How to save money on your heating oil

With a cost of energy crisis on our hands, we’re all looking for ways to save money on our heating oil, whether that’s at the point of purchase or whilst you’ve got the heating on. As the temperatures drop in the UK, we understand how vital it is keep your homes and businesses warm and comfortable, and we want nothing more than to help our customers secure the best heating oil prices and make their heating oil last longer. To help you get the most from your heating oil and make your home as energy efficient as possible, we've put together a guide on how to save on your heating oil bills and how to conserve heating oil with a range of energy-efficient suggestions.

How to Save on Heating Oil

Heating oil prices are always subject to fluctuation, however there are general trends and top tips you should keep in mind when planning your next heating oil purchase. These could help you save money or see better value for money on your heating oil order.

1. Stay informed with the price of heating oil

It's never too early to consider how to save on heating oil. It's important to keep up-to-date with the price of domestic heating oil as this fluctuates with the global markets; tracking these fluctuations can help you to buy your kerosene at the best price.

The best time to buy heating oil is dependent on several factors, including:

  • The time of year - Typically the price of heating oil is lower in the summer months when the weather is warmer and demand is low. The price tends to increase as the colder weather arrives in the winter, in line with a growing demand.
  • War and conflict – Political or civil unrest in a country can cause panic buying or issues with supply, if the country or countries involved are oil producers. One of the driving factors of the steep rise of heating oil prices in the UK (and globally) this year has been the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia is the world’s third-largest producer of oil, and many countries imposed sanctions on Russian oil transactions, essentially restricting supply.
  • Severe weather – A cold weather snap or snow storms in the UK and Europe can cause a surging demand for heating oil, driving up prices. Similarly, severe weather or natural disasters hitting oil-producing regions can disrupt supply, again driving up prices.
  • Exchange rates – As crude oil is traded in US dollars around the globe, if the pound is weak against the US dollar, it can cause the price of heating oil in the UK to rise.

2. Purchase the heating oil earlier

Placing your order in advance is probably the most important factor when it comes to how to save money on oil heating. Typically, if you can purchase your heating oil ahead of the winter peak, you’re likely to enjoy a cheaper cost per litre as prices generally rise in line with demand.

What’s more, if you leave your heating oil order to the last minute, you’re more likely to be hit with higher delivery fees as your heating oil provider will have to reach you quickly. Urgency of delivery is one of the biggest factors that influences the price of your total order. Heating oil is a necessity, so you’re putting yourself in a better position by getting on top of your order as early as possible.

You also have to consider sudden weather changes. If there’s extreme weather at any point during the winter, especially unexpected conditions, this can cause a sharp increase in demand and panic buying, which can drive up prices.

Finally, the earlier you can prepare for your heating oil delivery, the more time you have to compare suppliers and shop around for the best deal.

3. Use Rix’s Monthly Payment Plan

We understand the level of impact that the rising cost of living has had on households all across the country. One way that we’re trying to help our customers manage their heating oil bill is through our Rix Payment Plan. If you’re an existing Rix customer and own your own home, you can sign up today. Here’s how:

1. Simply apply for an account over the phone or online, and set up a monthly direct debit to deposit your funds into your Rix account.

2. As the funds build over time, you can use these to purchase your heating oil.

3. You can spend up to four times your monthly direct debit amount. So for example, if you deposit £100 each month, you can purchase £400 worth of fuel and pay the balance off in the following months.

4. You can make an immediate first purchase by paying 50% then pay off the balance monthly.

If you think this plan would help you manage your heating oil bills, please don’t hesitate to speak with the Rix team - we’ll answer any questions you have and help you sign up if it’s a good fit.  

4. Bulk buy your heating oil

Generally speaking, the larger the quantity of heating oil you buy, the lower the price per litre. This is because the more we deliver per customer, the better it is economically for our vehicles, so we can pass the saving on to you.

Most domestic oil tanks have a capacity between 1,000 and 2,500 litres so, typically, the more you can purchase in bulk, the better value for money you can expect. And don’t worry, when stored correctly, heating oil can last about 18 to 24 months, so it’s very unlikely that you’ll put any to waste.

