Is heating your home with oil efficient?

February 24, 2021
Back to Blog

Did you know that buildings account for almost 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions?

With increasing pressure to reduce energy consumption and limit climate change, many people are looking for ways to ensure that their home is as energy efficient as possible. 

Heating is one of the areas that many households are looking to reduce their impact. However, if you live in a rural area, it’s likely that you have to use oil to heat your home. 

In this blog, we are exploring whether or not oil is an efficient way to heat your home, and how to improve the efficiency as much as possible. 

Related content: The benefits of heating your home with oil

Is heating your home with oil efficient?

Oil burns at over 70 degrees Celsius, which is hotter than electricity or natural gas. This means that homes heated by oil will warm up more quickly. 

Therefore a modern boiler can be up to 97% efficient. This means that the majority of the energy being used by your boiler is being utilised to heat your home (and only a small % is being lost).

Despite oil being a traditional fossil fuel, using oil to heat your home can be a surprisingly efficient way to heat your home. 

However, this assumes that your boiler is in good working condition. 

Related: The simple guide to taking care of your heating oil system

How to make your oil heating more efficient…

If you’re rural, then you don’t have much choice over which heating system you have to use. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of what you have and ensure that your heating system is as energy efficient as possible 

These are some things that you can do to increase the efficiency of your oil heating system:

1. Install a new (energy efficient) boiler

2. Have your oil boiler serviced regularly

3. Use premium kerosene oil 

4. Install hybrid heating system

1. Install a new (energy efficient) boiler…

While boilers can be very energy efficient, old boilers past their best may be using more oil than necessary to heat your home.

In fact, some may only be around 60% efficient. Which means you are literally burning money and energy. The older your boiler, the more likely it is to be inefficient.

So, if this sounds like you then it might be time to  install a new, modern oil boiler in your home. 

Modern boilers are usually condensing boilers, which means they are able to recover some of the heat that was previously lost – and reuse it to heat your home, making them much more efficient.

The cost to install a new oil boiler is usually around £2500 – £4000, so it is an upfront investment that needs to be considered. However, it will not only help save you money over time, but also reduce your environmental impact on the planet. 

2. Have your oil boiler serviced regularly…

You can service your boiler at any time, however, we would recommend that you have it serviced every twelve months. 

Autumn is the best time to do this, to ensure that your boiler is in perfect working condition before the cold weather draws in. 

Boiler efficiency tends to reduce over time as the parts get older and potentially become blocked and clogged. A boiler service will not only ensure that everything is working as it should, but the engineer will clean out the system and replace any degrading parts. 

This will help ensure your boiler remains efficient and will in turn reduce your overall energy consumption and help keep your bills low. 

3. Use premium kerosene oil…

If you’re able to choose which type of fuel you use to heat your home, kerosene is the more efficient fuel. In cold weather it’s unlikely to ‘wax up’ (form crystals that stop it from flowing as easily) until it reaches around -39°C (although check with the supplier, as this can vary).

Kerosene is made from Crude oil, through a fractional distillation process. 

Premium Kerosene is still created through the same process, however a specialist additive is applied at the point of delivery. The additive ensures that the oil keeps fresher for longer, which results in less of a carbon build up and reduced risk of sludge sitting at the bottom of the tank. This helps the oil heating system run at optimum performance. 

Premium kerosene usually costs around £20 to £30 more than standard kerosene (based on 500 litres), however it will help keep your system in better shape, and in the long run will be more efficient and environmentally friendly.

Related content: Premium Kerosene is it worth it?

4. Install a hybrid heating system…

One way you can potentially increase the efficiency of your heating system, while still using oil is to install a hybrid heating system. This still uses oil as the primary fuel, however this is combined with either an air or ground source heat pump. 

One of the main advantages of this heating system is that it automatically switches to the air or ground source heat pump in warmer weather. These heating systems are very energy efficient (up to 300%-400% efficient), and so can help you save money over the Summer months. 

Although it’s worth remembering, that while generally speaking hybrid heating systems are more efficient, the weather is very changeable and often mild in Scotland. This means that the ground of air source pumps do not have as much ambient heat to draw from, and so they are not as efficient as they would be in a warmer climate. 

Over their lifetime (factoring in installation costs) hybrid heatings systems will likely cost you around the same, however you may save money on a month to month basis. 

Related content: Oil vs hybrid heating system: which is best for my home?

How to reduce the overall energy consumption in your home…

As well as ensuring your heating system is as efficient as possible, you can take steps to improve the overall efficiency of your home. These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Insulate & draught proof your home
  2. Turn down your thermostat
  3. Wear cosy clothes
  4. Rearrange your furniture (to make sure no radiators are blocked)
  5. Install carpets or rugs

This will help you keep the monthly heating costs down and will work in tandem with your heating system to ensure an overall more efficient and energy efficient home. 

Related content: Winter heating tips: how to keep your home warm and save money

Summary: How efficient is heating your home with oil?

It might seem that one home can’t make much of a difference to the climate crisis. However, there are loads of small changes that you can make over time that will accumulate and have a positive impact.

It’s likely that if you live in a rural area, you don’t have much choice over what fuel you use to heat your home. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have some control over how energy efficient your heating system is. 

The most important thing is to ensure that you have a modern and efficient boiler that is serviced regularly. And the type of kerosene that you use can also have an impact on how efficient your oil heating system is. 

Plus there are loads of other steps that you can take to keep you home warm, your bills low and your household as energy efficient as possible – even while using oil.
If you need a local oil supplier then get in touch with our team, we’d love to help you out.

Leave a Reply