What is heating oil?

Heating oil is often used in domestic heating stoves, but these are steadily losing popularity as a domestic heating option due to the amount of pollution burning heating oil releases into the surrounding environment. While heating oil is not the most eco-friendly fuel, its low prices mean it is still used to provide heating in some homes. The predecessors of domestic heating systems that use heating oil were heating people’s homes back before the invention of electrical energy… so perhaps it’s time to move on from heating oil once and for all!

In which types of domestic heating systems can you use heating oil?

There are two main types of domestic heating systems that use heating oil as fuel.

The first is a built-in heating system for your home that uses heating oil to produce energy to raise the temperature in your living areas. These domestic heating systems include one or multiple heating oil boilers or stoves that are connected up to radiators or hot water underfloor heating systems throughout your home.

The second is auxiliary or back-up heaters that run on heating oil, which can be used to complement a built-in domestic heating system. These heating oil devices are sometimes referred to as wick or electric stoves. They tend to burn deodorised heating oil so as not to fill the room in your home with malodorous fumes.

That said, these auxiliary heating oil devices should only be used to give your central domestic heating system an additional boost, rather than as a primary source of heating in your home.

Did you know that a Netatmo Smart Thermostat can help you remotely program, regulate and optimise multiple heating oil devices in your home? You can install a Netatmo Smart Thermostat on various types of heating oil implements to save yourself time, energy and money on your home heating bill! Netatmo Smart Thermostats are very easy to install and will also make your home heating more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

What are the differences between wick heating oil stoves and electric heating oil stoves?

Here, we’ll take a closer look at wick and electronic heating oil stoves, to give you a clearer idea of which heating system might be better suited to supplying heat energy to your home.

Wick heating oil stoves

Wick heating oil stoves are also known as single combustion stoves. They are simple oil heaters that operate independently, often with very basic designs. Wick heating oil stoves are very practical options for domestic heating as they use R20 batteries to run, as well as heating oil. In terms of price, wick heating oil stoves are an affordable option for adding an extra level of heating to your home.

Wick heating oil stoves do, however, let off fairly strong odours when burning their oil fuel. Wick heating oil stoves also consume more energy than electric heating oil stoves, as well as heating up a lot while they’re in use in the home.

That means they can pose a safety hazard in the home, particularly to young children and pets. In addition, the wicks and igniters in these heating oil stoves need replacing on a regular basis.

That said, there are now slightly more modern wick heating oil stove models available. These are double combustion heating oil stoves, rather than single combustion models. These double combustion versions are less polluting than earlier models, as well as being more energy efficient.

Electric heating oil stoves

As you might have guessed, electric heating oil stoves are essentially a modernised counterpart to wick heating oil stoves. These heating oil devices are more complex, advanced, precise and efficient when compared to single or double combustion wick heating oil stoves.

Electric heating oil stoves can be easily programmed via your home thermostat and are capable of heating up the area around them very quickly. You’ll just need to ensure that your electric heating oil stove is connected up to the electrical mains network in your home.

The major drawback of electric heating oil stoves when compared to wick heating oil stoves is that they are significantly more expensive to purchase.

Key advantages and disadvantages of heating oil systems in the home

Is heating oil the right fuel choice for your domestic heating? Above, we looked at the two types of home heating systems that use heating oil as their energy source: built-in systems with stoves or boilers that burn heating oil to provide energy to heat radiators or underfloor heating systems and auxiliary wick or electric heating oil stoves for an additional domestic heating boost.

Advantages of heating oil systems

  • Low price for wick heating oil stoves, medium price for electric heating oil stoves

  • Heating oil is a mid-range fuel in terms of price (more expensive that some fuel types, but less expensive than other energy sources for domestic heating)

  • Rapid heating within the home

Disadvantages of heating oil systems

  • High pollution levels due to heating oil combustion, including toxic and harmful substances emitted into your home

  • Significant risk to the health of everyone in the home if used on a regular basis in living areas

  • Can produce unpleasant odours from burning heating oil, unless specifically deodorised heating oil is used for fuel

  • The price of domestic heating oil is on the up

Precautions and pointers for using heating oil stoves

Heating oil is a fossil fuel that is, in fact, very harmful to the environment, animals and humans.

As such, heating oil stoves should only be used in rooms that aren’t regularly used as living spaces, such as garages, cellars, attics, laundry rooms, and so on. These spaces should be kept well-ventilated, too.

Heating oil devices should also be used as an addition to safer, cleaner, greener domestic heating systems, not as the primary source of heat energy for your home.

Limit health and safety risks, pollution levels and energy consumption by regulating how and when your heating oil device is in use with a Netatmo Smart Thermostat.

Price of heating oil stoves

Heating oil is less expensive than electricity, but more expensive than other, more environmentally friendly and safer fuel options, such as wood pellets.

Why not take a look at other domestic heating options out there, for safer, cheaper and greener domestic heating?