Your Questions about Home Heating Oil Answered


Home and commercial property owners have a range of options when it comes to how they are going to heat their house or business space. One of the most popular is heating oil, and yet many people in the UK and elsewhere still have questions about this incredibly common form of heating their property. The first question most ask is:

What Is Heating Oil?

Heating oil (also often referred to as oil heat) is a liquid petroleum product that can be used to fuel boilers and furnaces in buildings.

Why Would I Use Home Heating Oil?

Nearly four million households in the United Kingdom alone are not currently connected to the national gas grid. This is particularly true in Northern Ireland, and in the Republic of Ireland, where the natural gas network was built later on and is still underdeveloped.

Because these properties are ‘off the grid’, they need to heat their homes by other means, including:

  • Liquid petroleum gas (LPG)
  • Electricity
  • Renewable sources
  • Heating oil

How Would I Receive Home Heating Oil?

Those who choose to heat their homes with heating oil can have it delivered by a company that offers this service. Home heating oil delivered to Belfast is stored in a tank and is transported by road to homes and other properties.

Heating Oil

Are There Different Types Of Heating Oil?

Currently there are two different types of heating oil:

  • Gas oil
  • Kerosene oil

Gas oil (also known as 35-second oil or “red diesel” because of the colour of dye which is added to it) is heavier and is typically used in older boilers, in larger commercial properties, or in agriculture. Kerosene oil (also known as 28-second or ‘heating oil’) is lighter and cleaner, and is the most common type of oil used within the UK.

Isn’t Heating Oil Dirty?

Decades ago, heating oil could produce soot, dirt, and strange odours. Homeowners were often concerned about the impact the heating oil was having on the indoor air quality of their home.

The technologies surrounding heating oil have improved substantially since fifty years ago. Heating oil is now a clean burning fuel that will not produce soot, dirt, or unwanted odours.

Is Heating Oil Expensive?

Despite what some may tell you, heating oil is not all that expensive. In fact, the prices for heating oil have been falling for the past couple of years, and they are continuing to fall now.

The price of heating oil can fluctuate due to supply and demand, but there are ways in which home and property owners can secure a better deal for themselves. Many homeowners will choose a fixed or capped payment plan for their heating oil, which means that the price you pay per gallon is fixed for one year regardless of whether the market prices go up or go down. This is a good option for homeowners who do not want to deal with the stress that comes with dealing with the sometimes volatile gas market.

Another option that may be attractive today is the market price. No annual contract is usually necessary, and you can purchase oil only when the prices hit rock bottom. The final option is to ‘pre-buy’ your oil. Through this payment plan, you will pay pre-season for the amount of oil you think you will use all winter.  If heating oil prices increase during the winter, you can save money.

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