Once summer disappears and autumn starts to set-in, the temperature drops and the control dial on your central heating system will probably be nearing maximum! Especially in the UK, where the rain and wind seem to team-up on us and a warm, cosy home is all you really want to get back to. Understanding heating oil, its uses and commonly referred to terms can help you greatly when saving on purchases and using it correctly.
For some folk, a simple switch of a button is all that’s required to fire up the heating system but, if you’re running your central heating system on heating oil, you’ll have to make sure you don’t run out when you need it the most. Unlike the national grid, which pipes electricity and gas to homes in the UK, heating oil is delivered by a tanker and kept in a storage tank.
This article has been written to simply explain what heating oil is and does as well as differentiate between the varied types of heating oil available and their uses.
What is heating oil?
Heating oil, is a fuel for burning and designed for use in central heating systems, furnaces and boilers fitted in homes and large buildings like schools. There are several confusing things about heating oil which I will try to clear up throughout this post so that you have a much better understanding. One area of mystery is around the name, heating oil comes under many guises, some of which are listed below:
- 28 Second Burning Oil
- Standard Kero
- C2 Kero
- Burning Oil
- Fuel Oil
For further helpful information and technical details regarding heating oil, Wikipedia has some really helpful information on their heating oil page.
What is the purpose of heating oil?
Nearly 5 million people in the UK are not connected to the main line of electricity, gas or other similar utilities which means they must rely on heating oil deliveries in order to keep their homes fuelled for warmth and hot water. The heating oil is burned within your boiler which heats up the water that’s propelled around your home via piping and your central heating system. If you have a larger building such as a school, this would work in exactly the same way but, for a much larger oil-fired heating system. A good understanding of heating oil will ensure you order the best type for your needs and the correct amounts.
You can purchase heating oil in small amounts right through to 1000’s of litres. Heating oil requires above ground storage so you will require your own storage tank which can be topped up with fuel when required. This not only securely stores the oil and keeps it clean and safe but, you may also benefit from larger purchases with a lower cost per litre. Larger tanks will further benefit from a security device to help prevent any theft.
The different types of heating oil
Unlike other oils and fuels, which usually come in a lot of different variants, heating oil generally comes in just a handful of options. Low-sulphur options tend be popular and the cleaner the oil you use, generally speaking, will increase machinery life and efficiency.
- Kerosene – Kerosene is the standard heating oil for homes and industrial purposes. It’s relatively cheap to buy and burns well with little pollution. This is the most common choice amongst customers and is the cheapest in price.
- Gas Oil – Also known as red diesel, gas oil is used largely in older systems which require a heavier fuel. This is the ‘dirtiest’ option of the three.
- Kleenburn Kerosene – This type of heating oil is a lot cleaner when burning which is less polluting than normal kerosene. Kleenburn kerosene is slightly higher in price however; it’s a lot safer for the environment and helps keep emissions’ low, which is especially helpful for companies.
- Furnace Fuel – Furnace fuel is usually required in municipal buildings like schools and colleges. It is fully compliant to BS EN 2869, Class D parameters, which is the British Approved Standard for heating oil. It can be used in all commercial boilers.
The cost of heating oil
Oil-fired boilers, heaters and cookers generally cost a little more to run than connected gas appliances. This can make heating oil appear as an expensive option. With regards to the cost of heating oil, it is more costly given the option of having gas but, most people who purchase heating oil are not on the gas grid and have no other option. Heating oil therefore costs slightly more than gas but, still works out the cheapest of the remaining options.
Buying heating oil at the wrong time of the year could cost you more. A lot of our heating oil customers make larger purchases throughout summer in order to have enough fuel for winter when prices are usually higher. Buying your heating oil as part of a local group is a great way to save money on your orders. The bulk purchase helps reduce the cost per litre whilst one delivery to one area cuts the costs of delivery. Visit our group buying page for more details.