Guide to Buying Home Heating Oil

If you are a homeowner or renter new to the world of home heating oil, the amount of information available when buying home heating oil can be staggering and leave you feeling overwhelmed. Our handy and easy-to-digest guide to buying home heating oil simplifies the buying process while offering you all the necessary information you need to make the best domestic heating oil decisions for you.

What to Consider When Buying Heating Oil

What is home heating oil?

Domestic heating oil is a form of petroleum called kerosene, also known as kero, home heating oil or 28-second oil, and is refined through the fractional distillation of crude oil. Home heating oil is a widely used domestic choice of heating fuel due to its low viscosity and non-corrosive properties.

What type of heating oil do I need?

Your first step in buying the right home heating oil depends on the heating system already in place within your property. This should be clearly labelled with information regarding the tank capacity and the suitable grade of heating oil. If you find your heating system is not clearly labelled, consult a registered OFTEC (Oil Firing Technical Association) technician who will be able to identify a suitable home heating oil for your system.

Kerosene, such as our domestic heating oil is the most common type of home heating oil used for domestic purposes in the UK. It is by far the most efficient fuel for domestic heating purposes as it requires only a small amount to produce a significant amount of heat for your home. The average efficiency for kerosene home heating oil is 90%, compared to natural gas, which is only 77%, making it an economical choice.

Premium kerosene such as our K+ premium heating oil and Aga cooker fuel not only offers the same efficiency and economical benefits as domestic heating oil, but the careful enhancement of additives ensures a number of advantages. Premium heating oil reduces build-up in your boiler, which helps to increase longevity and reduce maintenance issues. As it helps produce a cleaner burn, your boiler will burn less fuel for the same amount of heat produced, decreasing the production of CO2 and making it a more environmental choice.

Take a look at our guide to what heating oil is for more information on the different choices available to you when buying home heating oil.

Your type of oil boiler

When choosing an oil boiler, it is important to note that all new boilers need to be condensing oil boilers and that they should be installed by an OFTEC-registered technician. Installers that are members of OFTEC may offer a workmanship warranty which, according to OFTEC, covers the ‘cost of rectifying any contravention of Building Regulations directly attributable to the installation lasting for six years should the original installer not be around to rectify any defects.’

There are three types of boilers that are suitable for use with home heating oil:

Oil Combi Boiler – These compact boilers do not require a water cylinder as the water is taken straight from the mains supply, and due to their size, they are an ideal choice for all sizes of kitchens.

Oil System Boiler – Similar to standard gas system boilers, these require an external hot water cylinder which has the benefit of supplying you with hot water on demand but requires some patience when the cylinder runs low. They are a popular choice for those who already have a heating oil system in place and want to reduce the hassle of changing boiler types.

Conventional Oil Boiler – These can often be found in larger properties where the demand for hot water is high and where high water pressure from combi boilers may overwhelm older radiators. A conventional oil boiler is supplied by a regulator tank (often in the loft) which supplies the cold and hot water cylinders.

How do I store my heating oil?

When buying home heating oil, it is crucial to understand how your home heating oil will be stored. Heating oil systems require external storage for your home heating oil in bunded fuel tanks that are often placed in the garden.

Bunded tanks are essentially tanks within another tank that ensure an extra level of protection in case of any leakage or corrosion and they are a legal requirement for all home oil heating systems. Regulations on fuel tanks differ between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so it is important to check your regional regulations to make sure you comply.

Bunded tanks come in a variety of sizes, and finding the right size for you will be determined by your household needs and boiler capacity. If you are unsure what size tank, you will need, talk to our team of experts who will be more than happy to help understand your needs.

Though home heating oil is considered one of the safest fuels due to its high burn point, it is imperative that your oil tank is placed away from any fire or heat source as well as any building or fencing that is not fire-rated, such as garden sheds and wooden fences. It is also important to take into consideration how accessible your heating oil tank is for deliveries. Keeping it in a secure but accessible location will allow for deliveries to be made even if you aren’t at home.

Be sure to read our guide to fuel tank security for advice on the measures you can take to better protect your heating oil from thieves.

How do I choose a heating oil supplier?

Recommendations and Reviews

When buying home heating oil, the choice between many different suppliers can seem overwhelming. A great first place to start is by asking for recommendations. Asking friends and family, or the local community if you have moved to a new area, for recommendations will give you honest accounts of heating oil supplier experiences as they will personally have tried and tested the services on offer.

You may also want to look for online customer reviews of the supplier’s services or any testimonials from customers to help you make a more informed decision.

Service and Support

Each home heating oil supplier will provide different home heating services from installation to servicing and repairs, some of which will be included in the cost of your home heating oil. It is recommended to have your boiler serviced every 12 months while regular tank inspections ensure the smooth running and safety of your home heating system. Finding a supplier that can provide these services not only helps keep costs down but also reduces the need to shop for external heating oil service providers, saving you time.

Community Support

Looking for heating oil suppliers who are involved within local communities helps to understand their ability to recognise the needs of the customers they supply. As a family-run business, we understand the importance of putting back into the community, and we endeavour to support the rural communities we serve to build lasting relationships and create the best service we can.


Of course, the proximity to depots will be a big deciding factor when choosing the best heating oil supplier. Finding a supplier within a reasonable distance from your home ensures that your heating oil can be delivered in the quickest possible time, while also giving you peace of mind for any emergency delivery needs. At Rix, we’re proud of our network of over 15 supply locations across England and Scotland, making our quality heating oil supply widely accessible.


Over 1.5 million homes within the UK rely on domestic heating oil for their home heating needs. Many of these properties are off the gas grid due to their remote locations. Taking into consideration the accessibility of your property for heating oil delivery is an important factor when deciding on a home heating oil supplier and it's worth requesting more information depending on your location and access to your property.

At Rix, we supply a wide range of domestic properties as well as commercial farms, and industrial sites, so you can be sure accessing more rural locations need not be a worry. Many of our depots have different sized tankers, including baby tankers, which allow them to access various areas. If you're concerned about the accessibility of your area, property or fuel tank, please give your local depot a call and our friendly team will be happy to discuss this with you.

How much does home heating oil cost?

In June 2022, the cost of home heating oil was 111 pence per litre, with prices increasing into the colder months. When buying home heating oil, the cost is often the most important factor influencing customers’ purchasing decisions. Our helpful guide to heating oil prices details factors that influence the cost of heating oil and how you can find the best price for your needs.

Heating oil prices will be quoted with or without VAT, so it is important to bear this in mind when budgeting your heating oil costs. The VAT rate for home heating oil is 5%.

The cost of your home heating oil can be paid in full when you make your order; normally a minimum of 500 litres applies, but your supplier may offer a number of options to help you spread the cost of payments.

Summary - Key points to consider when buying home heating oil:

The current cost of home heating oil - Contact one of our local depots or speak to our expert team for up-to-date prices.

The reputability of your supplier - How long have they been established for and what are their customer service reviews like?

The best time buy your home heating oil - Aside from seasonal fluctuations, there can be a host of reasons why the cost of home heating oil changes.

How much heating oil you need - Understanding your household needs will determine the amount of heating oil you will need and how frequently you will need to make a purchase.

Though the process of buying home heating oil can seem complex with all the different aspects to consider before your first purchase, once you have selected a suitable heating oil, chosen your supplier and got all the necessary equipment in place, using heating oil is relatively straight forward and easy to maintain while offering you flexibility in your choices of what oil to buy and when to buy it.

For more information, take a look at our handy heating oil usage guide, learn how to order your home heating oil and check out our great energy saving tips to help you get the most out of your home heating oil system.