Share your energy saving ideas, hints and tips with other heating oil users or pick up a few ideas for yourself.
Tip: You might also want to read our Premium Heating Oil blog post.
Leave the thermostat set at a comfortable level. Once the house heats up, the boiler will not run as much or for as long if you keep turning it way down. We use a constant 21 C.
With off twice a day, 10Am to 12 and off at night 2300 untill 0645
There was s substantial decrease in the oil consumption.
We set ours at constant and at sixteen. Using the time is not reccomended because of all the fuel that is used to crank it up to speed.
Keeps the house constantly comfortable. We add jumpers, not heat if it gets cold.
Does anyone know if it is worth turning off radiators in rooms which are not in use? Would this save oil?
We have a Grant mark11 oil boiler
Further to Howard Clark’s suggestion;
Replace your thermostat with an inexpensive (£30+) programmable thermostat. Daily and 5+2 day versions are available. They are quite simple to fit but really should be done by a qualified sparky.
This allows you to leave your heating on 24hours with one temperature during the occupied periods and a lower temperature for normally unoccupied hours and at night. a lower temperature.
Here, you are not having to heat the house back up from cold first thing in the morning.
We set ours to the following which has saved huge amounts:
06:30 to 09:15 20C
09:15 to 15:00 15C
15:00 to 23:00 20C
23:00 to 06:30 15C
Sat-Sun (and days when im working from home)
07:00 to 10:00 20C
09:15 to 15:00 18C (once the house is warm, you dont notice a small drop)
During particularly cold periods, we add another early evening time at 21C just to give it a boost.
The latsest controllers are excellent giving more switchable periods and specific temperatures in each. Everyone feels warmth differently. We set our morning temperature a couple of degrees lower than the evening as we are running round getting ready for work and not siiting as we would be in the evening.
I would also set the off periods lower than 15C. We use 10C. At 15C the heating is likely to be on during winter when you are out. How you optimise the schedule depends on the thermal efficiency of your house, the boiler, etc. so my suggestions are a guide to how to approach reducing consumption.
Andrew W, Stafford
we have moved into a property with oil heating at the end of september 2007. since we have moved in we now have had 3 500litre fills we try are hardest not to over us the heating 1 hour in the mornings and 2 in the evenings heating not on a night. it this about right as we are concerned at how much this is going to cost per year. your comments would be greatly appl
Angela, I have a similar problem …..
As my boiler is about 45 years old, I’m replacing it in a few weeks time with an efficient system, + TVRs on all radiators. You may want to think about something similar. It’s not cheap (I’ll be paying about £4k), but in the medium term, I’ll save money.
to save on your oil consumption you would be better off heating your house for 3 – 4 hours at a time, that way the house wont go cold as quickly and your burner wont use as much oil. your burner uses more oil each time you turn it on to get it started. I went through 1500ltrs in my first year untill i started working for an oil company, there i was given this advice and ive used less than 900ltrs in the last year. I hope this helps
This is total nonsense, The heating demand on a property is directly related to the heat loss in the building.
I think its worth adding this all depends how well insulated your house is. We have an open plan living area and as soon as you open the door all the heat escapes. Keeping a set level for us would cost the earth so we stick it on 30 when it comes to the evening.
angela – this sounds excessive. I have used ~700 to 800 litres in the same time period in a 4 bed period house with single glazing.
I would be interested to find out just how much oil is used by others. Howard and Axel certainly have their heating on far more than us, but how much do they use?
We have a three-bed house, but it is large and old, so lovely and cool in the summer and quite cold in the winter, The heating is on from 7 to 9 in the morning, and from 4 to 10:30 in the evening, with the roomstat in the hall set at around 18 deg C. As far as I can tell we are using around 13 to 14 litres a day. There are times when it could be a little warmer, but we are concious of all that oil going up in smoke. Oh yes, we have a Worcs Danesmoor which is rated according to Sedbuk at 85% efficiency.
Angelea seems to be using at least 500 litres a month. Slightly more than us but not excessive, unfortunately. Just be grateful you don’t have an oil Aga.
hey leave the argas out of it ha ha.i have one a 1940s one with a oil burning pot costs at current prices £10 a day when its lit its lit no turning it off at night,if it gets 2 hot it pumps water round central heating system i have managed to firt a time clock and a thermostat.
And maybe a spellchecker is required 🙂
Some interets in what others use, well in our first year we used 5,480 lites of oil, large period 5 bed house. We have the themostat set to 20 and have it on in the mroning and evening and an extra couple of hours middle of the day at weekend and when working form home. We then spend alot of time insulating to well above the recomended levels, replacing all micro bore central heating pipes for 21 & 15mm pipes to allow the water to get to the rads as quick as possible and circulate the system as effiicantly as possible and most importantly fitted TRV’s to all rads (you need an auto bypass as well) this last 12 months we have only used 3,760 L so invest in your system, it will pay you back, oh and we have a Aga Rayburn 499k 100,000btu’s
In a modern 3 bed semi, in a fairly exposed location, we have used about 700 litres since May – that’s 7 months. Naturally, the majority of use has been the last 2 months – I’d guess about 400 litres in the last 2 months.
This is supplying hot water and heating. Heating is on 7:60-8:30 and 16:30-23:00 weekdays and 7:30-23:00 weekends.
Boiler is an HRM wallstar 25/19. All radiators (except one) have TRVs, at various settings depending on the room.
I’m sure it could be more efficient, but compared to the other comments here, it is very thrifty! Boiler is in garage, so there are losses in there.
Angela: sounds like your boiler either needs a good service, or you have a small leak somewhere – it would be worth having the whole system checked out by a qualified boiler engineer.
If they take under an hour and a half, they haven’t done a full job, so it’s worth asking how long it normally takes them when you ring up!
For your reference, I’ve just ordered 600 litres and expect that to last well into summer (when prices will hopefully will be lower!)
I have just found this blog and was interested to see how long people leave their heating on for.
Does anyone have any idea whether it is more efficient to leave the heating on at a very low temperature or have it on for say an hour or two at perhaps 18 – 20C for 2 or 3 times a day?
i have modified the firing times on my boiler i have fitted a on delay timer that delays the running of the boiler eg i set the times of day i what the boiler to come on as anyone else would but when the boiler temp calls for it to fire it delays it by and hour then after the hour the boiler heats the water up to its cut off temp and stops with most boilers within 10 mins whe water temp has dropped and the boiler fires up again with my system it starts the one hour delay before the boiler fires again and saves wasted starting and stopping of the boiler my house and water are hot and a save a good 40% of oil 3 bed semi and a 1000 lts lasts a good 18 mts i have been running like this for a good 8 years plus without problems
Can anyone give us some advice regarding 2 points – (1) any energy saving ideas using an oil fed AGA (other than turning it off in summer which we do) and (2) underfloor heating which we’ve just had installed downstairs after major renovations. We seem to be eating oil at the moment and it’s worringly expensive. Our plumber advised us to keep the underfloor heating permanently on and just turn the thermostats down each night to around 18 then back up in the morning as this uses less oil than turning it all off and having to heat from cold in the morning. It does take longer than radiators to heat a room up of course but the boiler still fires during the night to keep it at 18 and I think we’re wasting the oil. Any thoughts/advice? Much appreciated for any help.
re-underfloor heating. If you have carpets or wooden floors with your underfloor heating consider getting rid, they don’t work very well with UFH. We also found oil useage high and our plumber also told us to keep it on all day and night. Big improvement found by turning it off during the night (typically 10PM till 6AM, don’t need overly warm rooms then anyway. Cycle it on and off during the day as required for your personal comfort. Ours is on almost permanetly from 3PM till 10PM in the winter. We use about 3000 litres a year, 4 bedroom old property, well insulated loft and double glazed.
UFH in kitchen? Remove plinths from kitchen units to allow UFH to escape from below.
Form/join an oil buying group this saves us about £100 a year . Worcester greenstar floorstanding condensing oil boiler.
Axelson – any chance of a link or description of the unit you have installed? We’re in a 4 bed house with a huge tank, and are facing the prospect of a £1200 fill. We’ll try anything to cut usage!
all it is is a on delay timer i got mine from rs part no 341-373 but any on delay timer of the correct voltage will work i cant tell you how to wire it up because i dont know what system you have or boiler but i can explain what i have which is a cammay 3 boiler a elec pump and a hot water tank and a 3way valve for hot water/heating or both all my rads have trv on them the normal starting is elec pump on boiler on all the timer does is delays the boiler from starting so it now works pump on delay for 60mins boiler on. the boiler heats the water up to its set temp then cuts out then it starts again to me the saving is that without the timer the boiler will cut in and out normally every 10-15mins as it tries to heat the water to the temp set on my boiler with the timer fitted the boiler only fires after the 60mins have timed out saving oil and boiler from use and as water has a high spacific heat cap the water in the system still stays hot enough to heat hot water/rads in by house
Many thanks. I need to read up on this, as at the moment I can’t work out how it works. Surely if there’s a delay of one hour, when it does finally start the temperature has dropped quite significantly and therefore more oil is required to resume the desired temperature. Perhaps I’m missing something.
For reference, i have a TA1000 thermostat in the hall, with CH and HW timer in the kitchen.
Jim, you could test the method by waiting until the boiler has reached temp, then turning the roomstat right down or switching the boiler off for an hour, then on again.
As we have our heating on from 7 to 9 in the morning I could wait until 7:30 when temp has reached, turn it off until 8:30, then turn it back on again for half an hour. I would soon be strangled.
I could just about live with a 10 minute boiler cycle. Until then it would be better to use room and cylinder stats.
I’ve installed oil heating back in September and bought a worcester combi boiler, I have got through 1500 litres since then and am wondering if anyone has any idea if this sounds about right, it seems a bit excessive to me.
I have trv’s on all the radiators bar two, the one in my front hall and the bathroom, (for some idea the plumber recommended this), I have a timer that starts in the morning 6.30 to 8.00 and again at night 5.00 till 11.30 for central heating, and only use the hot water when required, its usually set to off.
The trv’s are mostly set to three in the rooms in use, down to 1 or 2 in the spare rooms, the temperature control panel on the boiler is set to halfway, ( I have no idea what this does, it could be good or it could be bad)!!!
You’ve probably guessed that i dont have a clue and finding it difficult to find someone who knows anything about how to use the oil efficiently.
Worcester boilers are amongst the most efficient, Check that yours is band A or B. The reason you are using so much oil is that there is sever heat loss in your house and you need to have a digital room thermostat fitted.
What time do you go to bed? 1130 seems late to switch the boiler off…..my rooms normally stay warm for 1-1.5 hrs AFTER the boiler has switched off (the residula heat from the warm water in your system continues to heat for a while) so I set my timer to finish at 10pm, as I normally go to bed at 11 or 1130
we have our heating on 7.30 am water off 9.0am. then no more that day . but heating on rest of the day untill 10.30 pm same every day. keeps bungalow at 24 centergrade. 5 radiators set at 3.5 . and the one in the bathroom has no setting on it,iadjusted it on the taps.we have a boulter boiler outside,and thermostat is set at about 11.0 o clock position. on average we use 7.3125 litres a day,which i think is not bad. what does anyone else think. john.
We too have under floor heating, dwonstairs as well as upstairs. Personally I think that it is very overrated and without our Aga and Woodburner our house would be cold. We struggle to achieve over 20C, but I have found that the advice given to Fiona re the 18 c suits us and we have enjoyed a warmish home this winter with about the same usage 3000 litres a year as last year when we used the system from cold every day.
If your house is warm and eating oil rejoice! ours is not so warm and eats the stuff (3 bedrooms).
ANy tips let me know!
Dependant on the size og your AGa, you may find that this is the main culprit, 40 litres a week for say 36 weeks is a substantial amount of oil and you might find that this is a significant problem.
My top tip for using less oil, turn the boiler thermostat down to a level that gives you hot water that you can use without mixing too much coldwater.either don’t use the central heating or use it for less time.
We had a new Camray boiler installed and set the on/off timer. The oil dissapeared fast so we put the timer on manual. We have a Drayton controller which has individual boost settings for hot water and central heating. We press the appropriate boost button for 1 hours heat or hot water. Today both buttons were used once and we have acclimatised.
On the boilers 1st service the technician reset the timer. and told us to use the Honeywell temperature control unit at a lower setting rather than use the boost button and said we should leave the boiler on timer settings. Apart from using more oil does anyone know why?
Thanks for all the tips, it’ll be trial and error for the first six months, the tip from Dave, what exactly do you mean, is it the central heating thermostat that you turn down to a level that gives you hot water?
Also experiencing a bit of problem with the radiators with the trv’s on, after a while there seems to be a loud humming noise coming from one, (not more that one but it can happen in different locations), when finding the one with the problem, can feel a bit of vibration, can solve this by either turning up the trv, or running the hot water for a while, I have tried to ‘bleed’ them and can find no excess air in them, can the trv’s be this tempremental?
There is no by pass fitted in the heating system
We moved into our stone built semi house and installed a replacement boiler – a Grant condensing combi -and a new tank in Seoptember 2008, (filled at that time).
We have tvrs on all radiators, except the bathroom (bypass). We also have a room stat (18 degrees). The hot water theromostat on the boiler is at a medium (non scolding) setting. We refilled the tank this week- 738 litres.
We took advice from our local service agent and did an online energy efficiency assessment , which indicated a £75 pa saving from installing the room stat ,as well as other savings (energy saving bulbs, increasing loft lag etc, all of which save their costs within 18 months).
The price of oil is painfully high, half as much again as gas (see today’s Observer), so I’ve decided to concentrate on making my hose more energy efficient.
Craig, it’s the TRV valves bouncing off the seating when almost closed that makes the vibration. The answer is, as you (and I) have found out, to open the TRV until the vibration ends. You might be able to reduce the pump flow rate and stop the vibes, it’s all experiment really. As for high oil use, use the heating carefully and insulate. After the first half-hour warming the house the rest of the time the boiler is trying to heat the universe through the fabric of the house. It’ll never manage to do it.
yes with a one hour delay the boiler has too run abit longer to get to its set temp again but compared with the contiued staring and stopping you would normally would have had it still saves its like driving your car up to 70mph then stopping the engine free wheeling to 30mph and then starting the engine and speeding up to 70mph again all i can say is it works and saves me money plus the hour delay is a time that work well for me but any delay can be set eg 30mins delay
“its like driving your car up to 70mph then stopping the engine free wheeling to 30mph and then starting the engine and speeding up to 70mph again”
quite right, which would give you an average speed of 50 mph but with a greater fuel consumption than driving at 50 mph.
Your idea is basically to accept a lower temperature by inhibiting the firing using a delay, the same would happen if you just ran the thermostat a lot colder.
You aren’t getting something for nothing, you’re getting less heating than if you didn’t have the timer.
We have got through a good 500ltrs of kerosene in 7 weeks, now this to me sounds quite a lot as we have it on a timer so its not on during the day when we are at work. My husband has a full tank of water in a bath every night, will this bump up the use drastically?
A bath sould cost you no more than 1.5 litres of oil. turn down your boiler stat to 65Deg. Fit a digital room thermostat, Fit trv’s on radiators and also double up your attic insulation
your 500 litres in 7 weeks sounds about the same as ours, and we also have one full bath a night. I doubt if this affects the fuel use by much though, as just having the hot water on will heat up a cylinder full whether you use it all or not.
I will save some fuel in the future though as I recently discovered the following problem. ( it may not relate to your situation though);-
Our boiler is in the outside garage. It has a frost stat fitted on the inside wall which overides any timer settings and switches the boiler on when the temperature drops below 3-5 degrees. However we have discovered that in this cold weather the boiler remains permanently on as the garage does not warm up at all. This was eating fuel, so I fitted a low level pipe stat which clips to the return pipe at the boiler and if the frost stat is activated this switches it off every time the return pipe gets to 20 degrees.
