Homes that have oil central heating aren’t connected to the main gas grid. If you live in one of the 4 million households in the UK that are not on the mains gas network, then you need to read on.
Here, we tell you what you need to know about oil central heating – including how much an oil-fired central heating system costs to run, and the pros of cons of having oil central heating. Plus find out about alternatives to heating oil.
Heating oil central heating systems
Heating oil is normally used in a ‘wet’ heating system where an oil-fired boiler heats water, which provides central heating via radiators and hot water through the taps in your home.
The main difference between mains gas and heating oil is that it is delivered by road and stored in a tank, which you may have to buy or rent from your supplier.
Heat-only and combination condensing oil-fired boiler types are both available. Most oil-fired combination boilers have an internal hot water store to supply domestic hot water rather than the instantaneous heating more common in gas boilers.
Annual cost of heating oil
The average annual cost for heating and hot water using heating oil in the UK is around £538 when consuming around 13,500 kWh a year.
This annual fuel cost is not based on actual fuel bills. It’s derived from using the average cost of different types of fuel across the UK, sourced by Sutherland Tables, which collects domestic fuel pricing data. These costs (per kWh in pence) are then multiplied by the amount of kWh a medium energy user consumes on average in a year (13,500 kWh), as calculated by Ofgem. The price is based on data from July, which is when heating oil tends to be a little lower in price than the winter months.
Remember, this cost is just a guide to help you compare costs of different types of fuel. There are a number of factors that affect energy bills, including the age of a house and insulation, the efficiency of a hot water and heating system, and where you are in the UK.
If you’re worried about your energy bills, use our free switching service, Which? Switch, to find the best deal for you.
Pros of oil central heating
Oil has typically been a more expensive fuel, with sudden spikes caused by surges in demand, weather conditions and political unrest. However, in 2014 the price fell dramatically, making it one of the cheaper ways to heat your home.
Oil is a highly efficient fuel, so you get a good return on every unit of energy. Modern condensing boilers, which use hot flue gases that are wasted in a standard boiler, now achieve efficiencies of 90% and more. Replacing a standard oil boiler with a highly efficient modern condensing boiler is relatively straightforward.