Mandatory Upgrade Required For Home Oil Heating Systems Under New Massachusetts Law

by Rich Vetstein on January 13, 2012 · 1 comment

in Environmental Law, Green Technology, Massachusetts Real Estate Law, Safety

Under a new Massachusetts oil heating law which went into effect on September 30, 2011, every homeowner with an oil heating system is required to install an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve in their system. The cost is approximately $150 to $350 depending on the system. The required upgrade is to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to your furnace. The upgrade will reduce the risk of an oil leak so by making a relatively small expenditure now, you can prevent a much greater expense in the future.

Who Must Upgrade?

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.

Who Is Exempt?

Homeowners are exempt from taking these leak prevention steps if:

  • the 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 are in compliance with the oil burning equipment regulations; a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance.

Why Comply?

Not 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. Such a leak can cost many thousands to clean up. 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.

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).

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Richard D. Vetstein, Esq. is an experienced Massachusetts real estate attorney. Please contact him if you need assistance with a home purchase or sale.

  • Anonymous

    Although this may seem like a hassle for homeowners, this law will ultimately help people save money and use their home heating oil more efficiently.

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