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.