My tip for using less oil is to do just that!…turn the boiler off and use an electric fan heater in the rooms you use most along with imersion heater for hot water. I filled my oil tank last september just befor my old boiler gave up the ghost, cost just over £300 for 1000 litres then.
New condensing boiler fitted November and to refill my 1000 litre tank is now over £450!!…someones havin’ a laugh. ??
That’s around FIFTY PERCENT increase..
When Gas went up 15% recently it was front page news and questions ‘in the house’
Seriously though…I ‘am’ considering it.
My top tip would be fit cavity wall insulation, our cosumption has dropped approx 1000 litres for each of the last three years since it was installed. So at todays price (just ordered 1000 litres for £440) its a very good investment.
P.S We paid £200 for the cavity insulation, it was a susidised deal by British Gas!. Amazing since we can’t even get Gas!
We have a 4 bed house and no double glazing. Our boiler is on 24/7 and we have an electronic thermostat in the hall which enables us to set the temperature at different levels depending on if it is a weekend or weekday and you can have 6 different temperature settings throughout the day. By running the boiler full time (the lowest setting we use is15) the house never cools down completely and therefore the boiler never has to run for hours to warm the house up again in the evenings. This has drastically reduced our fuel consumption and the boiler engineer said it is much better for the boiler to run like this than stop/start all the time.
I agree with Sarah. We have a three bedroomed bungalow and the secret to conserving oil is not to let your house or bungalow cool down. We were told the walls of a property act like giant radiators. Keep the walls at a constant temperature and the boiler doesn’t have to work so hard as heating from scratch each time. Our hall thermostat is set at 22 for the mornings 6.30 to 8.30 and we increase this to 24 in the evenings 4.30 to 11p.m. Our hot water is constant and we find the boiler hardly fires up to keep the water at a medium temperature hot enough for baths all day. Like Sarah we were told it is cheaper this way.
I agree with Hazel, we have a large exposed cottage, We run a Rayburn heatranger. I have exprimented for the past 4 years and I find leaving the heating on 24/7 is the cheapest option. I used to use 6000 litres per annum when turning it off (3 fills) since l leave it on I use 4000 litres ( 2 fills) I turn down the thermostat before going to bed but still keep the boiler at the minimum temperature required. I then turn up the boiler about 3p.m to boost the heat for the evening when we are sitting down.
With summer approaching?! At current oil vs electricity prices I guess that it will be better to use electric immersion for hot water once home heating is not needed?
Does anyone have any knowledge of that? I have a modern condensing boiler but assume elecricity must be cheaper for hot water only.
Its obvious – turn the heating down, buy a couple solid fuel (log burners and away you go) we have got through approx 700 litres in a year and were in a 3 bed detached stone house in the peak district – and were not cold!
The engineer who services my boiler, said that the CH system runs more efficiently when the boiler is set at the highest temperature. Does anyone else have any thoughts on this? I have a thermostat in the house set to 18 degrees and valves on each radiator set to whatever that room requires (ie living rooms warm and bedrooms cool).
best way I found is to set your boiler stat to low and have it on continuous . I do not have a room stat
We bought a house with oil heating (Rayburn Heatranger 499k) last spring. We are on track for an anual consumption of 5,220 Litre of oil. Can anyone coment on whether is nore ecanomic to have the heating on 24hours relying on TRV’s and a room stat to keep a contact c20oC or whether we would use less oil if we uses the timmer to comon the the morning and off after we go to bed. I had a thought that we would use more oil starting form cold every morning than just maintaining a contatc temp. A plumber told ius we needed to replace our old rads and micro bore pipe work as the existing to take hours to heat the house form cold. Any thoughts? Graham
craig. trv`s, make sure the valves are fitted on the flow side of the radiator so that the flow of water is pushing the valve of the valve seating.if it is fitted on the return side the flow of water will push the valve into the closed position when the valve is closing causing a thump and vibration.
I’ve just renovated our home, a timber framed listed building with drafts everywhere. Only afterwards and with oil price rises did I think of splitting the central heating circuits and having separate pumps and programmers operating ground and first floors. Think about it; the cost of an additional pump and programmer versus heating upstairs all day, whilst you are downstairs!
We are not quite a year in this house with oil heating Rayburn Heatranger 499k, and horrified at the price of heating oil. we have an 1800 L tank and we are looking at neeting 3 fills in the year October Jan & April Can anyone who perhaps has seen a few years tell me if swaping the tank for a 5000 L tank that would need filling in the summer would save winter refills, would this save me much money. I asume oil is consustantly cheeper in the summer months.
There is no guarantee that oil prices are cheaper in summer. There are sooooooooo many factors. OPEC know that fundamental demand is normally lower in summer and so often lower production to keep prices up. prices are currently driven by a combination of high real demand, speculation in commodities, exchange rates etc. So my suggestion is yes, generaly its good to have a large tank so you have more flexibility when to buy etc. But whether its worth changing when you already have one … thats hard to say!
I suggest watching oil prices (crude oil and heating oil) on at least weekly basis so you monitor trends and get a feel. Then order when it seems ‘reasonable’. Even paying a premium for a small order may be worthwhile sometimes. e.g. a price jump of 5p in a week has recently been seen so paying 1p more for 500l would be worthwhile if you think prices are rising. Main thing is never wait to the last minute ….
We moved into a brand new (large) 4 bed detached house in October 07 – with new TRV’s on all new rads, new (but large) cylinder, new condensing boiler (A rated), double glazing through-out, superb insulation in walls and roof. I’m not sure what else could be done to make it any more energy efficient!
We’ve been in for almost 5 months, and spent over £1300 on 3,000 litres of oil – I would approximate that the annual costs will be around £2250 for oil alone. In total, approx £3000 for Oil and Electric (£250 month – which is well over twice what I was paying in our previous 3 bed semi). Is this right, or have we got a problem (or even a leak!)??
I appreciate that oil is currently very expensive, but this is crazy!
Any thoughts or views would be most appreciated.
I have lived with Oil heating for 4 years now. We have managed to get our usage down from 1800 litres a year to about 1200 litres.
We first realised having the thermostate set to more than 25 C eats the oil. The boiler has 5 settings, we don’t ever take it over half way.
Our hot water is set at 50 C and is on constant, so is our heating, we control it by leaving it on 18 C during the day.
Over this last winter we have had the heating on no more than 22 C. We currently run a portable gas fire that provides plenty of heat, that can travel upstairs as well as the main room.
Additionally you may want to consider heat loss through your windows.
The most dramatic difference was experienced after i fitted thermal/black out lining to all my curtains. This can be bought seperatly and hooked inside existing curtains, or like me you can make your own(sometimes cheaper).
You can get the curtains or lining fabric from Dunhelm cotton mill, who are dotted around the country.
Also most recently we fitted radiator heat panels, available from http://www.capcarbon.com.
For 20 panels (3 bed house) it was £49.99 inc Delivery.
These panels stop 70% of the heat from being sucked into the wall, and convect the heat flow up and around the room.
Hope this has helped someone.
p.s. Get short lining for windows with radiators and tuck curtain behind to allow heat to penetrate the room.
Robin Since October we have been burning on avarage 127 L per week, form April to October last year we used on avarage 74 L per week, now this is a Rayburn so not only doing or heating and hot water but also our cooking. hence less of a drop than expected in the summer Similar set up to you size and insualations etc. Hope this helps.
We moved in to a four bedroom old stone walled cottage a year ago we fitted a new combi boiler and oil tank back then and have an oil fired Aga which is only used for cooking we use around 100 – 120 litres a week and that is with the heating set at 17 so it’s still quite chilly. We recently put a multi fuel stove in the living room which is fantastic. Thought our consumtion was really high but some comments below are similar, can’t beleive the increase in oil prices since we moved in a year ago though!! Not sure if new radiators would make a big difference ?
Sadly, I have kept all of my oil invoices since we moved to our new house in September 1999 (wistfully looking at our 1st invoice for 11.95p/litre)
We have a modern house built in 1999 to whatever insulation standards were in place. There are 5 bedrooms and it’s around 2,200 sq ft with 16 radiators, no TRV’s. Heating on constant all year with hall thermostat at 19 deg, hot water on constant (we use 1,000 litres a day, much of which is heated for kid’s baths etc- another big bill via the water meter) and a bog standard Trianco Eurostar utility boiler (around 83% efficient I think) that is serviced once a year.
Our consumption has averaged 2,376 litres per annum and is pretty constant. This looks quite low to other people on this blog, but I can only put forward my consumption for comparison.
We’ve stopped using our boiler altogether in the summer. We’re on Economy 7 electricty which means over night it’s cheap. I installed a time switch on the immersion heater and use that in the summer months. it’s about 25p for a tank of water versus over £1 using oil. Not only do we save money because we’re in a dorma bungalow heating the hot water also heats the bathroom (even with the heating off – due to simple convection) and the upstairs. i.e contributes to how hot it is in the summer.
I personally use the Apollo gauge which works very efficiently to let you see what oil is left in the tank. 10 bars read out = full 2 to 1 bar = get a fill up! The Apollo is soooo easily installed. Any queries contact me.
First winter in this house and first time using oil. There is an Apollo guage fitted and in October it went down to 2 bars. We filled up the tank with 800lts. Yesterday it was at 3 bars, today it displays no bars and tells me we are out of oil. There is still oil in the tank (its level is up to the ‘feet’ of the tank.
Do I have enough oil in it to do me for a couple of days before I can get a refill? and what is wrong eith the guage?
Would be interested in where everyone lives as I suspect that has the greatest influence on how much oil you use. I live in Aberdeen, Scotland and will get through 3500 – 4000 litres of oil a year depending on the severity of the winter. Have 17 radiators with TRVs and a Worcester boiler. Changed from LPG gas to oil some 8 years ago (no mains gas where we live) and have seen the price go from 17.95 to 49.80pence today. Ouch! House is insulated well but suspect main thing I will do is get a wood burning stove for downstairs that will hopefully negate the need for many of the radiators to be turned on. Roll on summer – oh and looking out of the window it’s snowing!
Ken, We live in Douglas, South Lanarkshire, about 800ft above sea level, and about 4oC colder on avarage than Glasgow 20 miles away. We use just over 5000Litre per year and 15 rads with TRV;s, (some very large) We have a Rayburn 499k which does all out hot water heating and cooking. Have found by using the coal fire in the livingroom continualy use 28% less heating oil. Unforutnatly once you factor in the price of coal we are only saving about £20 per month, still its something
I live in Cheshire & the 2,700 odd litres we use a year (see below) has not really had any kind of severe winter at all in the past 9 years.
We’ve got a 4 year old 5 bed detached near Stratford upon Avon. Moved here last November. Heating with oil is without doubt expensive especilally compere to gas CH. I have put a time switch on the immersion to get the benefit of direct heated water rather than the oil boiler firing up evry 5 minutes. I’m also looking to put more insulation in the attic.I reckon I’ll turn off the CH from around April through to September (we usualy do) – Also looking to get a log burner in the lounge to fire up – as and when. looks like the days of cheap energy are gone and we need to be resourceful……..
I live by Inverness, use about 1000l pa. 4 roomed detatched extended stone cottage.
Without doubt the most economical item I own is a woodburning stove in the living room.
The second is CONTROL!
TRV’s- if you were to go into my guest room most days it is a little over 5C (but quickly responds if needed). The second toilet/shower room is about 10C (but quickly responds if needed). My children were taught to turn their TRV down as they left for school.
I always have the system off at night because it might be warm -then each evening reset the TRV’s in each room for the morning requirements . A futher reason for switching off at night is that the pump uses electricity so I cannot agree with keeping the system ‘ticking over’ as has been suggested here.
The most important aspect of ‘control’ is the TRV if you are not in a room turn it down/off back on hour by hour if necessary (train your family)!
Finally I do not have a combi but have experienced them – once again you must train the family not to turn on the hot water tap if there is no prospect of hot water arriving before they have finished – might as well use the cold tap.
Top tip (this one seems to be coming up again and again) – get a woodburner.
Tip no 2: a south-facing conservatory warms up enough even in the winter to sit out there on a sunny day. In the autumn / spring, you can use it to heat the neighbouring room too.
I live in a detached 3 bedroom house with single glazed sash windows in a remote and windswept area of Norfolk. There is someone at home all day and I have a small child and baby. We use about 800 litres of oil per year plus about £200 worth of firewood.
How do we keep it so low? We minimise our usage by using the central heating in the mornings only and it switches itself just before 9 am. If I need it on during the day, I switch it on and off manually. Then in the afternoon / evening depeending on the time of year and the weather, I light each of our 2 woodburners which are in our dining and living rooms as they are the main rooms used during the evening and we don’t use the central heating at all for the rest of the day. If it’s a sunny day, we use the conservatory as this is by far the warmest room in the house (can reach up to 30C in winter).
Another tip if you have old wooden sash windows and don’t want to replace them (or can’t afford to!) is to roll up some clingfilm and poke it down into the gap in between the windows during the winter. It’ll fall out when you open them though so try not to open them again until the spring!
By the way, anyone worried about woodburners and children, it’s really not a big deal – my 3 year old knows not to touch the stove and we have a fireguard too. A woodburner is much safer than an open fire. Also, it’s a myth about babies needing it warm – they’re tough little things! You just don’t tend to linger too long over the nappy changes….
I am considering getting rid of my 15 year old oil bolier for a new combination condensing boiler.
Does anyone have any experience of the likely economics of such a move ?
I live in a semi-rural area in a converted stone barn. Some of the internal walls are dry lined but most are stone. Using at present 3000 L p.a and I top up the heating with a wood burning stove in the lounge. The secret is to get the biggest wood burner you can find. Mine is the size of an old steamer trunk. Wood is easily sourced in a semi-rural area – someone local will always be cutting down trees. Ask the locals, you will be surprised what you can find at keen prices – cash only. Bring internal temperature down to 20 C – your kids wont like it but its healthier – tell them thats what we have fleeces for. Shut heat off overnight and only have it running when you are in the house – once a house is warmed up it will retain heat for a while. Thermal linings to curtains and radiator screens will help. Finally, – wear a hat indoors – eccentric? – no, you lose most heat through your head. You will feel warmer and it saves money, and at 53p a litre this is a serious matter.
Has anyone noticed a drop in oil usage AFTER fitting radiator reflectors? They seem fairly inexpensive and I would be interested if they really are of any use….. I live in a huge stone built 4 bed detached with secondary glazing .. Brrrrr
Victorian 4-bed stone detached in exposed part of Scotland here and we have used 6000 litres since last June which seems excessive given how ruddy cold this house is. The heating is on for a couple of hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening and the hot water just in the morning. We installed a new boiler last April in the hope of reducing the bills but if anything seem to be using more oil – am both confused and impecunious – and hacked off with self that I didn’t order on Tuesday when the price was 2p/l cheaper!
Have just ordered radiator reflectors so will let you know if I see a benefit.
Top tip, get a fire or log burner – you will be surprised how cheap logs are to source.
We have a five bed house in a cold rural area, we light our fire every day in winter to supplement the central heating, as a result we use approx £200 of wood and 1000 – 1500 litres of oil per annum – not bad for a house of that size!!!
Another tip, leave your heating on a low setting (just enough to take the chill off – say 12 degrees C) 24 hours a day and bring the temp up to something more comfortable with your fire/log burner….. We tried this and or oil consumption fell drastically as the biggest fuel consumption tends to be when warming the house up from cold (need to drive the cold out of the walls etc), if you keep your house at a constant temperature your heating only needs to kick in for short bursts….. I suspect this will not work as well for poorly insulated houses…..
