Heating System Upgrade
you must upgrade your home heating system equipment to prevent leaks from tanks
and pipes that connect to your furnace.
fact sheet contains important information for those who heat their homes
with oil. By July 1, 2010, you must upgrade your home heating system
equipment to prevent leaks from tanks
and pipes that connect to your furnace.
By making a relatively small
expenditure now, you can prevent a much
greater expense in the future.
has a new law to address oil leaks from home heating systems (see Chapter 453 of
the Acts of 2008). This law has two major provisions that require: the
installation of either an oil safety valve
or an oil supply line with protective
sleeve on systems that do not
currently have these devices; and insurance
companies that write homeowner
policies to offer coverage for
leaks from heating systems that use
homeowner policies do not currently include such coverage, leaving many to pay
for costly cleanups out of their own pocket. Although it is mandatory that
insurance companies offer this coverage, the insurance is an optional purchase
for homeowners. The effective date for both provisions is July 1, 2010.
must take action?
of 1- to 4-unit residences that are heated with oil must already have or install
an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with a protective sleeve, as shown in
the diagram. Installation of these devices must be performed by a licensed oil
burner technician. Technicians are employed by companies that deliver home
heating oil or are self-employed. It is important to note that heating oil
systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 most likely are already in
compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new
installations at that time.
are exempt from taking these leak prevention steps if:
oil burner is located above the oil storage
tank and the entire oil supply line
is connected to and above the top
of the tank OR an
oil safety valve or oil supply line with
protective sleeve was installed on
or after January 1, 1990, AND those
changes comply with the oil burning
equipment regulations; a copy
of the oil burner permit from the local
fire department may be used to demonstrate
only is complying with the new law required, it makes good financial and
environmental sense. Homeowners who take these preventive measures can avoid the
disruption and expense that can be caused by heating oil leaks. A leak may
result in exposure to petroleum vapors in your home. If the leak reaches the
soil or groundwater beneath your house, then a cleanup must be performed to
restore your property to state environmental standards. Leaks that affect
another property or impact drinking water supply wells can complicate the
cleanup and increase the expense. Each year, several hundred Massachusetts
families experience some kind of leak.
will an upgradecost?
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
those households that meet certain income criteria, financial assistance of up
to $300 is available through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
For more information on financial assistance, see the Department of Housing and
could it cost to cleanup a leak?
cleanup cost for a "simple" leak can be as much as $15,000. In cases
where the leak affects the groundwater or is more extensive, the cleanup costs
can reach $250,000 or more.
kind of insurance is available?
be eligible for the new insurance coverage, homeowners must ensure that their
oil heating systems are in compliance with the new law. Homeowners who have been
certified to be in compliance with (or exempt
the leak prevention measures qualify to purchase insurance that:
"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
"third party coverage" of at least $200,000 for the cost of dealing
with conditions on and off the insured’s property because the leak from this
system has or is likely to affect 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.
should I do next?
whether you have had an oil safety valve or new oil supply line with protective
sleeve installed since January 1, 1990. If you have, your permit from the fire
department for the installation can be used to document your compliance. You can
request a copy from the fire department if the permit is on file, or a licensed
oil burner technician can certify that status on a form.
you do not have an oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve in
place, have one or the other installed and certified. Either contact your oil
delivery company to ask if they
a licensed oil burner technician or find a service person in your area. (A list
of licensed technicians can be viewed at