The importance of maintaining your oil central heating boiler

The importance of maintaining your oil central heating boiler

Our oil fired central heating boilers receive regular use, particularly during the chilly winter months. Due to wear-and-tear, our boilers can be prone to developing faults which can lead to a general reduction in energy, making them more expensive to run and can even result in a breakdown. Getting your home heating oil boiler serviced and rewarding it with some TLC for all it’s hard work throughout the winter months can not only save you money by ensuring it is running to its maximum efficiency and save on costly emergency repairs, but also ensures it is safe. If your boiler isn’t serviced annually, or in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendation, it is at a higher risk of breaking down. This can leave you with no hot water or heating, and potentially cost you more money in the long-run. It’s also worth noting that most boiler manufacturers’ warranties require homeowners to get a heating engineer to service their boiler every year.

It is important that when you arrange a service for your oil boiler, you check the tradesperson is qualified to carry out the work. We would always recommend you use an OFTEC registered engineer.

An annual boiler service by an OFTEC registered engineer and regular maintenance will ensure your oil heating system and boiler work safely and efficiently. In this blog, we look at why you should get your boiler serviced annually, not just from a safety perspective but also to ensure it runs as efficiently as it can.

Why do I need to book an oil boiler service?

  • Save money. We’re all feeling the pinch at the moment, with inflation hitting a 40-year high this week. Having your boiler serviced is, of course, another expense, but it could save you money over time. Well maintained boilers use less fuel - having your heating oil boiler serviced annually ensures it runs at its maximum efficiency and could reduce your annual fuel costs by up to 10%.
  • Peace of mind. Having your boiler serviced regularly can reduce the chance of potentially costly breakdowns during the cold winter months - no-one wants to be left with no heating or hot water in cold weather! Small problems can become big ones when left unattended - when servicing your boiler, your oil heating engineer will check for signs of wear and tear and identify any potential issues that may need fixing before they worsen and cause damage or a complete boiler breakdown.
  • Improved safety. Having your boiler serviced reduces fumes and emissions, protects the environment and protects your family from deadly carbon monoxide leaks. If your oil burner isn’t burning it’s fuel correctly, it may be emitting carbon monoxide. This colourless and odourless gas can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, and in extreme cases can lead to brain damage or even death. We would always recommend you fit a carbon monoxide detector.

Your OFTEC registered engineer will also check the overall condition of your heating oil tank and whether any water or condensation is present which collects at the bottom of your tank. When water gets into your heating oil tank, it is stirred up when your domestic heating oil is delivered and can be transferred with the oil to your boiler and cause it to break down. Modern boilers will lock out when the photocell senses water in the oil, requiring an engineer call-out. However, older boilers may not sense water and therefore will not lock out. If left untreated, water in the oil will give rise to incomplete combustion, leading to soot building up inside your boiler which reduces its efficiency and hence uses more domestic heating oil to heat your home. Your engineer will be able to advise on how to arrange removal of any water from your heating oil tank.

We would also recommend you check your central heating oil tank on a regular basis for signs of wear and tear, i.e. for corrosion on a metal tank, bulging on a plastic tank or for leaks. Spills and leaks are often costly to clean up and can contaminate ground water supplies and building foundations. Fitting a heating oil tank gauge such as our OilFox smart monitor is a good way to keep a look out for any sudden drops in oil which may be the result of a leak.

When should I get my boiler serviced?

Your OFTEC registered engineer will need you to switch off your boiler an hour or two before he comes to do your service so the internal parts are cold. So summer, when your oil fired heating system is likely to be switched off anyway, is an ideal time to get your boiler serviced and means you’ll be all set up for the colder winter months.

Another good reason to get your boiler serviced in the summer months is that breakdowns often occur in autumn when people switch their heating systems back on as the weather gets cooler. Parts can seize due to inactivity, so it can be more difficult to find an available oil heating engineer in the autumn and winter months.

It is worth mentioning that with the Northern Energy Premium Package, boiler breakdown cover is provided as one of the valuable benefits – just one of the ways Northern Energy go further to give you more.

Is you boiler reaching the end of its life?

If your oil boiler is coming to the end of its life, or you just feel it's time to get a more efficient one, you may be considering the kind of fuel you use. For the majority of households in the UK there is a choice between two fuels for home heating. Whilst there are alternatives, usually it comes down to either mains gas or electricity. For off-grid homes however, mains gas simply isn’t available as many rural homes have never been connected to the mains gas network.

Northern Energy can help you decide on the right solution for your home and look at the alternatives such as LPG, an alternative, cleaner burning fuel with very low sulphur emissions and which produces 15% less carbon dioxide than oil.

A well cared for boiler gives peace of mind and the comfort of knowing everything is in good working order. At Northern Energy help is at hand -  we’re here to support you and offer expert advice.