New Massachusetts Oil Tank Safety Law to go into effect 6/1/2010

Home Inspector with BONSAI Inspection Company

The new Massachusetts Oil heat law goes into effect on Jul. 1st! If you currently have an oil tank on your property or are listing/selling a property with an oil tank, you may be affected.

 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 oil. 

Most 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.

Who must take action?

Owners 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.  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.

What will an upgrade cost?

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).

For 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 Community Development Web site at or call them at 1-800-632-8175.

For more information about oil tank testing, please check out my Oil Tank Testing page.

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