Heating can account for a large proportion of what you spend each year on energy bills, so if you rely on an oil boiler to provide heating and hot water for your home, you’ll no doubt want to make sure you choose a cost effective oil to power this appliance. As well as cost, there are other issues to consider when selecting a heating oil, such as how user-friendly these fuels are and how cleanly they burn.
There are two main types of domestic heating oil – kerosene and gas oil. The majority of oil-fired burners in the UK are designed to run on kerosene, but the type of oil you need will depend on the system installed in your home. So, if you’ve just moved to a new property with an oil boiler, make sure you check the labels on the appliance or the fuel tank to see which oil is needed.
To give you a clearer idea of what you can expect with different fuels, here is a quick guide to three of the most popular options.
Also known as paraffin oil, kerosene is a light and clean fuel and it’s the most popular form of heating oil in the country. On the website of the specialist supplier heatingoil.co.uk, it states that a high percentage of the 1.1 million oil-heated homes in the UK opt for this particular fuel. It’s commonly used because it’s low-risk and very efficient.
Extracted from petroleum, the fuel is ideal for domestic heating systems thanks to its lack of vapour, which means it burns safety. It also produces more British Thermal Units (which is the measure of the amount of thermal energy required to increase the temperature of water) than many other energy sources.
If you’re looking for something that performs even better than standard kerosene, it’s worth considering premium kerosene. This fuel is treated with a range of additives to enhance its efficiency and performance. So, although it may cost you a little more than regular kerosene upfront, it could save you money overall.
Premium kerosene is also cleaner, meaning it helps to eliminate the build-up of sludge and carbon in your fuel tank and reduces the risk of mechanical issues with your boiler. For these reasons, it can increase the lifespan of your boiler and fuel tank. The fact that it burns more cleanly is also good for the environment.
Gas oil is a heavier fuel and is typically used in older heating systems. Also known as ‘red diesel’, it is still a popular home heating fuel in certain countries on the continent, but it is not suitable for a variety of modern heating systems, including condensing boilers.
This oil is traditionally cheaper than standard diesel and it can be a cost effective option compared to other fuel types. Bear in mind that if you use this oil, it’s best to store it in a plastic rather than a metal tank. This will help to prevent the build-up of sludge.
When deciding which oil to get, the key is to make sure you choose one that’s compatible with your heating system. Beyond this, it’s worth looking into performance, cost and other factors.