hand adjusting heating temperature in home using heating oil tank

How long should my heating oil last?

At the time of the 2021 UK census, 3% of households in England and Wales were using oil central heating. If you heat your home with oil from an onsite tank, you might wonder how long its supply of oil will last — especially if you have only recently moved into the home or obtained the tank.

Of course, if this oil runs out quicker than you had accounted for, you could be left unbearably cold — especially if you live somewhere with harsh winters. How often you do need to replenish the oil, though, will depend on the household’s consumption rate as well as the tank’s capacity.

At QuickTanks, we offer heating oil tanks in many different sizes. You can source a spacious tank that would remain easy to place where you want it. Take a look at our product selection on our website. If you’re unsure which tank is right for you, or would like some guidance, please contact our team for advice, we’d be delighted to help.

Basic consumption rates

The average UK household annually consumes about 26,999 kWh of energy. It would take roughly 1,700 to 1,800 litres of heating oil in total to produce this amount of energy.

It is worth emphasising, though, that these are only ballpark figures — and the actual yearly consumption of energy (and, by extension, heating oil) will vary depending on your household’s needs, which can naturally fluctuate over time.

Factors affecting consumption

The larger the home, the more oil you will likely need to use for heating it. Another factor to conisder is your property’s insulation — the better this is, the less heat the home will leak.

You should additionally take into account your thermostat settings, which you might have to turn up when the outside temperatures plunge. Also, your heating system might have grown inefficient if it is particularly old or has not been serviced in a while.

Calculating daily consumption

As we have already mentioned the average UK household would use up about 1,700 to 1,800 litres of heating oil per year, we could divide the midpoint of this range — 1,750 — by the number of days in the year (365 in a non-leap year, 366 in a leap year).

So, in a non-leap year, you would theoretically use about 4.8 litres of heating oil a day. However, the exact amount you use on a given day could still depend on the outside temperature.

Seasonal adjustments

As outside temperatures tend to be lower in autumn and winter, these are seasons when you could need to leave your heating running for longer than average. 

Meanwhile, as spring and summer are relatively warm, these seasons could enable you to use your heating less often than average. You therefore need to factor in such seasonal fluctuations as you strive to estimate when your heating oil will run out.

Maintenance tips

Is your heating system using oil efficiently? You should have your oil boiler serviced by an OFTEC-qualified engineer at least biannually.

In inspecting the boiler, the engineer could find that its filter needs to be replaced or some mechanisms have to be repaired. The engineer would also be able to clean the boiler’s interior during servicing.

You should also consider getting a whole new oil boiler if the existing one is more than a decade old or far from optimal in condition or performance.

Improving home insulation

Have you thought about increasing the insulation in your roof and loft? How about installing better floor insulation, or even insulating walls?

Such measures can help to keep heat in your home for longer, as can sealing drafts and upgrading windows. Consequently, you can spare yourself having to fetch new heating oil quite as often.

Smart thermostat use

You can programme a smart thermostat to turn up your home’s heating strictly as and when the added heat is required. It’s also possible to control a smart thermostat remotely — ideal for those “oh, I forgot to turn the heating off” moments when you are out of the house.

When to reorder

When would be the optimal time for you to order a fresh supply of oil? Though your current consumption rate would be a factor, you should keep an eye on upcoming weather forecasts, as changes in temperature could force you to replenish oil sooner than you had originally expected.

Also, your heating oil supplier’s lead times could be longer than average during periods of high demand, such as winter. Remember that in switching to a heating oil tank of a higher capacity, you can ensure you will be able to hold off for longer before you do have to refill.

We stock heating oil tanks in capacities ranging from 650 to 2,500 litres — and can speedily deliver free of charge to most UK mainland addresses. If you need expert advice on how to choose the right heating oil tank for your specific needs, just phone our team on 01789 868058.

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