Here in the UK, we experience cooler summers and milder winters than the rest of the countries in Europe. Even so, we still need a reliable source of heat to keep us warm and the freezing weather at bay. This is why most households resort to heat pumps and boilers as an alternative source of heat. Of these the most popular choice of equipment to heat our homes and hot water is the humble gas boiler.
Why is the gas boiler so popular? Convenience!
Using gas allows homeowners to save time and space because they no longer need to worry about refilling and storing an oil tank, water tank, and a hot water cylinder. Gas is also a very efficient form of energy. In fact, natural gas produces 45 percent and 30 percent fewer harmful emissions compared to coal and oil respectively.
So, with all the benefits we’ve listed about gas, why would you even consider switching to an oil heating system?
What Is Oil Heating?
First, let’s discuss exactly what oil heating is.
Oil heating uses home heating oil or kerosene to fuel a boiler and successfully emit heat through a diffuser and to the water tap.
When the heating is switched on, the boiler is ignited and a valve from the oil tank will allow the fuel to flow into it. The oil burns, heating up the water, which passes through the radiators emitting its heat into your rooms and eventually flows back into the boiler. After it returns to the boiler, the water is heated again and the whole process starts again.
An oil central heating system can be complicated to install, and the initial cost does require an investment from the homeowner. However, its benefits and long-term savings outweigh these initial efforts and costs.
Benefits of Oil Heating
A heating system fuelled by oil has a number of benefits over its gas and electric counterparts, including:
- lower operational costs
- lower annual utility bills
- easy to use
- provides consistent hot water and heating
- doesn’t need to be plugged into a gas main
The main benefit of oil heating is it’s lower operational and annual costs. The price of oil is relatively cheap due to an oversupply, which means that suppliers sell at very competitive prices. Compare this to gas which has a competitive global supply and demand – and consistently rising prices.
Purchasing a modern oil boiler is also relatively cheaper than an LPG or an electric boiler, and they can be known to last for 30 years or more compared to a gas boiler which has a life expectancy of only 11-14 years.
With recent technology and innovation, oil heating gives the same operational benefits and outputs of a gas and electric heating systems, and it comes at a cheaper price.
More importantly, if your house doesn’t have access to the gas main, then an oil boiler is your cheapest and most efficient option.
Assess Your Home
As we’ve discussed switching to an oil heating system can be beneficial, however, there are certain requirements to ensure a successfully install and the subsequent savings.
For one, you need to have the space for the oil storage tank and other parts of the central heating system. Storing them outdoors is the best and safest option. The next consideration is your location, being close to an oil heating service provider will be beneficial when it comes to annual servicing and having a nearby oil supplier will come in handy when the oil tank needs replenishing.
Before you switch to oil heating, take a good look around and assess your house and location. Is it ready to store and adapt to a new heating system?
Cost of Oil Heating
The price of oil can be volatile depending upon demand, going as high as £65 and as low as £35.
The average initial purchase price of an oil central heating system ranges from £3,500 – £6,000. This figure includes the 4 main parts of the system, piping, and labour.
And finally, based on recent research, the average annual cost of using oil heating to heat homes and provide hot water in the household is £538, with the basis of 13,500 kWh consumption. This amount saves you about £100-200, depending on the number of radiators working for a gas heating system.
David Holliday is the founder and owner of Watertite Heating and Plumbing in Bristol. He’s been a plumber for over 10 years and in that time has helped many domestic and commercial clients with everything from boiler installations, bathroom refurbishments and general plumbing needs. You can connect with David on Google +, Twitter and Facebook or contact Watertite Heating and Plumbing on 01179 093 967.