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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!!

Purplehonesty Wed 16-Jan-13 22:59:20

Cheers moveit. Resigned to the fact that we are going to be cold or skint. Or both!grin

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Wed 16-Jan-13 20:02:22

Ah, I've just read you latest post and it answers whether there is a house likes yours in the area. Ignore me grin

ILikeToMoveItMoveIt Wed 16-Jan-13 20:00:59

Do you have a neighbour with a house the same as yours? If you do, asking them how much they use might help. I know there are lots of variables when comparing, but it may be able to give you some idea if there is a leak or not.

Purplehonesty Wed 16-Jan-13 19:48:55

Oh my goodness tiger you are very brave! You must be knackered doing all that plus looking after two kiddies.
Yes we converted my parents stable block and garage/store into our house.
It had been a farm previously so it was a stone built L shaped barn with earth floors.
It took nearly 11 months to complete but almost 2 years with planning etc.
We stayed next door with my parents which was trying to say the least
It's lovely now and seeing it when we drive in still gives me the 'wow is this really ours' feeling. But then i remember how much it cost and that feeling goes away lol

thetigerwhocametoteax Tue 15-Jan-13 12:44:29

Congrats on DD too! Getting the work done before baby arriving sounds far more sensible than us....Did you convert the barn from scratch? We sold our house in September and (madly) moved into a one bedroom flat above my work for 6 weeks then moved into our new house November - hard work! House is coming along slowly but we are only 2 months in, I am just impatient and its hard with 2 little people in the chaos. So far we have had a new staircase in and the place re-wired. We have a joyful week of stripping woodchip off this week then the plasterers come Monday to sort our lumpy walls and floorboarded (= drafty) ceilings out. Then will come the slow job of painting the place from top to bottom, getting some carpets and furniture in and getting it to feel like our home. I think it would be a very exciting project if it was just me and DH and we had plenty of time but finding it quite hard to motivate myself to start doing things after DS2 finally gone to bed - thats are only time to do jobs. We are in Yorkshire, out in the sticks too, minus 3 today so definitely a bit nippy but probably not as cold as far ooop north I guess! Had lovely morning of DS1 running about in the snow then coming in to toasty warm woodburner in lounge so just getting a taste of how lovely it will be here once we are sorted! Sorry that was a marathon - hope you are keeping warm and enjoying the little ones grin

Purplehonesty Mon 14-Jan-13 14:05:25

Hello tiger. Congrats on ds2! Our dd was born in June and the house was finished in may. I was stamping around growling at the tradesmen whilst 8 months pregnant to get them to finish on time!
I think we would still be waiting for them if I hadn't!
How is your house coming along? And where did you move to? We are north of Inverness right in the country which is lovely but a bit cold hence the heating bills!

thetigerwhocametoteax Mon 14-Jan-13 11:54:20

Hello there, think I remember you from the TTC whilst BF board. Congrats on your new baby and house. Glad we are not the only mad ones moving with an new baby - we had DS2 in August and moved in November to a 200yr old cottage that needs renovating. We are new to the oil heating, we filled up with 1500L when we moved in 2 months ago and I guess we've used a bit less than half so about 300L a month which is not too far off yours. We are a 5 bed poorly insulated (we are working on that!) stone house and have the woodburner on a lot. Been furiously sewing curtains and draught excluders and having plasterers over to insulate and replaster quite a few rooms. Hoping for a snugger winter next year!

kirstytate Sun 13-Jan-13 19:19:37

Another one here who says it doesn't sound too bad - but were in a 400 year old uninsulated house and the norm is to use around 100 litres a week when it gets really cold (heating on a few hours a day, relying on wood burners the rest of the time).

We significantly reduced our consumption by blocking up the gaps to the outside and replacing our open fire with another wood burner - but I would have thought that in a relatively modern barn conversion those things would be taken care of.

We also switch off radiators in little used rooms and rely on electric oil heaters in small rooms like the kids bedrooms as we find this more cost-effective. DH and I huddle in front of the fire after the kids have gone to bed!

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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 12:05:06

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.

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?

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.

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.

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 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....

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 ?

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