And finally – I’m looking into replacing our open fires with wood burning stoves that can be connected to the heating system…. I’ve done some research and it seems pretty cheap (compared to the rising price of oil) and straight forward…… Basically the wood burner has a back boiler that can heat the hot water tank and drive 1 or 2 dedicated radiators. Better still they can be connected to the heating system in the same way as a standard radiator hence when lit the burner(s) add heat to the system thus reducing the need for the boiler to heat the system…… Also, considering that open fires are about 15% efficient and wood burners are approx 80% efficient (if not more), adding one to your heating system should result in a sizable drop in cost – especially when you consider the price of wood and how long it lasts in an 80% efficient burner……
Hope this helps!
Be very careful linking in a woodburner to your radiator system; its possible to overheat and blow the lot up! Much safer on seperate loops.
AGA oil consumption – if you have an electric control unit, a black box containing the oil feed valve, then you can simply add a timer to control this. If there is no power applied to this control unit the Aga drops to trickle feed which keeps it hot enought to boil kettles on etc. When you want to cook on it just apply power about 1.5 to 2 hours before you need to cook and it will be up to temp. We run ours with power applied from 4 to 8pm, meaning its only on trickle feed 20 hours a day ! It saves a lot of fuel.
Where do you get these electric control units from?
I have a “Redfyre” cooker which uses a manual control for the oil feed similar to the “Aga” unit and it has to be turned up and down manually to increase or decrease the oil flow.
Any advice appreciated.
The increase in price of heating oil cannot be easily compared to increases in petrol prices due to tax and other differentials.
I suggest the most relevant comparison would be a simple heating oil vs crude oil.
e.g. crude oil is up 70% in the past year so we would expect a pretty close correlation in heating oil. I don’t know what percentage of the cost is refining and transportation etc though.
Maybe someone out there has the info/stats/graphs to show what is going on?
Date Barrel oil $ Heating oil per litre Ratio
Sep-99 26.08 11.95 0.46
Nov-00 34.40 23.15 0.67
Jul-01 26.45 16.40 0.62
Dec-01 19.33 16.40 0.85
Mar-02 24.42 16.45 0.67
Sep-02 29.67 17.45 0.59
Aug-03 31.59 16.80 0.53
Sep-04 45.95 22.70 0.49
Dec-04 43.33 23.80 0.55
May-05 49.83 26.35 0.53
Oct-05 63.37 32.80 0.52
Apr-06 69.69 36.95 0.53
Sep-06 63.87 31.25 0.49
Jan-07 54.57 27.45 0.50
Mar-08 110.15 49.45 0.45
Average ratio 0.56
Putting on my anorak (it keeps me warm & saves oil, ho, ho), the figures above are based on my bills with a simple, primary school ratio calculated. The average ratio is 0.56 which means that with oil at $110/barrel then heating oil should be around 61.6p/l (but it ain’t).
The producers twitter about a fair price of $70 per barrel which would give an average of 39.2p per litre (in April 2006 it was $69.69 and the price was 36.95p per litre so I am close).
I await shooting down by better mathematicians.
good input Bob! I don’t know if the anorak is still on? Are you able to add to the mix the £/$ exchange rate at those approx dates? Perhaps if the barrel is priced in £ the correlation gets closer?
I thought I would get my anorak on too… its wet and cold today!
Using your figures with some monthly exchange rates I came up with:
Date ppb $ ppl £ ratio exchange rate ppb £ ppl £ ratio
Sep-99 26.08 11.95 0.46 1.62336 16.07 11.95 0.74
Nov-00 34.40 23.15 0.67 1.42669 24.11 23.15 0.96
Jul-01 26.45 16.40 0.62 1.41591 18.68 16.40 0.88
Dec-01 19.33 16.40 0.85 1.44113 13.41 16.40 1.22
Mar-02 24.42 16.45 0.67 1.42359 17.15 16.45 0.96
Sep-02 29.67 17.45 0.59 1.55555 19.07 17.45 0.91
Aug-03 31.59 16.80 0.53 1.59523 19.80 16.80 0.85
Sep-04 45.95 22.70 0.49 1.79266 25.63 22.70 0.89
Dec-04 43.33 23.80 0.55 1.93016 22.45 23.80 1.06
May-05 49.83 26.35 0.53 1.85713 26.83 26.35 0.98
Oct-05 63.37 32.80 0.52 1.76568 35.89 32.80 0.91
Apr-06 69.69 36.95 0.53 1.76403 39.51 36.95 0.94
Sep-06 63.87 31.25 0.49 1.88771 33.83 31.25 0.92
Jan-07 54.57 27.45 0.50 1.95831 27.87 27.45 0.99
Mar-08 110.15 49.45 0.45 2.00143 55.04 49.45 0.90
* average monthly exchange rate
If anyone want this in excel to play further pls contact me via BoilerJuice or on my email (if BJ are happy to publish) firstname.lastname@example.org
If anyone want this in excel to play further pls contact me via BoilerJuice.
you might want to move these comments (and my more recent reply) to the blog about oil prices. sorry about that!
Posted by: Tim Adams on 28 Mar 2008 at 8:36am
Posted by: Bob Medley on 27 Mar 2008 at 8:26pm
Date Barrel oil $ Heating oil per litre Ratio
Sep-99 26.08 11.95 0.46
Nov-00 34.40 23.15 0.67
Jul-01 26.45 16.40 0.62
Dec-01 19.33 16.40 0.85
Mar-02 24.42 16.45 0.67
Sep-02 29.67 17.45 0.59
Aug-03 31.59 16.80 0.53
Sep-04 45.95 22.70 0.49
Dec-04 43.33 23.80 0.55
May-05 49.83 26.35 0.53
Oct-05 63.37 32.80 0.52
Apr-06 69.69 36.95 0.53
Sep-06 63.87 31.25 0.49
Jan-07 54.57 27.45 0.50
Mar-08 110.15 49.45 0.45
Average ratio 0.56
Posted by: Tim Adams on 27 Mar 2008 at 5:40pm
Maybe someone out there has the info/stats/graphs to show what is going on?
Top Tip – Put a jumper/coat on and freeze your nuts off. This will ensure your oil goes even further. When people visit they are sure to always keep their coat on in my house. 1 Hour a day is all I need. In addition, try investing in a High Efficient Combi Boiler with hot water on demand. These Boilers recycle the heat from the flue. Instead of 200 degrees heat coming out of the flue it is now 60 degrees. Best investment I’ve made in years.
Wow I cant beleive some of the consuption figures, we live in a 3 bed semi in gloucestershire and use around 800-100 litres per annum. we have a potterton combi boiler so hot water is on demand and have fitted a programmable room thermostat (about £35 from screwfix) which is excellent, it enables you to programme different temps for differnent times of the day. so if it happend to be fairly mild then the heating doesn’t come on at all (providing the house has reached the set temp) which we have set to a MAXIMUM of 18 degrees which we find comfortable, we also use an old parkray fire in which I burn off cuts of wood (I’m a builder) so have a plentifull supply, but only light it when its really cold. Oil prices are rediculas at the mo 4 years ago when I installed the boiler our first delivery was 18p last delivery in Jan 48p ! Still I guess I should be thankfull i use less than 1000 litres a year fell really sorry for you guys using 5000.
Must be about time for another fuel protest ?
Hi,please research Tom Bearden-he has developed a FREE ENERGY DEVICE ,called The Motionless Electromagnetic Generator.It was patented in 2002,which proves it WORKS! There are MANY other such devices which are known about and HIDDEN by world governments (e.g. water powered cars) because these devices would set us free of their control.Five million pounds was all that was necessary to bring the generator to general use ,but has received NO such funding six years after it was patented!!! I think this is CRIMINAL and we should all be spreading this knowlege and DEMANDING funding be given to NON polluting FREE energy technology.!! HOW DARE our governments drone on about global warming (and make US pay for it ) when they have KNOWN about and HIDDEN this information (for decades!) from a world which is such desperate need of it?? Kind Regards to you, and PLEASE research this,and pass this info on to others,it will not only cut the cost of our energy bills but END them altogether,and set us free…..just imagine that!!
To Chris on 27 Mar 2008 at 11:05am: I, too, am considering a wood-burning stove, but I would need an external flue up the side of the house, since these almost new houses have no chimneys! When I looked into it a year ago (when the oil price was considerably lower, but still vastly more expensive than in 2005; little did I know what would happen by now…) the cost of the stove, flue and installation was quite high.
What kind of quotes have you obtained? Have you any web sites to recommend?
Here on the Isle of Man the current price for fuel oil is 55.3p a litre, so think yourself lucky if you live on the UK mainland! I use just under 2000 litres for a two-bedroomed stone-walled Manx cottage for 12 months, for heating and hot water.
Regarding installing a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove, a few websites I would recommend are:
Stovesite supplied me with an 8kw Hunter Herald 6 multifuel stove for £611 a couple of weeks ago, with free UK mainland delivery (although prices have recently gone up a bit since then).
Fluesystems sell flue liners , stove pipes, chimney cowls, etc at very good prices, and also have free UK mainland delivery above a minimum amount.
I will be installing the stove in the living room to heat the house in the evenings and at weekends – as I have an open staircase to upstairs, the heat should permeate the house.
Modern stoves like the Hunter can be left smouldering overnight and brought to life by increasing the airflow in the morning.
I’ve managed to get a bulk delivery of about 5 cubic metres of seasoned beech logs for £220, which should last me for most of the winter months. If you can also get hold of some free windfall logs and source some free (untreated) pallets from warehouses, and offcuts from joinery workshops, so much the better.
As to costs, I will be installing a 6 metre 904/904 stainless steel flue (with 30mm rockwool flue liner), and together with all the bits and bobs including a new chimney cowl the total cost will be about £440 + delivery (free delivery on UK mainland).
I reckon that for a total outlay of about £1,100 I will get a payback time of about 4 years or less (depending on how much free wood I can get my hands on!).
One important point: avoid the following websites like the plague as I have heard that they are taking people’s money and failing to supply the items ordered online:
Both hacve the same phone number, and never answer the phone or reply to e-mail messages.
I hope this is of some help to anyone wishing to go down the woodburning stove route. Another thing to bear in mind is that burning wood from fallen or coppiced wood is carbon neutral, unlike burning overpriced oil!
I read your article on an infra-red alarm, to protect oil/tanks. Do you have further info on where you can buy these from? Thanks!
Has anyone had any experience of using a magnetic fuel saving device on their fuel line apparently it conditions the fuel and makes the fuel burner more efficiently ie: 20%?
Seems easy to fit and quite inexpensive to buy is it too good to be true?
Never knew such a thing existed Julie, has anyone got any more information on this, topped up my tank yesterday and have been charged 51.9p a litre, live in Dumfries, is this on a par with everywhere else?
We now use Economy 7 water heating with a circulating pump on the tank so it ALL the water in the tank gets hot & not just the to 18′. E7 is a lot cheaper than oil.
We also use a multifuel stove (12kW) in the hall, used coal continuously over the winter. Cost approx £500 in coal as opposed to the normal 3000 litres of oil. Stairs act as a chimney for the heat to distribute through the house. Small above (not on) stove to increase heat output. House is continuously warm. Occasioanlly had to put boiler on to top up heat to bedrooms.
E7 overnight oil rads too.
I installed a Danfoss BEM5000 Boiler Energy Manager on my oil fired system 2 years ago. Reduced the average yearly oil use from 2650 to 2300 Litres. New, the BEM costs about £220 (I got mine on eBay) plus about another £80 for cable, junction boxes, pipe thermostat and relay that are needed on oil-fired installations. Biggest saving are on milder winter days. It senses the outside temperature and reduces the temperature of the circulating water to the CH automatically. By setting the CH to run for a bit longer than the HW, it also extracts heat from the boiler that would otherwise be lost when the boiler cools after shutting down.
Re John Johnston on 21 Apr 2008 at 2:28pm comment on Economy 7.
I’ve recently realised this too, and I note with interest your comment John about a circulation pump on the tank to better distribute the immersion heater heat. Have you any advice on how to do this?
Re:- hot water circulating pump system.
The following is the way I chose to implement it. It doesn’t constitute instructions & if you’re not a competent plumber/electrician DON’T TRY IT but get someone to do it.
I got a decent Grundfos standard hot water system pump from E-bay for about £30. Not going to last forever but it will last a long time and for circa £30! Mines been going for about 2 yrs & no suggestion of failure or problems.
Connect into the hot water feed from the tank to the taps to circulate hot water FROM the tank. Ideally AFTER the vertical overflow pipe to the hot water header tank so that any air drawn from the cylinder as a result of the heating process is extracted by the overflow pipe.
Fit the pump so it takes the water FROM the ‘hot water taps’ side of the tank and puts it in at the bottom of the tank. Put the return as close to the inlet (bottom) of the tank as practical. Use an inline single-check valve in order to ensure that when the pump is off, water drawn off by the hot taps can’t draw cold water from the feed to the tank via the pump.
I’ve disconnected the tank thermostat from the boiler system and now use it to switch the pump. Feed to the stat comes from the economy 7 supply (suitably fused!) Make sure the tank stat is set to a temp BELOW that of the immersion heater else the pump will never switch off. Proper operation will be the pump switching off first then the immersion heater. When significant water drawn off at the sinks, pump starts which cools ALL the water in the tank and the immersion heater kicks in again.
Something else to consider in your pipe routing – convection currents occur in vertical pipe sections. Hence, the reason your overflow pipe for the tank should NOT go straight up out of the top of the tank as it will suck the heat out of the tank by convection. Needs to have a 1m horizontal length (ideally). Same applies to your circulating circuit which is why you need to connect as close to the tank as practical.
You may also wish to fit a timer to the supply to the pump which switches off BEFORE the E7 finishes. Reason- in order that if your having a shower in the morning & the water isn’t going to heat up the tank fully, at least you have part of a tank piping hot as opposed to a whole tank lukewarm.
Last but not least INSULATE the pipework!
Oil v electricity
I’m wondering whether to use my immersion heater instead of the oil boiler & have checked a few forums for opinions.
The calculations seem to pan out like this;
oil = 10.27 kw hr per litre
My Trianco Eurostar 90 is 85.6% efficient (check http://www.sedbuk.com/cgi-local/dynamicv.cgi?page=boiler8).
(Some people might disagree that this is the true efficiency, but there is no other constant to use)
At todays price of c55p I get 8.8kw hr per litre i.e. 6.25p per kw
My current (ha, ha) electricity is 10.36p per kw total, so oil is significantly cheaper compared to the day rate, even if the boiler efficiency is lower than the SEDBUK ratings.
The available Economy 7 rate is 5.07p total but you get caned for 12.2p total for the rest of your electricity, so I do not see any savings there at all (or it’s very close) for water heating or indeed storage heaters – and this with oil at a record high.
This is not a ‘hurrah for oil’, I just want to save money by the way!
Regarding heating my house, I have air conditioners that act as air heat pumps, and they work on a co-efficient of 4 so in winter I put in one kw at 10.36p but get four kw out, so the equivalent is 2.59p per kw hr ergo it’s c2.5 x cheaper to use them than the oil central heating.
What do others think?
Fed up with paying stupid over the top prices for oil we have just invested in solar power to heat our hot water.Yes there is the initial outlay but if like us you are not intending to move in the near future then you will get your money back.We have had it in for nearly 3 weeks and so far we have used no oil or emersion heating at all and the tank is constantly being heated to 60-65 C.We are confident that this system will reduce our annual oil by about 1000 ltrs or approx £600.00,and as the sun is free then there is no vat to pay either!
