Heating Oil Additives: Are They Worth the Investment?

Heating Oil Additives

Everyone wants to save a little bit extra on their heating bills. And, rightly so, it feels good to know you’ve saved a chunk of money that you’d have otherwise had to pay on something as menial as heating oil. But the big question is “can heating oil additives be used to produce this saving?”

Many people are dubious about additives and whether they really do produce the benefits manufacturers claim.

So, in this post, we will explore this question and discuss common types of additives, how they work and whether they are worth investing in. Therefore, you can discover whether oil additives are the right product for you.

Let the discussion begin with the common problems associated with heating oil.

Common Problems with Heating Oil Systems

Cleanliness

Carbon and other contaminants present in your tank are dragged through into your system, clogging the burner nozzle and injectors, thereby, reducing the efficiency of your boiler.

Water

Small amounts of water can seep into your tank causing bacterial growth, rusting and problems with your tanks filtering system.

Freezing

Also known as gelling. When the temperature is low enough, heating oil can become very viscous and, therefore, can’t flow as easily through your oil system.

Oxidation

Oxidation can lead to a deterioration of kerosene which affects the burning efficiency of your fuel.

Sludge

Sludge formed from microbial growth in the tank sediments at the bottom. When your oil level is low it is pulled through your system and clogs your filter.

Common Problems with Heating Oil

Can these problems be tackled with additives? They sure can, read below to find out what additive tackles which problem.

Additives

Specialised additives can be found which possess ingredients that target specific problems associated with home heating oil and AGA cookers.

These include:

  • Biocides
  • Lubricity Enhancers
  • Demulsifiers

Biocides

These aim to kill any microbes present in your fuel which lead to sludge formation. This is a problem when fuel is left stagnant in a tank for a prolonged period. For example, in the summer months when fuel consumption is at its lowest. Biocides kill sludge forming microbes a problem can prevent itself, and therefore, extending the shelf life of your kerosene.

Lubricity additives

These aim to extend the lifetime of your oil-fired system through effectively lubricating moving components, whilst also cleaning injectors and burning nozzles. Therefore, your system runs efficiently for longer leading.

Demulsifiers

These work by keeping water and fuel separate. Hence, this prevents water from entering your system, which would otherwise reduce the burning efficiency of your boiler and allow microbes to grow.

Home Heating Oil Additives

The main brands of heating oil additives include Topanol, Exocet and Hydra. Each brand has a range of additives offering different benefits.

Topanol Oil Fired Combustion Additive

Benefits include:

  • Stops the oxidation process to maintain fuel quality
  • Optimises combustion
  • Improves fuel economy
  • Keeps pipes clean by reducing carbon and gum formation

Exocet Premium Heating Oil AdditiveExocet cooker additive

Benefits include:

  • Lower carbon emissions
  • Fuel is stabilised to increase shelf life
  • Inhibits sludge formation
  • Deposit build-up reduced
  • Improves your system efficiency

Hydra Heating Oil Additive

Benefits include:

  • Heavy-duty detergents clean burner nozzle and injector
  • Removes soot deposits
  • Dissolves sludge
  • Reduced oil consumption by 10%

Be aware, there are plenty of other additives on the market.

Let’s look at the ingredients that make up additives…

Heating Oil Additive Ingredients

Additives are made up of various chemicals including:

  • Antioxidants
  • Dispersants
  • Detergents
  • Corrosion Inhibitors
  • Stabilisers

And, now, onto the big questions. Should I spend my money on additives or not?

Do heating oil additives work?

The premise of heating oil additives is that they will help to reduce the cost of heating your home one way or another. Whether that be by maximising oil consumption or by increasing the lifetime of your system’s components.

Note: Additives should not be used as an alternative to regular boiler maintenance. The recommended guideline is that your boiler should be serviced once a year by an OFTEC qualified engineer.

The doubters say that “you see very little benefit. They are a con”. But other people swear by them. So, who is right?

Let’s start by stating that additives should be viewed as a long-term strategy and only indirectly lead to reduced oil consumption rates. Not only this but additives will not save you mega bucks. So, if you go into it thinking that you’ll be saving hundreds of pounds on your heating bill every year then you will be disappointed. Instead, they can be viewed as a cost-effective way of keeping your heating oil system running smoothly over a period of years.

There will also be a decrease in maintenance costs for things such as filters, boiler repairs, etc. However, this is much harder to quantify because you will not get the benefit of seeing what would have gone wrong without the use of additives. This may be one of the reasons people think that they are not worth spending the money on.

When many heating oil additives work primarily to clean your heating oil system or reduce wear and tear of critical components.

Then, reduced oil consumption results but, only because of an additive’s primary function. Therefore, reduced oil consumption is a consequence of the use of additives.

Note: As the price of heating oil rises, any savings made by using additives increases.

Whilst additives won’t save you the huge savings instantly, over time the little savings snowball into greater and greater sums.

Heating Oil Guide

Moving to a new house can be a stressful time and even more so if you are new to oil heating systems.

This heating oil guide is designed to help answer the most common questions on the fundamentals of domestic heating oil, oil tanks and additives.

Firstly, I will give you a bit of background on heating oil and oil heating systems before we move on to the FAQs.

An Introduction to Heating OilFilling a tank

Heating oil is used by roughly 1.5 million homes in England, Scotland and Wales making heating oil the most common alternative to gas.

The main difference between gas and oil is the presence of an oil tank on your premises. And, the fact that you are solely responsible for ensuring your oil level is checked regularly and you don’t run out of fuel.

Commonly, domestic oil-fired heating systems are powered by kerosene, but some do use red diesel. This is always important to check before potentially ordering the wrong fuel.

