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What are heating oil additives and could they save you money?

Close up of someone adjusting the central heating thermostat

Now it seems like summer is over, and many of us begin the battle of the thermostat. Households all over the UK will be debating when it’s acceptable to put the central heating on, trying to last as long as possible in order to keep our energy bills down.

Even if you’ve gone off-grid and are relying on your own heating oil from a domestic oil tank, you’ll want to keep your usage down as much as possible. You may also have heard of homeowners turning to additives as a way of saving money… but what are these additives, and are they worth it?

What are home heating oil additives?

There are several types of heating oil additives, designed to improve the lifespan and efficiency of your storage tank, boiler and heating system, generally by changing the viscosity or flash point of your oil. These include water controllers that manage excess condensation, line cleaners that keep the pipes clear of sludge, biocides that eliminate microbial growth and stabilisers that limit the effect of environmental factors and contaminants.

While they won’t magically make your oil generate more heat, using certain additives will, over time, save you money by allowing your tank and boiler to function more effectively and ultimately burn less oil.

How can I tell if I need to use additives?

Using additives in a new heating system is a bit like choosing the premium fuel option at the petrol station. You may not notice a difference initially, but it will keep your boiler functioning more smoothly for longer if you do. If you don’t currently use additives, you may want to consider using them if:

  • You notice that your rate of consumption seems to be creeping up
  • You have reason to believe your fuel lines or injectors are getting clogged
  • You notice a build-up of sludge
  • The oil in your tank is freezing or thickening over cold months

Are additives worth using?

In the right conditions – and with a little bit of luck – your tank and boiler can function perfectly well without needing to use lots of additives in the fuel. However, preventing a problem from occurring is typically far better for your system (and wallet) than trying to remedy one, as you’ll usually only notice issues once the efficiency has already been compromised.

Your fuel supplier is the best person to talk to for more detailed information about additives, as they’ll be able to supply these and help you ensure they get properly mixed into your oil. However, if you are concerned about the efficiency of your tank, it may be best to arrange an inspection with our OFTEC-certified technician to fully understand the issue first. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to come out and give your tank a health check as soon as possible.

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