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new home heating lawoil leak

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New Massachusetts Home Heating Law... effective July 1, 2010

On July 1, 2010, a new Massachusetts law governing oil-burning, home heating systems went into effect. The intent of the new regulation is to prevent oil leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to your furnace. The law has two major provisions.

Equipment upgrade

First, homeowners heating with oil must have or install an oil safety valve OR an oil supply line with a protective sleeve as part of their home heating system. One of the components is required, not both. The diagram below illustrates the location of the two components.

The installation must be done by a licensed oil burner technician. The estimated cost of he equipment upgrade ranges from $150 - $350. Financial assistance is available from the state based on household income criteria. For additional information, call 800-632-8175, or visit http://mass.gov/dhcd.

Oil heating systems installed after January 1, 1990 may already be in compliance with the new law. As of that date, Massachusetts fire codes required the new components. A copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department can be used to demonstrate compliance.

Heating systems where 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 are exempt from the equipment upgrade

Insurance

The second provision of the new law requires insurance companies selling homeowners insurance in Massachusetts to offer coverage for oil leaks from home heating systems. Most homeowners policies do not currently provide this coverage.

While homeowners are not required to purchase the new coverage, insurance companies are required to provide it.

Next steps

If you heat your home with oil, you need to do two things.

First, determine if your home heating system is in compliance with the new law. If not, schedule installation of the oil safety valve OR the sleeve-protected oil supply line by a licensed oil burner technician.

Second, consider adding coverage for oil leaks to your homeowner policy. Cleaning up an oil leak that contaminates soil or leaks into ground water can be an expensive proposition. Heating systems must meet the above equipment requirements in order to be eligible for the new insurance coverage.

Finally, if you have questions about the new law, call us. We can help you sort through the legal requirements and answer questions about insurance coverage for oil leaks.

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