For the estimated four million households not connected to the UK's gas network, an oil-powered central heating system with an oil boiler is a key alternative for heating a home.
There are fewer oil boilers to choose from, but the market still offers a good degree of choice when upgrading your oil heating system.
The average cost of running an Oil Heating Boiler for a three-bedroom house is around £1,355 per year. This compares to between £770 and £950 for mains gas, depending on the efficiency of your boiler, and £1,300 for liquid petroleum gas (LPG), the other fuel of choice in the countryside.
Oil Boilers can cost anywhere between £1500 and £4000, depending on the type and size.
An oil central heating system works in a similar way to a gas-powered system. But instead of using a gas boiler, it uses an oil-fired boiler to heat water. This provides the central heating via radiators and hot water through the taps in your home.
The main difference between the two systems is that you'll need to have your oil supply delivered and stored in a tank.
You'll find both heat-only and combination condensing oil boilers on the market. Most oil-fired combination boilers have an internal hot water store to supply domestic hot water, rather than the instantaneous heating more common in gas boilers.
Unlike Gas Boilers which sometimes can go on forever unserviced, it is very likely that lack of maintenance with an Oil Boiler will result in anything other than complete failure.
This is due to the way in which the Boiler burns its fuel.
Heat Exchangers need to be cleaned and Oil Filters and Burner Nozzles replaced anually.
In many cases failure to maintain your Oil Boiler will result in termination on manufactures Warranty.
Oil is a more efficient fuel than gas, so you'll get a good return on every unit of energy. But, like gas, the price of oil can fluctuate so sometimes it will be more cost effective.
To conform with building regulations, since 1 April 2007 oil-fired boilers must have a Sedbuk efficiency of 86% or more (unless an exception is allowed). In practice, only condensing oil-fired boilers can meet this efficiency requirement. Typically, a new condensing oil-fired boiler will have an efficiency of 92% to 93%, compared with 85% for a new non-condensing boiler and 60% to 70% for older systems.
There are various types of system avaiable, Below is a brief explanation of the most common types of Central Heating Boiler found in Domestic property's-
A combination or ‘combi’ boiler is both a high efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler in a single compact unit. Combination boilers heat water directly from the mains when you turn on a tap, so you won’t need a hot water storage cylinder or a cold water storage tank in the roof space.
They are also very cost-effective and energy-efficient as water is heated instantly rather than being heated and then stored in a cylinder. An added benefit is that hot water is delivered at mains pressure, which means that you could get a powerful shower without the need for a separate pump.
Compact sizes make combi boilers perfect for smaller properties
Ideal where there is little or no loft space
No need for a hot water cylinder allows increased living space
No cold water storage tank frees up a loft for conversion
No risk of loft pipework freezing
Less pipework in the home makes installation typically cheaper
System boilers require a cylinder for storing hot water, however the major heating and hot water system components are built into the boiler itself, making it quicker and easier to install. In addition, there is no need for a tank in the loft, so it can be an option in a home with little or no loft space or where the space is earmarked for a conversion.
These boilers are also compatible with solar water heating systems, which deliver environmental benefits as well as lower energy bills.
Regular boilers (sometimes known as traditional, conventional or heat only boilers) are ideally suited to homes that already have a traditional heating and hot water system which is linked to a separate hot water cylinder. These boilers also need a cold water storage tank in the loft to feed the hot water cylinder as well as a tank that maintains the water level of the central heating system.
A regular boiler may be the best option for replacing an existing boiler if the property has an older radiator system, as it might not be able to cope with the higher water pressure that is delivered by system or combi boilers.