It is estimated there are around 4 million homes in the UK that do not have access to gas or electricity. A suitable alternative for people living in rural areas is to install an oil-fired combi- boiler.
Oil-fired boilers are one of the most cost-effective methods of fuelling a central heating system, although the price of fuel can fluctuate. Prices are typically 4.9p per 1KwH compared to 4.2p for gas and 16p for electricity or 6-8p on the Economy 7 tariff.
However, oil fired boilers are more expensive to purchase and install than gas or electric boilers. Estimated costs range between £4000-£5000 for the cost of the boiler and installation.
It should be noted that oil boilers are legally required to have a Sedbuk rating of at least 86%. The most energy efficient oil-fired boilers are 89-93%.
Pros and Cons of Oil Fired Boilers
As with all central heating systems, there are pros and cons to consider before installing an oil boiler.
- Extremely energy efficient because they heat water on demand
- Running costs significantly lower than electric boilers
- Ideal alternative for households that do not have access to a mains gas supply
- Freedom to change supplier at any time
- Oil-fired boilers can be used alongside renewable energy heaters
- Hot water takes longer to heat up
- Not that most environmentally friendly
- Require annual maintenance checks
- Oil resources dues to expire in about 40 years so oil boilers are becoming outdated
- Oil prices in the UK will probably rise significantly
Oil Fired Boiler Prices
Oil fired boilers are more expensive to buy and install than gas or electric. However, the running costs are significantly lower than most electricity tariffs and around the same as gas (depending on fluctuations).
The prices given below show the price range of oil-fired boilers offered by the leading manufacturers in the UK and the average installation cost of a 2-4 bedroomed home. Prices will vary from one installation company to the next depending on where you live and any complications that may arise during the installation process.
|Manufacturer||Cost of Boiler||Installation Costs|
|Eurocal||£1350-£1900||£770-£950 + VAT|
|Warmflow||£1700-£1950||£500-£1000 + VAT|
|Grant Vortex||£1800-£2000||£675-£975 + VAT|
|Worcester Greenstar||£1500-£2300||£675-£975 + VAT|
Can Oil Boilers be Converted to Gas?
In order to reduce the disadvantages of oil-fired boilers, they can be converted to gas. However, if cost is an important factor, it is not strongly recommended unless you have no other option. The table below gives you an idea what you will have to pay.
|Installation of Gas Pipes||£1000-£1600|
|Install Meter||Free with most gas suppliers|
|Cost of new boiler||£1350-£2300|
As you can see from the table above, the cost of converting oil boilers to gas is high. Before converting oil to gas, you should consider the difference in running costs in minimal, and gas supplies are estimated to expire just eight years after oil.
Having said that, gas is more environmentally friendly than oil and could prove to be a more cost-effective heating system moving forward.
Can Oil Boilers Run on diesel?
The majority of oil-fired boilers in the UK run on kerosene. They can, however, be converted to diesel if it is installed outdoors and has a high-level flue. Burning diesel is not permitted on a low-level flue.
Combi boilers, otherwise known as condensation boilers, do not convert to diesel as it is not an ideal fuel for running indoor heating systems.
To convert an oil-fired boiler to diesel it is recommended that you hire the services of a competent OFTEC qualified technician.
Can an Oil-Fired Combi Boiler be Moved?
If you have an oil-fired combi boiler installed in an inconvenient location in your home, there can be advantages to moving it.
For example, you might want to free up space, reduce the noise or carry out renovation or repairs on your property. However, it should be noted that the cost of moving an oil-fired combi boiler can be as much as £800. The table below gives you a breakdown of potential costs.
|Extension flue pipe||£40 per metre|
|Pipework / fittings||£300-£600|
Can an Oil Boiler Go in the Loft?
Oil-fired boilers can be installed in the loft under certain circumstances. OFTEC do not recommend installing oil boilers in the loft unless there is no other alternative, and the boiler meets British Safety Standards.
The code of practice for fitting oil-fired combi boilers in the lost are regulated by BS 5410 and state:
- Boilers must be less than 45 kWh
- Tank capacity must be less than 3500 litres
- The loft space must have a permanent means of access and support the weight of a full tank
- Boilers must have a balanced flue and be placed in a drip tray that automatically shuts off oil when it reaches a certain level in the drip tray
- The boiler and the oil must be isolated outside the loft space
- The boiler must not use diesel
It is highly recommended that any type of boiler installed in the loft is fitted by a qualified OFTEC technician.