For many homes, heating comes through a gas boiler and this means a connection to the gas mains. But there are still around four million households that aren’t connected to the gas and therefore can’t use it to power their heating system. For these people, one of the best options is an oil boiler. But what is this and how does it work?
How oil boilers work
An oil boiler works in the same basic way as a gas boiler in that the boiler uses oil to create hot water. This water is then pumped around the house to radiators that create warmth and heat up the house. It also heats the hot water to the taps in the kitchen and bathroom.
The obvious difference between the two systems is that an oil boiler needs oil to function and this must be delivered to the home and stored in a tank until needed. Oil is declining in cost at the moment but the systems do tend to cost more each year to run than a gas boiler – but if there is no gas, then the comparison in price doesn’t really matter.
There are heat only and combination types of oil boilers, though not as many different models as there is for gas due to the reduced demand. There are also different capacities of oil tanks to store different amounts of oil.
Running an oil boiler heating system
On average, the cost of heating a three-bedroom house with oil is around £1350 a year versus around £770 to £950 for mains gas, depending on the efficiency of the boiler. Liquid petroleum gas or LPG is another alternative and costs around £1300 so is similar to oil in that respect. The cost of the oil boiler itself can be from around £1800 to £2400 depending on the type and system.
Oil isn’t as eco-friendly to run as gas but is more efficient so can counter balance this somewhat. Oil prices do fluctuate in the same way that gas and other fuels do. Building regulations currently state that oil fired boilers must have a Sedbuk efficiency of 86% or more which most condensing oil boilers will exceed.
To understand what this means and how to achieve this, you should speak to an oil engineer such as from DHS. This engineer should be registered with the Oil Firing Technical Association or Oftec which qualifies them to install and maintain such a system. This protects you and your family and ensures the quality of the work done.
Storing the oil
The last consideration is the storage of the oil pending use. Storage tanks are the usual method and these must conform to building regulations if they hold more than 3,501 litres. You should use a ‘competent person’ to install the tank – in other words, a qualified professional. The installation will include measures to protect against leaks and spills including using a secondary containment called a bund that holds 110% of the tank’s capacity.
For more information on boiler installations in Bristol, please get in touch with DHS. We are more than happy to discuss your requirements.