One of the main reasons that your central heating is fuelled by oil is that there is no connection to mains gas in the area.

Many homes within the UK use gas boilers, but there are roughly 4 million properties that are not connected to main gas and around 1.5 million of those choose oil as their heating fuel.

Difference between oil and gas central heating?

There are many similarities between oil and gas fired boiler and they operate in much the same manner, which often means that similar issues and problems can arise whether it is oil or gas.

In terms of availability, gas on mains is obviously available constantly, where oil does need to be ordered and stored in an approved oil storage tank.

Oil boiler installation and maintenance is governed under a competency requirement by Oftec which is an equivalent to Gas Safe and oil boiler engineers should be registered with them. Sometimes you may find that your insurance can even specify that an Oftec approved engineers has carried out regular servicing.

Hot water storage

Gas fired combination boilers do not have hot water storage facilities as they heat the water as required. Most newer Oil fired combination boilers will have a small built in storage tank to ensure hot water and heating needs are met.

Firing your oil boiler

Grant Oil Boiler In simple terms, when you switch on your heating, whether manually or with an automated timeclock, ignition leads fire up the boiler and a valve will open to allow oil into the boiler. The oil is burnt and the heat it provides is passed to the water that is flowing around the central heating system.

Heating pump

The key element to the flow of water around your central heating is the heating pump which is often inside the boiler casing but can be installed externally. This will pump the hot water around the heating circuit in your property.

It is important to remember that less energy is used to keep the system warm than it is to bring the temperature up from cold, so turning oil boilers on for short periods, multiple times a day is likely to be more expensive than just leaving it on a low temperature constantly.

Combination boilers and diverter valves

Diverter actuator valve A diverter valve as the name suggests, diverts water to wherever you ask it to be.

When you fire up your oil central heating, the diverter valve will ensure that the hot water flows around pipework, radiators throughout the given system.

It is important to remember that a combination oil boiler will prioritise hot water to your taps over the hot water in your heating system. When you turn on a tap or shower, the diverter valve will change to send the heated water there rather than the heating. Once you turn it off, it will change back.

If you have an older style oil boiler then you may experience a dip in temperature throughout your property should you have long showers and run a bath. More modern systems cope with the demand better.

Storing heating oil in a tank

DESO slimline bunded oil tank Storage tanks usually vary in size from 650 litres to 2500 litres in domestic properties, but usually, they will hold enough oil to fuel a property for 6-9 months.

As the average heating oil price fluctuates throughout the year you can potentially ensure your supply at a regulated price by buying in bulk when the price suits you.

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Did you know..."

"Home heating oil is completely safe – it cannot be set on fire with a match – if you drop a lit match into your oil tank it will simply be extinguished. In liquid form, it is non-explosive and can’t mix with the air to become explosive. In order to ignite, it needs to be vaporised which is the job of your oil boiler."

"Using home heating oil to keep your home warm has very few emissions, making it a cleaner fuel to use for heating. With newer heating systems, this emissions level is nearing zero. Home heating oil also produces the hottest flame of any home fuel source, making it the most efficient method for heating your house quickly."