A Guide to Home Heating Oil

Published: Mon, 1 Jul 2019

Living in a cold house can be detrimental to your health. For many of us, the boiler is the beating heart of the home; it is what warms us up on a chilly evening and what allows us to have that hot bath after a long day at work. Did you know, however, that in the UK around 1.6 million households are not connected to the national gas grid? Instead, they rely on heating oil, stored in an external tank, to heat up their homes. 

 
If you are moving to a new home in a rural area, you may find that your home has an oil boiler and runs on heating oil - something that may be completely new to you if you are moving from an area that is connected to the national gas grid. Trying to wrap your head around the ins and outs of an unfamiliar fuel can, at first, seem somewhat daunting and confusing. However, with the help of the experts here at Southern Fuels, you’ll get the hang of ordering your own heating oil in no time. 
 
Below, we’ve put together a guide on everything you need to know about home heating oil, from what it actually is, right through to the cost and process of ordering it. 
 
What is heating oil? 
Firstly, let’s get to grips with what home heating oil actually is. There are two different types of heating oil that can be used for domestic purposes: kerosene and gas oil. 
 
Kerosene
Kerosene, otherwise known as heating oil and 28-second oil, is primarily used for home heating systems that are fueled by an oil boiler. It is a by-product of crude oil, created through the fractional distillation of petroleum, and is the most common type of fuel used to heat homes in the UK. This is generally because kerosene is a lighter fuel that provides a cleaner and more efficient burn. 
 
Gas oil
Gas oil is also known as 35-second oil or red diesel. While it is produced in the same way as kerosene, gas oil is a heavier oil that is most often used in commercial and agricultural industries, fuelling equipment such as tractors, cranes and generators. However, gas oil is still used in some old domestic boilers. 
 
Determining which type of heating oil you need
Determining which type of heating oil you require should be fairly easy. If you have just moved into a new property that requires heating oil to warm up your home, you should inspect the type of heating system that is installed in your property. Heating oil is stored in an external tank that is unique to your property, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your tank has enough oil to run. If your tank is empty or you do not have enough oil in it, your property will not have heating - something that can be a huge issue, particularly in winter. 
 
To work out which heating oil you need - kerosene or gas oil - take a look at your heating system. If the tank (or boiler) is not labelled clearly, getting in touch with the previous owner may point you in the direction. Simply ask them which heating oil they used and, if necessary, which heating oil supplier they ordered from. If you are unable to get in touch with the previous owner, try calling up a professional company to assist you or, alternatively, get in touch with a technician registered with Oftec to help you. Oftec is the oil-fired industry trade association and plays a leading role in raising standards within the heating industries of the UK and Republic of Ireland. 
 
If you have the luxury of choosing between which type of heating oil to use, we always recommend using kerosene in the home, as it is the more efficient fuel. 
 
Working out home heating oil prices and how much to buy
The price of heating oil actually changes on a daily basis - something that can, at first, sound confusing. As oil is traded on the world market, prices are affected by a number of factors, including fluctuating exchange rates, supply and demand, and growth of global economies. Generally, the average prices for a litre of kerosene have risen over the last few years. 
 
Getting to know your fuel oil tank is important; if you are unsure of the size of your tank and its capacity, you should be able to easily locate a label, either on the front or the side of the tank, that tells you. The majority of tanks have sight level tubes or float gauges that allow you to keep an eye on your oil levels - just make sure that you turn the sight gauge lever when you check the level. 
 
It is wise to order your heating oil when the gauge on your tank indicates that it is around one quarter full. As previously mentioned, if there is not enough oil in your tank, you will not have heating in your home which is why it is very important that your tank is regularly topped up. 
 
How much oil you actually order at one time depends on your budget and the time of year. During the cold winter months, you’re obviously going to need a lot more oil to heat up your home more regularly. While filling up your tank can be expensive, we always recommend that you buy your heating oil in bulk in order to save money in the long run. The more you buy at one time, the more money you save. 
 
Ordering home heating oil
When you are ready to order your home heating oil, it is essential that you find a reliable company to order from. Paying attention to customer reviews can help with this. When you call up to make your order, it is very helpful if you know the size of your tank, as this will help you determine how much oil you need to order. The majority of domestic heating oil tanks range from 1000-1360 litres. 
 
It is also helpful if you pass on appropriate delivery instructions to your fuel supplier to ensure that they can easily locate your tank. For example, they may need to open a gate to access your property. If the driver is able to access your tank without you being there to assist them, then they can deliver your oil at any time and you will not have to wait in for the delivery. You can usually pay for your fuel upfront or by direct debit. It’s as simple as that! 
 
Southern Fuels: your go-to supplier of heating oil in Honiton
If you own a home or a business in Honiton and you need a heating oil delivery, look no further than the reliable team at Southern Fuels. We pride ourselves on our timeliness and reliability and can even get to you within just a few hours. Whatever type and size of property you have, we can provide you with a suitable and effective heating oil to ensure that your home or business always has heating. 
 
We can also tailor each order to your individual needs. If you are unsure how much oil you need, do not hesitate to call up an experienced team member today to discuss the type of oil you require, how much you think you need and domestic oil prices. We always strive to make ordering heating oil as easy as possible - whether you need it on a regular basis or a simple one-off delivery. 
 
For more information about our services, including commercial fuel and boiler servicing, simply visit our website or get in touch today.

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