Be sure to check your home heating oil level before placing your order so you order the right amount.

5. Call your local depot or use our quote tool

To find the best quote for your heating oil, you should use our quote tool. Choose between kerosene, premium kerosene (K+) or Aga cooker fuel and simply input how many litres you need to generate the best quote.

Or, you can give your nearest depot a call - your friendly, local team will be happy to help! Our teams are highly experienced and experts in local heating oil prices and deliveries, and can discuss any concerns or questions you have, helping you figure out how to get the best value for money from your next heating oil order.

How to Make Your Heating Oil Last Longer

Making savings on your heating oil order is one thing, but how can you make that heating oil last longer? Here are a few helpful tips and suggestions that will hopefully help you save on your heating oil bill.

1. Consider a premium heating oil

Premium heating oil has a lot of benefits. Just as premium road fuels can improve your car's performance and MPG, premium heating oils can reduce the energy bills of an average-sized family home by up to 10%.

Premium kerosene such as K+ heating oil is treated with special additives which burn more cleanly and efficiently than standard heating oil. Not only will this help to reduce your annual energy bills as your heating oil will last longer, but it will also help to prolong the lifespan of your oil boiler.

2. Turn down your thermostat

By turning your thermostat down by just one degree, you could reduce your heating oil fuel bill by over 10%. Also, make sure that the thermostat is accurate! Don’t hesitate to ask one of Rix’s OFTEC engineers to examine your oil-fired boiler and adjust the thermostat setting if you think this could help.

3. Get to know your heating system

Every house, every heating system, and every set of dials is different, so it’s definitely worth taking time to fully understand your heating system and how it functions. For example, you can learn how long it takes to heat up a specific room. With this knowledge, you can utilise your fuel more efficiently and not leave your heating on for any longer than is necessary.  

If you’re a heating oil novice or need a refresher, have a read of our guide where we explain how an oil heating system works!

4. Use your kitchen more

If you don't want to insulate your home or you don't want to turn down your thermostat, you can always try and take advantage of the heat from your kitchen. For this simple hack, keep the oven door open after cooking a meal and allow the heat to escape into the whole house - you will soon notice an increase of the air temperature in your home.

5. Invest in a modern and better boiler

Sometimes it’s time for a change. To significantly save money on heating oil, you need to choose an oil-fired boiler that is more performant. Modern boilers are more energy-efficient than old boilers and have a lower risk of failure, saving you money in the long run on repairs.

6. Service your boiler regularly

To make your heating oil last longer, you should undertake regular maintenance checks of your boiler. An annual, regular service by an OFTEC-registered engineer can help you to maximise your heating without spending more on heating oil. Within your service, sludge deposits will be removed – these can increase heating costs and reduce efficiency.

7. Draught-proof and insulate your home

To get the most from your heating oil, your property needs to be as energy-efficient as possible. That’s why draught-proofing and insulating your home are practical, effective ways to save money on heating oil. If your home is not insulated according to UK standards, then heat will be lost faster and, in turn, you will pay more on your heating bill.

The older your home, the less energy-efficient its design is likely to be, and the greater savings you can expect to make with these improvements. Draught-proofing doesn’t have to be a mammoth, expensive task. Loft hatches, doors, letterboxes, windows, chimneys and cracks in the wall can all be easily draught-proofed with inexpensive materials.

Common areas where you'll find draughts include:

  • Windows and external doors
  • Loft hatches
  • Suspended floorboards
  • Pipework leading outside
  • Ceiling-to-wall joints
  • Fireplaces
  • Letterboxes
  • Old extractor fan outlets

You could also invest in cavity wall insulation which can retain up to 35% more heat in a property, helping you save each month on your fuel bill. If you'd rather have a professional install your loft insulation for you, you can use the National Insulation Association website to find an accredited installer near you.

And, if you’re living in an older property, it may still be fitted with single glazed windows. Consider upgrading to double glazed windows as a cost-effective solution to significantly improve heat-retention in your home. You’ll also benefit from reduced condensation, better temperature regulation and improved sound-proofing.

