We all know how expensive oil heating systems and boilers are to replace, when something goes wrong the instant feeling of dread soon kicks-in. Taking preventative measures, will stop a small problem turning into a major and expensive oil heating repair or replacement.
Believe us, there are better ways to start your day than finding a fault with your heating system as you put your head under a cold shower. Even now I bet your spine is tingling at the thought! In this article we will give you a simple guide on how to take the best care of your oil heating system from protecting your outdoor tank to spotting common problems with your boiler before they become a major issue.
A Simple Guide: Taking care of your Oil Heating System
#1 Service your oil boiler every 12 months
You can service your boiler at any time but the optimum time to service your oil boiler is the beginning of Autumn, before the colder weather starts to draw in. The beginning of September is ideal, you could use the clocks going back as a final reminder to organise your boiler service!
Here are some signs that your boiler is in need of a service:
- Staining on or around your boiler that’s a yellow/brown colour
- Black smoke or a build-up of soot
- Oil burner lock-out (shut down of boiler that requires a reset)
- Boiler is creating unusual noises or smells
Any appliance that burns fuel, including gas and oil-fired boilers, can produce carbon monoxide, which can be extremely harmful to your health. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas, which is why it is important to have a detector in your home. When you have a 12 month service, the qualified technician will check for carbon monoxide leaks on your boiler – helping to minimise your risk of exposure.
Related content: Buying a new home: The advantages and disadvantages of heating oil?
#2 Perform your own preventive maintenance on your oil heating system
An oil boiler works properly and efficiently when it burns oil cleanly, if water is transferred in the oil to the boiler from the tank, it can cause the problems with soot build-up and staining mentioned earlier. Doing visual checks to prevent the opportunity for water to penetrate the tank can help prevent common oil boiler problems occurring.
Here is a basic checklist that you can look for:
- Check your tank for bulging (plastic tank) or corrosion (metal tank)
- Look for physical damage to your tank
- In summer months, check for condensation build-up
- Look for any oil leaks
- Keep overhanging tree branches cut back
- Make sure there no water dripping continuously onto the tank
- Check lids and caps are secure and seals for corrosion
#3 Don’t let the heating oil tank run dry
The main difference between mains gas and domestic heating oil, also known as Kerosene, is that heating oil is delivered by road and stored in a tank. If your heating oil runs out and your tank runs dry, it can cause a build-up sludge which clogs the filter and prevents the heating system from working properly.
If you run out of heating oil, there’s going to be a delay from when you place your order to it being delivered to your home. Here are some measures you can take to prevent this from happening:
- Budget a little away each month for your tank refill, that way you don’t need to wait till payday to fill up your tank
- Plan ahead and order when you have at least ¼ of the oil tank left.
- Instal a tank monitor to track your heating oil level
- Have oil tank security measures installed to prevent oil theft.
Monitoring your heating oil levels will ensure that you never get caught short.
There are different types of monitors available from an alarm based device that sounds when there’s a sudden drop in oil level (warns you of oil theft) to phone app technology that allows you to check on the move, ideal for a rental property or if you work away for extended periods.
Related content: Which oil tank monitor do I need?