What is an Oil Hybrid Heating System?

October 2, 2020
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What exactly is an oil hybrid system? It sounds a bit like a science experiment from school!

You’ll likely have the basic understanding that an oil hybrid heating system is a combination of two different heating systems but that is probably as far as your thoughts have gone. However, now that you are in the position of upgrading your heating system, you need to understand more of the details and how it impacts the efficiency of heating your home.

In this article we will explain, in simple terms, what an oil hybrid heating system is so you can make an informed decision about installation.

Oil Hybrid Heating System, An introduction

What is a Hybrid Heating System?

A hybrid heating system, also known as a dual fuel heating system, combines a traditional gas or oil boiler with a renewable heating system.

A hybrid heating system provides you with the familiarity of a traditional boiler but combines it with renewable energy. The system automatically switches between them depending on which will deliver the best energy efficiency at the time, meaning your heating system costs less to run in the long term and is better for the environment.

If you’re looking to replace your boiler with a system that is more energy efficient and greener for the environment a hybrid system could be the ideal solution.

Oil Hybrid System – How does it work?

As explained above there are two elements to an oil hybrid heating system; the renewable heat pump and the oil/gas boiler.

The heat pump runs on electricity so it does have some impact on the environment, but the heat they extract is ‘free’ energy and is continually being renewed naturally. The two most common heat pumps are air and ground source.

Air Source and Ground Source Pumps – What is the difference?
The difference between them is simply where they absorb heat from, air source from the air, and ground source from the ground. They extract heat from outside your home and use it to heat your home and produce hot water.

Air source heat pump

An air source heat pump is a fan unit which is installed outside your home where it extracts heat from the air outside. This heat is then used to heat water for your taps and central heating.

Ground source heat pump

A ground source heat pump extracts heat from underground. Pipes are buried in your garden either horizontally in loops or vertically downwards. Fluid passes through these pipes which extracts heat from the ground and transfers it to a heat exchanger. This heat exchanger heats water for your taps and central heating.

When is the heat source pump used?

A hybrid heating system will monitor the temperature outside and automatically choose the most energy efficient option.

For example, when the temperature outside is 2° or higher the heat pump will heat your home and hot water using renewable energy so your boiler doesn’t need to run. When the temperature drops the system will switch to your traditional boiler delivering consistent comfort while keeping energy costs to a minimum.

Oil Hybrid System – How much does it cost?

An oil hybrid heating system is more expensive than a traditional boiler typically around £5-10,000 which is almost double what you’d pay for a typical oil boiler. However over time it is said that you can look to recoup the savings through efficiencies, this only works though if you don’t move house! Comparing the two over a 15 year period Boilerguide.co.uk explains that there is actually very little difference in cost.

In order for a hybrid heating system to operate most efficiently it will operate at a low heat consistently. This will work fine in a well insulated property, with underfloor heating. However, if you are living in older property there may be other investments that you will need to make in addition to the heating system.


A hybrid heating system is an eco-friendly option, that uses a heat pump to utilise outdoor heat energy from the air or ground that only requires the use of your boiler when the weather is very cold. The upfront costs of a hybrid heating system are quite high, however over a 15 year period this pretty much equals out with a standard oil boiler. Beware if you are planning on moving in future, you may not recoup your investment in time.

In Scotland we’re exposed to a lot of mixed weather conditions particularly up in the glens, meaning the efficiencies of these systems are a bit of a mixed bag. Oil is a fundamental heating fuel in these areas for keeping homes warm, in which case you may want to consider the use of premium kerosene in your next fuel order as it contains additives that allow your system to burn more efficiently and cleaner. Other ways to reduce your carbon emissions would be insulating your property correctly, keeping up with regular maintenance checks, and turning down the thermostat when your heating isn’t required.

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