8. Keep your radiators clean and clear

Any furniture or other miscellaneous items placed in front of your radiator can block the heat from circulating freely around your room. As a result, you may unnecessarily end up burning more heating oil or turning up your thermostat to achieve a comfortable temperature.

9. Prioritise heating oil tank security

When we talk about making heating oil last longer, we’re not just talking about improving efficiency. Most properties in the UK have heating oil tanks that can store anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 litres of oil – that’s hundreds of pounds worth of fuel. And, with fuel prices rising, there has been a spike in domestic heating oil theft which has become a bigger threat to heating oil users and a more attractive opportunity for thieves.

We understand the thought of heating oil theft is scary and if you are targeted, you may be left out of pocket. But rest assured, there are plenty of steps you can follow to protect your heating oil from theft. If you’d like to further discuss how to protect your tank, don’t hesitate to contact your local Rix depot.

Extra Top Tips to Save on Oil Heating Costs

  • Wrap up warm in extra layers and blankets before turning on your heating.

  • Make sure all windows and doors are shut. Keeping internal doors in unoccupied rooms closed at all times help to stop heat leaking into rooms that aren't being used.

  • Keep curtains and blinds shut in rooms that aren’t being used, particularly when it’s dark, to help keep the warm air from escaping.

  • Bleed your radiators to stop pockets of air from building up and to avoid uneven, inefficient heat distribution.

  • Have your oil boiler serviced once a year by an OFTEC-certified technician to ensure maximum efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cheaper to keep oil heating on all the time?

We would argue that it is not cheaper to keep your oil heating on all the time on a low heat, and that you are better off only using your oil heating when you are at home and need it on.

The debate between leaving your heating on all the time at a low heat and only turning on your heating when you need to is highly contested and not conclusive. The argument for leaving it on all the time stems from the idea that more energy is used to make radiators go from hot to cold to hot again.

However, if we’re considering cost, you will probably use up less heating oil overall by only switching your heating on when you need it, especially if your household is out and about for large portions of the day.

What is the most economical way to run oil central heating?

To run your oil central heating in the most economical way, you should implement energy efficiency measures in your home. This could include:

1. Lowering the temperature on your thermostat, even if just by one degree.

2. Installing draught-proofing measures.

3. Keeping your radiators clear from furniture and clutter.

4. Keeping internal doors and curtains shut.

5. Improving insulation, for example insulating pipes.

6. Investing in a more energy-efficient oil boiler and oil heating system.

7. Upgrading to a premium heating oil, such as K+.

Read more of our energy saving tips for your home here.

How long will 1,000 litres of oil last?

1,000 litres of heating oil will last a different length of time for each household. For some customers, 1,000 litres will last about one year, but for others it will last just a few months.

There are many factors that will impact how long 1,000 litres of oil lasts. For example, a family of five or six people living in a large property will probably use 1,000 litres of heating oil at a much faster rate compared with a couple living in a one- or two-bedroom home. If there is an unseasonable cold snap, your daily use of oil may increase temporarily. Plus, the age, efficiency and insulation of your property and heating oil system will impact how efficiently the oil burns.

Why is my heating using so much oil?

Your heating oil system may be using a lot of oil if you have an older and less energy efficient heating oil system or property, if your tank and/or boiler haven’t been serviced recently, or if there is an issue with your systems.

If you are worried about your heating system using up your oil too quickly, you should consider our tips above on how to make your heating oil last longer. You should also check your home heating oil level regularly using a dipstick, gauge or digital monitor so you can accurately monitor the rate of consumption. And, if you haven’t had an oil boiler servicing in over a year, you should book one in as soon as possible as you may need a repair. You should also consider arranging a tank health inspection from a qualified heating oil engineer.

With these measures, you can make a difference to your heating oil expenses and keep warm as we battle with the rising cost of fuel. Don’t forget to stay up-to-date with the Government’s heating oil support schemes this winter as every little counts.

At Rix, customer wellbeing is our priority and we want to help you save money on heating as well as make your heating oil last longer. If you have concerns or would like further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact your local depot - our team has years of experience and are always happy to chat. Plus, our OFTEC-qualified technicians are available to provide a variety of heating oil services to help you save money on heating oil in the long run.