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  • FIRST POST
    GeekyGirl
    Central heating: oil vs bottled LPG
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 13, 2:40 PM
    Central heating: oil vs bottled LPG 12th Mar 13 at 2:40 PM
    Official MSE Insert:

    If you've arrived from Google, our fully researched Cheap Heating Oil guide may be helpful.

    Back to the original post...

    Hi all, at my wit's end here.

    I bought a property back in October 2011. It had been empty for about a year as the previous owner had been in care. The central heating is oil - however, the tank leaked so was taken away. I'm left with an oil boiler that I'm not sure works and two options;
    1 - Get a new tank and run the risk of needing a new oil boiler if the current one doesn't work, or
    2 - Switch to LPG.

    Now, I've checked out several forums and the majority of them compare oil heating to LPG tanks - I won't be getting a tank though, instead planning to run off gas bottles.

    I've received quotes from a LPG certified tech (January) and an oil tech (yesterday). The situation is this;
    - I pay just under 800 for a new single skin tank and base
    - Told by oil tech that current boiler will probably run at about 75% efficiency compared to 92% of a new one
    - This ties me to sticking to oil and the possibility of needing a new boiler (been quoted 2000) so could in total cost me just under 3k + oil payments
    - Bottled LPG was quoted at 1750 to include everything; boiler, pipes, thermostats, etc but not empty/new bottles as I already have access to these.

    I'm shying away from oil because of;
    - large chunks of payments for the minimum amount of oil you have to buy (500 litres from Goff)
    - theft

    My neighbour switched his house from oil to bottled LPG. The couple he rented out to went through 6 large bottles in 11 months (at 50 p/bottle = say 300 for the year)

    Awaiting a quote for the 500 litres from Goff - a couple of family friends has said this minimum amount usually lasts them for the year.

    I work 9 to 5 Mon-Fri and live alone so don't really need heating on all day or on high excessively.

    I just wondered what other people have plumped for when facing the same decision - or if there's any techs out there that do oil AND LPG and can therefore provide an unbiased opinion.

    Thanks
    Last edited by MSE Zorica; 19-02-2014 at 1:00 PM.
Page 1
    • jeepjunkie
    • By jeepjunkie 12th Mar 13, 3:04 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 1,233 Thanks
    jeepjunkie
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 13, 3:04 PM
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 13, 3:04 PM
    Check this out...

    http://www.nottenergy.com/energy_cost_comparison
    • ilikecookies
    • By ilikecookies 12th Mar 13, 7:46 PM
    • 184 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    ilikecookies
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 13, 7:46 PM
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 13, 7:46 PM
    In terms of ongoing running costs oil will definitely be cheaper to run than bottled gas. There is no doubt around that.

    This puts the dilemma around the upfront costs and whether you want to save upfront cost now or pay later in higher running costs

    My first thought though was whether you need to replace the oil boiler at all. In this regard it might be worth sharing the make and model of the existing oil boiler because 75% efficient isn't that bad (boiler efficiencies are a bit like MPG ratings for cars - totally devoid from the real world!) and sometimes the older models/makes are more reliable than the new ones anyway. Plumbers always want to whack a new boiler in at any opportunity as the margins are high so this might have been why the plumber "recommended" it.

    Whether or not the old oil boiler works, however, would seem to be your real unknown! There may be a way though that an oil engineer could test this - eg. hooking it up to a small barrel of oil or something.
    Last edited by ilikecookies; 12-03-2013 at 7:49 PM.
  • GeekyGirl
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 13, 8:12 AM
    • #4
    • 13th Mar 13, 8:12 AM
    Definitely some food for thought there jeepjunkie, thanks.

    The only thing I could tell you about the existing boiler, ilikecookies, is that it has Camray Compact on the front. There no model number or anything like that, just Camray Compact. Both techs I've had give me a quote have said, "If only you had a tank so we could test it"... which gave me the impression that there was no other way to test it.

