An energy-efficient, oil-fired central heating system will have the same controls as a modern gas-fired system:
• Room thermostat, ideally located in a living room, not the hallway
• Thermostatic radiator valve s (TRVs) on all but one the radiators
• Electronic 7-day timer with separately programmable hot water and room heating
• Cylinder thermostat on the hot water tank
• The boiler and thermostats wired in an interlock to prevent short cycling when there is no demand for either hot water or room heating
What type of oil-fired boiler should I Install?
It has been mandatory since April 2007 to install condensing oil boilers to comply with Building Regulations. Modern oil-fired boilers can be highly efficient and there are not over 90 “A” rated models on the market. You can check boiler rating on the SEDBUK website. For more information, you should speak to a reputable boiler manufacturer or installer.
Oil-fired combination boilers are also available, providing hot water on demand without the need for a hot water tank. However, it is fair to say that they are a bit slower to provide hot water than some gas combi boilers, and that they are not always recommended except for smaller households.
Oil boilers are available with both balanced flues (where the air for combustion is drawn in through a pipe concentric with the extract flue) and with open flues (where the air for combustion is drawn from the room in which the boiler is sited). Although Building Regulations permit both types of boiler to be located in domestic garages, we recommend that only balanced flue boilers are used in those areas. Most modern boilers use a pressure jet burner; although some vaporising burner machines are still available on the market, they may only be fitted into a limited number of locations.
What type of oil should I use?
Almost all UK domestic central heating systems use 28 sec oil, which is sometimes known as kerosene. This fuel burns more cleanly that heavier oil products such as gasoil, which is also known as 35 sec heating oil, 28 sec oil can also be used in kitchen ranges such as AGA cookers.
As the sulphur content of oil has fallen, some domestic oil suppliers have added additional lubricants to kerosene to enable fuel to be pumped to the boiler more easily. This is not usually necessary for most systems, as modern pumps have been engineered to operate effectively with low-sulphur fuels, but if you are unsure if you would benefit from using such fuels, speak to your equipment supplier.
Some smaller suppliers are looking at producing a bio-heating oil product wholly from vegetable oils, similar to 100% biodiesel. At the moment, this is not widely available in the UK, but could provide a greener alternative to normal heating oil, especially if it uses waste vegetable oils as its feedstock. However, before using it in your system, we would always recommend checking with your boiler manufacturer to ensure that it is suitable, does not wax up in very cold weather and will not damage your burner or invalidate your boiler warranty. There have also been test of a blend of biokerosine with traditional heating oil, known as B30K, as this is likely to work better in existing boilers and less prone to waxing in the very cold winters.