Are you new to heating oil?

It’s important to know what type of oil you need. Most homes with oil central heating use kerosene (also known as heating oil or 28 second oil) and it is the most widely used fuel. However, there may be some properties that use gas oil (otherwise known as red diesel or 35 second oil). The performance of gas oil in the winter is usually greater; it burns more cleanly and efficiently compared to diesel and it’s affordable. If your home is running an AGA, for example, kerosene is more favourable. 

Are you new to heating oil?

Heating oil that contains additives to help your boiler burn more cleanly are available, but are more costly.

That said, it is possible to buy bottles of additives and add them to your oil tank, but always get advice from a professional engineer or your oil supplier before you do this.

There is research being carried out to find a biofuel alternative but currently, there is no replacement to kerosene.

Is it expensive to heat a home using oil?

Contrary to popular belief, it is actually cheaper to heat a home using oil than any other alternative. Recent research carried out by Sutherland Tables and UKIFDA in June 2021 – which compared heating oil with alternatives – found that heating oil is the cheapest heating and energy source.

Sutherland Tables, a recognised independent source of data on comparative domestic heating prices in the UK, demonstrated that it costs an average of than gas with an average bill of £801. In addition, and in light of the recent rises in gas, the price forecast for heating oil is good for the future.

The price of your heating oil may vary depending on the time of year, so shop around annually to get the best price using a price comparison platform, such as BoilerJuice. Plus, with a BoilerJuice Connected service a we’ll automatically place your oil order on your behalf, when prices are at their best, as well as a whole host of other benefits.

When should you get a boiler service?

If the previous owner hasn’t done so already, it is a good idea to get your boiler serviced at least once a year. If you use an AGA, it will also need servicing and probably more regularly than your boiler. Always use an OFTEC approved engineer who is experienced in servicing oil central heating boilers.

Do you have to order a minimum quantity of heating oil?

Unfortunately, yes, you do. In the UK, the minimum order quantity is 500 litres. Most domestic heating oil tanks can hold from 1,000 to 3,500 litres of heating oil so you shouldn’t have a problem, but before you place your order, make sure there is sufficient space in your oil tank. However, it’s important not to let your tank run out of heating oil either. This may result in sludge and dirt being sucked into your boiler’s fuel lines and filters. If this happens, you will need to call out an oil central heating engineer to clean the fuel lines and filters before you are able to restart your boiler.

How efficient is oil central heating?

Today, an oil central heating system is as efficient, if not more so, than a gas central heating system. Modern A-rated, energy efficient boilers can provide efficiency of up to 92-94%

Combining your modern boiler with the latest in heating controls, like smart thermostats, will ensure continued efficiency over a long-term period. However, as with all central heating systems, they need regular servicing and maintenance to retain that level of efficiency.

Regularly check your heating oil tank

Your heating oil tank is usually outside and open to the elements. Make regular checks on the tank to make sure there are no spillages, leaks or unusual oil marks. Check for any damage and if it’s a metal tank that there is no excessive rust.

Fit smoke and carbon monoxide alarms around the area of your boiler and if there are any sooty or black marks around the boiler, get it checked immediately as it is a sign of a potential combustion problem.

Advantages of an oil central heating system:

  • They don’t need to be connected to mains gas and therefore, can be installed just about anywhere, no matter how rural the location.
  • It’s the cheapest way to heat your home and has the potential to be 98% efficient when using a modern boiler.
  • Oil central heating boilers are fairly quick and easy to replace.
  • It’s easy to stock up on oil when the prices are lower and you can either pick an automatic top-up service, where they will order oil when prices are low for you or top-up when you need too. For the automatic services there is usually a one-year contract, but if you are interested in topping up when your tank is low, there is no contract. You are free to order from any supplier you choose, whenever you want.
  • They’re easy to maintain and control, providing heat as and when you need it.
  • Oil central heating boilers work well with low carbon energy sources, like solar power.

Disadvantages of an oil central heating system:

  • If installing a completely new system, not just replacing the boiler, it can be expensive.
  • Oil is stored in a large tank and delivered by a lorry, so you will need to consider space and access.
  • It’s not as ‘on tap’ as gas or electric heating – you will need to monitor the level of oil in your tank and order before it runs out.
  • It produces more carbon emissions than gas as it is a finite fossil fuel.
  • Your boiler and the oil tank will require regular servicing, preferably annually.
  • The UK government is starting to phase out oil central heating boilers in line with 2050 emission targets. After 2025, you will not be able to install a new oil central heating system.

Boiler Juice is the UK’s no.1 marketplace to help you find the best heating oil and aims to help you find the best heating oil price in your area, quickly and easily. We work independently from heating oil companies and ensure our service is totally impartial at all times. Boiler Juice provides consistently competitive prices, saving you money and time. Get your personalised home heating oil quote in just 30 seconds today.

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