    Goff came back with a quote of 367.24 inc VAT for 500 litres of oil, which, according to several other people with oil, should last me a year. So I'm pitting that figure against my neighbour's bottled gas costs for 11 months (6 bottles at 66 a bottle, from Flogas, makes it 396).

    So that suggests that oil is actually the cheapest to run... but of course depends on efficiency and whether 500 litres will actually last me a year.

    But I do agree that finding a way of knowing whether the current boiler works or not would be helpful. I've got another tech to call today who I think does oil and LPG - will check with him if there's a way to test the boiler.

    Someone told me last night that they have a big LPG tank running all their heating and hot water and they've already got through 1200 worth this winter alone.

    Oh the joys of being a homeowner...
    • reeac
    • By reeac 13th Mar 13, 9:01 AM
    • 871 Posts
    • 354 Thanks
    reeac
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 13, 9:01 AM
    • #5
    • 13th Mar 13, 9:01 AM
    Definitely some food for thought there jeepjunkie, thanks.

    The only thing I could tell you about the existing boiler, ilikecookies, is that it has Camray Compact on the front. There no model number or anything like that, just Camray Compact. Both techs I've had give me a quote have said, "If only you had a tank so we could test it"... which gave me the impression that there was no other way to test it.

    Goff came back with a quote of 367.24 inc VAT for 500 litres of oil, which, according to several other people with oil, should last me a year. So I'm pitting that figure against my neighbour's bottled gas costs for 11 months (6 bottles at 66 a bottle, from Flogas, makes it 396).

    So that suggests that oil is actually the cheapest to run... but of course depends on efficiency and whether 500 litres will actually last me a year.

    But I do agree that finding a way of knowing whether the current boiler works or not would be helpful. I've got another tech to call today who I think does oil and LPG - will check with him if there's a way to test the boiler.

    Someone told me last night that they have a big LPG tank running all their heating and hot water and they've already got through 1200 worth this winter alone.

    Oh the joys of being a homeowner...
    Originally posted by GeekyGirl
    Your best means of running cost comparison is the pence per kWh as quoted by jeepjunkie. THese show lpg as only 6.7% more expensive than oil [both at 90% efficiency]. My impression has been for a long time that the differential was much greater than that. Beware of anecdotal running costs -different households have widely differing heating demands and sometimes you get boasting akin to saloon bar car mpg. stories. I'm sure that a plumber could test the old boiler by fixing up a temp. fuel supply and that would answer the boiler question.
  • GeekyGirl
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 13, 9:54 AM
    • #6
    • 13th Mar 13, 9:54 AM
    Your best means of running cost comparison is the pence per kWh as quoted by jeepjunkie. THese show lpg as only 6.7% more expensive than oil [both at 90% efficiency]. My impression has been for a long time that the differential was much greater than that. Beware of anecdotal running costs -different households have widely differing heating demands and sometimes you get boasting akin to saloon bar car mpg. stories. I'm sure that a plumber could test the old boiler by fixing up a temp. fuel supply and that would answer the boiler question.
    Originally posted by reeac
    Okay, so is there any way I can work out the pence per kWh using the prices I've been quoted? ie what's the formula?
    • nande2000
    • By nande2000 13th Mar 13, 3:39 PM
    • 210 Posts
    • 81 Thanks
    nande2000
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 13, 3:39 PM
    • #7
    • 13th Mar 13, 3:39 PM
    The other option is of course an Air source heat pump. It will cost a bit more than a new oil boiler plus tank. But there have been government grants to cover that and im sure there will be more annouced next month.
    You would need to ensure the house is well insulated for it to be suitable.

