Guide to oil central heating

A massive 4.3m houses the UK are not connected to the mains gas network, for many of these households the answer is oil central heating – find out more here.

More than 4 million homes in the UK are not connected to the mains gas network and these homes can rely on oil central heating to warm their homes in the colder months.

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How does oil central heating work?

Oil fired central heating is used in ‘wet’ heating systems where an oil fired boiler heats water that then provides the central heating through radiators in your home.

The major difference between oil central heating and gas central heating is that the oil is delivered by a truck and stored in a tank. The tank can be rented from the oil supplier and is an additional cost that needs to be taken into account.

There are two types of boilers available, there is a heat only and a combination condensing oil fired boiler. The combination boilers will also store hot water for household use rather than instant hot water from gas boilers. Boilers must have a minimum seasonal efficiency value of 86% according to building regulations.

How much does oil powered heating and hot water cost?

The cost of oil central heating averages at £1355 per year. These figures are based on a 3 bedroom semi-detached house that is well insulated. If you have a condensing boiler that re-uses fuel gases you will be saving more money on energy bills each year as they are more than 90% efficient. A non-condensing boiler or standard boiler is only around 75% efficient.

If you replace an old oil fired boiler for a new condensing boiler you could save up to £310 compared with your old inefficient boiler.

Oil central heating and installation

Oil central heating installation costs will depend on whether you are replacing an oil fired boiler or putting in a new system that requires the installation of an oil tank above ground or underground. Boilers start at around £670 and go as high as £2096 for a large boiler to heat a large property with several radiators. Also check out oil central heating repair article here.

How many tonnes of carbon emissions do oil heating produce each year?

This also depends on the boiler. A standard boiler will produce 6.5 tonnes and condensing boiler 5 tonnes.

The advantages of oil central heating

  • Oil is a very efficient fuel

  • Oil central heating is a good option for people not on mains gas

The disadvantages of oil central heating

  • Oil is expensive and the price is likely to rise

  • It is possible you may run out of oil before your next delivery

  • Installation of an oil central heating system from scratch is expensive and disruptive

  • Oil storage tanks can be an eyesore

  • Boilers need to be serviced once a year

  • Condensing oil fired boilers are floor standing and can take up a lot of space

  • Oil fired boilers need to be plumbed in to allow the acidic condensate liquid to drain away

  • The flow rate of hot water is limited

  • Oil is not a clean source of energy

How much will oil central heating cost?

According to the Energy Saving Trust it should cost you between £3500 and £4500 for a full oil central heating system. This cost includes radiators and controls. Installation of the tank can be as high as £2800 and this includes a base and all of the pipe work.

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