Oil heating

Oil heating


More than four million households in Great Britain are not connected to the national gas grid and depend upon heating oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), electricity, or other sustainable sourcesto heat their homes. The key difference between energy from the grid and oil heating (as well as LPG) is that the oil is transported by road and stored in a tank. The use of oil heating is the most popular fuel for homes in Northern Ireland, due to the late expansion of a natural gas network.


There are two types of heating oil used for domestic heating:

  • Kerosene – (also known as 28 second, or heating oil).This is a lighter and cleaner fuel and the most popular type used in homes in the UK.
  • Gas oil – Gas oil – (also known as red diesel, or 35 second oil). This is a heavier oil commonly used in older boilers, agriculture, and industry. If you have just moved into a property, the type of oil you will need is determined by the kind of heating system already installed in the building. If your boiler or tank is not labelled clearly, it would be wise to ask the previous tenant what type was used. If they are unavailable and cannot help, an online search will help you source the professionals, who will tell you precisely what you need to know.


The cost of heating oil

Heating oil costs can vary, depending on your location and the time of year you put in your order. Of course, winter months see a higher demand and generally prices are higher at this time of year. One way to make a saving is to order your heating oil at the end of the summer, when prices are lower. Fortunately, cheap heating oil is available to those in Ireland with an established nationwide supplier

If you have the choice to select which type to use, kerosene is the most popular and effective fuel. In colder weather it does not ‘wax up’ (develop crystals that stop it from flowing as freely) until it nears around – 39C. (Although you would be wise to check with the supplier on the kind you are using, as this can vary).


You can purchase a premium type of kerosene, which contains additives – this makes it burn cleaner and therefore more effectively. Premium kerosene commonly costs around £20 to £30 more than the standard type (based on 500 litres). You can also buy the additives yourself, which cost somewhere around £10 for a container that will treat 1,000 litres of oil.


If you live in Ireland, there are nationwide suppliers that have depots across the country. They are able to deliver to your home, whether you are in a city or a rural location. An online search will put you in touch with a reputable dealer. Make sure you place your order before the cold weather arrives, as this will affect the cost.