Improving the Efficiency of Your Oil Boiler

We all know that running a home on heating oil is more expensive than Gas but, if you live in a rural area, you may not have much choice! While there are more renewable energy alternatives now coming onto the market, the initial cost of installation can be prohibitive for many households. That means you have to be savvy and make sure that you are getting the maximum energy out of each drop of heating oil in your tank.

Simple Oil Boiler Efficiency Measures

There are some very simple steps you can take to make sure your boiler is running at maximum efficiency including:

  1. Get your boiler serviced annually by an OFTEC qualified engineer– not only is this essential from a safety point of view but a well serviced oil boiler will be up to 10% more efficient.  An annual service will not only replace old, worn parts that may reduce efficiency, but will also make sure the air/fuel mix is correct ensuring combustion is at its most efficient.
  2. Consider using a heating oil additive. These help to reduce deposits on nozzles and heat exchangers within your boiler that reduce the thermal efficiency of the boiler.

Maintenance Activities to Keep your Oil Boiler Running at Maximum Efficiency

As well as the annual service and adding heating oil additives to your tank to improve the efficiency of your oil boiler, you should also carry out regular maintenance to make sure, your boiler is running as efficiently as possible at all times. Simple steps include:

  1. Check for sooty or black marks around the boiler – this could indicate fuel in your boiler is not burning properly and hence could be reducing efficiency. It may also mean that your boiler may be emitting harmful gases so you need to get it checked by a qualified engineer.
  2. Check vents and flues for blockages. Poor ventilation will affect the combustion process and potentially have a detrimental effect on efficiency.
  3. Flush your boiler water periodically and use a de-scaler to ensure your boiler runs in tip top condition. This will make sure your boiler isn’t working overtime heating up clogged radiators.
  4. Bleed radiators to make sure your boiler isn’t working harder than necessary in the winter months when the central heating is on.

More Expensive Oil Boiler Energy Efficiency Measures.

One thing you can’t get away from is if you have an old oil boiler it will be less efficient than modern oil condensing boilers. Modern oil boilers have efficiencies of between 86% and 97% which is far greater than older boilers that had efficiencies of around 70% or even lower.  Obviously, replacing an old boiler with a new one will bring benefits in reduced heating oil consumption but the financial outlay to replace the boiler will mean that the payback period could be several years.

Don’t Forget: Other Energy Efficiency Measures Will Make Your Heating Oil go Further. 

Remember, it’s not just about your boiler. If you live in a house that is poorly insulated, your boiler will be burning more oil just to keep it warm. Look into investing in other energy saving measures such as:

  • Cavity wall insulation/Solid wall insulation
  • Loft insulation
  • Draft proofing doors and windows
  • Upgrading central heating controls including thermostatic radiator valves
  • Floor insulation
  • Improving the insulation of your hot water tank
  • Secondary double glazing or sealed units

Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get grants for some of this work from your energy company and there are also government funded loan schemes such as the Green Deal to help home owners and landlords invest in improving energy efficiency.


To find out more about factors affecting oil boiler efficiency:

Improving oil boiler efficiency with heating oil additives: /benefits-using-heating-oil-additives/

Boiler maintenance tips that can help keep your oil boiler working as efficiently as possible:


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  1. We have an oil fired Rayburn that also heats radiators and water. It’s a few years old and has a timer for the water and cooker. Are the running costs cheaper if we have the cooker come on say twice a day, morning and evening for 3-4hrs each? Or is it more economical to keep the cooker on all day and just have it go off at night? Or cheaper to keep it on 24hrs a day?
    At the moment I switch it off during the day and it comes back on in the evening from 5-8.30 but I’, wondering if that uses more oil heating it from cold again? Can’t find anything on the web that deals with this. Thank you.

    • Heat energy travels to cold the greater the difference the faster it travels .Therefor the closer the inside temperature is to the outside the less energy is lost .

  2. I like how you said that you should do regular maintenance on your oil burner to ensure that it works well. We haven’t had anyone to look at ours and I think that we could definitely benefit from the help of an oil burner service. That way we might be able to burn a little bit less and save a little bit more.

  3. To save fuel used for heating reduce the temperature of the water or air that is used to delivery the heat . For every 3 degrees you lower the temperature there is a 1% fuel savings . Another strategy is to close the top vent on your baseboard radiators along with insulating the pipe from and to the radiator. This turns the radiator from convection to radiant heaters .The more footage of baseboard the more the water temperature can be lowered .

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