Want to sort the fact from the fiction? Find out the truth behind the most common rumours as we examine and debunk the top five heating oil myths…
Myth 1: Oil-Powered Heating Systems are Expensive.
While some fossil-fuels can be expensive to produce, kerosene (or ‘heating oil’) is one of the cheapest. This is because it is the simplest by-product of the crude oil distillation process and is essential for many homes across the UK. As such, it has a low VAT rate (especially if purchased for domestic use rather than commercial use).
As heating oil prices are dependent on a number of external factors, they tend to fluctuate throughout the year, however, an independent study commissioned by OFTEC has shown that heating oil is the only “primary heating fuel” that has dropped in price over the last three years, and is in fact much cheaper than the other main off-gas fuel (LPG), costing 40% less on average per year.
To find out about the latest heating oil price trends, check our Price Chart page.
Myth 2: Heating Oil Does Not Heat Your Home as Efficiently as Other Energy Sources.
The effectiveness of your home fuel (also known as the calorific value) refers to how much heat is released by the fuel when it burns. Logged in Kilowatt Hours (kWH), this measurement provides a scale for us to use when comparing how much thermal energy is released by a fuel source during a one hour period of combustion.
As home fuels come in many shapes and forms (for example, liquid forms such as petroleum and solid forms such as coal or wood), it is difficult to directly compare how much heat they give out. However, heating oil tends to have a higher calorific value than that of other popular fuel sources such as coal or propane.
For example, a single litre of heating oil will typically produce 10.38 kWh of thermal heat, compared to 8.33 kWh for a Kilogramme of “Group B” domestic coal, or 7.113 kWh for a litre of Propane.
In addition to releasing more heat than these other fuel sources, heating oil-fired boilers also tend to be extremely efficient, with modern boilers achieving efficiency levels of up to 95 per cent. This means that they disperse heat around your home faster, and require less fuel to run.
Myth 3: Heating Oil Use Contributes Significantly to CO2 Emissions.
A lot of people think that heating oil is bad for the environment, however, CO2 emissions from home heating oil is estimated to account for only 0.03 per cent of all CO2 emissions. If you compare this to the 60 per cent that comes from gas-powered boilers, it could be argued that heating oil use has much less of an impact on the environment than some other main fuel sources.
It is also worth noting that when you order with a buying group, through our Group Saving programme, or with any other type of scheme where orders in the same area are grouped, this reduces the number of oil tankers traveling to your area, which in turn cuts CO2 emissions and reduces the environmental impact.
Myth 4: Heating Oil Supply is Dependent on Overseas Suppliers.
While it is true that heating oil supplies are mainly sourced from other countries, this is also the case with most other popular fuel sources. In fact, Norway and Qatar have supplied a majority of the UK’s natural gas supply since 2012.
It is a common myth that oil supplies can dwindle when demand is high because it is sourced abroad, however, with the exception of UK-based renewable fuel sources, this could be said to be true of any major fuel source. While conflict overseas could possibly affect energy supplies for all major fuel types in the UK, this is only likely in very extreme circumstances, as most energy companies purchase their fuel supplies far in advance.
Myth 5: Heating Oil is Dangerous.
Despite horror stories of fires, explosions and oil leaks in the newspapers, when stored and used correctly, heating oil should not be a danger to anyone. Kerosene can be ignited when heated to above 60 degrees Centigrade, however, with the highest recorded temperature in the UK registered at 37 degrees, it is very unlikely that your heating oil could reach a dangerous temperature without being exposed to another heat source.
Similarly, if your heating oil is stored correctly, in a well-maintained tank which is located on a secure base, then you should not be at risk of an oil leak.
If you are unsure whether your heating oil tank, base or boiler adheres to current safety regulations, you should book an appointment with an OFTEC qualified engineer.