We were using over 100 litres a week and thought somebody had been stealing our oil. The man who serviced our boiler told us to set the timer to come on for 10 minutes every half an hour (we have a peg clock).
It is amazing, in one month we have used the equivalent of what we were using in one week.
The theory is simple, it only takes a little energy to keep the water warm than it does to heat cold water from scratch. The same principle for running a hot tub.
Now we have hot water on demand and it is costing us a fraction of what it use to.
Bob, You make a very valid point, oil is still cheaper that Electric I have oil, Rayburn, so heating water and cooking in a large 6 bed house and my oil bill for the year is the same all but a few punds a my pairents 3 bed slemi and they use Eco 7 for heating and hot water and have an electric cooker. Your Heap pump (Air Con) argument looks very interesting. Eco 7 with Heat Pump Air Con, now that might be the way forward
Not convinced by the arguments re E7 water heating. However, I too doubt the viability of E7 usage for daytime heating. We use it as a top-up for the kids bedrooms overnight in case they need to get up – as well as water heating.
Boiler efficiencies are a bit of a wet finger in the air and are more of a target than reality – in my opinion . I recall on one forum people claiming >100% efficiencies. Highest efficiencies in condensing boilers require lowest flow temps which is why underfloor heating gives the highest efficiencies. Efficiencies are reduced, especially in summer, when a large boiler is used for water heating alone.
We have a standard boiler with an indirect water cylinder & not a combi. Boiler efficiencies don’t take into account long loops required if the boiler & tank are far apart.
Heating by coal (direct by room heater) rather than oil central heating gives us the best savings. Not suprisingly the BTU/£ for coal is much better & none of the inefficiencies of radiator distribution. Can also top up with those diy wood offcuts!
We also use E7 for tumble drier & dishwasher (3 kids under 7) to add to the savings – things which would ordinarily run during full day rate were it not for E7.
Similarly interested by the heat pump. However, I have read that if the heat is extracted from the air rather than ground then heat has to be used to melt the ice which forms during cold weather. Not the case if pipes are burried in the ground.
59.9p a litre for the oil i purchased last week!!! And its still rising in Lincolnshire, checked today and an increase of £23 on a 1000litre purchase. I see no let up on the price- invest in some good warm fleeces for the winter folks!
I’ve come up with various ways to save energy.
1) Instead of using both hot and cold feed to your washing machine, buy a Y-piece adaptor and just use the cold feed. When the washing machine demands water, quite often all that happens is that the watet doesn’t get hot at the washing machine before it stops it’s demand, therefore the machine uses it’s own heater anyway. So instead of ‘heating’ up the water pipes, by using the cold feed, it works out more economical.
2) Mix in some vegetable oil to your heating oil tank, If you can get a cheap source of veg oil, then you could save maybe 50% over kerosene, and as long as you only mix small amounts, it wouldn’t have any effect on the boiler or it’s efficiency. Better still, if you can get some waste oil from a chippy and filter it and seperate any water, you’d get it for practically free.
3) I invested in a ‘paper brick maker’ and several dustbins. I collect all the waste newspaper from various places, and over a three week cycle produce paper mush ready for compressing into bricks; which I leave to dry thoroughly. The bricks burn for about 45-60 minutes, leave very little ash and provide large amounts of heat. The initial outlay is perhaps £25 for the brick maker and the bins, but then you get free fuel for your stove/fireplace etc.
4) I’m gradually replacing all my lighting with low energy CFLs and especially 12V LED lighting. The later, although quite expensive, has a usable life of upto 50,000 hrs in some cases. With further investment, I have installed some solar panels to charge a truck battery, which powers all the lighting. An example is; I have a large stairwell, which used to have a 100W GLS, which I changed for a 24W CFL. Now I light it using 24W of LED lighting, it has the appearance of being 2-3 brighter, and costs me nothing to run.
5) Obviously the most cost effective method is to only use heating when you need it, only heat water when you need it, and insulate everyting as much as possible.
LED – Ligt Emitting Diode
CFL – Compact Flurescent Lamp
GLS – General Lighting Service
We keep our hot water on constant all the time and in the summer when the heating is off we use very little oil.
I agreee, run it constantly, provided you have very good insulation. Think about it, it take much more energy to heat a kettle of cold watter, and alot less if its already warm warm, topping it up is I have fond cheaper by (11% YOY diferance). Same goes for heating, heating a cold house takes hours, maintaining it at a constat level takes alot less energy. No point though is your insulation is poor as your heat is escaping as fast as you produce it.
I beg to differ with those that say keep the heating on – this is one of those old wives tales!
Think about it – the amount of heat you put into a building over time is equaly to the amount of heat you lose – through conduction through walls and drafts etc. Laws of physics say that the rate of heat loss is directly proportional to the difference in temperature between the inside and the outside of the house – the insulation values are constant. So, if you turn your heating off (or down a few degrees) for part of the day when the warmth isn’t needed as much the amount of heat loss during each day MUST be lower than if the house is heated to full temperature all day.
The same logic can be applied to heating water.
For this reason I would recommend anybody to fit a variable temperature programmable thermostat to replace afixed one – means you can reduce the temperature say overnight but still have the heating on just in case it gets really cold.
What a relief – some common sense input to dispel the ‘leave it on all day’ myth!
Thanks Bob – you saved me some typing!!
As a small minority of heating oil users we are at the mercy of the billionairs who produce this vital fuel. The only way to free ourselves from this is by sourcing an alternitive.
I am beginning to conduct tests on waste veg oil converting it to bio-fuel, dont confuse this with using un-processed veg oil, the process seems quite straight forward with a little practise.
if all goes well i will let you know, its time to take a stand, the price of oil is never going to drop, they need to capitalise on the resource before it is exhausted, once the oil is gone they have nothing left to sell, so their making hay while the sun shines and theres nothing we can do other than beat them at their own game and find an alternitive, wish me luck!.
‘I agreee, run it constantly, provided you have very good insulation. Think about it, it take much more energy to heat a kettle of cold watter, and alot less if its already warm warm, topping it up is I have fond cheaper by (11% YOY diferance). Same goes for heating, heating a cold house takes hours, maintaining it at a constat level takes alot less energy. No point though is your insulation is poor as your heat is escaping as fast as you produce it.’
This is not true and, as Bob Millar remarked, an old wives tale. It contradicts the Laws Of Thermodynamics.
You lose heat (and hence use up fuel) in proportion to the temperature difference between your house and the outside air. The more you can reduce the temperature difference by stopping heating your house during the night and during the daytime, the less fuel you will use. To save money, only have the heating on in the morning and evening.
Agree with Dave. As an engnieer logic dictates that heating ‘on demand’ will always save oil due to heat transfer principles.
Additionally most condensing boilers run a their optimum efficiency when at max output, hence, further savings when heating from cold.
however… we run our hot water on demand and is a regular annoyance of climbing into a cold shower! guess need to weigh up the pro’s and con’s.
Another tip for further oil savings.
I installed an ‘intellegent’ heating/water programmer into our self build project, and 2 years later am really impressed with its performance.
It works by monitoring how the room cools down at night, and from this can calulate the outside temperature (including wind chill factors). based off this temp it then decides at what time to turn on your central heating in the morning to accurately hit your set temp at the right time.
e.g. you may normally set your timer at 6am enough time to heat your house to 19oC for 7am on a cold winter morning. If their is a particular warm snap, then it may only be necessary to turn on the boiler at 6:30 to hit 19oC at 7, thus, saving 30mins of boiler effort. Over time this builds up to a significant saving. Have a look at the web address beolow for further details.
we have a 2500sq.ft detached house in bedfordshire, although we have upgraded insulation, so far am still using our first delivery (2400lt) from 2 years ago, and still have approx 300lt remaining.
The device is called Dataterm (www.warmworld.co.uk) and can be easily exchanged in place of the current programmer. It’s relatively expensive but far cheaper than a full computerised system with external sensors. Check out ebay as they are sometimes listed (I paid £25!).
I am a new 2 oven oil-fired Aga user – in response to Andrew Fodens statement on 30th May 2008; can you really add/mix vegetable oil to your heating oil tank? If so, how much would you add to say 500 litres? Are no modifications necessary and would it adversely affect the aga itself?
I know a user of veg oil in a 10 year old diesel car – ratio very rough 50/50. Works absolutely fine .. no adjustments or other changes – just pour it in!
However I’m told it may not be so good with more modern engines?
I understand its legal as well – up to 2500litres pa i think.
With the increase in price for vegi oil the saving is not great these days.
Probably ok in place heating oil as well – however I doubt there is a saving due to cost of vegi oil.
I would not just go and dump a load of veg oil into your oil tanks. Most systems are designed and tuned to run on 28sec kero. Mods would need to be made to allow this to work. Engineers often get called out to burnt out boiler were the owners thought using red diesel was a good idea. Running a fuel the boiler was not designed for can wreck it.
Regards Paul Wiliams OFTEC engineer
You would think Oil boiler manufactures would look to develop equitment that could use ‘veg oiil or other ‘Bio’ fuel. I have a AGA Rayburn Heatranger 499k and would like to think not only could I save some money buy also do a bit for the inviroment by using veg oil. I spke with Rayburn and they told me it would not work, ‘Veg oil is thicker than kero and would clog us the burners’ It was also pointed out that diferant oils burn at diferant temps and the Rayburn is set up to work only with Kero 28 Still maybe someone has some other thoughts or has conversted a boiler?
Aga will never go down this line due to the work involved, there are conversion kits for older Aga and Rayburn that will burn anything from diesel to bio at any mixture level
email me at email@example.com for details
Given the price of oil at the moment does anyone have a view on whether it will be cheaper to use an immersion heater to provide hot water?
One of the factors to look at when you consider using oil vs electricity for heating is the boiler efficiency. This is based on my research – I am not a scientist though!
You can check efficiencies here:
A modern condensing boiler gets around 95% efficiency – older boilers much less.
I believe that one litre of heating oil provides between 10 and 12KwH at 100% efficiency (depends on source of information!). So on a comparison with electricity can be said to cost around 5.5 to 6.5p per KwH unit (Heating oil around 60p per litre).
On this basis it is still cheaper than electricity – typical tariff around 9p – but compare that with natural gas (not available in our village) at around 3p.
So for summer heating of hot water …. in terms of a full comparison the extra heat loss in heating water from boiler to tank in pipe runs etc probably mean that the comparison between oil and electricity is very close.
Of course the immersion tank will also be ideally fitted with a timer as well as thermostat to ensure it is not heating more than necessary.
Economy 7 is probably only worthwhile if you have storage heaters.
In 2004 we were using over 4,000 litres pa and this reduced to c3,500 litres pa when we fitted a Worcester Danesmoor non-condensing boiler in 2006 (85% efficient vs c60% efficient old boiler). This for a 6 bed house in a rural location (no gas available), double glazed but otherwise insulated to 1970 standards. With oil prices rising above 60p a litre we’ve this year installed cavity wall insulation, added 200mm of loft insulation, installed a small woodburner in the main living room and are presntly whiling away the summer months adding thermal blackout lining to all curtains (18 windows so we were able to buy in bulk at £2.60 per metre instead of listed £4.99 per metre) and putting reflective foil behind rads on external walls.
The cavity wall and loft insulation had an immediate impact, the house lost its ‘cold spots’ and temperatures became more even. As we dont need hot water for the (electric) showers, (cold fill) dishwasher and (cold fill) washing machine the heating stays off entirely over summer.
Based on initial usage I think the cavity wall/loft insulation changes will reduce annual oil usage to about 2750 litres, saving just under £500pa at todays prices, under 2 years payback on cost. Using the woodburner, plus the additional insulation measures, should have a further saving, and we’re aiming to get oil usage down to below 2000 litres pa, hopefully saving £1300 pa on the 2004 usage level, partly offset by £200 for logs.
After that, savings from further expenditure will probably be marginal, but we’ll replace some TRVs that have given up the ghost just to give us more control over heating of individual rooms.
Heating using oil should be cheaper than using electricity. To illustrate this point, let’s assume your electricity is generated by an oil burning power station. The conversion of the heat from the burning oil, in a power station, is no more than about 40% efficient – the rest goes to the atmosphere. However, burning oil in your own boiler is about 90% efficient or so. Using electricity for heating is similarly efficient, in terms of electrical energy to heat energy, but remember you have already lost 60% of the heat in the power station. So, on this basis, the cost of electric heating should be more or less double the cost of oil heating. The only way electricity can become cheaper than oil is if the bulk of the electricity is generated by not burning oil or gas, and if the other fuels are substantially cheaper than oil or gas. This is not so at present.
Does anyone have any experience of ground/air source heat pumps? I have a largish garden to install the required pipe runs etc . and have been told that if the price of oil does not fall the payback time for such a system could be as low as 5 years. In addition the system is virtually maintenance free and has a life expectancy of 20+ years and is a lot ‘greener’ than burning oil.
These systems are used a lot on the Continent and increasingly by small developers in UK. The system I have seen is called ‘Icenergy’
re GSH … I am no expert but my understaning is that it works best if you can install with underfloor heating (that naturally works with lower heat in the system than traditional C/H).
Ideally the house will be well insulated.
Repacing Oil or elec heating may be worthwhile .. replacing gas is less so.
Obviously much easier and cost effective if all part of new build. You need a bit of space for the pump/condensor etc – ideally pump & boiler room as part of the house?
For every unit of elec you use (to pump the water round the system, condensor) etc you get between 3 and 4 units of heat back?
See http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for a pretty good background.
re GSH, likewise no expert but I looked at Air source heat pumps when trying to decide how to cut costs. Trouble was the upfront installation cost was c £8-9000 plus they thought I would need to upgrade rads to run on the lower temps involved. So maybe a new build makes sense. Efficiencies drop as the external temp lowers so you might need back up in a cold snap.
Does anyone know if there is a product available that monitors oil usage. We have 2 properties (one mine, one my parents)running off one oil tank and we want to measure the usage of one of the properties so as my parents (who have the smaller of the properties) don’t end up paying for more than what they use.
Try searching the internet using keywords “Oval gear meter” There are small totalising meters suitable for heating oils. However they will be expensive as they are precision instruments. The other problem with a domestic installation is that the feed from the tans to the boiler is usually by gravity – not enough pressure to turn the meter.
Ther are other types of meter that don’t need any pressure to turn them, but far too expensive for domestic applications, and need electronics to convert the signal from the meter into a reading.
I suggest you allocate consumption between users by calculation – based on size of property and no of days occupied for the period. An Excel spreadsheet would be ideal.
Hi there, I have been reading a large percentage of the posts here and I feel that my home heating system requires a room thermostat. My system already has a timer, how do I incorporate a thermostat into the system, do I remove the timer and replace with the thermostat receiver or do they work in series?
The thermostat I have in question is – Honeywell CMT927 (CM927) Wireless Programmable Room Thermostat, does/can anyone vouch for it?
Hi Mike – I have just had two of these room stats fitted – for the upstairs and downstairs zones. They are brilliant!! They seem to be very intelligent – once the house is up to temperature – they just ask the boiler for s small dose of heat every 15 mins or longer depending on the outside temp – no more than 1 minute duration. They also seem to learn how quickly the temperature drops off on any particular day – and just ask for that little burst of heat to keep the temp constant. They seem to be able to keep the temperature to exactly what you programmed it for. They also have 6 different time/temp periods in 1 day. The house has been much warmer and even though its too soon to confirm (only been in for 1 week) – they surely will make a huge impact on the oil consumption – as before teh boiler always seemed to be on.
honeywell stats are good quality
you really need to get someone who knows what they are doing to fit it though as you are dealing with mains electric, and in some caes you will need to remove the boiler face to get to the point where they are wired in
if your house is quite large it will be broken up in to zones and you will then need to wire the stat in to one of the zone valves
however do not fit one of these or any kind of wall stat in a room where you have thermostatic rad valves as they will just end up confusing each other
also be carefull not to place the stat in an are where it is in dirct sunlight or a draft, and take care not to fit it to the side of a nice warm chimney breast or over a radiator
Hmm, unfortunately the room which I intend to get the room thermostat fitted has radiators fitted with TRV’s. If I leave these wide open (highest setting) would this overcome the confusion between the TRV and Thermostat?
