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Does anybody have oil central heating?

(48 Posts)
QueuetoaskaQ Wed 01-Nov-17 09:33:32

Hi - we're considering renting a house with oil central heating. We've only ever had gas central heating before so it's all new to me.

Basically there is a huge tank outside in the back garden which I'm told costs approx £350 to fill but the estate agent couldn't tell me how long this would last.

Apparently if i sign up to a monthly thing, a big lorry will come and top it up for me every month.

If i don't subscribe to a monthly contract then I need to wait until it runs empty and then buy a full tank's worth each time.

Can anybody tell me how much more expensive this form of heating will be than gas? Do any of you subscribe to a monthly contract?

Thanks.

MissConductUS Wed 01-Nov-17 10:39:22

We have a contract to have propane delivered as needed and have had oil done the same way in the past. In the US oil tends to be a bit more expensive than gas or propane, but that may not be true in the UK. You should get a better price when you let them schedule deliveries, which they do based on how cold it has been.

Can the landlord ask the last tenant what they spent last winter for oil? That would give you some idea of what you're in for.

Good luck with the move. smile

scurryfunge Wed 01-Nov-17 10:46:18

I would check about having to have a full refill if you don't subscribe to the scheme. We add to ours as when required in various amounts. I find it cheaper than gas but there is only two of us and I don't heat the whole house often. Oil prices vary though so some years have been cheaper than others.

EdgarAllanPO Wed 01-Nov-17 10:48:21

We have oil, no gas where we are. We usually get about 400 litres put in about every 2 months during the winter, oil is down in price at the moment so it's not too bad. About a fortnight ago it cost us under £200. I obviously can't compare it to gas but one tip I'll pass on is not to let the oil run out because then you need to bleed the boiler or something. We just keep ordering.

Dadsussex Wed 01-Nov-17 10:50:41

You can buy heating oil at any time, bit like filling your car up however you need to give the oil company an idea of roughly how much you want - normally 400/500L minimum unless you go on the monthly agreements

Basically you will have a gauge that will tell you the tank level, bit like in a car

You then decide how much oil to order and when, based on your tank size

So in my case I’ve a 1200 tank and when I get to 3/10 on the gauge I normally order 750/800 litres which takes me almost to the top again

You can shop around and there will be at least a couple of suppliers in your area, some people use boilerjuice an online group buying scheme too

Frillyhorseyknickers Wed 01-Nov-17 10:51:53

How big is the tank? How big is the house? How many of you are living there?

Our 2000l tank fuels a 8 bedroom house and a tank will last 2.5months with the heating on twice daily, two of us (plus baby) living here.

The "monthly top up" is complete false economy, you get a better pence per litre rate if you buy more. Letting it run empty is not advised as you may have to bleed the system if it gets air locked.

nornironlady Wed 01-Nov-17 10:54:35

Having just switched from Oil to Gas this year I find our home is much warmer and for much longer. I wasn't part of a pay monthly scheme and it could be a struggle to find the large sum required to pay for a tank of oil when it ran out unexpectedly. £350 is around 500litres of oil not a full tank which is more like 900-1000litres. This lasts a few months to half a year depending on your usage and home insulation. It takes a long time to heat up unlike gas which is almost instant and I found it didn't maintain the heat as well as the gas does. However we did have some work done this year on floors etc. and I think this may have contributed to the house keeping more heat in than with the oil. Most suppliers do have smaller quantities available and most will offer emergency deliveries if you do run out and need more asap. Given the choice I'd opt for gas where possible.

cakesandphotos Wed 01-Nov-17 10:56:06

I’ve always had oil, at home with my parents and now in my house. I wouldn’t advise waiting for the tank to get empty, it can suck up the nasties in the bottom and funk up the boiler. We’ve accidentally run out twice which means no heating or hot water. Then we get an air lock.
I would recommend getting a watchman, you plug it in in the kitchen and there’s a sensor and it tells you when you’re running low. We are definitely getting one!
We moved in almost 1 year ago and have put 500L in 3 times. It’s roughly £230 for 500L. The problem with the monthly payment is you always have to use the same company and prices can differ significantly so it’s alwags worth ringing round. Alternatively, see if there’s some kind of oil cooperative locally, they’re supposed to be cheaper

50ShadesOfEarlGrey Wed 01-Nov-17 10:59:14

Definitely don’t let the oil run out, ever! Costs a fortune to get the pipes cleaned from the sludge that will be put through the system. There should be a gauge on the tank, some are more accurate than others, but you can get an electronic one, it doesn’t cost much.
You can shop around for the best oil price, we use boilerjuice.com who are lovely, they are a broker. The longer lead time you have the cheaper it will be, but someone does have to be there for the delivery. Plan ahead is the best thing, don’t try to get a delivery over Christmas/New Year.
I don’t think there is a lot of difference in cost now, but difficult to tell. There is, I think, a very slight smell with oil, but the boilers are often in a tilly room, so it doesn’t linger through the whole house.
Most viIllages around here don’t have mains gas so most have oil boilers. Lots of villages have oil clubs, where they bulk purchase for the best price and then pay a fee per drop off.

