What You Need to Know About Oil-fired Heating
In the UK, most homes with central heating use mains gas to fire the boiler, but there are around 1.6 million homes in the UK that use heating oil because the houses aren’t connected to the gas mains.
More and more areas in the UK are being linked to the gas mains, but not everyone can afford an entirely new system so they have decided to stay with oil. This has its advantages, though, especially when it comes to taking advantage of the fluctuations in oil prices that suppliers like Super Saver Oil pass on to their customers.
How does oil central heating work?
An oil-fired boiler works pretty much the same as a gas-fired boiler, so you’ll have the same sorts of potential problems with either type.
The biggest difference is that a gas-fired boiler has a constant supply of fuel, whereas an oil-fired boiler needs to have its supply ordered in advance and stored in a tank. If there’s no oil in the storage tank, there’s no warmth and hot water…
Starting up your boiler
When you spark up your boiler, burners ignite at the same time as a valve opens to let oil into the system. The oil burns, heating up the water that flows through the piping system.
This water flows around on a circuit, going through radiators, pipes and even heated towel rails. When the water is on this part of its journey, it’s called the flow. Once it’s made a circuit, it travels back into the boiler and is then known as the return. The return should be roughly the same temperature as the flow – if it’s not then there may be something blocking the system, usually sludge.
The boiler pump
Without a pump, there’ll be no flow or return; the pump keeps the water moving around the circuit. This pump is located within the boiler casing and it’s an essential part of the system.
There’s actually less energy needed to keep the circuit warm than is used to bring it up to the desired temperature. It’s best to only turn the boiler on once or twice a day for longer periods rather than several times for shorter periods.
Combi boilers and diverter valves
Most boilers have diverter valves, whether they’re fired by oil or gas. This valve directs – or diverts – water to wherever you need it to go.
When you initially turn on your heating, the diverter valve will send the hot water through your heating circuit. If you have a combination boiler the default for the valve is for your hot water. This means that when you turn on a tap or your shower, the valve will flip over into sending the heat to your water supply. As soon as the tap is closed off, the valve reverts back to its heating setting.
If you have an older boiler or one that’s not as efficient as it should be, then you might notice a slight cooling of your radiators when someone has a long shower or runs a deep hot bath.
*This is a collaboration post