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Why is my heating oil going down so quickly?

(58 Posts)
Purplehonesty Sat 12-Jan-13 21:50:07

We have oil central heating in our newly completed 4 bed barn conversion.
We have the heating on around 3-4 hours a day whilst it has been cold. The water is on for 45 mins a day whilst the heating is on in the mornings.
I have our woodburner on all day to keep costs down and avoid using the heating.
Yet despite this we have used nearly 1000 litres of oil in the last two months and I can't understand how. Our neighbours use around 1000 a year! What's going on....I must be doing something wrong.
Help piglet john!!

OhIWishThereWasABook Sat 12-Jan-13 22:49:24

Did you not move in during summer. Mine doesn't go down in the summer so I know there is no leak.

zzzzz Sat 12-Jan-13 22:51:24

We use at least that much, and wood burner and jumpers.....but I basically live in a sieve.

FloweryDrawers Sat 12-Jan-13 22:54:22

We knew there was a leak because our oil usage suddenly SHOT up, not long after we'd had a new garage built around the area where we knew the pipes ran. (Obviously you have no previous usage to go by!) Because we knew where the building work had been, we knew the right sort of place to have them start digging. Fortunately they found it very quickly.

Purplehonesty Sat 12-Jan-13 22:55:37

We did move in summer yes, well may but 1 we live in north scotlad so we don't have summer and 2 we had a newborn so we still had it on a bit.
The first 1000 litres lasted til november having heating on once a dayaybe twice if it was a chilly night.
Guess I'm just not used to oil

Does anyone know about the radiator thing tho- should I turn them down?

Purplehonesty Sat 12-Jan-13 22:59:23

Oh dear flowery I hope the builders paid for that!

mejon Sat 12-Jan-13 23:00:08

The house is 4 bedroomed Purple and not huge. We have a woodburner too that is used during the day. You say that the thermostat switches the radiators off once the porch is warm enough so the rest of the house is cold. For a new-build (or new conversion) with super-dooper insulation I wouldn't have thought you'd have got through that much oil in such a short space of time. Lordy if we used that much oil and it wasn't leaking somewhere I don't know what we'd do.

MostlyLovingLurchers Sat 12-Jan-13 23:00:42

Our last house was a newish 3 bed barn conversion, and used about 1000 litres every 4 months, but the guzzler was our oil fired range rather than the heating. So, i think from what you say about your useage you should at least rule out whether or not you have a leak - you will use more oil if your radiators are turned up high btw! If your pipe was above ground it would be fairly easy to spot whether you have a leak, otherwise the cheapest way is simply to turn everything off, say for a week, mark the tank, and see if the levels still fall. Is it possible the drive installation buggered your pipe?

PigletJohn Sat 12-Jan-13 23:06:14

November was unusually cold. It has recently warmed up a bit. I use about 14 times as much energy (gas) per day in frosty weather as in summer when I am just heating the water, you usage pattern may be similar.

Perhaps you have a large property, and if it is open plan a lot of heat will rush up to the ceiling.

Do you just have radiators, or UFH? Do you have a conservatory? Do you know the power of your boiler?

Go round and look at your radiators. Calculate, if you added the length of them all together, how long a radiator would it make? Count a double rad as one and a half times its length. How tall are they?

I expect you have thermostatic radiator valves. What number are they on? Are all rooms heated? Do you close the internal doors?

From the inside, can you see the exterior walls, or were they all insulated and boarded? Can you see the underside of the roof, or is there a loft and flat ceilings?

What do you know about the insulation that was installed?

Have you hot glass doors or glass walls?

Billwoody Sat 12-Jan-13 23:06:20

That does sound like a lot. We also have a 4 bedroomed newish barn conversion and I would estimate that we use 1500l a year. When you say you went out to look at the gauge on the tank - is it a watchman electronic gauge? We have one that shows in the house. Could there be something wrong with the gauge ?

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 10:59:33

Hey thanks all for replying
We have about 12 metres of radiators standard height and 3 towel rails 1 metre high.
The rads are all on high and no we don't keep doors shut. We use all the rooms and the bedrooms are always freezing.
The lounge and kitchen are open plan and have a high ceiling about ten foot but then its blanked off with a false ceiling and insulation.
The Walls ceiling and floors have 150mm kingspan in
Dont know about boiler spec sorry. Can find out tho.
Er what else....

