Why do we use heating oil to heat homes in the UK?

Posted On: 1 June 2022

Why do we use heating oil to heat homes in the UK?

Posted On: 1 June 2022

Kerosene, also known as home heating oil or domestic heating oil is the most widely used fuel in off grid domestic heating systems in the UK. Kerosene is also the main type of heating oil used in homes that have an oil boiler fitted.

Around 1.6 million homes are currently using kerosene to heat their homes in the UK, with most of these being in rural areas throughout the country.

Rural homes in the UK use Kerosene

Kerosene remains a popular choice for home heating, not only is it cost-effective but modern condensing oil boilers reach a high efficiency level for heat production thus reducing carbon emissions. Many oil boilers are also designed for external use, freeing up space in the home and enabling installation at a convenient and unobtrusive location.

Let us examine some of the key reasons for use of heating oil to heat homes in the UK:

Safety and Storage – Heating oil is a very safe means of keeping homes warm as its not combustible at ambient temperature in the UK. It can be stored easily and safely on our range of bunded storage tanks. Clear, simple regulations exist to ensure that many, many homes can enjoy heat from an oil heating system safely.

Greater efficiency – Heating oil is an extremely clean-burning, efficient, cost-effective, and readily available way of heating a property, which can help you get the most of every penny spent, especially with a modern condensing oil boiler.

More flexibility – You can save money with off-season fuel prices. By ordering oil in advance of any peak use periods, you can spend less to fill up your tank.

Where there is no gas main supply – Kerosene is the obvious choice for the rural off grid homes in the UK where there is no ability to connect to the gas network, or the homeowner would need to pay an expensive connection charge and run pipework. An oil boiler can simply be fitted with the kerosene stored in one of our bunded domestic storage tanks placed in the garden or even buried out of sight underground with our underground tank options.

Poorly insulated homes – UK has some of the oldest and leakiest housing stock which means heat dissipates through walls, windows, and doors quickly after leaving radiators. Forty-four percent (44%) of properties with oil heating were built before 1919, and over half before 1945. Further, 49% of rural homes are detached. These homes have been passed down to future generations without any major upgrades. Homes built before 1919 also record the lowest energy efficiency profile. These are large, detached dwellings with solid walls and hence difficult to insulate as cost is huge, causes major disruption and affects homes external aesthetics.

It is a fact that traditional boilers work well in less well insulated homes and buildings as they can react quickly to drop in temperature. Other renewable heat sources require homes to have a level of energy efficiency which is economically unattainable and impractical for many off grid homes. According to the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy only 9% of homes with solid walls had proper insulation required for such homes (764,000 properties) at the end of 2020.

Reasons for using Kerosene to heat homes

Concerns have been raised about the suitability of certain renewable technologies in these types of properties. Many of these properties are homes to elderly people who rely on warm homes which can adapt to change in temperatures quickly as they are more vulnerable to cold temperatures.

HVO – the Future

The great news for the future is that HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) is now available as a drop in green alternative to kerosene for now and the future. HVO reduces carbon emissions by a further 88% on a modern oil condensing boiler, is easy to retrofit to existing systems and creates heat quickly when needed for your home.

HVO Compatible Heating Oil Tanks from Harlequin

At Harlequin, we manufacture a wide range of HVO compatible bunded Heating Oil Tanks ranging from 650 to 9,250 litre models catering to domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural applications. Each tank has been designed and manufactured to exceed the most technical, environmental, and regulatory requirements. They can be further customised to suit your requirements. We also work with a network of competent installers in UK & Ireland who can help you install the product and provide you with additional technical support.

To find out more about our range of bunded heating oil tanks or to find a reliable installer, contact our team on 028 9261 1077 or email info@harlequin-mfg.com.

What is so special about HVO? Read our blog to find out.

Sources of information