call Jonathan D. Kitchen at (508) 747 – 7900 x 154.

Click here to download Norfolk Ram's complimentary Massachusetts Heating Oil Spill Information Kit for home owners and businesses.

If you've experienced a spill or leak of home heating oil, you must notify the Massachusetts DEP (888-304-1133) and your local fire department immediately.  Learn how Norfolk can help with home heating oil spill clean-up here.

Further information about heating oil systems maintenance can be found at the following links:

RI DEM's Press Release on Maintaining Oil Tanks and Furnaces

MA DEP's Tips for Maintaing Your Home Heating Oil System

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Home Heating Oil Spills – Are You Covered?


It has been more than a year and a half since a new law in Massachusetts required that all homeowners who heat by oil make certain upgrades to their heating systems.  The law also required that insurance companies write homeowner policies to offer coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil.  To be eligible for the coverage, homeowners must ensure that their heating oil systems are in compliance with the new law. 


If it has been several years since you have reviewed your homeowners insurance or if you are uncertain whether or not you are covered for a home heating oil spill, Norfolk recommends talking with your insurance agent.  A home heating oil spill can represents a significant financial hardship.  The attached DEP fact sheet reports that a simple leak can cost $15,000 and leaks that affect groundwater can reach $250,000 or more.  These types of expenses are the reason most homeowners buy insurance.  However, unless you specifically purchase coverage for heating oil releases, you may not be covered.


According to the law, policies offered should include at least $50,000 in “first party coverage.”  This coverage relates to the cleanup of oil contaminated personal property and environmental media such as soil and indoor air at the covered property.  Additionally, policies offered should include at least $200,000 in “third party coverage.”  The third party coverage relates to the cost of dealing with conditions on and off the insured’s property if those conditions have affected or are likely to affect someone else’s property.


If you have questions regarding home heating oil spills, please contact Jon Kitchen at (508) 747-7900 x154 or Joe Salvetti at (508) 747-7900 x154. Also, please feel free to download your own copy of our FREE Massachusetts Heating Oil Spill Information Kit

Changes to Aboveground Storage Tank (AST) Inspections


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Aboveground storage tanks (AST) that hold any fluid other than water (gasoline, diesel, oils) in quantities greater than 10,000 gallons are required to be inspected annually by the Department of Fire Services (DFS). 

The inspection program was originally born out of the Boston Molasses Disaster and flood of 1919.  Then, an AST containing over 2,000,000 gallons of molasses collapsed and sent a tidal wave of molasses through the city's North End, killing 21 people and injuring over 150 people.

While we've come a long way since those days, AST regulations are changing again, with the first phase of the new program to begin on May 1, 2012.  The DFS will be issuing new inspection forms and creating a more accurate database of registered ASTs.  As part of the program, AST owners will be recieving renewal notices three months prior to the expiration of the AST Use permit. 

Norfolk employees recently attended a meeting at the DFS offices to go over the changes in the programs and its effects on inspectors and inspections.  To learn more about the AST program or Spill Prevention and Counter Control Measures (SPCC) please contact John McAllister at (508) 747-7900 extension 117.

Download our free SPCC Compliance Kit here.

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