With the price of heating oil subject to unpredictable fluctuations, households not receiving energy from the mains gas supply are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their homes and reduce heating costs. One of the quickest and easiest ways to achieve this is by using a heating oil additive.
Heating oil additives are a mixture of anti-oxidants, dispersants, detergents, corrosion inhibitors, metal deactivators and other fuel stabilisers. They offer a number of benefits, including improving the efficiency of the heat transfer between the fuel and the water used to heat your home.
The majority of heating oil boilers work by spraying oil and burning it with a mixture of air. Over time, the nozzle used to spray the fuel and the components used to transfer heat can become clogged with sludge and other residue, reducing the efficiency of the heating process. Heating oil additives can break down these deposits and reduce the likelihood of them forming in the future, improving your tank’s thermal efficiency. When the heat transfer process is made more efficient, less fuel has to be burnt in order to achieve the same room temperature, saving you money on your energy bills.
By removing the build-up of sludge and spent fuel, additives also reduce the likelihood of your boiler breaking down. Some heating oil boilers have been used for decades and whether in constant use or not, rust and general wear and tear can cause problems.
Additives contain lubricants to help maintain the smooth running of your heating oil boiler, which means they can provide considerable savings compared to paying for unnecessary repairs. In fact, one 200ml bottle of additive can treat approximately 1,000 litres of heating oil and has a shelf life of two years from the date of production. If heating oil users are looking for new ways of improving the efficiency of their boiler, there are plenty of options available to them, but not many are as cost-effective.
Using additives also helps reduce fuel degradation – a major cause of boiler problems. Heat, moisture and time cause kerosene and gas oil, the two main types of domestic heating oil, to breakdown. However, anti-oxidants contained in heating oil additives stop the oil from deteriorating at such a rapid rate. For the best results, homeowners should use the additive prior to or during delivery. If the delivery driver is unable to apply the additive, heating oil users should make sure that safety gloves and spectacles are worn when mixing.
Top Tips for Using Heating Oil Additives
Although heating oil additives offer a number of advantages, users should bear in mind that it is not a replacement for regular boiler maintenance. It is still recommended that boilers are serviced at least once a year by an OFTEC qualified engineer in order to ensure optimum safety and efficiency. Heating oil boilers can breakdown for a variety of reasons and when they’re not kept maintained, this can lead to carbon monoxide leaks, so regular servicing is crucial.
It is also important to remember that additives do not actually alter the chemical composition of your fuel. Heating oil is already extremely energy efficient, particularly if households are using a modern condensing boiler. Additives do provide a mixture of various chemicals, but the heating oil you are using remains fundamentally the same.
Some heating oil users might find that purchasing premium kerosene is an easier way of getting additives into their tank. Premium kerosene has already been treated with fuel-stabilising additives prior to purchase and enhances the performance of heating systems and oil-fired cookers. In periods where the price of heating oil is high, buying additives or premium fuels can save you huge sums over a long term period.
Purchasing additives may not be an obvious way of improving your heating oil efficiency, at least not compared with servicing your boiler, but it is effective. What’s more, a single bottle of additive can be used over a period of two years, so as an investment it’s an inexpensive way of saving money on your heating bills.