As you can appreciate, I don’t want the added expense of getting a plumber in to replace the 3 Rads TRVs with ordinary valves.
the cost of a good engineer will pay you back in the shape of a fuel saving, simple changes or advice they can give can in some cases save you hundreds of pounds a year
in answer to opening the TRV right up, this will depend on the level it is designed to close at, which could still be lower than the room stat is asking for, try combining the changes with a servce to keep the cost down, as the engineer will then only have to come out the once and may give a discount
I live in a 4 bed detached.
– Has cavity instulation
– Put an extra roll of insulation in the roof to bring it up to the recommended thickness
– Engineer recommended we set the boiler to 85 degrees
We go through 1200 Litres a year .
– Check and clear the muck that can build up in the radiators.
– Check the location of your thermostat (is it in the main room, is it near a door or above a radiator).
These can have quite an effect on the amount of energy you use to heat your house.
I have rearranged my house recently and moved the sitting room upstairs, so that in the evening, I close off everything downstairs and only heat the sitting room and my bedroom, and that is on low as I don’t want to have to open a window and let the hornets in!!!!! Then, in the morning I turn on the kitchen radiator and my studio when I am working.
I have an old Aga converted from coal to oil. Two years ago I did away with the auto temperature control. If the Aga oven is not really heavily used the temperature wil only drop a little. This obviously saves oil and also reduces the maintainence. The oil pipe clogs up with carbon and I needed two services a year. I now go thro to summer when I switch off for the summer months when it can become to hot in the kitchen
What you have done is make your Aga go to low fire all the time .
Your temp control turns the flow up when the stat calls for more heat.
Once its up to heat it goes back to low fire.
low fire is set at your controll box by your engineer. you must nevery play with this box there is nothing to stop the flow from your oil tank.
if the pot is alight and too much oil flows in you flood the burner and have oil come out of the aga and it will be alight…
I now have a basic manual controller, to which I once had an electric head fitted. Forget the high and low settings, you simply turn up from the low setting until the thermometer reachs the required temperature mark in the middle.
It’s not on low fire all the time, it’s slightly higher
“- Engineer recommended we set the boiler to 85 degrees ” depends on the boiler if my understanding is correct, what does not seem to be banned about properly or well advertised is that if you turn a condensing boiler up above about 55 degrees it stops condensing and returns to the efficiency of a non condensing boiler. To get the best out of a new boiler all the rads need to enlarged by a 1/3 to dissipate enough heat when running at a lower temp. Non condensing boilers are more efficient if run hotter.
“Non condensing boilers are more efficient if run hotter.”
rubbish, old boy. Efficiency is determined by the stack temperature and the excess air. Run it hotter and the stack temperature goes up, so it’s *less* efficient.
A condensing boiler never returns to the efficiency of a standard boiler as its plastic flue dictates flue temperatures of 40-55 C rather than 200 – 300 C.
Phil your presentaion could be better or maybe just the way e-mails come across! As possibly splitting hairs a bit… cant quickly see who said “Non condensing boilers are more efficient if run hotter.” which I agree is fcatually incorrect but as always not the whole story and a bit simplistic. In that my undrestanding is condensating run most efficiently at a lower temp when compared with a non condensating boiler ,off the web for example: I have heard that you need to oversize your radiators and run the boiler at a lower temperature, is this correct?
Condensing boilers work at their most efficient when they condense, and this requires the return water temperature to the boiler to be 50°C or less. However, we do not recommend changing radiators for larger versions to achieve this as it is uneconomical, and for most of the year the radiators will be oversized anyway. The Grant Vortex Condensing boiler will operate efficiently on any system and even when not condensing will still be saving money against a standard boiler
I agree, I have a Grant Vortex heating a 2400 sq ft house with underfloor heating upstairs + down. I also have a Waterford Stanley Erin which is a multistove which heats my 250 ltr buffertank to a temp of 95 this tank also run my mains fed hot water through a mixing valve. I usually get a load of waste wood every 2 days or so light the multistove getting the temp up to 95 this being my vortex boiler wouldnt be on for about 2 days at a time having the buffer at this temp keeping my house nice + cosy with a great supply of hot water thanks to the mixing valves the vortex would automatically switch on when the buffer drops below 40.Im a plumber for 23 yrs 1st time i done underfloor or this type of system i got the buffertank made triple coil
Can anyone help me please? I’m freezing!
I have recently refurbished the house and have a new Grant Combi Boiler and radiators with trv’s. The plumber set everything up, tested everything and showed me how to operate the timer…. 2 months ago.
I am obviously doing something wrong as the heating system just isn’t doing it’s thing, I’ve read and re-read the manual to no avail.
I expected the boiler to fire up and water to surge around the system… it isn’t, even when set to constant. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thankyou.
Please don’t be offended by my suggestions, you have probably tried these but just in case……..
1. Turn up the room thermostat to maximum with the timer set to ‘constant’.
Does the boiler start up ?
2. If it does, try turning up the TRV’s to a higher setting.
3. If it does not I suggest that you call the installer for advice – there is probably a fault on your system.
Many Thanks Steve,
I fiddled with the TVR’s and it fired up the next day. Another learning curve.
Hello. I may be in the wrong place entirely but I hope someone will be able to answer a question I have!
We have an oil-fired central heating system about 8 years old. We can programme the timer to just have the hot water on, or to have hot water and heating, or to have heating only (no hot water).
My question is, does it take less oil to have the heating on without the water as well? Or would it be as well to have the water come on at the same time? We have an immersion heater for the water as well.
Thanks in advance for any advice 🙂
Yes you will use less oil if you have just the heating on and not the hot water, however the costs of using the immersion heater with electricity at about 17pence per unit (3kw heater on for 2 hours a day = approx £1) would be greater. The boiler will be on anyway and the water in the central heating system will be hot, therefore only a small amount of energy will be needed to heat your domestic hot water. I assume you have a thermostat on your hot water cylinder (this should be set to 60 degrees) – once the water has reached this temperature the cylinder will consume no further energy from the heating circuit and the water will be pumped around you heating circuit only.
Also using the time clock you have for your heating system will probably mean you are less likey to leave the immersion heater on by accident ie head off to work for 8-9 hours with at a cost of about 50pence per hour clocking up while you are out! You will be able to programme your hot water to come on for 2-3 hours per day to suit your needs.
With the recent 30-40% increase in electricity costs and the cost of heating oil at 40pence per litre the oil has to be cheaper.
Also once you have heated your tank of hot water make sure it stays hot by having it properly insulated. I’ve fitted 2 jackets to my tank and can keep water at a usable temperature for almost 24 hours. Insulate any hot water pipe runs in and around your cylinder too, this will reduce heat loss further
Hope this has helped.
Many thanks for your reply, that has answered my question perfectly.
We do have a timer on the immersion now ( due to accidentally leaving it on, as you say!) but if we are using the boiler for heating, we may as well use it for water as well.
Phil & I may not be on exactly the same wavelength and you may find my long reply below to another person informative and helpful. My electricity has just gone up from 9 to 13 p with Atlantic online and they send us a free month each year! Rather than his 17p but where Phil is factually incorrect is that leave your immersion heater on by mistake and it cwill ost you 50p per hour. That is too simplistic as it does depend on the heat loss of the tank so I agree with Phil double insulation is a good idea, but it also depends on the temperature of the water in the tank as heat loss is not a stright line graph. Turn heating or water down one degree and it will save you about 10% on the energy input cost.
My top tip for saving heating oil – don’t turn the central heating on. Also, don’t buy heating oil at the unfairly inflated current price unless you absolutely need to. Switch to alternatives (wood burners, even electric heaters). Close off all rooms not in use, ensuring adequate ventilation to prevent damp. When heating oil usage drops sharply, the oil companies might then reluctantly drop their prices, thus effectively ensuring more economical heating and domestic hot water for us all currently forced to rely upon kerosene.
I live in Orkney- we pay the price for oil plus a whack for carriage. The house is 5 bed, converted out of a war-time building. I replaced the double glazing and doors, added the best insulation I could and can run on 1200l a year- because I have a large multi-fuel stove which I had added into the system. In the evenings we burn ecobrite, all the household rubbish( otherwise it would go to Shetland to power their district heating project!) and any wood I can scrounge(no trees here). The price of solid fuel hasn’t really changed over the past couple of years and although it is more work for me, running the boiler an hour in the morning and the same at night plus the stove makes things workable. I don’t heat the rooms not in use and have thermostats on all the radiators. I just wish I could get logs from the Scottish mainland- but impossible- they cost £20 a pallet to Aberdeen- and £80 carriage to get them here!
none of you losers have a clue what spending real money on heating is until you try heating a nursing home with over 100 radiators and a 2000 ltr water tank. think yourself luck your not going through 5000 ltrs of oil every 6 weeks, yes is said six weeks your not seeing things, not to mention the electric costs and also a 4000 ltr LPG tanks that is needed for a separate part of the house that needs filling twice a year. try adding all that lot up, think about how lucky you are you dont have to pay for it and stop moaning about the piffling few quid you have to spend on your heating.
Bernard, I congratulate you on your contribution to society. Its sounds like you are running a nursing home and financing it entirely out of your own pocket. Most other people/organisations would charge people for staying at their nursing home(s) and therefore build in the heating costs to the fees that they charge their residents. You’re right. Who are we to complain about our heating costs when we have people like you serving the community in the way you do. Bravo to you!
Hi, I have a two oven AGA fitted with a large water heater and am considering removing the water boiler so the AGA just heats the kitchen and cooks.I already have a central heating boiler which can be alterd easily to heat the domestic water.
Are there any pitfalls to be wary of?
I have been told to remove the boiler completely and fill the space with vermiculate, then have the oil flow adjusted.
I have a new Grants outdoor combi boiler (12 months old) for a large 1950’s 4 bed bungalow plus extension. I am struggling on balancing the radiators and have been told the long runs on the pipes may be a source of heat loss. We had cavity wall insulation added 18 months ago and double glazing throughout when we moved in 2 years ago. the loft insulation is ok.
I have some radiators that get hot and others that never get above lukewarm at best. I have tried turning them all off and then opening valves a 1/4 turn at a time, as per other recommendations seen above
The only time I can get all of them hot is to turn up the thermostat to 21 (normally set at 18 or 19) and wait. Given the price of oil I’m not so keen on that
I am thinking of calling a plumber to do the job. Does anyone have any idea what they may charge – I am in Winchester area? or what i may be missing in trying to do it myself?
Try by taking off a Trv head and pressing the little pin down a bit and see if the rad starts taking in hotwater and circulating properly.
If problem persists then have properly flushed then should be ok.
i have just replaced our under-floor heating with rads on the ground floor. in the last few weeks we’ve had the heating on morning and evening and the oil consumption has not dropped as much as i had expected. If the boiler stat is at say 2 (range of 1-5) and we are getting sufficient heat, is that better than having the boiler stat at say 4…ie does the boiler not need to run for longer to produce enough heat than say running at a higher temperature? are we using less oil or is this a false economy?? any help would be much appreciated.
As a personal view .. i am not an engineer. I would not change from u/f to rads as u/f should be much better if it is properly installed with insulation under and with sensible zones, thermostats etc.
but as you have done it already!!…..
the boiler stat should probably be higher. Especially if its a modern condensing boiler it works mre efficiently at higher levels. Also iIf you are pumping the water around the runs for longer to get up to the thermostat temp then you are wasting/losing heat in the runs.
But you also dont want to turn it too hith unless you have thermostats everywhere – including hot water. otherwise hot water will be hotter than necessary – waste!
Dear Tim & John, like you I am not an engineer and a chap above thinks I talk rubbish but most of us are looking to learn, personally John on my research to date I disagree with your view. My understanding is a condensing boiler needs the return to be sub about 55 c to condesate properly, the higher the temp the less condensation taking place the lower the efficiency, google searchs seem to agree with this view. My understanding is a non condencing is more efficient when run hotter by comparrison. I have made some major changes for this winter and it will be interesting to see the effect but my wife says the house has never ever been so comfortable and in theory oil consumption should be well down along with overall costs on what was 3700 l a year for 4000 sq ft house with 21 rads. I have spent about £3k and alot of my time on the back of advice from a commercial heating controls client and commercial hearting engineer, both I believe as people very good at their jobs and long standing friends.
What I have done is this 1) converted from pumped heating and bravity fed HW to a fully pumped system which in simple terms gives full and independent control of hotwater by moving the pump from the return to the flow. My professional pluming costs were about £650 for this but quite a fair bit of other work too. This is meant to make a significant difference, is more modern that what I installed 24 years ago, say 20% 2) Heating controls, I went expensive and bought a DC100 £500 plus various sensors at £60 ish space sensor, flow sensor, return sensor, tank sensor, outside air sensor, compensated flow sensor and this is now a self learning optimiser and compensator control system. i,e because the computer has all the data input it learns the heat loss of your house and works out when to tuen on or off to be at the right temerpature for your programed occupation times and this may be 15 min or up to five hours in advance when blooming cold! To do this compensating lark you need a special 3 port valve not the ordinary B&Q ones mine is adjust every ten seconds automatically for efficiency. What was interesting here was the 3 port valve was supplied by the heating control specialist but the domestic plumber with 35 years experience was on a massive learning curve as its more common to commercial applications. It was about £200 and vital. The computer is a doddle to program but can control everything imaginable but for example independent pump control which I now have set to 30 min to pump the last bit of heat in the system around the house so the boiler is actually going off about 30 min prior to occupation end time. Cheaper systems are available to do much the same thing its the principle thats important which is OUTSIDE air compensation control. I went bottom end commercial and OTT residential simply as the value and size of the house warrants it. 3) I have installed an oil flow meter £125 so I now know exactly how much is being used when to make informed judgements possible. 4) I have installed an AIR HEAT PUMP, not underground which is too costly £1200 for a 11kw as a 2nd boiler which should run at say 300% efficiency and should make a very valuable contribtion when compared to immersion heaters for summer hot water. I have done all the BTU to KWH formular etc and my new electricity price of 13p equates to a good saving unless oil falls well below 40 p p l. It a nutshell it looks like an office air con unit and works like a fridge in reverse, works down to about minus 15 but I have it themosatically controled to fail sub 4+ It is still a bit hard to get my hear around fan rotating when its cold outside sucked the heat out of the air and producing hot water for heating!! So for 1kwh of electicity about 3kwh comes out ….wierd. Slightly smaller units are available from £900 which just plugs into a 13am socket and a £10 plug meter from ebay and you can see exactly what its costing. Mine peaks at 20.8 amps so I fed it with a seperate RCCB & RCD 4mm spur wire.
Hope this is all helpful and informative and ask away if it helps, finally just off the web: I have heard that you need to oversize your radiators and run the boiler at a lower temperature, is this correct?
Low boiler temp and large rads keeps boiler condensing fitt progamable room stat saves a heep o money make sure additive in ch system even antifreeze make sure all rads ok no cold spots if so replace
I been using oil for 15 years now and averaging around £100/month direct debit for my oil supply based on recent high oil prices , the price has dropped but for how long is the million dollar questions. I have worked for a very large oil company in a production capacity for 20 years so understand the oil business inside out , the high oil price will return and there’s nothing you can do about that. OIL IS KING – ONLY IF YOU LET IT BE KING – READ ON.
