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All About Oil-Fired Heating

By: Helena Stratford - Updated: 10 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
All About Oil-fired Heating

In some parts of the country, usually where properties are a little more isolated, houses are not connected to mains gas. In these cases, the best option for heating the home is often oil-fired central heating.

Oil and Greenhouse Gases

Contrary to popular believe, oil heating does not have to be the environmental anathema that most people suspect it to be.

Along with many other industries, oil companies have had to comply with stricter regulations and environmental controls - and heating oil is no exception. These days this type of fuel is 95% efficient and produces less CO2 emissions than natural gas and means that a good, up-to-date oil-burning condenser boiler will produce less greenhouse gases than the equivalent gas boiler.

Oil can be Cost-Effective

Oil can also be a cost-effective way of heating the home. It is cheaper than electricity for houses over a certain size and is only a little more expensive than gas at the moment.

It is also possible to make further savings by joining neighbourhood oil co-operative. This is when a hamlet or whole village rely on oil-fired heating and join together to order their oil at the same time. Oil is then delivered to one or more properties via a tanker with all parties receiving supplies on the same day.

The advantage of this system is twofold; the a discount can often be secured because the group is ordering a huge amount of oil that the same time, rather than just enough for one property, and further discounts may be negotiable with the supplier depending on the price of oil for that day.

Oil Storage Tanks

Until very recently, oil spills and the resulting environmental damage it caused, were the most common form of pollution incident reported to the Environment Agency. However, over the past few years, the numbers have been reducing and this is partly down to the implementation of tighter rules to stop the leakage and seepage of oil from old or poorly maintained storage tanks by people who use oil fired central heating.

Specific regulations exist as to the siting of oil storage tanks and if the tank on your property is above ground has bigger capacity than 3,500 litres, a second container is also needed to stop any oil getting into water. If the tank is for a commercial, industrial or institutional site, then the secondary ‘drip tray’ is needed for any above-ground tank which has a capacity of 200 litres plus.

If the rules as to the site and safety specification of the tank aren’t complied with, then the Environment Agency has the right to investigate, and take action against the person or persons responsible for their upkeep.

If you are thinking of installing oil fired heating or are moving into a property which uses it already, then it’s important you check out the Environment Agency website or call for advice, as their pollution prevention guidance notes and the law surrounding the upkeep, renovation, modernisation or installation of tanks needs to be paid attention to.

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Suggesting that Oil is only a little more expensive than Natural Gas is more than a little misleading, in the current market for the equivalent of 1 kWH of Burning Oil it works out at over 6p, compare that with Mains Gas which is around 3p per kWH even with the Gas transporter's standing charge of about £70 a year,(which can often be effectively recouped by extra discounts given for a 'Dual Fuel' tariff) Oil is MUCH more expensive than Mains Gas. Also the price difference will increase as the years go by,as the Oil and Gas markets are no longer inextricably linked as they once were! Anybody Considering using Oil fired heating in a new build (or even a major refurb) property beyond the reaches of the Gas network will probably end up wishing they had looked at the Ground / Air Source alternatives!
Swisstony - 15-Jun-11 @ 11:17 PM
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