Oil Boiler

Although oil boilers are becoming less common, many people still use them. According to the energy provider Engie, nearly 14% of French homes were heated by an oil boiler in 2013. This is because the natural gas network still has insufficient coverage, particularly in rural areas. What's more, although fossil fuels receive bad press, the performance and consumption of the latest oil boilers limits their impact on the environment.

An oil boiler uses the oil's combustion to heat water, which circulates throughout the home via pipes, radiators or underfloor heating. Today, the main types of oil boiler use advanced technologies: low-temperature oil boilers and condensing boilers.

The pros and cons of an oil boiler

  • The advantages of an oil boiler
Oil boilers provide a comfortable heat even under higher demands (low outdoor temperatures, large surface area, etc.). The models currently available on the market are extremely efficient: up to 89.5% in the case of low-temperature boilers and nearly 100% for condensing oil boilers. An oil boiler can also be paired with a heat pump for an even more effective combined system.

Whereas older models sometimes posed a risk due to the sulphur, carbon dioxide and nitrogen emissions, the latest boilers are safe and clean. Another significant advantage is that until 2018, condensing oil boilers were eligible for the French tax credit, which meant 30% tax relief on the cost of installation work. Nevertheless, condensing boilers are being phased out of the initiative and are expected to stop receiving this benefit.
  • The disadvantages of an oil boiler
If you have an oil boiler you'll need a storage tank. Although these come in different sizes, they're usually large to cut down on the number of fuel deliveries required. Having to store the oil can also cause inconveniences such as unpleasant odours.

Another drawback is the price of the fuel, which is unstable and often fluctuates. This means it's difficult to predict how much you'll be spending each year and you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Meanwhile, the boiler itself is more expensive than a gas boiler and as well as the installation costs you'll need to add the cost of the tank and even ground installation work if you decide to bury the tank. If you ever replace or change your home's heating system, you'll also need the help of a professional to empty and remove the tank.

A lined flue is also required to vent the combustion fumes.

Low-temperature oil boilers

A low-temperature oil boiler heats the water in the network to a lower temperature than a standard model. By modulating the temperature between 50° and 90° according to your needs, you can make energy savings of 10% to 15%. If you also want to use your oil boiler to produce hot water, bear in mind that some models have a hot water storage tank (hot water production by micro-accumulation). You can also connect the boiler to an external hot water cylinder. Discover all our products

Condensing oil boilers

A condensing oil boiler is the most efficient type. As with a condensing gas boiler, it uses not only the heat from the combustion process but also the heat captured by condensing the fumes given off during combustion. Heat production is therefore optimised and the fuel consumption is much lower.

Compared with a standard boiler, this type of system creates energy savings of around 20% to 30%. As a result, this type of oil boiler was eligible for the French energy transition tax credit until the end of 2017. With an energy efficiency rating of more than 100%, it's the most effective oil boiler, and although the initial outlay is higher its annual fuel costs are lower.

Subsidies for purchasing and installing an oil boiler

A condensing oil boiler is the most environmentally friendly version of an oil boiler and is much less polluting than the older models. This means you're eligible for various subsidies if you're replacing an old boiler or installing a new one. This lowers the cost of installation work and creates some savings.

As of July 2018, condensing oil boilers are no longer eligible for the energy transition tax credit previously granted by the French government. Fortunately, there are other subsidies to help you make savings on your heating installation work.

The national housing improvement agency (ANAH) helps owners of older homes on low incomes to fit a more efficient heating system in their home. Some energy providers also offer an energy bonus for installing a condensing boiler. Check if you're eligible before having any work carried out! It's also worth contacting your local authority, which sometimes grants subsidies to owners carrying out home improvement work to make energy savings.

Maintaining an oil boiler

All oil boilers must be serviced every year. This annual servicing is mandatory. If you're renting a property, your landlord will ask you to provide proof that you've had the boiler serviced. Your insurance provider may also ask for a certificate in the event of a claim.

Most importantly, annual servicing ensures that the home's occupants are safe. The goal is to check that the boiler is working properly and to prevent leaks of carbon monoxide, a potentially deadly gas released during the combustion process. What's more, annual servicing gives your boiler technician a chance to inspect your heating system. By replacing defective parts as required, you'll ensure your boiler is in good working order and lasts longer. If you have an oil boiler you'll also need to remember to service the storage tank every 10 years.

Your boiler must be serviced by a professional. You can also draw up an annual servicing agreement with your chosen boiler technician, who will contact you when your next servicing is due.

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