Oil central heating

Hello  :)

I know this is going to be a “how long is a piece of string” question…but I’m hoping someone is able to give me an idea. 

I’m currently in the process of purchasing a house. It’s a 3 bed detached with double garage and two lounges. It isn’t on the main gas line so the current owners have an oil tank which services the underfloor heating. The water boiler is electric I believe and so is the hob. 

I tend to keep my current home at 16 degrees and only tend to heat rooms I’m using in the day but I’m not sure how the zones in underfloor heating work? 

I won’t need to heat my bedroom, and will only heat the two bedrooms being used as offices/ the main lounge and kitchen. Is this possible with zoned heating? 

As I’ve never had oil, how much should I be expecting to use on average? House is 9 years old, boiler is 3 years old and serviced every year and insulation seems to be good. 

I’m contemplating swapping to LPG once the LPG situation improves, but if I find oil reasonable I may keep it. 

Last question…do you have to stick to the same supplier or can you just find the cheapest supplier when you need a fill? 


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 35,242 Forumite
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    edited 17 March 2022 at 2:40PM
    In answer to your last question, you phone around each time to get the best price.

    As regards usage, it's almost impossible to say. We get through around 1500 - 1800 litres in a year in a four bed detached, but we're relatively light users, with water on for 1.5 -2 hours, heating on for a couple of hours a day through the colder months. If you're a heating all day kind of person, you could easily double that.

    Are you sure the water is running off electric? That would be odd with an oil boiler. You don't mean the immersion? 

  • Are you sure the water is running off electric? That would be odd with an oil boiler. You don't mean the immersion? 
    I’ve just checked the home report again and you’re correct; I got my wires crossed a little! 

    I figure it’s difficult to know until I’m in - I guess the “safe” option is to budget for 2000L per year and adjust as needed. Looking into pricing makes it fairly difficult to estimate actual monthly costs which is frustrating. I’m meticulous in ensuring I live well within my means and I know even if I’m paying £350 a month for oil I’ll still have plenty but it frustrates me not starting off with a better estimate! Lol! 
  • dunstonh
    dunstonh Posts: 116,369 Forumite
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    We go through 2800 litres a year on a four bedroom house (with one room and en-suite rads turned off).

    House is 9 years old,
    That should make a big difference as insulation will be to a higher level.

    I figure it’s difficult to know until I’m in - I guess the “safe” option is to budget for 2000L per year and adjust as needed.
    If you are looking at 16c as your level then you would almost certainly use a lot less than that.  Ours is set to 21c in a large old farmhouse with some single pane windows and leaky doors.  Although 3 woodburners to share the load.

    A lot of people on oil have woodburners in addition as they are very effective at reducing oil use in many houses.

    I’m not sure how the zones in underfloor heating work? 
    It varies with each installation as to how many zones you have but typically each zone will have its own thermostat and will call for heat when needed.   But not always.  

    do you have to stick to the same supplier or can you just find the cheapest supplier when you need a fill? 
    Each fill up is a single transaction and you can pick who you use each time.   However, in periods of panic buying, a lot of independent suppliers will only supply their regulars.  

    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • Rodders53
    Rodders53 Posts: 2,150 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    ASK THE VENDOR how the system works, ideally with a copy of the operating manuals for all the parts (or links to the makers' manuals).  Ask them how much oil they use each year?  They may or may not have records.  Request that they provide a short 'idiots guide' to how they use it and where controls etc.,, are / what they do?.

    Alternatively read about UFH and diy / self build installs : It's how I learned what I know about my UFH oil fired system.

    EPC (in England at least) should estimate the kWh needed for heating and hot water... Use that as a baseline if no other source?  Oil is 10kWh per litre as near as makes no difference.  Today's oil prices are unusually high, but you can do the sums at 100p, 90p, 80p  etc.,. per litre and save into a Kerosene Oil Fund at whatever rate makes you comfortable.  Then keep records.
    Oil consumption will vary by region of the UK - as will Kerosene pricing.

    FWIW in this reasonably large 4 bed detached with 2 adults in Bedfordshire we've used 6505 litres between 1st November 2016 and 27th August 2021 (dates the tank was filled) = 58 months = 112 litres a month or 1,346 litres per annum on average.  Cost totals £2,813 or 43.25p/litre on average in the time we've lived with Kerosene Oil heating.  Next fill is likely to be the most expensive one so far... at 4/10 bars on the tank meter (but expecting a drop to 3/4 by the end of the month (although current solar gain means almost no oil heating is needed).

