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How to prepare your oil-heated home for winter

Our nationwide teams want to ensure that you experience the consistency of on-grid heating while living off-grid. So, we have compiled a comprehensive winter guide for oil-heated homes.

Keep reading to find out how to prepare your home for winter.

Ordering heating oil for winter

Off-grid winter heating can be just as reliable as an electric or gas central heating system. If you rely on heating oil as your heat source, follow our easy steps below to start preparing for winter early.

When should I order my heating oil for winter?

The most important thing to remember is: don’t leave it too late to order your heating fuel oil! The winter months are a peak time of year for heating oil deliveries. We recommend estimating the amount of heat you’ll use in advance. Order your heating oil in October to beat the seasonal rush.

Winter fuel prices tend to reflect the increased demand. By ordering early, you’re not only getting the quickest delivery time, but also the best deal.

It’s also important to note that bad weather can cause heating oil delivery problems. Winter storms can disrupt routine orders. During periods of bad weather, you might experience longer wait times while we get to our vulnerable customers first. 

Find out more about cold weather priority for older customers.

How much heating oil for winter is necessary?

People often ask us how to estimate the amount of fuel you need to order ahead of the temperatures dropping.

It’s important to anticipate your heating oil usage, to make sure you have enough oil to last the winter season. The minimum order for heating oil is 500 litres. Domestic tanks typically range in size from 1,000 litres to 2,700 litres. Every home is different, so check your oil tank gauge to see how much oil your household consumes.

As the festive period also falls in the winter season, there are many factors to consider when estimating your winter heating consumption. Think about the size of your home and the number of occupants (or guests) when planning your delivery. If you have family to visit over the festive period, your heating allowance may well increase.

We have covered everything you need to know about calculating your heating oil usage in a handy guide.

How can I monitor oil levels?

It helps to monitor your oil levels all year round, to understand your energy consumption. Monitoring becomes especially crucial before and during winter. You may have done your calculations to last through the colder months, but unexpected weather fronts may change your usage patterns.

Oil level monitoring can also help you to be more energy efficient. Being more mindful of your usage can lead to energy savings, reducing your heating oil costs.

We make oil monitoring easy. You can now get low-level alerts and help with spotting leaks thanks to our FoxRadar Oil Monitor.

Oil boiler tips for winter

Your domestic oil boiler will be working its hardest to keep your home warm from October to March. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure that your boiler is in prime condition ahead of this time.

Book an oil boiler service

Getting your boiler serviced by our experts annually is the best way to prevent problems with your oil heating system. Try to book a service technician outside peak times. Generally, our registered engineers tend to be busy with emergency work during winter. 

If you’ve never had your boiler serviced before, read our guide to preparing for your boiler service.

Check your oil boiler settings

Before the cold weather sets in, you may want to check the settings on your oil boiler.  If you’re unsure, please refer to your manual.  We would also recommend making sure your boiler has had its annual 12-month service.

Call us on 03457 620 620 to book your oil boiler service now.

Oil tank winter preparation

If you have an outdoor oil tank, it may require more attention than indoor tanks ahead of and during cold winters and bad weather spells. 

Taking preventative measures is the best approach to ensuring consistent heating throughout the season. Check your tank regularly to catch any potential issues early. Look out for small cracks or signs of potential leakage, as these could get worse as the weather changes. 

Certas Energy have a dedicated team of local experts, who can help with any further queries you may have. Contact us today on 0345 600 3423 for more information.

Please note, as with oil deliveries and boiler services, waiting times for engineer visits tend to be longer in winter time. So it’s best to keep on top of your oil tank care all year round.

How to prepare your domestic oil tank for the winter months?

Looking after and checking your tank regularly is the best way to avoid spills and issues in the winter months. Our OFTEC-registered engineers will always inspect your tank during your oil delivery. However, it’s also important that you keep an eye out for any signs of cracks, splits, bulges, sun bleaching, or anything else that could compromise your tank in between deliveries.

Inspect your tank base and stand

Full heating oil tanks are extremely heavy. This means that the stand a tank sits on must be sturdy. The base of your tank also must be level to allow the tank to be safely and correctly filled.

Due to the weight of a tank, stands can start to bend and break over time. Significant changes in temperature can also affect the way the ground beneath the tank behaves. Any cracking or caving on the concrete supports or the ground underneath are signs to take action. 

Consider the age of your tank

Make sure that you keep track of the age of your outdoor oil tank. Replace your tank before the end of its lifespan. If your tank is over 10 years old, consider a new tank ahead of winter to avoid unexpected malfunction. Read our guide to heating oil tank replacements for more information.

Our delivery drivers will conduct a visual inspection of your tank when they refill your fuel for winter. Book a top-up now for peace of mind that your tank is healthy and full ahead of the cold months.

Domestic oil tank care during the winter months

Identify any potential risks to your outdoor tank and monitor them closely or, better yet, remove them completely where possible. This could include cutting down low-hanging branches or trees that might be likely to fall during a storm. In particularly chilly weather, safely break off any large icicles hanging above the tank.

We can help if your tank has come to the end of its lifespan or with any other tank-related queries. Please don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated tank team on 0345 600 3423.

Can heating oil freeze inside the tank over winter?

Your heating oil can freeze in the UK climate, but it is unlikely. The temperature that heating oil freezes in is below zero, around -2°C to -5°C depending on its composition.

In the event that your heating oil does freeze, you may encounter problems with your oil heating system. Therefore, it’s best to take some precautions. Make sure that you have enough oil in your tank and use additives to prevent the oil from freezing.

What to do if you run out of heating oil in winter?

All of the preparations listed above will help you to avoid running out of heating oil during a cold snap. Nobody wants to experience a cold home during winter. But just in case this does happen, it’s important to know what to do next.

Emergency oil delivery

If your oil runs out, get in touch with our team to discuss the soonest available delivery dates. We have local teams across the country, so we’re never far away. 

If you’re over 75 or considered vulnerable, we will prioritise your home as part of our cold weather priority promise. You can join our priority list for free online.

Timeline summary of how to prepare your off-grid home for winter:

  • Beginning of Winter: If anyone in your household is over the age of 75, you qualify for Cold Weather Priority. Sign up now to help get your oil delivery as a priority in the event of extreme weather or fuel shortages.
  • May – August: Get your oil boiler and tank professionally checked to reduce the chance of winter breakage. It’s best to book a service for the summer months to spot any issues beforehand. Booking your service early ensures that our engineers have slots available ahead of the peak season.
  • August – September: Plan and book your winter heating oil order early to get it delivered before the peak season. This way you can ensure fast delivery times and save money.
  • Weekly throughout the year but especially in winter: Monitor the oil levels in your tanks
  • Monthly throughout the year: Check your oil tank for signs of wear and tear.

If you need to order more heating oil for winter, get a quote today online or call us on 0345 600 4040.

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