During the summer months I installed a wood burning stove c/w back boiler and integrated this into my central heating system(cost £1700 + £250 labour and materials).So far during October and November I have had my oil heating on for 1.5 hours / day, 1 hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening to warm up the central heating pipwork and rads in preperation for my wood fuelled central heating water switch over. My saving on oil consumption in the last 3 weeks is sitting at approx £85. Heating my house on wood is costing approx 60p/night or £18-20 / month. Payback on my wood system FULL installation costs, at present oil and bulk log price (£80 for 2 tonnes) is going to be 2.5 years. After that I will be heating a large 4 bedroomed detached house for around £300/year or less depending on how I source my fuel. My LAST ANNUAL oil bill last year was £1200.00 . It can be done , I no longer rely on black gold. Okay you need to get logs and clean the stove but I have a warm glow from the fire and how much hard earned cash I’m now saving ; -) HAPPY DAYS
We also decided to go for logs, albeit on a less ambitious scale (just a room heater stove that was already here) and it was great until late winter when we could not get decent logs for love nor money. Seems everyone else had the same idea and the log guys sold out of seasoned wood just after Christmas, then they all ran out of ash (which means less seasoned wood for this winter). We could get logs but not ones that would burn. We are now running the oil boiler for hot water and background heat only, then heating individual rooms with portable gas heaters as we need them.
Of course it would help if the landlords would replace our 30 year old boiler and fit double glazing. But he’s a merchant banker so he’s a bit short of the readies…
We use electric heaters to maintain low level heat in the living room and bedroom, and boost the central-heating on demand for the rest of the house. Instead of using 100 litres a week, we now use about one-half to one-third of this amount. Our electricity bills haven’t increased too noticeably beyond the recent hikes.
Having a stone-built farm steading in a windy location and with reasonably big rooms, there’s a lot of area to heat and to dissipate that heat, so it seems daft to heat the whole house through using oil at recent prices, especially since there are rooms we spend little time in.
I have been working over the last 3 months to improve the efficiency of our old oil fired CH system, it’s about 30 years old. The boiler is fitted in an outside cupboard with a frost stat. I found the frost stat set to 5 degrees Centigrade causing the system to fire up overnight for no net benefit. Also the boiler was designed for kitchen installation and only insulated on the sides, causing heat loss from the front and back of the boiler itself. I have insulated this and turned down the frost stat to zero degrees. Cost of doing this was almost nothing.
I have also flushed the system and vitted thermostatic radiator valves, and fitted a programmable thermostat. Oil consumption has gone down about 30% since making these changes, last year I spent approx £2,000 on heating oil so I will have a six month payback having done the work myself and the house is much warmer.
To set a boiler to day you need a flue gas anyliser
no just a set o Allen keys pay for a servise it’s worth it
We moved to this house 10 years ago with no experience of oil heating.We had a service-25 min.£58.12mnths.later the chap phoned to say it was time for a service i was out but my wife said yes,we had used 1000 litres so i was sceptical.He insisted on changing the jet,did not clean the tank outlet filter or check the flue outside.I have experience of diesel engines and the idea of annually changing the injector nozzles is ridiculous,the white van emitting clouds of black smoke has probably covered 200,000 miles plus.I have not had a boiler man since.Its easy to remove the boiler covers and baffle plates,scrape clean and vacuum.The nozzles are colour coded so replacement is easy,ours is still efficient after 8 years.The cost of a service buys a lot of oil.
We have a 3-bed semi-detached with a further attic bedroom but in a cold part of N England at 800 ft asl. We have run a 2-oven AGA (oil conversion from solid fuel) for about 10 years now, plus a wall-mounted non-combi oil-fired boiler. In total we use around 2,000l of oil p.a. which sounds like a lot…..
However, the Aga keeps the entire house background warm, heats all the hot water we need, keeps the bathroom warm, dries washing on rainy days (the majority here), and – most importantly – ensures that the CH boiler rarely fires up except in the coldest parts of winter. We do all our cooking and baking in the Aga, in effect once you accept the basic cost of running it, all the other stuff comes “free”. Also, adjusting the flame setting on the Aga to an optimum heat for cooking / boiling kettle etc can noticeably reduce its consumption as they are often too highly fired.
If we need more warmth in the living room (eg evening) then we just light the small woodburner and that avoids any use of the CH. Logs are cheap and efficient provided you store them for a few months to season properly. Or just turn up the stat for a couple of hours if we can’t be bothered to light the woodburner.
1) Zone your living spaces: we have separate zone valves for our living room and dining room (the Aga keeps the kitchen plenty warm enough), there’s no point heating unused rooms. And use a good multi function programmable timer, that way you can experiment with different temps and timings to find the optimum for YOUR living preferen ces and YOUR house (everyone is different).
2) Fit TRVs to all other radiators. This, plus zoning means that
3) All roof spaces deeply insulated.
4) Cold bedrooms are good for you! We have our bedroom window open even in mid winter and never use the radiators in the bedrooms unless we have visitors who are used to warm bedrooms. It is much more pleasant to slip into a bed warmed by an electric blanket – which costs alomost nothing to run as it only needs to be switched on 30 mins before going to bed. No colds and stuffed noses resulting from stuffy bedrooms and I hate staying in hotels and the like!
5) Put on a sweater rather than turn up to 22C – we have rooms we are sitting in at about 18C which is fine for us.
Finally, monitor oil prices carefully, watch for trends, and ideally have a big tank so you can buy oil when the price is good, not when you have to.
2 things you could do to save on hot water
1. If showering – put on shower till you get wet then stop it. Lather hair and wash body with gel / soap then turn back on shower to rinse off. More efficient on soap / gel and water as well as Oil. I can get mine down to less than 2 mins. A bit chilly in the winter but you get used to it – just have the shower slightly hotter than you do normally. Helps if you have thermostatic shower so you don’t get scalded / frozen when turning it back on.
2. If you use a bath (best to minimise ,but good for an occasional luxury soak) line the bath all round with loft insulation – preferably the stuff made from recycled bottles so you don’t get fibreglass stuck in your skin / lungs etc. Or if you have to use it take necessary precautions. Anyway stuff it all round the back / underneath etc. having taken the panel off. Then your bath will last much longer and if not too dirty can be used a second time by another member of your family without having to top up with more hot water. Bubble bath also helps keep the heat in longer.
this sounds a great idea, shame we havent a bath but i wil certainly pass the ideas on to family and friends. incidentally, when we did have a bath in a prevoius flat, we used to leave the bath water in until it was cold as this helps keep the room warm. Happy bathing to you!
has anybody got any previous experience of the OilMAX unit makes your home heating oil boiler more efficient reducing oil consumption by up to 20%.
it apparently –
• Reduces Oil Consumption by up to 20%.
• Produces less soot.
• Increased heat per unit.
• Works best on home heating oil.
How does OilMAX work?
The OilMAX unit operates on the principle of resonance. By way of it’s patented conductors it generates the specific resonance frequency, that when installed over the fuel line, can fracture the hydrocarbon chains in the passing fuel..
CAN ANYBODY ADVISE ME IF THEY HAVE KNOWLEDGE FOT HESE PRODUCTS AND IF THEY ACTUALLY WORK??
This is boiler efficiency quackery of the highest order!! If there was any substance behind this it would have been installed as standard by the manufacturers of boilers, car engines and even jets, all of which work by burning a version of kerosene. To “crack” hydrocarbons requires enormous amounts of energy and its hard to understand how this could make combustion more efficient. A well serviced boiler is very efficient at burning the oil and producing heat. There is hardly any unburnt oil in the exhaust gases. Most of the focus on increasing boiler efficiency in recent years has been in delivering as much of the heat energy liberated through combustion into the circulating water thought the use of a secondary heat exchanger that actually condenses the water vapour generated in the combustion of hydrocarbons (condensing boilers). These will increase efficiency by about 20%. So I would save your pennies and go for a condensing boiler which if you don’t already have one.
Hi all, we just moved in to a 1950 two bedroomed Council house which has oil heating. We haven’t got a clue how to run the house sufficiently so it stays just warm enough. We are also on a economy 7 (23:00 – 07:00) with an immersion heater, however we don’t know if this is wired up with the oil heating system as there are two cables running off it. The thermostat unit can be set to different times and has a timer for the heating and a separate timer for the water, what would be the most efficient to run the whole system?
All helpful replies are very much appreciated, thank you.
where in co westmeath or longford can i buy ecobrite coal
Being a New Engineer (Oftec ) I have some vaulable Oil saving ideas which are tried and tested.
First Off get your Oil Boiler serviced properly by a Oftec Engineer
Make sure the inside boiler has been cleaned properly and also on some older boilers (and some new ones ) Have a chemical Clean done , Which can improve efficency by 4%.
When you have a proper service done you should notice a difference in boiler output.
Have a new Digital thermostat fitted. Fit this not on the landing or a cold area as this will just keep the boiler cycling more and basically just use more oil.
Fit in a room that you use the most living room or kitchen.
I have fitted alot lately and the Salus Digital Roomstat is brilliant, I normally calibrate these before fitting to make sure operating at 22deg smack on.
(Also available wireless thermostats)
If your central heating system radiators are luke warm then get the system flushed with a power flush unit.
You will be amazed how many people turn up the Thermostat on the Oil Boiler because the radiators are luke warm.
A good idea is to put inhibitor in system afterwards to help prevent problems later on.
On bigger boilers with a 60kw + output fit a boiler control unit which effectively stops short cycling by monitoring the flow and return temp.
This can save up to 20% on useage as well.
One of my recent customers has had new cavity wall insulation and 200mm loft insulation and there Oil consumption is down by a third on last year.
These are tried and tested and will save you oil and MONEY £££££
Thx for reading this Wayne Watkins
Ive moved into a 5 bed bungalow which is very large and has lots og big roooms. in the first month we used a wooping 700 litres of oil. when i checked the thermostat is was at 85 then the second month we put it down to 60 but the house doesn’t be that warm to be honest. we have turned of raditors in three rooms but still we used 400ltrs in the second month with the heating on in the mornig and evening time
its come to the stage i need to do something any ideas
My oil usage was 3500-4,000 litres a year and its now under 2000 a year for a 6 bed detached. Part of that saving was installing a wood burning stove (say 750 litres equivalent), the rest was down to improved insulation (cavity wall, loft, draught excluders and thermal linings for curtains)
You might get marginally more efficiency by putting in a new condensing boiler but the payback is lengthy. If your house is not already well insulated tackle that first, its the cheapest most effective thing you can do.
Just to emphasise previous comments. One of the best things we did was have cavity wall insulation installed during the summer last year. This only cost £150 for a detached three bedroom dormer bungalow and I already seen that more than repaid. We have dropped our thermostat temp from 19/20 (and we still had to put on the electric fire some nights) down to 16/17 which feels comfortable with no need for any additional topup. Also, as Wayne says above, having the boiler serviced helps a lot. We did and it did!
My earlier comment about global oil prices per barrel should have read “dollars” not pence ! Sorry about that. Interestingly, my local oil supplier is putting up the price by 2p per litre tomorrow, no doubt in response to the Gaza war news. Amazing how quick our oil costs go up in reaction to political events, they never come down so fast!
We have just about come to the end of last years oil which we had delivered in the previous year, October of 2007, a total of just a little over 500 litres.
We have managed on this very well in conjunction with a real open wood fire which is lit at about 4pm and the thermostat permantely set between 16/18. This kicks in really only when the fire is not been fed anymore, about 11.30pm. This works for us and basically has to because the oil prices are no high.
Now to be honest we never put our hot water on as we dont own a bath so theres not much point really, having an instant electric hot shower. We boil the kettle to wash up which is about twice a day and we go ‘wooding’ at every opportunity all year round with the kids, picking up bits of wood to burn on our fire, then a summer visit to the local charity shops to pick up a load of large 100% wool jumpers.
Now i know this is not a conventional way of doing things but it saves us alot of money, we get lots of excercise which keeps us warm in the winter and feel healthier all round(just feel how warm your house is, even with the heating is off, after you have been on a hike round the fields) .
Perhaps a healthier more active lifestyle would enable us to be less reliant on having baking hot homes which to me seem to stifle the energy in you, oh and thats another, having no TV certainly makes you less likely to sit in a chair all evening and you can then sort out all those little things you keep putting off for another day.
Happy new year to everyone
I agree with Rachel Alger, Our tank is nearly dry from being filled with 1000l 2 seasons ago. we have a 6 bed house, with a soild fuel stanley which gives out a little heat by comparison to oil, but uses wood which we have an abundance of. the oil heated side of the house is warm in winter and the heating is on if someone is in the house – the thermostats are not high – and we have electric shower instead of baths. The kids still run round in a t-shirt whilst I need a fleece for comfort. Many houses are stifling & stuffy these days and totally unhealthy.
Just been reading the comments. We still haven’t worked out which is best; to leave heating on low or just when we are in. But I was interested to read that people who have timers have their water heating all the time. We never have the water on a timer. In winter when the boiler is on but the how water off, if you run the hot tape there is enough hot water to fill a kichen sink before going cold. If we want to have a shower or bath we simply hit the +1hr button the the timer and by the time i’ve got upstairs and sorted what I need there is instant unlimited hot water. When Ive finished I simply hit the +1hr button again to turn it off. We live in a 4 bed/2 bath house and over the summer months April – Oct we only ever use 100 liters of oil over this period.
Here is a great way to save oil, buy and use a De-humidifyer, we have an Ebac one. Basicaly by reducing the moysture in the house you feel warmer at lower temps, for us about 2oC which seen an 15% sacing in oil and with a less damp house we have no condesnsation on our windows. Think about it on damp days you often feel colder, this is becouse the moysture in the air wickes heat away form your body.
I’ve just been overseeing the first phase of a ‘Warmfront’ installation at my 94 year old mother’s 3 bedroom bungalow in Surrey. The loft and cavity wall insulation has been finished with but a minor mishap of a foot through the ceiling, remedied the following week.
The oil boiler quote is just being done but I have said it has to come within the £4000 grant or it will not be feasable. I am told she may be able to get 6 radiators in the grant, 2 in the lounge, 1 in the hall, 1 in the bathroom and 2 in 2 of the bedrooms. She is home 24 hours a day and needs the living room really warm with other rooms in the house warm at different times. At present there is some E7 not on timers in 2 of the bedrooms and a coal Godin stove working at a mere trickle lasting 24hrs in the living room. Two additional electric fires in the bathroom and living room are on 24 hours a day also. I am hoping that the oil condensing will rationalise the system a little and have been interested to read everybody’s comments tryng to glean the best running operation. It worries me slightly that nobody seems to run the system 24 hours a day.
It seems it might be an idea to put an additional E7 storage in the lounge and put all that on timers and run the oil in the day. Well it cant be any worse than some of her elecricity bills. I tell you the elecricity company have made so many mistakes over the last few years with meter reading it borders on the criminal.The last one was 10000 units wrong.
What worries me slightly is the spec is going to be the worst with stats and trvs the cheapest.
As a Trading Standards Officer my Department receives a steady number of complaints each year, alleging the delivery of water contaminated heating oil. by distributors after their boiler has broken down. Alas heating engineers seldom diagnose the true source of the water that actually turns out to be rainwater that has entered the tank via -ill fitting/designed lids, through dial gauges, faulty gaskets around blanking plugs, mushroom vents or seams that have opened up. Many modern tanks have so many holes cut in them that are each a source of potential water ingress. Many such tanks end up with 50-100 litres of rainwater in them before the boiler finally cuts out necessitating repairs to the burner and the uplifting of the rainwater and often the oil. Water also encourages the growth of gunge. Check your tank and use water finding paste, available on ebay to see if you have a potential problem.