    I would strongly advise against LPG because of the ongoing costs and long term contracts you have to sign up to.
    • macman
    • By macman 13th Mar 13, 3:45 PM
    • 40,036 Posts
    • 16,199 Thanks
    macman
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 13, 3:45 PM
    • #8
    • 13th Mar 13, 3:45 PM
    Okay, so is there any way I can work out the pence per kWh using the prices I've been quoted? ie what's the formula?
    Originally posted by GeekyGirl
    Take the cost per litre, then the kWh value per litre, and factor the cost per kWh.
    So for example, 100p per litre at 10kWh per litre gives a cost per kWh of 10p.
    As it assumes 100% boiler efficiency, it is of course only a theoretical figure, (the cost per kWh of fuel used, not the cost per kWh of heat produced), but will enable you to compare the two fuels.
    Last edited by macman; 13-03-2013 at 3:52 PM.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
  • GeekyGirl
    • #9
    • 13th Mar 13, 4:38 PM
    • #9
    • 13th Mar 13, 4:38 PM
    The other option is of course an Air source heat pump. It will cost a bit more than a new oil boiler plus tank. But there have been government grants to cover that and im sure there will be more annouced next month.
    You would need to ensure the house is well insulated for it to be suitable.

    I would strongly advise against LPG because of the ongoing costs and long term contracts you have to sign up to.
    Originally posted by nande2000
    Do you mean the green deal? That's just a loan though isn't it?

    And with the bottled propane there won't be long term contracts.
  • GeekyGirl
    Take the cost per litre, then the kWh value per litre, and factor the cost per kWh.
    So for example, 100p per litre at 10kWh per litre gives a cost per kWh of 10p.
    As it assumes 100% boiler efficiency, it is of course only a theoretical figure, (the cost per kWh of fuel used, not the cost per kWh of heat produced), but will enable you to compare the two fuels.
    Originally posted by macman
    So my next question is how do find out the kWh value per litre?
    • Garetha
    • By Garetha 13th Mar 13, 4:53 PM
    • 941 Posts
    • 724 Thanks
    Garetha
    Okay, so is there any way I can work out the pence per kWh using the prices I've been quoted? ie what's the formula?
    Originally posted by GeekyGirl
    There's a good comparison table in jeepjunkie's link
    • nande2000
    • By nande2000 13th Mar 13, 4:53 PM
    • 210 Posts
    • 81 Thanks
    nande2000
    Do you mean the green deal? That's just a loan though isn't it?

    And with the bottled propane there won't be long term contracts.
    Originally posted by GeekyGirl
    True, but bottles are very expensive compared to Oil. I meant the RHPP which is coming to an end this month and is due to be replaced by the RHI or if that is delayed again, probably another RHPP.
    • donnalou
    • By donnalou 18th Mar 13, 11:25 AM
    • 460 Posts
    • 403 Thanks
    donnalou
    Wow I wished 500 litres lasted me a year! It lasts a months in my case. Even when I was working it still only lasted for 2 months during the winter. We do live in a drafty old old semi detached cottage though.
    • jeepjunkie
    • By jeepjunkie 18th Mar 13, 2:18 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 1,233 Thanks
    jeepjunkie
    The other option is of course an Air source heat pump. It will cost a bit more than a new oil boiler plus tank. But there have been government grants to cover that and im sure there will be more annouced next month.
    You would need to ensure the house is well insulated for it to be suitable.

    I would strongly advise against LPG because of the ongoing costs and long term contracts you have to sign up to.
    Originally posted by nande2000
    Whole heartedly agree. I'd rather fit storage heaters on E7 than ever consider LPG ever again. Oil is only better in that there are no contracts so you can shop around but is barely any cheaper. And if you run an oil fired AGA, Rayburn etc don't be surprised when 500litres of oil only lasts a month in winter...

    I've always been a great advocate of renewables despite all the crtisism of them. Been monitoring my COP of late and for heating [not DHW - hence why considering ImmerSun] hovers around 4.1 to 4.7 which is refelcted in bills. I pay 9.45 inc vat for electricity. This makes it vastly cheaper than Oil, LPG, etc in fact the lot... The downside is the initial cost but as nande2000 rightly says the RHI grant will cover the capital cost when it starts.

    And thats in a 100 odd year old house with high ceilings and basic insulation Being old it has deliberate drafts too
  • digbydog3/12
    LPG vs Oil
    Your quote 1750 inc all boiler etc which company was that from? Thankyou
  • digbydog3/12
    LPG vsOil
    Sorry am new to posting my message was for Geekygirl thankyou
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