Be wary that heating oil and red diesel can have different names.

Heating oil is also called:

  • Kerosene
  • Burning oil
  • 28-second heating oil

And, red diesel is also known as:

  • Gas oil
  • 35-second oil
  • Plant diesel
  • Agricultural diesel
  • Cherry oil

Now, on to the FAQs…

What do I need to know before ordering?

Before you order your first lot of heating oil, make sure that you have considered:

  • The capacity of your oil tank and the current oil level – this will help you to decide the quantity of oil you require (minimum is 500L by law).
  • The upcoming weather – If there is a prolonged cold spell forecast then you may want to consider stocking up.
  • Your preferred payment method – Choose how you want to pay for your order.
  • The desired delivery date – The majority of suppliers offer a standard 10 working day delivery with an option for quicker delivery at higher prices.

How can I avoid running out?

One of the simplest ways is setting a regular reminder to go and check your oil level every month/couple of weeks.APollo Oil Tank Meter

Or, for a more hi-tech solution, you can install a tank monitor which keeps track of your oil level and sends real-time updates to a monitor in your home. Some even include a built-in alarm to warn off any thieves.

Despite being highly effective, these can come at a bit of expense so it really depends on your personal preference.

The most popular models include Apollo and Watchman.

How much should I order?

Bear in mind, that the larger the quantity you order the cheaper price per litre. However, consider your current oil level and the capacity of your tank before you decide how much to order.

Unsure about the capacity of your oil tank? Check the make and model, then search for the capacity online.

How do I check my oil level?

The ever-reliable method of dip sticking still remains one of the easiest ways of checking your oil level.

Oil Tank DipstickA dipstick can be fashioned out of something such as a broom handle and then plunged to the bottom of your tank. Remove the dipstick and measure the top of the oil mark against the side of your tank. This will give you an indication of your current oil level. Comparing this mark to the capacity of your tank allows you to estimate the required volume needed to fill it to the brim.

For a more Hi-tech solution, check out electronic gauges. Once installed, these read your oil level and send the information directly to a monitor or a mobile app. Therefore, you get accurate, up to date readings of your remaining fuel. Popular models include Apollo and Watchman.

How do I pay for my heating oil?

Heating oil suppliers generally offer a range of payment options to choose from.

At Yorkshire Oils, we currently offer:

  • Debit/credit card payments.
  • monthlyPay – a budget scheme which spreads the cost of your oil bills over 12 months.
  • Online payment – Transfer the order amount to the bank details shown on the invoice.
  • Cheque payments – Existing customers only.

How long does oil delivery take?

Heating Oil tanker and truckMany suppliers offer a standard 10 working day delivery with options for shorter delivery at greater expense.

Whereas, we offer 3-5 working day delivery as standard and this can be made next day without the large premiums charged by typical suppliers.

Please note, that during periods of cold weather delivery may be extended due to a large increase in demand. Similarly, if the weather conditions affect delivery routes, your delivery window may also be extended.

How to order heating oil?

You can order your heating oil by calling us on 01423 396789 or by filling in our online quote form. For new buyers, we recommend that you call in order for us to discuss any requirements you may have.

How to save on your heating oil?

Save money on your heating bills with the guides shown below:Cheap Heating Oil

What do I do if my oil tank leaks?

For major leaks, you should try and stop any oil soaking into the ground where possible. In addition, you should contact your insurance provider and get them to send out an OFTEC technician or UKSpill accredited clean-up company.

How often should I service my boiler?

It is recommended that your boiler should be serviced once a year, by an OFTEC registered technician, in order to check and repair any faults which lead to decreased efficiency.

Note: We recommend that you use an OFTEC qualified technician for all servicing, installation and repair work. Visit the OFTEC website, where you can search for your nearest technician.

Can heating oil go off?

Heating oil doesn’t go off but there are ways in which you can keep your system in top quality condition.

  1. Use Additives – Additives offer many benefits including inhibiting sludge formation and reducing deposit build-ups. If untreated, these can clog up your tank and lead to further problems in your heating oil system.
  2. Keep your tank under good repair – cracks or loose seals can cause rainwater to enter your system causing multiple issues. Check your oil tank every month to ensure there is no water getting in.

Can heating oil lines freeze?

Heating oil can freeze but only at extreme temperatures. Oil Pipe InsulationHowever, heating oil can become too viscous to be pumped around your system at very low temperatures. One way to counteract this is to insulate any exposed oil pipes during the cold periods.

What are heating oil additives?

Additives are comprised of multiple components which provide additional benefits to your system.

For example, Exocet Premium Heating Oil Additives aim to:

  • Lower carbon emissions
  • Stabilise Fuel
  • Inhibit sludge formation
  • Reduce deposit build-up
  • Improve your system efficiency

Or, Exocet additives for oil fired AGA and Rayburn cookers aim to:

  • Lower the char value
  • Reduce the build-up of carbon deposits and soot
  • Inhibit the growth of deposits in storage tanks
  • Stabilise the fuel
  • Reduce operating problems

What happens if I run out of oil?

Firstly, contact us so that an emergency delivery can be arranged. Meanwhile, call and collect 20L drums of Kerosene from our site on Rabbit Hill Business Park, HG5 0RB to keep you going whilst you wait for delivery. Our number is 01423 396789.

Please note, it may also be worth contacting your boiler engineer as your system will need bleeding.

Conclusion

I hope this heating oil guide answers all your questions and good luck with the new home/oil system. For any questions not mentioned, call us on 01423 396789.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my oil tank need changing anytime soon?

If you are unsure about the integrity of your current oil tank, please give us a call and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have, if this does not suffice we can easily arrange one of our representatives to come and have a look for you, even if this is just to put your mind to rest.