Its a valid point but much of the water in the tank (if its the same principle as light aircraft I fly) is not because of the reasons you suggest but due to condensation in the air above the fuel in the tank. My oil tank is on a slant with a water drain at the lower end and oil taken from the higher end. Keep a tank as full as possible to minimise the problem. You always drain an aircraft tank before flying as the water will have settled to the bottom. There will be some water in the fuel naturally as they found on the crash of the 777 at Heathrow which may have frozen and added to their problems. Never drain an oil tank of any water is inviting a problem the more years that pass by
Condensation is minimal if at all !I am talking about 50-100 litres of water in the tanks I have examined and it has entered the tanks for the reasons I have indicated- badly designed and or bad installation. I have put cameras into tanks and photographed the rainwater running into the tank, It might take months or years but I can assure you these leaks far outweigh any condensation issues,Unforunately it is the newer tanks with apertures cut for probes, vents,blanking plates etc that cause the problems,, Other offenders are old style clock dial gauges. One make of tank that features a flat lid with threaded male underside that screws into femaler top on tank and turns about 1/4-1/2 of a revolution before it meets a stop is especially prone to water ingress as it has no drip edge and rainwater blows under lid and then runs into tank- particularly in windswept locations. Older tanks with just one opening and with a good lid overhang tend to remain watertight!!!
Bad workmanship and/or design of course is going to be far more than condensation, but to say its minimal if at all is technically wrong and daft. Its science and a fact. It will accumalate if left and depends on the tank, the humidity and quanity of air inside and how full or empty and for how long. Engines don’t run well on water and condensated water should be drained off to eliminate it as a possible causal factor or a contrbuting factor.
we use 1000 litres per annum, large 4 bed house, but we also hve two wood burners, and consume 1 tonne of coal per annum, using a multi fuel 24 7 in very cold weather.
With regard to questions on whether it is better to leave system on constant or set timer to swtich on/off…
A boiler is most efficient when it is firing constantly. Once the house has reached desired temperature, the boiler starts to cycle … switching on/off as room stat tries to maintain temperature within 1 deg or so range. This bit is very inefficient- more so for condensing boilers. Also heat loss is proportional to difference in temperature between inside and outside property. If you leave the heating on – it will require more boiler firing. It is therefore better to set boiler on a timer to come on only when needed.
How does an oil fired boiler actually burn up your oil? I’m presuming its every time it fires up. My boilers 15yo (just been serviced, last service was 20 months ago), it wasn’t heating all the radiators and the hot water ran hot for a while then went cold. Happy to entreport since the service its all systems go! The rads all have individual thermostats ( theres no room stat ) and they are getting very warm on just the second setting. Waters lovely and hot too. Query is I’ve used approx 600ltrs oil over the last 5 months when the system basicaly hasn’t worked. But the boiler has fired up. So is that what has burnt away the oil? To save the oil I have just ordered, can I switch the boiler off at the elec. socket when I go out? Will everything simply kick in again when I switch back on?
Any oil saving tips appreciated
Thanks everybody, for any help and advise
We had oil heating installed with a new combi boiler on 24th November, filled up the 1000L tank, had to refill with 600L on the 9th January and now it is showing 500L (236th Feb). We have it on for 5 hours a day Mon-fri and weekends for 11hours, maximum 21oC from 6.30pm-9.30pm.
How are we using so much oil? The plumber says it is because we have no loft insulation. Would those of you in the know agree?
I can only sympathise …… we are on our 3rd x 900 litre drop since November!!! We are even considering moving from our dream house (of 2 years) because of the heating costs. No holidays this year … still paying for the oil …..praying for a long hot Summerr.
I’m looking for an oil flowmeter that can be fitted on an outside wall. Can anyone recommend one? Where did Simon R (Nov28th) source his for £125.
Please can anyone tell me how I go about selling (?) my huge oil tank and replacing it with a 1000 litre one? The delivery man says it’s big enough for an Hotel not a 3 bed house!
Is that such a great idea? My tank is an old 2000 gallon and did 2.5 years before I installed an air heat pump which I suspect has produced massive savings but being steel I could easily put on a tank lock to minimise theft, also I bought at 30.56 Sept 2007 and that took me right though the peak of 66p without having to buy oil. The old tank is virtually worthless money wise and a new plastic tank will have to comply with all todays regulations and if a vandal knifed it you could lose the lot whereas when steel rust through it will weap, typically rather than burst. If you have that kind of money to allocate to heating I suggest spening on air heat pump, outside air compensation crontrol and check the system is fully pumped. i.e.circulating pump is in the flow pipe not return, worth 20% saving in consumption.
I’m lost! Some of you say you’re using 700litres per year and others 6000 for similar sized properties?! Help! We moved into an old farmhouse this week with a freshly filled tank. But, not knowing how much is “normal” i have no way of budgeting for the year. the 6000 litre useage scared me and am currently wearing thermals!
Any advice welcomed! We’re in a very old 4bed detcahed farmhouse in the dales. Heating & water on oil. Any ideas at all how much we may be spending over coming year (have wood burner in lounge). Thanks!
See the long one I wrote above about efficiency 28th Nov, and possibly install an air heat pump to suplement the wood burner. I have 21 rads in 4000 sq ft house and used to use 3500 a year max now very substantially down with the compensated flow controller etc. I did also install an oil meter about £120 on the net/ebay and very easy to fit but in the cold snap we consumbed about 30 litres a day but with the air heat pump in the last 3 weeks that has dropped to 88 total. Assuming no theft of oil it also tells you what is left in your tank if positioned conveniently. It appeared expensive but it has been invaluable to give me specific consumption information to my property, wish I had installed that before all the other changes I made all of which are petty cash when compared to the nice house you just bought!
You say that that have reduced your oil usage using a compensated flow controller etc. would you mind detailing what you have done to acheivethis on this forum.
We have a 3 bed house and I have the heating on all day when its chilly as I dont get the sun in the lounge.
We use 1000 ltrs normally top up in sept and feb. I thought we were using a lot until I saw some of these messages.
I have just had the emersion heater mended so should save oil over the summer.
I tend to have the radiators low in the bedrooms as we dont need them too hot.
I’m only using 600L to 800L a year. This year ~800L, last year ~600L.
4/5 bed semi, half double glazed, 3foot of loft insulation, cavity wall insulation. Draft proofed skirting boards. TVR’s on radiators. Digital controls on 2 of the 3 radiator zones. Temp set to 21 to 22 down-stairs, up-stairs set to 15degrees C.
Wife and small child at home…
The biggest impact was the loft insulation – none when we moved in. The previous owners were going through ~4800L a year. Second biggest was new controls, rewire of the central heating system (don’t ask but who-ever installed the system should have been electrocuted) and then a boiler service.
Now have solar hot water – get about 1200hours a year. However payback is probably 15 odd years.
One thing I have noticed is that having the heating on for 1 hour then 1 hour off uses less oil. I suspect it’s to do with the number of times the boiler starts up and the longer burning times.
I’ve looked at the optimising controllers that do this automatically and also adjust start times based on inside and out-side temp’s but the payback is worse than Solar.
There are some new room thermostats that have some of these features so cost may start to drop to something more reasonable.
It’s just I am loath to add a timer-relay (previous email suggestion) in-case of very cold weather or house and not being able to easily disable the timer-relay.
Damian Dixon, you have a ‘lodger’ – I’m on my way! If you are only using 600L – 800L per year, then I must be doing something wrong.
Mind you, I do admit to living in a ‘Converted Cowshed’ although quite posh, it is without ‘cavity wall insulation’ ‘detatched’ and the garden backs onto some woods! Although – attention, we do have mega ‘loft insulation’ (the squirrels love it!) Only blessed with part ‘double glazing’ as I am not a lover of DG………….. well I wasn’t until I moved here, and for the first time in my life, encountered Oil CH…. The tank holds 1000 Ltrs …. and when it’s full, and I can see the gauge, my heart skips a beat. Unfortunately the gauge seems to have a mind of it’s own, and soon reaches rock bottom. I think I am too mature in years, to spend the money you have on all these different things, cos by the time it has paid for itself, I shall be ‘pushing up the daisies’ – well………… at least I’ll be warm! 🙂 …. and it’ll be free ……………………. 🙂
Can anyone tell me how warm the ‘doghouse’ is?
My other half has just called to tell me of her discovery. Our gauge was flashing indicating that the oil was nearly finished. Only last week it was half full (it’s a 2500 ltr tank). She went and checked and the oil was there, soaking nicely into the garden. Apparently when I’d been around with the brushcutter tidying up our jungle on Monday I must have caught the main outflow pipe. To be honest I don’t remember doing it. If you’ve used a petrol brushcutter before you’ll know what I mean. You regularly hear pings and clangs as you catch stones in the undergrowth.
Why does this sort of accident (which I believed only happened to other idiots) only happen when you’ve got oil to lose?
I have just come accross this site,wow, many differetn views, I have to say from personal experience, we have a modern (built 12 years ago) block insulated hdetached house, we have been having 3 fill ups a year 1,000 litres, sometimes paying extortionate prices. (so glad I found this site).
Anyway I use plug in 24 hour timers due to the type of boiler, the boiler is old not serviced until 3 ears ago. The chimney needs repairing, however I set the timer to every hour to come on for 1 – 2 hours and 1 – 2 hours off, this has proved much more economical, however we have turned it off now as summer is here. This system seems to get 2 – 3 months more out of the oil. I plan to tick with this system as I like it warm and cannot stand it when the house is cold and takes ages to warm up.
P.S. most of the radiators are set on 4 or 5 we run 9 rads.
Hope this is of use
update yer insulation cavity walls, loft, pipes + tanks , then theres those wee draughts which r just sucking the heat out yer hse as well as blowing in draughts its 60% of heatloss in homes, do u have an open fire? block it up if not used
Should fit trv on all rads and progamable room stat keep doors closed in house and heavy curtins or electric blinds that close them selves loft insulation 12 inch deep servise boiler every year jets in boiler don’t last the way they use to use a condensing boiler or combie if using a hot water tank move stat up nearer top heats less water some times better to use electric for water on off peak this could save a lot of oil put red x or forty derv car engine additive in oil tank cover oil tank to keep frost off it warm fuel combusts better and stops plastic tanks cracking hope this helps
You could be right about the boiler being serviced as the burner nozzles can wear which allows more fuel to be used.Also check for leaks at the pump & pump drive & also check to see if the pump is passing fuel through the nozzle when the boiler has been swithched off.You will only notice this if you have had the boiler off for a while then remove the burner unit to see if fuel has been dripping out of the nozzle-cure is a new pump.
Regarding service times a standard yearly service only takes 40-60 mins even with removing the baffles & doing all checks.
NEW WAY TO SAVE OIL
I have found a way to keep heating costs down. Visit a different friend each day and enjoy their heat. Invite your friends round to visit you in a set day. By doing this you have company, food and heat. While I made the comment “tongue in cheek” really it is not a bad idea.. Good wishes,,
heres my trick…you may find it strange.
i have a coal/wood open fire with a back boiler to heat the hot water cylinder, when the fire is roaring i open up the back burner and let the cylinder get hot…and it does 80c easily…i then turn the heating and hot water on at the controler but turn the boiler off at the mains. the result is the pump circulates the hot water through the system and exchanges the heat OUT of the cylinder through the coil (in effect reversing the design!) this provides and reasonable back ground heat that can be boosted by turning the boiler on if required.
i know you can plumb the back boiler directly in to the heating but as it is a rented house i cant really!
Ok, I’m afraid reading this site forum just depressed me. Although I have to admit to not being surprised.
We’ve moved into an old farmhouse which is fitted with a kerosene central heating system and it’s gobbling up around 800 litres per month over the Winter. It has used in the region of 2500 litres since September last year, and it’s only the 6th of January!
It is on for around 9 hours per day Monday to Friday, and around 18 hours per day at the weekend. The problem is that as soon as it goes off, the house is stone cold. I will be taking advice on how we can improve things next year with regards insulation and improvements to the double glazing and door fittings because I’m gonna go bankrupt just surviving!
Simon -I did say condensation was minimal especially in comparison to the other issues I have indicated. Yes there may be condensation but I believe it is seldom cause for concern. I have tested many domestic oil tanks for presence of water and many aged tanks show no sign of free water at bottom of tank! Even if condensation water is present it would be so little that you have little chance of draining it off as it would be so far below any draincock even if fitted. Even pumping out will seldom remove all vestiges of water at the bottom of tanks as some water residue will be left behind. If you really want the tank totally clear of water drain/pump fuel oil and water off and then upend tank and dry it out- seldom a practical consideration for most people. Yes condensation may be a scientific fact but my practical experience is that it counts for very little. Rainwater ingress for the reasons I have already mentioned is the main source of boiler damaging quantities of water in domestic oil tanks! Get yourself some water finding paste and do some testing.
You actually said mininimal if at all. My point is simply you have a drain valve for a reason and condensation should be eliminated. You only have to google search on the subject to see it is a factor to at least be considered. Just because your personal experience has not encountered it as a problem does not mean it does not exist so ignore it. I don’t need to test for water as its simply drained off, and yes with a 9000 litre tank its more than most and you would be amazed at what is in garage petrol tanks as a result and all the proceedures involved there. It also rusts steel tanks from the inside out, the following is the sort of example available “In heating oil tanks, corrosion is caused by rust. Rust is caused by water condensation, usually inside your tank. Water condensation is caused by temperature changes around the tank. For example, a tank that is half full during the spring and summer heats up during the day and cools down at night, which causes the air inside the tank to expand and contract, leading the moisture in the air to condense on the ceiling of the tank. Over time, the water inside the tank begins to oxidize (rust) the metal, which eventually causes corrosion. The best way to avoid this damaging situation that could shorten the life of your oil tank is simple: keep it full. If your tank is full of oil, there is little to no space for the air and moisture that cause condensation and rust. It’s especially important to keep outdoor tanks (both above and below ground) full, as they are more susceptible to temperature changes.”
Very interesting reading through all the posts. We have an old, circa 1800 Lodge Cottage, two bedroomed with a conservatory, heated by an Oil fired Rayburn Nouvelle, 20yrs old. The Rayburn has two seperate burners, one for cooking and another for central heating. The central heating boiler failed to fire up when we decided it was time for central heating, back in early November so called in a local engineer to fix it. Unfortunately, even after returning 4 times he had to give up and I had to call the Official Rayburn Engineer as when it had last had a problem about 4 years earlier on the cooker side, the young lad who turned up said ‘ we don’t do the boiler side!’ so I hadn’t called them first. So while we we were waiting for the 2nd engineer to turn up a week ago, we used the Rayburn cooker burner, which runs 24/7 and supplemented this with the Multifuel stove in the lounge again running 24/7. The Rayburn and Stove are back to back and central in the house and with leaving all the doors open we were pleasantly surprised at how warm the house was. Even after the central heating boiler was repaired we have kept with the multfuel stove and cooker Rayburn.
Other things we have done recently, the loft fully insulated(this was FREE as I had just been made redundant and therefore qualified for this free insulation). The effect was immediate – the house was CONSIDERABLY warmer, also had double glazing over most windows, also lined all curtains with a heat insulating lining, replaced bathroom and larder window with modern double glazed units, draughtproofed all doors and replaced the draughty front door and frame. The Rayburn also heats the HW with an Immersion heater on a time clock just to top up.
I estimate we will save about 300/500 litres of oil over the year, we have had to fill up twice yearly previously, about 1800/2000 litres annually.
Even with the recent cold weather we have not had to turn on the central heating, my wife in fact has just complained that it’s too hot! We run the Multifuel stove on wood during the day and smokeless fuel overnight and it keeps in until the following midday.
