The trade association for the oil distribution industry in the UK, FPS (Federation of Petroleum Suppliers) has launched a campaign this month to encourage the 1.25m rural homeowners who are using heating oil to be prepared for winter.
“By planning ahead, you can ensure you are ready for all that this winter has in store for us, including managing the additional heating costs and making sure you don’t run out of heating oil for your homes when you’ll need it the most,” says Mark Askew, Chief Executive of FPS.
“There are 1.25 million homeowners currently using heating oil to stay warm, and it is these individuals we want to ensure are ready for winter this year.
“As these homes are often in rural locations, when the weather turns cold it can be particularly problematic if plans are not in place to cope with the winter months. The good news is that there are many things you can do now to ensure you’re prepared for when the weather stops being mild, including checking your oil tanks and heating systems today.”
The FPS has been running its 'Get Ready For Winter' campaign for the last four years, together with the Government and consumer agencies Citizens Advice Bureau and ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), to educate people about the importance of planning ahead.
“With preparation, you can ensure you have the fuel you need this winter and save money on your energy bills too – after all, an efficient boiler uses less fuel, keeping costs down,” explains Mark Askew.
“Boilers should be serviced at least once a year to ensure they are running efficiently and are able to cope with the upcoming winter. If you have an older boiler, you may want to upgrade to a modern condensing oil boiler as this will reduce fuel consumption by around 20 percent and therefore cut fuel costs significantly – heating oil is the cheapest form of energy right now and has been since January 2015 so it makes sense to consider switching to it.
Following the release of the October 2016 energy comparison report produced by Independent provider of comparative home heating costs, Sutherland Tables, the latest figures show that heating a typical three-bedroom home on oil, using a condensing boiler is now just £818 per annum. Even with a conventional boiler, that’s nearly half the cost of the nearest off grid alternative. If you use LPG the average cost is £1402 per annum, Electricity is £1600 per annum and traditional gas heating £967 per annum. This means that an oil condensing boiler is also substantially cheaper to run than any renewable heating option with Wood pellets costing £1301 per annum and air source heat pump radiators £1453 per annum.”
The FPS also recommends checking your tank, pipes and other equipment for leaks, damage and interference once a week. Any problems should be fixed as soon as possible by an Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) technician. For more information, visit http://www.oftec.org.uk/ You should also arrange for the boiler and tank to be serviced at least once a year by an (OFTEC) technician. This should include any underground pipe work.
In addition to checking oil tanks and heating systems, FPS is keen for consumers to make the most of oil prices by buying before winter arrives and to plan for ways to reduce energy costs during the colder months.
“We’ve been running this campaign for four years now and it’s been a great success in helping people manage their fuel needs more easily over the winter months,” says Mark Askew.
Mark Askew comments: “It makes sense to buy now, especially as the price of oil is so low and many heating oil suppliers have monthly payment schemes available to help spread the cost if customers are worried about paying for the cold season upfront. This way, it works out far cheaper over the course of the year and you still have plenty of oil when you need it most.
The FPS has a dedicated area on the Oilsave website for finding the nearest FPS Member oil suppliers and OFTEC registered boiler technicians, as well as an area for advice on keeping costs to a minimum.
“There are various steps you can take now to ensure you’re ready for this winter. In addition to buying oil now and checking tanks and heating systems, you can also save money by adopting money-saving initiatives such as turning your thermostat down a couple of degrees whenever possible,” adds Mark Askew