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A House Buyer’s Guide To Oil For Central Heating

If your heart is set on buying a new home in the countryside or in a rural location, you’re bound to come across properties that rely on oil central heating systems. While oil is one of the most popular forms of heating in the UK, you might be nervous about committing to an oil fueled home if you have never lived off-grid. 

Before you purchase a home that relies on heating oil, you need to fully understand the impact of this fuel source to decide if it’s right for you.

In this comprehensive house buyer’s guide to oil for central heating, we take a look at:

  • The benefits of home domestic heating oil
  • The disadvantages of domestic heating oil
  • Questions you need to ask about oil fueled homes

The benefits of home heating oil


Heating oil (Kerosene) is not readily combustible in its natural liquid state, meaning it’s unlikely for an explosion to happen. Carbon dioxide poisoning is also unlikely if your boiler is well-maintained, and if it does happen, it will be accompanied with smoke and a strong smell making you aware of it. With that in mind, we recommend installing a carbon dioxide sensor in your home for peace of mind.

Energy efficient

Heating oil burns at a higher temperature than natural gas, so it’s far more powerful at heating water supplies. Delivering a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) in comparison to natural gas, your heat stores will recover faster, and therefore, warm your home much quicker than fuel alternatives.

You can take advantage of heating oil price drops

With most gas contracts, you commit to a fixed term payment plan at a unit price that does not fluctuate throughout the year. This is great as it means you always know what you’re paying. But, it also means that you don’t get to take advantage of any fluctuations in energy prices until your contract is up.

Because you buy heating oil as and when you need it, you can take advantage of price drops, choosing to fill up your oil tank to coincide with when the price is the lowest. 

At Certas Energy, we provide top-quality heating oil and services at competitive prices you can trust. Simply fill out our online form for a quick quote – it only takes a few minutes.

Flexible payment options

From paying in monthly instalments to direct debit, there are a variety of different payment options when it comes to heating oil. With fluctuating costs in oil, you can pick a payment plan that best suits your financial needs while also maximising savings where possible.

Discover our flexible payment options for heating oil.

A more personal service

WIth electricity and gas, your relationship with your supplier is very distant. It’s likely that you are put through to a call centre and never speak to that person ever again. With oil suppliers, their customer numbers are far smaller and more local to their operations. This means they have the opportunity to build rapport and get to know your needs.

At Certas Energy, we supply heating oil to homes up and down the country but pride ourselves in our personalised approach. We have 94 depots and 900 tankers in tow, so our friendly team is always on-hand whenever you need us.

If you or someone you live with is vulnerable, or over 75 years old, you’re eligible to join our Cold Weather Priority Scheme. Sign up for free online.

The disadvantages of heating oil

Prices fluctuate quickly

This can be both a positive and a negative. Prices can be more expensive when demand for oil is high and the supply available is low. This means that at times, oil is more expensive than alternatives such as natural gas. However, when prices are low, customers can take advantage and capitalise on the savings to be made.

Rather than being tied to a certain price for a contracted period of time, like you do with other utilities, you purchase heating oil from a fuel distributor at the price it costs at the time of ordering.

Maintaining your heating oil system

Heating oil tanks should be serviced once a year by an OFTEC registered engineer, to ensure everything is working as it should. It’s also important that you carry out your own boiler checks throughout the year, to spot small issues, and prevent them from becoming bigger ones.

Read our Boiler Service Guide to find out what to expect during a boiler service and how to stay on top of boiler care.

An onsite tank is required

Natural gas and electricity are supplied to your home directly from cabling and pipes off the main network. With heating oil, you need to order in bulk and store it in an onsite oil tank, which is linked to your home heating system.

The location of heating oil tanks need to be accessible for deliveries, a safe distance from buildings, and sheltered from the impacts of weather (this can be unaesthetic to the eye, but nothing a little strategic gardening can’t help with!).

If you need help finding the right tank or getting it installed and topped up with heating oil, give us a call on 0345 600 3423 and we’ll be happy to help.

Is it worth buying a house with oil heat?

If you’re living off grid in a rural or remote location, buying a house with oil heat is your best option. Natural gas and electricity suppliers don’t reach remote areas. However, heating oil delivery trucks can go anywhere you need them to. Since you can store your oil supply in a tank, you won’t have to worry about not having enough fuel during the winter months.

Questions you need to ask when buying oil fueled homes:

How much heating oil does a house use?

A typical household uses around 27,000 kWh of energy per year, which equates to around 1,800 litres of oil, or between two and three tanks. Your heating oil usage will depend on your house size, how long you use your heating, and your boiler’s general condition.

To stay in control of your heating oil levels, you should regularly check your oil gauge. You can also ask us about getting a handy Smart Monitor fitted. This lets you check your heating oil levels directly from your phone, tablet or computer, wherever you are. It makes it simple to take control of how much you’re using and when you need to top up.  

Is home heating oil being phased out?

No. Although the government is making plans to change the way we heat our homes, domestic heating oil is not being phased out. UK homeowners can install an oil boiler in their home, and won’t have to replace it with a low-carbon system until it breaks down (this typically happens when a boiler is 10-15 years old).

What type of oil is home heating oil

Kerosene is the most common home heating oil used in a domestic setting. It’s also known as the 28-second, and is lighter and cleaner-burning compared to gas.

Learn more about home heating oil.

How to order home heating oil

Ordering home heating oil couldn’t be easier with Certas Energy. Find out how to order with these simple steps.

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