    Usually each room with UFH will have one (or more) water pipe loops controlled by a room 'stat and thermal actuators on a distribution manifold... So each room or area can be controlled separately.  Normally by temperature alone.  A master clock will do a global on/off ... but one could fit programmable temperature and time devices for more control.

    Big problem with most modern stats is they fairly frequently cycle on/off as the temperature approaches the set point and to maintain temperature using 'smart' algorithms.  This doesn't (imho) fit well with UFH thermal actuators that open/close very slowly (over a few minutes).

    Oil is usually cheaper per kWh than LPG gas and you'd not have to get the old boiler and tank and contents disposed of.  Read the bulk LPG threads and the horrors about running out this last winter etc.,.   Oil seems to be less 'closed shop' although a few big national chains seem to be forming?

    Again check who the vendor uses to supply oil, and if they are on one of the 'auto top up' monthly payment type contracts (generally deprecated on this board).  You may need to let any auto topup supplier know that you don't want that to continue, even though the vendor should let them know they are moving out?
  • lohr500
    lohr500 Posts: 949 Forumite
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    There are some suppliers who offer a monthly payment plan, but I wouldn't take that option as in my experience it always pays to shop around for the best price per delivery.
  • Getting_greyer
    Getting_greyer Posts: 609 Forumite
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    edited 17 March 2022 at 8:34PM
    4 bed detached, standard insulation, and I use bout 1500l a year.  Moved in in Dec 20 with a near empty tank so filled with 500l. Pretty much went into lockdown striaght after, horrendous cold winter, family of 5 in all day and used that by Feb 21. 500l in Feb lasted bout till Oct 21. 

    Big tank is your friend if you have one as can take advantage of price dips.

    Edit: Strictly speaking I'm not sure if that creates an accurate account as no doubt I topped up the tank and didn't exhaust it. So not entirely sure.

    I can say since Dec 20 I have bought 2600l.  As of today I have bout 600-650 litres in tank (street value of about 50 grand atm) which unless we have a serious cold April, or it gets nicked, I think would last till December before it emptied. Though I  would look to top up before that which is probably where I get my 1500L figure a year from. 

    For those 2600l, cost has been £1350 ish. So over 2 years about £56 a month.  Though 20/21 was lot cheaper price than 2022 seems like its going to be.

    House is like 1970's so no modern insulation like you get with new builds, though the loft insulation is really good so upstairs toasty.
  • annabanana82
    annabanana82 Posts: 3,022 Forumite
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    We are very modest users, just checked my records and I've ordered 1750 litres since Jan 2020 and I think we could get through to September if pushed. 

    If you budget for 2000 litres what ppl are you thinking? I've paid between 22-70pp in the last few years.

    Neighbours that have LPG have been complaining about prices for the last 10 years, and most have either got rid or trying to get rid

    Make £2023 in 2023 (#36) £3479.30/£2023

    Make £2024 in 2024...
  • If you have oil central heating, joining your local Oil Club is by far the best way to keep costs down.  I've been using an Oil Club for years - I just change to a different Oil Club if I move house. They usually email you once a week with a current price and the opportunity to place an order, which is helpful.  Because they club together orders from several members in a local area they can buy oil in bulk and keep costs as low as possible.  Before I discovered the Oil Club I tried using BoilerJuice and shopping around for 'deals' from local oil companies, but none of them matched, never mind beat, the Oil Club price.

    I wouldn't consider swapping to LPG - it's pricey and you have to pay a rental fee on the gas tank as well.  You could consider a Klover Smart 100 wood pellet range cooker/heating and hot water system, and there are government incentives to fit these, but it would be a pricey changeover and you have to fill the hopper every day with wood pellets.  You'd have a very cosy kitchen, though!

  • canaldumidi
    canaldumidi Posts: 3,511 Forumite
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    edited 19 March 2022 at 9:48PM
    As for the zones question - the vendor will know, so ask!
    One thng I've picked up here about underfloor heating is that it operates at lower temperature than radiators, so to be efficient needs to be run more constantly. That does not mean necessarily more expensive (because of the lower temp), just that you get a more constant background heat.
  • 400ixl
    400ixl Posts: 2,795 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Oil clubs are usually more expensive than you can achieve contacting a few suppliers and negotiating your own rate. Am a member of a few and use them as a guide price to then go and get it cheaper myself. Oil clubs are convenient though and usually better than the non-negotiated supplier prices.

    Never have I failed to beat Oil Club prices.

    We have a 3 bed and use between 1000-1200 Litres per year typically.
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