mateysmum Wed 01-Nov-17 11:07:30

Echo what others have said. Don't let your oil run out! Check the gauge or buy one (with a remote monitor for inside the house) and reorder when it gets to about 1/3 full as the gauges aren't fool proof and you may wait a week before your delivery.
Don't go on the monthly top ups, they are an excuse for the supplier to charge you the highest price possible. Find out how many litres the tank holds (it might say it on the tank itself if it is one of the modern plastic ones.).
Min order is usually 500L and it's usually a bit cheaper if you order 1000L. Our tank s a huge 2500L so that's not a problem for us!

Sunnyshores Wed 01-Nov-17 11:07:38

Oil is at the moment much the same price as a standard Gas tarrif. It could go up by about 10% though, it also varies considerably. If you live in an area of oil users your parish council may have a co-op that gets it cheaper. Thats why not tying yourself into one supplier or a monthly refill is a good idea.

What I would say is, as with any boiler, check how old it is. The oder ones are hugely inefficient and can be quite smelly. Modern ones are much better, smaller and can also be fitted outside.

We had to change our 30 year old one (!) and got a wood pellet boiler instead, subsidised by the Govt.

cleanandtidy Wed 01-Nov-17 11:10:03

We used to have it. We paid a monthly fee of around £80 pounds.
I didn’t like it at all - if you can’t find a supplier that accepts a monthly deal , you need to stump up a small fortune several times a year. I was never in a position to find 500£ ( which is what it cost for us st the time)
If you have more money, then l guess it isn’t such a concern.
We have gas now - even on a meter and it is much, much cheaper.

Airfixkitwidow Wed 01-Nov-17 11:11:00

We use boilerjuice as mentioned above. We have a watchman in the utility room. When it gets down to two bars we look at boiler juice and arrange a top up with the cheapest supplier. Don't do monthly as you are locked into the supplier.

Just one word of warning with renting a house with oil. We did this when pur house was being renovated. We arranged for a half tank of oil to be delivered. When we moved out there was still a fair amount left but we couldnt get a refund for this. So make sure that if and when you leave the rental you run the oil down or get it written in the contract that any remaining oil will be refunded.

SunsetBoulevard Wed 01-Nov-17 11:15:12

I ordered ours yesterday at 45p a litre (SE region) which is a good price. We've paid anything up to 73p a litre when all the prices rocketed a few years ago. We can only buy a minimum of 500 litres round here and our tank is 1000l which is a relatively small tank compared to some and would therefore cost £450 + VAT (which is 5% on heating oil) so our 500l was £240ish + VAT this time around. We used to get through around 2000l a year in our small farm workers' cottage but that was with our old, very inefficient boiler. Am hoping it will be a bit better this year as we've had a new one installed. We did look into the top up scheme but as others say it locks you into whatever price that company is charging at the time and they all vary considerably. Always phone around for a quote or use BoilerJuice site for best prices.

Abra1d Wed 01-Nov-17 11:17:15

Look out for local consortiums or coops. We’re in one and the group purchasing power means we get a better deal.

Gizlotsmum Wed 01-Nov-17 11:21:47

Just got started with oil heating in new property. Delivery of 500l yesterday ( didn’t need to be home, ordered over the weekend). Cost £210. House so far seems as warm as with gas heating (had in old house) will see how long it lasts.

QueuetoaskaQ Wed 01-Nov-17 11:26:13

Thank you so very much, everyone!

Lots to think about. I really like the sound of boiler juice and having a watchman inside.

I may have misinterpreted the agent then when she was showing us around. Perhaps she meant that there was currently £350 worth of oil in the tank and I would need to buy this. I'll call her later to confirm all of the details.

Great to know in advance about potential smells and the fact it takes longer to heat up. My GCH is instant. I can have the full flat toasty hot in just a few minutes if the temp is up really high.

There are only two of us and it's a two bed cottage. i must say, that my heating is normally never off. I feel the cold really easily and love to be warm. My current gas bill is paid every three months and is about £150-£200. Approx £800 a year. This is for heating and hot water only - my current cooker is electric.

I'll have a word with the agent shortly to get more info about the tank and what it currently has in it.

Thanks again!

