What is Heating Oil?
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Last updated: 14 July 2021
While the majority of UK households are connected to the national gas grid, there are over a million households who still rely on heating oil to provide energy for their homes.
And we’re here to ensure that these households still have access to the best energy deals going, so you don’t find yourself putting on a fourth layer of wool just to avoid turning the radiator on.
Find out all about heating oil and ways to save in our handy guide.
How does heating oil work?
Households that rely on heating oil are generally more rural. Unlike homes connected to the national grid, where there’s a constant feed of energy, if heating oil is the source of energy then it’s the consumer’s responsibility to keep an eye on their oil supplies. Homes have a tank, which is filled up as necessary with oil delivered by truck.
As such, households that rely on heating oil are more dictated by the oil price market at the time they need to replace it. National grid consumers can be sitting ducks, waiting to strike when new energy deals come to the fore and switching providers as desired. But for those who rely on heating oil, waiting too long to refill could leave you with no energy at all. However, there are a few things you can do to get the best heating oil deal.
Heating oil: Gas oil versus Kerosene
There are two types of oil which can be used to warm the homes for those of us not connected to the national grid. Most widely used in the UK is kerosene which is cleaner and lighter than other types of oil, plus more efficient.
If you have an older boiler, you may need gas oil to supply energy to your home, which is also sometimes called Red Diesel. It’s a dirtier-looking fuel, which is now used more in industry rather than domestically.
If you do have a boiler that takes gas oil, you may want to look into replacing it with a newer model. While the upfront cost of a new boiler
is expensive, you could save money on your energy bills by switching to kerosene as your heating oil of choice.
What affects heating oil prices?
The heating oil market is an immensely unregulated industry, so providers can charge whatever prices they like; even trade bodies to enforce code of conduct practices like the Federation of Petroleum Supplies (FPS) are independent and not bound to any government regulations.
So, prices can, and will, fluctuate. This means heating oil prices can be dependent on literally anything, from supply and demand through to politics.
Where can I find cheap heating oil deals?
If you’re running an energy comparison, you may notice that there’s just not as much data, information or options for heating oil deals available to you. With the majority of the UK running off the national grid, combined with the move to renewables, resources for heating oil consumers aren’t so expansive.
But, fear not! We have some tips for getting cheaper heating oil prices.
Buy at the Right Time
Plan, plan, plan. When it comes to heating oil, always plan if you can – it’ll get you the best deal. With the weather being predictably horrible throughout a UK winter, this is when consumers use the most oil, which increases demand and therefore pushes prices up.
Purchasing in summer, when demand is lower, is one way to access better rates. But, if you’d like to get really involved, you can monitor daily oil prices yourself online to see when there are dips in the market.
Haggle for Heating
Play the game. Because this is an unregulated market, you can haggle, barter, or negotiate your way to a better deal. But don’t go in blind: be sure to do your research first to get an understanding of typical prices, current rates and even competitor deals.
Oil providers want your custom, so compare energy
deals from other companies to gauge what’s on offer, and use this information to see if your chosen supplier can undercut this price. Being armed with a little market information can get you a long way to saving money on your energy costs.
Bulk ordering often fetches a cheaper price, so consider teaming up with neighbours or nearby relatives to get better deals from suppliers.
If your home runs on heating oil, you won’t see so many ads telling you to “switch and save”. To grab heating oil bargains and save on your energy bills, you’ll need to be just a little more involved.