Blog

Whistling Sounds during an Oil Delivery—What Is It?

Date: October 30, 2018

Dog listening

On a cold New England day, it can warm your heart to see an oil delivery truck pull up to your property. You know that before long, you will have a tank full of oil and one less thing to worry about–even if the wind begins to howl and the snow starts to fall.

But here’s one thing you should know if your oil tank is located in your basement. As the oil driver begins putting oil in your tank, you will hear a whistling sound. But don’t worry, this is perfectly normal.

Besides your tank, your heating oil storage system includes the fill pipe, vent pipe and vent alarm. After the oil delivery driver arrives at your home, he connects the hose from his oil truck to the fill pipe and starts releasing the oil. As oil flows into the tank, air from the tank gets pushed back out. As the air goes through the vent alarm–located between your tank and vent pipe–it makes a whistling sound. When the whistling stops, the tank is just about full.

Since your basement tank is out of sight from our driver, the vent alarm is an important device designed to prevent overfilling and the possibility of a spill. Safety codes do not allow an oil delivery driver to deliver fuel if the vent alarm is not working.

Speaking of safety codes, here are a few more things you should know about your oil piping:

  • The vent pipe should be at least 1.25 inches in diameter. If the diameter is too narrow, this will allow excessive pressure to build up inside the tank during filling, which can cause a tank rupture.
  • PVC piping does not meet NFPA safety codes and must be replaced because this material is more likely to crack when tanks are being filled.
  • It is the homeowner’s responsibility to properly maintain fuel tanks and all associated piping.

If you have any questions about your oil storage system, please contact your local heating oil company and they will be happy to help answer your questions.