Etymology23 Wed 01-Nov-17 11:27:39

My parents have always had oil. They didn't have a watchman, dad just dips a stick into the tank about once a month (big tank - 2500l) and they order more when they have <1/4 tank.

They save money each month for the next 1000+ litres. I think they use about 100l a month for a big detached 3bed. They don't keep the house tropical though and have an open fire.

It's not been a problem for them at all, certainly not one that would be worth not renting a house over. Just ring round the various suppliers once every 6-12 months and negotiate a price per L.

PricillaQueenOfTheDesert Wed 01-Nov-17 11:27:45

I had oil in the past. There will be a gauge on the tank that tells you how much oil you have left. It’s definitely worth filling up in summer when prices drop substantially. Our tank was large and lasted all winter, then we’d fill it in summer.

If it’s a nice house in a nice area don’t let oil heating put you off, I loved knowing that we had pre paid for our winter heating.

NewtsSuitcase Wed 01-Nov-17 11:29:55

A huge tank is not going to cost £350 to fill. That sounds like a fairly small tank - either that or they are not being honest about the costs.

Oil heating is the same as gas heating in terms of warmth, the central heating system is what it is. The difference will be the cost. We have had oil heating for almost 10 years since we moved here. You do need to consider that at the moment oil heating is very cheap. Its currently sitting at around 44p per litre. Lowest we've seen it in that time was about 33p per litre a couple of years ago in the summer. Highest we've seen it was about 76p per litre when we first moved here... All energy costs fluctuate though.

Topping up every month would end up being more expensive because you wouldn't be able to take advantage of the price drops during the warmer months. We top up a couple of times a year (but have a 2000 litre tank and oil is not our primary heating source)

verystressedmum Wed 01-Nov-17 11:40:08

Definitely do not ever let the tank run empty!!
£350 won’t fill a huge tank, I got oil yesterday it was £209 for 500 litres and the tank is probably not even half full. I don’t have a gauge on my tank which is a pain in the arse but I dip it (with a long bit of dry wood) and try to roughly figure out how much of the tank is full.

You don’t need a monthly top up just fill up when you think you’re running low and get a larger amount of oil. 700 litres will be cheaper per litre than 200 litres.

Gas is much easier but if the house uses oil it will be fine.

MiaowTheCat Wed 01-Nov-17 13:04:26

My mum has it.

I'd add - don't let the tank run empty at 4pm on the evening before Christmas Eve - that was a fucking cold Christmas (and frosty for my step father who'd forgotten to order the delivery too).

She now has a sensor in the tank, linked to a box on the phoneline that monitors the level and calls it into the depot when it's starting to run low. She pays a monthly direct debit and they just keep it topped up without her having to do much at all really - and then they refund her if she's overpaid on it. There's only one of the trucks they can send to do deliveries for her house because of the nature of access to it - but the company basically do all of the faffing for it. They'll also do top ups when prices drop to save their customers money as well.

Basically once it's got to that level of operation it's no different to more conventional central heating really - no colder in her house (unless my stepfather's left the doors open again) and absolutely fine.

mateysmum Wed 01-Nov-17 13:28:34

Our local syndicate was giving a price of 40.9p per litre yesterday, so reading above, that is a very good price.
No reason why oil will be any slower or less effective than gas heating. As PP have said, it's all to do with the boiler.
Re the boiler, make sure you know the boiler has been recently serviced. It is more important to service an oil boiler annually than a gas boiler as the burner nozzle can get clogged up and if that happens the boiler will cut out. If it's a decent boiler with regular servicing, there's no reason to expect a problem

specialsubject Wed 01-Nov-17 18:04:16

You have been told a lot of horseshit by the agent.

As mentioned, it is the cheapest form of heat per unit and has been for some time. What matters, as always is insulation and boiler efficiency. Epc on this place? Age of boiler? Quality of installation? Serviced annually? Building regs covering installation by an oftec engineer? Tank located to modern standards and/ or bunded?

Do not sign up to monthly schemes, you pay a loyalty tax. Shop around every time and plan ahead. With the gauge, pull out the knob on the bottom as otherwise it over reads. Watch the oil price and the news to try and monitor prices.

outabout Wed 01-Nov-17 18:31:30

Our oil club was at 39.5 p/litre inc vat last week. Prices vary daily and it pays to shop around. Getting 900 or 1000 litres or more gets a better rate than a usual 500 litre minimum.
An oil boiler should give the same heat out as gas (assuming they are similarly rated) but might be a couple of minutes slower (literally) at getting the heat through.
A friendly oil supplier might suggest times when the price MIGHT be less (say next week rather than today) as they watch the trends in prices like hawks.The Government being an 'arse' or upset in the middle east or USA can do drastic things to the price you pay on a daily basis.

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