Oil boilers are popular heating solutions, but there may be a lot about these appliances that you don’t know. To help ensure you’re clued up when it comes to these boilers, here are five important facts.
1. Over a million UK homes have one
The majority of heating systems in UK households are powered by gas, but oil boilers may be more commonly used than you realise. More than a million homes in the UK use oil to run their heating systems. Oil boilers are especially popular in rural areas where there is no mains gas connection.
These appliances are also widely used in many other countries around the world, with over 20 million households across Europe relying on oil boilers.
2. Most are powered by kerosene
There are two main types of fuel that are used to run oil boilers. These are gas oil and kerosene. As heating oil supplier heatingoil.co.uk points out on its website, kerosene is the most widely used. Also known as paraffin oil, this fuel is efficient and low risk. As well as regular kerosene, it’s possible to purchase a premium version that can preserve the longevity of heating systems by helping to eliminate the build-up of sludge and carbon.
Gas oil, also known as red diesel, carries a lower import duty than standard diesel and it can be more cost effective than many other fuel types. As well as powering heating systems, it’s commonly used to run a range of vehicles, including trains and tractors.
3. Regular servicing is crucial
Over time, boilers start to lose efficiency and they can also become more prone to breakdowns. This is why it’s vital to arrange regular services of these appliances. Making sure your oil boiler is serviced annually, or in line manufacturer guidelines, will help you to keep your fuel bills down and reduce the risk of unexpected and potentially costly breakdowns. It’s also important for safety.
If you’re arranging a service for an oil boiler, make sure you get an OFTEC registered engineer to do the job.
4. Oil is more fuel efficient than gas
Many people don’t realise it, but heating oil is actually more fuel efficient than gas. This means you’ll get a good return on the units of energy you use. As mentioned previously, kerosene is especially efficient. It produces more British Thermal Units (BTUs) than other sources of energy. BTUs are the measure of the amount of thermal energy required to heat water.
Oil boilers themselves are also now highly efficient, particularly modern condensing designs. In order to comply with UK building regulations, since 2007 the majority of oil boilers have had to have a Sedbuk efficiency of 86 per cent or more. New condensing models often exceed this threshold, offering more than 90 per cent efficiency.
5. You can increase efficiency further with energy saving controls
Just like with gas boilers, you can use a range of heating controls with oil boilers to ensure they operate as efficiently as possible. For example, room thermostats, thermostatic radiator valves, programmers and boiler thermostats can all be used. Many companies now also offer more advanced smart heating controls that allow you to manage your heating remotely from your phone or tablet. These controls have a range of sophisticated features designed to boost efficiency further.
If you’re getting a new oil boiler or you want to upgrade an existing appliance, you can either refer to a new boiler cost guide or have an OFTEC registered engineer advise you on your heating control options.