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 11:01:14

All Walls boarded no stone showing although I did want that as a feature we decided too cold here for that!
It's 4 double beds, 4 bath large living area and double height hall/landing which is quite small really

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 11:02:17

Oh the gauge is onthe tank not a watchman. It goes down by an inch or so every few days.

specialsubject Sun 13-Jan-13 11:13:00

doesn't sound right at all - in basic terms, our 1300 litre tank goes down about an inch a week with the same heating time as you, and with a 30 year old boiler (on the list for the summer!). Bought 1000 litres since June and not out yet.

oil only generates slightly less heat per unit than gas, but it depends on boiler efficiency. However yours is presumably new? And yes, it only uses oil when switched on! I suppose someone could have a sneaky pipe into your tank and be coming along in dead of night, but it sounds more like a leak.

as the place is newly finished, is there someone you can get back to check? The boiler should be under guarantee too.

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 11:41:46

150mm Kingspan is very good. All the surfaces should feel warm.

If you are open plan and leave the internal doors open a lot of heat will be wasted and some rooms will be cold as the heat runs out of their doorways. Internal doors should be closed when the heating is used.

Are all the radiators equally warm?

Turn the TRVs down to half.

Turn the room stat to 20 (if it is currently higher)

Have you got a conservatory, glass walls or glass doors?

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 12:05:06

I have 4.8m wide glass doors in the lounge, windows are nordan double glazed.
No conservatory or fancy glass walls but there are six velux windows with tunnels into the lounge area.
Loft upstairs partially floored and all insulated with glass wool and kingspan.

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 12:07:30

All rads seem hot yes and stat set to 20 but it's in a small porch which heats up quickly. Maybe should leave the door open into the kitchen when it's on.
The lounge and kitchen is always boiling when heating is on but the other wing with bedrooms in is always cold.

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 12:10:30

Thanks special I have left a voicemail for our long suffering plumber. He had to come out and fix the system in nov when we ran out of oil. I didn't realise the guage had to be jiggled about to read it and it still looked like we had oil.
I read last night about turning the boiler temp down from 85/90 to 65/70
Water stat is set at 65

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 12:39:02

A condensing gas boiler is most efficient at about 60C but I don't know if that applies to oil boilers. The boiler temp must always be higher than the cylinder stat or it will never stop trying to heat it.

If the thermostat is in the porch (WTF?) and the porch heats up too fast, turn down the radiator in there so it heats up slower than the rest of the house. Do this at the lockshield valve, not the TRV if it has one (it shouldn't).

the thermostat would be more sensible in your main living room.

If the lounge and kitchen are too hot, turn down the rads. If they have TRVs start at the half position and adjust half a number at a time over the course of at least a day.

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 12:40:04


the glass doors will benefit from full-length curtains. Their heat loss will be vastly greater than an insulated wall.

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 13:45:14

Yes thermostat is in a silly place I agree. I may ask plumber to move it if that's feasible.
Ok will do as you suggest I have fabric ready to make curtains so will get on that.
Erm...what's a TRV? the turny number bit on the radiator? grin

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 13:46:09

And lockshield valve? That's something different to the TRV?
Where do you live piglet john, would you like to be my new best friend? wink

GrendelsMum Sun 13-Jan-13 14:09:42

I dont think it's that surprising, tbh, based on how much we get through. A 4 bed barn conversion sounds like you've got a huge space to be heating, even if its insulated, and I think you said you've got very big, full height windows.

We've got a 4 bed, 400 year old house, fully insulated but with big windows, and the place just eats heating oil.

We use 200l a month and only use the heating 4 hours a day.

Badly built new build in the west of Ireland sad no leaks, it's all grass between the tank abd house and the time we did have a very slow leak it was obvious as the grass died at the point of the leak.

PigletJohn Sun 13-Jan-13 14:43:41

thermostatic radiator valve
the thrmostatic knob is adjusted to a number corresponding to a comfortable temperature in thaty room. With the door closed, it will prevent heat being wasted by overheating that room.

lockshield valve
to set the flow to adjust radiators relative to each other. Adjusted with a small spanner on the spindle under the cover (shield) which is then screwed (locked) into place to prevent anyone fiddling with the adjustment. Amost all the adjustment is within one turn up from fully closed.

Purplehonesty Sun 13-Jan-13 18:40:42

Thanks all. Hubby has been round adjusting all the rads today to half on and shutting doors!
200 litres a month I could deal with that would last us 5 months. But 500 a month? Arghhhh

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