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Dangers of Indoor Oil Spills & Leaks

Indoor oil spills and leaks can be a big problem for homeowners. Many individuals do not realize the danger and assume spills and leaks are not significant issues. However, oil spillage at home can be extremely hazardous, potentially causing health problems for occupants.

Biohazard
First and foremost, an indoor oil spill can be a biohazard. Oil is a toxic substance that can cause harm to both people and the environment. When oil spills and leaks occur indoors, the fumes and vapors can quickly spread throughout the space, contaminating the air and potentially causing respiratory problems. Inhalation of heating oil fumes can cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Additionally, coming into contact with oil can cause skin irritation.

Fire-Risk
Another concern with indoor oil spills and leaks is the potential for fire. Oil is highly flammable; even a single spark can ignite it, leading to a dangerous and potentially deadly fire. And this is especially true if the oil is near a heat source, such as a furnace or water heater.

Structural Damage
In addition to the immediate dangers posed by indoor oil spills and leaks, there are also long-term risks. Oil can seep into the flooring and walls, causing damage to the structure of the home, which can lead to costly repairs and renovations down the line.
 

Common Causes of Indoor Oil Spills

There are several examples of spilled oil at home that would require remediation.

1. Heating oil tank leaks and overfills: Homeowners who use heating oil to heat their homes may have an indoor storage tank. Over time, these tanks can develop leaks that result in spilled oil. Fuel oil spills can also occur due to accidentally overfilling the tank.

2. Motor oil spills: Homeowners changing the oil in their vehicles may accidentally spill motor oil in their garage.

3. Lubricant oil spills: Homeowners may accidentally spill lubricant oil used for lawnmowers or other machinery.

4. Oil-based product spills: Homeowners painting their homes or furniture may accidentally spill oil-based paint or varnish.

In each case, remediation would be necessary to prevent health hazards and environmental damage. The job involves cleaning up oil spills, disposing of contaminated materials, odor control, and repairing any damage to the affected area.

oil spilling on the left and oil spilled on cement on right

What Should I Do If I Have an Indoor Oil Spill?

Your priority should be to stay safe. If there is any danger, such as a fire, evacuate your home immediately and call 9-1-1. If the spill is not posing any risk, turn off ignition sources, such as heaters, and open windows and doors to allow for ventilation.

If the spill is large or you are unsure how to handle it, search for a professional oil spill cleanup company nearby. Oil spill remediation companies like United Water Restoration Long Island have the equipment and expertise to safely and effectively clean up oil spills and leaks.

From basements to garages and utility rooms, United has been the go-to choice for Long Island homeowners seeking prompt and reliable indoor home oil spill cleanup. Recently, we provided emergency services to our client in Bayport, NY, after oil spilled into their crawl space.

an oil spill in a residential crawl space in Bayport, NY

Indoor Oil Spill Cleanup

Emergency indoor oil spills require a comprehensive cleaning process, which varies depending on the size and nature of the oil spill or leak. These are the general steps that United follows:

1. Initial assessment: We assess the extent of the oil spill and the level of contamination to help us develop a proper cleanup strategy and gather the necessary equipment and materials.

2. Containment: The next step is to contain the spill to prevent it from spreading to other areas.

3. Removal: Once our team contains the spill, we remove the oil using absorbent materials, vacuums, or pumps to extract the oil from the affected area.

4. Cleaning: After we remove the oil, our team cleans the affected area using specialized cleaning solutions and equipment. Scrubbing, pressure washing, or steam cleaning removes any remaining oil or contaminants.

5. Disposal: We safely dispose of oil and any contaminated materials according to local regulations.

6. Post-remediation assessment: Once the cleanup is complete, we verify that the area is free of contamination and that there is no longer a risk of exposure. Our team tests the air and surfaces for residual oil or contaminants.

7. Documentation: We document the entire remediation process, including the assessment, cleanup methods, and verification results.

Cleaning up indoor oil spills requires fast and experienced action. We provide professional results that adhere to the highest industry standards.

oil spill cleanup in Bayport, NY

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Oil Spill Damages?

Homeowners insurance typically includes coverage for damages caused by indoor oil spills, although the specific terms and conditions may vary between policies and insurers. It’s important to review your policy documents or consult with your insurance agent or broker to explain the details of your coverage.

In general, homeowners insurance can cover expenses related to cleanup, remediation, and property damage resulting from an oil spill on your property. This may include costs such as soil testing, excavation, disposal of contaminated materials, and repairs to affected structures. However, intentional acts or negligence on your part might limit or exclude coverage, and there may be certain limits on coverage for environmental hazards or pollution-related incidents.

Other than visible damage, the most concerning signs that suggest you should call a professional are the odors associated with fumes or any lingering smells throughout the building.

With a specialization in insurance claims management, United works closely with clients to obtain accurate information about specific coverage and any potential exclusions or limitations. We can review policy documents and reach out to your insurance provider on your behalf. Additionally, we’ll thoroughly investigate the loss, assess the extent of damages, and offer guidance to help you understand the extent of coverage for oil spill damages.
 

How Can I Prevent Indoor Oil Spills & Leaks?

You can significantly reduce the risk of indoor oil spills and leaks, protecting your property and the environment, by following these preventative measures:

  • Schedule regular inspections and maintenance with a licensed technician. Check your oil storage tank for signs of wear and tear, corrosion, and leaks, and ensure that the tank is properly secured.
  • Consider installing an oil tank alarm to alert you if the tank is getting low or if there is a leak. An alarm can help you quickly detect and address any issues before it’s a problem.
  • Place drip pans or trays under oil tanks, pumps, and other equipment that could leak or spill to contain and prevent them from spreading.

Large oil spills can cause serious harm to the properties and inhabitants when these accidents happen indoors. Do not try and clean the mess yourself because there are residual health risks involved with handling hazardous materials such as oils. As you can see, swift action and trained technicians are necessary to clean up an indoor oil spill.

The faster you reach out for help, the better off you are in avoiding long-term damage from an indoor oil spill or leak. If you experience this situation, please call United at (631) 212-2321 – we are here to help restore your property!

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