Is it time for a new Oil Boiler?
In a world of every increasing energy bills and the desire to reduce our personal carbon footprints more consumers are asking themselves: “is it time for a new boiler?”.
For the 4 million off-gas households across the UK who rely on expensive alternatives to natural gas your options are limited on how to save money and the planet. You can either use electric heating, stored LPG gas, solid fuel (coal/ wood or pellets), green renewable technologies or like 1.5 million UK households- an Oil Boiler.
An Oil boiler delivers central heating and domestic hot water to a property by burning oil. Unlike natural gas, which comes from the mains from the street, oil is stored locally in a storage tank. This makes it perfect for properties not connected to the national grid.
Depending on you and your properties needs oil boilers are available as a: combi, system or regular unit. Each has its own benefits and limitations depending on your needs.
Oil combi boiler
Just like natural gas combi boilers, an oil combi removed the need for any extra storage tanks (other than your external oil tank). This is because a combi boiler heats your water instantaneously- meaning it heats what you use as you use it. This is a perfect energy saving option for small to medium sized families in houses with one bathroom. Properties with 2 or more bathrooms may find that combi boilers struggle to keep up with their water demands.
Combi boilers are also more difficult to use in tandem with renewable technologies. If you are planning to hybrid your system with a low carbon option such as an air source or ground source heat pump, most system designs are not suitable for a combi boiler. You also lose the option of any solar input (either thermal or PV) as you do not have a hot water cylinder. If you do not have plans for renewable technology then this is not an issue.
Oil regular boiler
Regular boilers heat your central heating directly but utilise a hot water cylinder to heat your domestic hot water. Older systems looking for minimum disruption will most probably be looking to replace their oil boiler with a modern oil regular boiler, as it is usually the most cost-effective option and should require minimal alterations to existing pipework. Regular boilers are perfect for larger households as they can heat the central heating and hot water simultaneously. By having a separate hot water tank, you have the option to store large amounts of hot water for multiple bathrooms.
You could also choose to install Solar PV panels to use surplus power to heat your water via an immersion heater or install a new cylinder with a solar thermal coil to heat it directly. Duel coil cylinders are available if you wish to connect a secondary heat source; such as a solid fuel back boiler or AGA.
Oil system boiler
An oil system boiler is a pressurised alternative to regular boilers. This is great for new installations as it removed the need for a stored header tank in your loft, saving space and giving more installation options. Like regular boilers they heat your central heating directly but utilise a hot water cylinder to heat your hot water.
Do you need a new oil boiler?
Like most things, eventually your boiler could start to lose performance, efficiency and reliability.
As fuel bills increase you may find your old-faithful oil boiler now costs a fortune to keep you and your family warm. It may start to make some unusual sounds or smells or maybe isn’t as reliable as it once was and has been costing you a fortune in repair bills.
If any of the above is true it may be time to consider replacing it with a modern condensing oil boiler.
What should you replace your old oil boiler with?
The simplest replacement would likely be another oil boiler of the same type. This can depend on the condition and age of the rest of your system, if your existing system is in poor condition or is outdated the extra work could add up.
Alternatively, you could replace your oil boiler with another fossil fuel alternative such as LPG. The initial disruption and costs could make this option a non-starter for most customers, however, a future replacement LPG boiler installation would be vastly cheaper than an oil alternative. Which may be a consideration for customers looking to remain in their property for the foreseeable future.
You could choose to heat your house using electricity. Electric storage heating has improved over the recent years however with the current cost of electric we would urge most customers who have the option of an alternative to use it. There are electric combination boilers available but we would strongly urge people to avoid these due to their high running costs.
If your house is well insulated you could also consider replacing your oil boiler with renewable technologies such as an air source heat pump or ground source heat pump. These are a fantastic option if you are looking to lower your carbon footprint. They do however come at a premium and are not suitable for every property. For example, your house’s thermal efficiency may need to be improved with loft and/or cavity wall insulation (hard if you live in an old stone cottage), and your radiator sizes could need to be increased by up to 100%.
Advantages and disadvantages of oil boilers
Oil boilers are an efficient and reliable alternative to natural gas for customers whose house is not connected to the gas network. Customers also benefit from the option to bulk buy oil when costs are low and have the option to connect suitable oil boilers to renewable technologies.
Replacing your old oil boiler to a modern condensing oil boiler will not only increase the efficiency of heating your home, resulting in cheaper bills and improved heating performance, but will also come with additional safety benefits, a lower carbon footprint for your house and a great selling point if ever the time comes to move.
A neutral consideration is that oil prices fluctuate and will usually increase on the lead up to winter, so be sure to think ahead and keep stocked while costs are low.
One downside to an oil boiler installation can be the mess. You could have quite a lot of disruption, especially if you are having a completely new system as floorboards and carpets will need to be lifted for pipes.
Oil tanks take a lot of space in your garden so make sure you have a good/ accessible space for the tank, (if you already have an oil boiler this will not be an issue). Like natural gas, oil is a fossil fuel and do produce higher carbon emissions than their renewable alternatives.
Choosing an installer
If you choose to replace your oil boiler, be sure to try and choose an OFTEC approved installer. Unlike GasSafe, it is not a legal requirement to be OFTEC accredited however it is highly recommended as if your installer is not you will need to notify building control and get the installation checked by an OFTEC engineer.
Holdcroft Heating and Gas Fitting Limited are an OFTEC accredited, family run company. We have been keeping the families of Staffordshire and Cheshire warm for the last 32 years and pride ourselves on offering a fair and reliable service.
We offer free oil boiler surveys and fixed price quotations. You can spread the cost of a new Worcester-Bosch oil boiler over 12 months interest free or from 3 to 10 years at 7.9% APR fixed.
Contact us on 01782 811102 to book your Free survey. After hours and weekend appointments are available upon request.
For more information on oil boilers or anything central heating contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.