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When it comes to looking for cost-efficient ways to heat your home, produce hot water – or power certain machinery, heating oil is a good option. Although not as common as mains energy, heating oil is used by about 1.6 million households across the UK.
What Is Heating Oil?
At the moment in the UK, the main form of heating oil is kerosene – a by-product of crude oil and similar to diesel. Unfortunately, however, kerosene is a high-carbon fossil fuel, and is therefore being phased out. The oil industry is now looking to promote hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) – a biofuel that is being trialled in the UK to be used in the place of kerosene. It means that used cooking oil and vegetable oil can be used to heat a building, recycling the product as well as lowering carbon emissions.
What Are the Advantages of Using Heating Oil?
For homeowners who use heating oil, there are a number of advantages. These include:
- With a price of around 5.5p / kWh, heating oil is cheaper to use than electricity which is around 20.7p / kWh.
- As you will source your own heating oil, this gives you the opportunity to shop around whenever you need a refill to get the best price.
- Heating oil will burn hotter than some of the alternatives, meaning that the building will be heated more quickly (and warmer if you require).
- If you have a modern heating oil system, it can be more efficient than a gas burner or electric. Heating oil systems are around 90% efficient, compared to around 75% for gas and 30% for electricity.
- As with mains gas, many heating oil suppliers will offer for you to pay monthly payments instead of a one-off sum for your heating oil.
How Much Heating Oil Will I Use?
The amount of heating oil that you will use depends on your unique situation. You would, for example, need more if you are at home all day, or are using the heating oil for cooking as well as heating.
Generally speaking, an average 3-bedroom household will use between about 1,600 litres to 1,750 litres of heating oil each year.
When Should I Buy Heating Oil?
Buying your heating oil at the right time is important if you are looking to get the best price. The price of heating oil can vary greatly, so it is recommended that you always keep an eye on it. On the whole, the price of heating oil is lower in the summer as demand is lower, so this is a good time to stock up!
How Do I Get the Best Price for Heating Oil?
To ensure that you are getting the best price for your heating oil, the most important thing to do is shop around. You are not tied into long term contracts unlike other energy sources, meaning that you always have the option to check a range of different prices and choose the best for you.
You could also consider joining a heating oil club. These are groups of people who join together to buy their heating oil, enabling them to buy it in larger quantities and ultimately pay a lower price.
What are the Potential Savings?
By using heating oil instead of LPG and electricity there are several savings that can be made. These include:
- Lower prices to start off with
- Less energy being used through a more efficient process
- Ability to shop around for heating oil prices
- Ability to stock up and buy heating oil in advance when the price is low, storing it in a heating oil tank.