The best way to keep down costs is INSULATION – the new roof insulation was a revelation, immediate effect, warm enough at night to go to the bathroom in your birthday suit! Remember you can often get this FREE if you are on certain benefits or elderly – check with insulation people and you’ll get all the info. If not entirely free you’ll get it at with a substantial grant (my ex had her roof done and it only cost £90 with the grant). Also if suitable, cavity wall insulation again with a grant. Double glazing is also well worth it as it reduces all those cold places under windows.
Dick – hopefully you may still read this and be able to reply – where do you get the heat insulating lining s for curtains pelase?
Top Tips? Well, I’ve tried to read thro some of the above and find a lot of it far too technical for the average user!
Mine are simple, but you still need to consider before doing any of them ‘what is the payback period’. i.e. how long will you stay in your property/how long will you live?
For example the government are currently offering a grant of £400 to replace an old boiler but a new one will cost far in excess of that so if your old one works and the slight benefits of the more efficient new one do not repay in say 5 years then perhaps you would be wise to stick with the one you have at least until it becomes troublesome!
First one: Put on an extra jumper and keep doors and windows closed! You won’t suffocate!
If you already have a chimney, consider fitting a multi-fuel burner. You will need this for only 6 or seven months of the year and it will normally heat the main living area (where you spend most of your time), and some heat will filter to the rest of the house. Hot air rises so if you live in a house the bedrooms will also benefit. I spend around £70 per month on coal in the coldest months, but the fire never goes out and is ‘shut down’ all the time. In fact I clear out the ash only when I have to because this helps to keep the fire damped down. It provides a constant background warmth. Mine is lit in October and and stays ‘in’ until April! This is far cheaper than re-lighting it each day because starting it up uses more coal.
Obviously get the house well insulated. Cavity wall insulation costs around £150 and will pay back in one cold winter. Make sure your loft is deeply insulated (at least 18″) but keep an area clear around your water tank etc.
Fit an electric descaler: These cost very little but removal of scale – especially in the boiler and water tank will make the system more efficient.
Finally give serious consideration to a solar water heating system. Here you really do have to think about payback because they’re not cheap. I would say (depending on the number of family members) up to 10 years. Make sure you go to a reputable nationwide company. If you go to a small company and they’re some distance away frequent call-outs will quickly wipe out any savings you make because most will charge you time on the road PLUS travel expenses just to make some small adjustment or flush the system! However, once installed you will save a good deal on oil because for most of the summer months all your hot water will come from the sun and you can switch your oil fired boiler off altogether. Even in winter at least some of the water (which often comes into your house only just above freezing) will have been warmed a little. If you think that once the installation is in and settled, daylight costs nothing, while oil costs will enevitably increase year on year. So, if you are going to do it – do it now!
The last time I bought oil was in February 2009 and I’m hoping this year to fill the tank in the summer when oil prices are cheaper. Mine is a 1000 liter tank.
Use an electric immersion heater to heat your water in the summer. Unless you have super modern boiler the efficiency of the boiler will drop dramatically if it only fires up for half an hour or so to heat water. Think about it. Before the water in your cylinder gets heated the flame has to heat the inside of the boiler, the heat exchanger and all the water in the pipes leading to the hot water tank. I guess the efficiency of my Rayburn drops from the claimed 82% to less than half that. If you have paid 60p plus for your oil it’s cheaper to use your immersion heater for an hour. Most important though, make sure your tank is VERY WELL INSULATED.
Wont actually save you oil but will save you money on heating oil. Buy a bigger tank to last a whole year and fill it once annually in the summer. I wish I did…only have a 1000ltr one and last filled 20th August at 39.9 pence a ltr. Just order my next lot so I dont run out at over 73 pence a litre that over £300 more than last time! In a year that a potential £600 saving. Just wish Id hought of this over summer.
Yes this is probably the very best advice that can be given. I just wish that I had installed a tank large enough to accomodate a years usage of oil. I installed a 1200 litre tank when oil was costing 9p a litre. I need two fills a year and the winter one is an arm and a leg. It never occured to me that prices would surge in the way that we have seen.
I’m from Quebec city (french), as you must already know temperature here in december are around 15°F and more often below, january and february 5°F and very often below that! My house is 100 hundred years made and more, poor isolation near none, it’s sheating anyway let say it’s a R10 isolation ok…
I think i’ve tried anything and i will shortly tell you what is working and what isn’t:
Magnets fuel saver: my probe temp said no increase in temperature but after 3-4 days that magnets were still their, my chrono said that temperature increase 30% more fast than before. I’ve made more experiments like retire it and after 48 hours the rise of temp become as it was initialy. i put it again and after 2 day my temp was 30% more fast in increase. Strange? Absuly not, oxygen in fuel is scatter cause oxygen is magnetising. So buy neodyne maget 2-3$ and put it aroud the copper before oilburner North facing North or South facing South. The field with distance oxygen atoms from others and will provide a better combustion. You can make proof with dust metal.
The fitch fuel catalyst is bullshit for increse heat, but if your fuel stay 1 month or more in fuel tank i believe it will refresh it and it will help to have a better fuel economy just that way. I can’t proove it but i make that experiment: put old fuel 2 years old in the fith fuel catalyst and after minutes it refresh the red color and that’s a fact for me. Will it kill bacterias that decrease the quality of fuel ??? Don’t know, i don’t have a microscope but it could be interesting to know. If somebody do the test tell me: firstname.lastname@example.org Did it restore the initial quality of fuel? I believe it cause the smell change and became very near as new fuel. Must you buy one? Not shure but if your fuel is old it will certainly prevent clogging the nozzle of oil burner and that could save you money because a oilburner can ofenly work a long time before broke. You could lost money by have a poor flame (with a clogging nozzle) that make dith in the combustion chamber and that is an very important fact.
Did you ever heard about Blue Flam oil burner? That the best of all oil burner for saving hundreds bucks!!! The problem is they aren’t cheap and i could’nt buy one. 1500 euro cause they are european made it’s mean 2000$usd and i’m not talking about transport!!! 150$-300$!!! So i decide to made one and it’s easy when you know how and what you will have to face as problems. Type : amelioration bruleur flamme bleue Sorry to announce it’s french topics but it’s the best way for saving 40% on fuel consume.
Now i’m a bit tired of writing and as i said i’m french so… need rest, it’s easier to write in french. I will tell much more if readers ask me by email. I just don’t want to work for nothing, i mean if nobody read this… I’ve made 6 months of tests on oilburners and i have much to give so just ask, thank you. December 21 2010
Maxime: elevator mechanic from 24 years
really interested in your research i am a plumber from scotland with an oil boiler in my house which is costing a fortune to heat so any advice would be great
Thanks for your interrest. I will be back soon.
I have just bought a 6 bed detached victorian vicarage, it has double glazing, 70s kind of insulation and a brand new central heating system with 16 radiators, 4 of which we are not using yet.
So far I can say we will be getting through 2500 litres every 2 MONTHS !!?? surely this cannot be right, there is no excessive use, the thermostat isnt high, the rads are on 3 ……
Any ideas, is this possible, 700 a month on heating for what we have ?
I have just worked out that my oil is costing me £800 per month (315l per week) through the winter so maybe we have the same boiler! Its a 4 bed house, with double glazing, with 13 radiators. There is no thermostat but the boiler is on the lowest possible setting, there are no leaks from the tank and the boiler was serviced last year (though I suspect it is aboout 40 years old). I rent the house so not much I can do to change it…. except move! My landlord is putting a gate across the boiler to eliminate thieves, but says the boiler’s consumption is about 9l per hour, which is currently more than the minimum wage!
We seem to be using 100 litres per week. I’ve got 13 rads switched on; boiler is on the lowest heat setting and most of the rads are no higher than half way on with the TRVs; its a modern condensing Grant boiler less than 5 yrs old. Cavity walls in the house; double glazing. Loft insulation is there but could do with being topped up. No thermostat but it doesnt really matter yet because based on the above settings, the house never gets above “chill point” most of the time. We’re both out at work every day so the boiler is on a timer for heat and hot water – no more than 2 hours in the morning and say 4 or 5 hours in the evening. We moved into this house on 15 December and have so far spent about £1000 on oil. Never had oil before. I am gutted. I simply don’t know what to do. In our old house, with equiv no of rads on gas, we were spending £60 per month for a toasty house. Now it seems to be about £60-70 per week ……. I’m going to get a heating specialist in to check the boiler and the system. We have already checked that there are no leaks from the tank, and definitely no oil theft going on.
Something not mentioned anywhere below also (now that I have read through it all) – we do not have cavity wall insulation, and our surveyor, as well as a separate builder independent of the surveyor, have both told us that we should absolutely not instal cavity wall insulation at our house. We live near the sea and both have said that in the sort of damp sea environment that we live in, putting insulation in the cavities could cause us a whole heap of problems in the future. They both said (at separate times!!) that cavity walls have a purpose, and that this is to allow moisture and damp to evaporate / run down walls into the ground before it penetrates the inner wall lining. By insulating, we risk trapping at that moisture (particularly given our exposed sea side location) which would then penetrate into the walls. Both said they have seen some real horror stories at houses as a result of cavity wall insulation being installed, particularly in relation to corroding metal things in the walls (wall ties etc?).
So we’ve had to scrap the idea of cavity wall insulation.
It might be worth using coal in rooms where you have a fireplace. Coal hasn’t gone up much in price. By not using the radiators in our lounge we save some 700 litres of oil for the winter period out of our annual usage of 2000 litres saving £420 at current prices. We have an open cast iron fireplace and 3/4 ton of coal sees us through the winter at a cost of £225. For the last 3 years we have been paying £7.50 per 25kg bag of housecoal although this is the summer price for bulk purchase of 1 ton (40 bags). We don’t find the fire to be particularly dirty or onerous to look after. It takes 10 minutes each morning to clean it out, relight it and bring in enough coal for the day. An added advantage is that the chimney stack acts like a giant storage heater and keeps up the temperature throughout the night after the fire has gone out.
Like many of these posts, our old solid walled house with draughty sash windows and 12 rads (11 with trv’s) costs a fortune to heat with a combi boiler. I work from home but rarely turn on the heating during the day due to the expense – instead using electric heaters in the rooms in which I am working. Can anyone tell me whether the cost might be similar running the boiler with just 1 or 2 rads in use? Or will there be a lot of heat loss in the pipes? – In this situation I can hear the water circulating all around the house – does it travel to all the rads then bypass each one which is turned off? Would it use a similar amount of oil with the rads in the rooms not in use set on 1 or 2 which would at least make the house a little more comfortable? I have just a home made dip-stick for the tank and it’s really difficult to monitor useage!
Another question – Is it a bad idea to turn off a combi boiler during the night. (It has an on-off switch for the heating but water heating cannot be turned off without turning complete boiler off.) One of the service engineers told me they are not designed to be turned off (after problems arose following shutting it down during a 2 week holiday). I realise it is heating only a very small quantity of water but it still fires up a good few times during the night.
I’m no expert but I have/had a similar problem to you and I also used electric heaters to heat during the day, to heat the room I was in. I moved into my house four years ago. There was no insulation. Insulating the central heating pipes made a noticeable difference, as the radiator got hot quicker rather than lose heat in the pipes. I also insulated the solid nine inch brick walls in two rooms that face North and east. This paid for itself in just one winter and made the house more comfortable. I used Sempatap on two external walls in one room. Its easy to put up DIY, if you can hang wall paper you can put this stuff up. In another room I used insulation board on one very cold wall, that needed expert help to install and re-plaster, so it cost more. But it is even more effective. I now leave TVR’s on a very low setting in rooms I am not using and I leave the heating on rather than use electric. It works and despite having the heating on longer, I use less Oil.
Thanks for the interesting info Keith – looks like I need to get on with some serious insulating….If only I had realised the need before decorating and laying new carpets last year!!
We have moved into our 1935 detached solid brick built house in 2006. 3 Beds with old boiler heating system. We used around 2000ltrs per annum. We have installed new condensing boiler, TVRs on rads and timer control and a wireless thermostat., new hot water tank. This change has saved us at least the usage of 400ltrs per annum. We have extended back of house with new cavity insulated walls using internally Thermalite Blocks. We have taken off render from original exposed walls at front and sides of house in order to put insulation sheets on before re-rendering. We are installing wood burning stove with back boiler to feed rads and hot water. With a growing family and increased costs of running our home, we are hoping that this is the right way forward. Loft well insulated and new double glazing fitted. There’s little more we can do, will let you know how we get on! Wish us luck!!
We have a small 2 bed terrace built in 2007. We have oil underfloro heating with one thermostat in each room and then a timer on the main boiler control.
Last winter we only ever used the UFH in the living room. Kitchen gets heated up when the oven goes on and our bedroom doesnt need heating. We had it switched off on the mains all summer and only had it on from Nov-Feb when we probably used it three times a week for 3-4 hours in an evening to warm the living room. The following days we didnt need it as it retained the heat from the day before!
We put 500L in our tank in August 2010 and still have plenty left!
We have just moved into a very large drafty (single glazed) c.1900 house in Scotland and are concerned about the amount of oil we will use this winter. The oil-fired boiler is large and old but apparently quite efficient and we have an oil Aga which keeps the kitchen nice and warm as well as open fires/stoves in the living spaces. The house thermostats are very old and not programmable. Given we are ‘warm’ until it is time for us to go to our respective bedrooms, I was wondering whether it would be cheaper to heat the bedrooms for an hour or so before bed with electric room heaters, rather than crank up the oil boiler just so bedtime is more pleasant. The same would apply in the mornings as we just get dressed and then are pretty much out or downstairs for the rest of the day. When the temperature really dips of course we will put the central heating on but until then, does anyone know if we will save money by going electric?
I would be 99% it would work our more expensive heating with electric heaters than vs using oil. Electric is the single most expensive form of heating even on an cheap rate economy 7 overnight tariff so switching on electric heaters on a normal tariff would cost a small fortune. Oil may be expensive these days compared to gas but still cheaper than electric.
We also moved into a four bedroom, 17th century stone farm house in July 2010 complete with a reasonably efficient oil fired central heating and serviced Aga. In the nine months to end of March 2011, we used 4,337 litres of oil. Since then, we have not used the Aga or central heating. Instead, we use an electric oven, hob, fan heaters (in all bedrooms) and an 8KW multi-fuel stove which heats all of the rooms we use downstairs. It may sound bizarre to use fan heaters (at 2KW per hour) but it’s actually worked out cheaper and warmer going down this route (given the house is big and drafty). Since April 2011, we have used 700 litres of oil (to heat the hot water), spent approx £190 extra on electricity and £170 on coal and wood. Compare that to the 3,000 litres (£1,800) of oil we would have used during April, May, September, October and November on the central heating and Aga. So we’ve saved £1,440 in the past eight months alone by switching from oil to electricity.
I have a Firebird oil boiler (garage) 14 years old gravity/hot water tank. My problem is the boiler cycles continuously 4 mins on, 4 mins off all the time it is on. Whats that all about ?? I turn it off and on manually or it would cost a mint. Can anyone tell me what might be causing this to happen please ?
Hi, my house has a solid fule heating system and I wasnt to replace it with an Oil fired boiler system. its a three bedroom house and the existing radiator can be used as they are in decent condition. Does anyone know the going rate for boiler instalation? I have got a quote from a local OFTEC registered lad who quoted £500 labour fee to install the boiler and connect to the oil tank and provide us with the relevent safety cirtification. would this be an acceptable price if I am providing him with the boiler and all requred parts for installation? Any advise would be appreciated as I dont have a clue about this stuff..
can you run rayburn along normal house oil boiler
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