Heating Oil Options Explained

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Heating Oil Options Explained

Most tanks hold between 1,000 and 2,700 litres and households are supplied with a gauge to measure how much oil is left in the tank. If you leave it to the last minute, some suppliers will add an extra 10 per cent onto the price so it’s always worth buying before you need to.

The price of heating oil is influenced by the wholesale market and this can fluctuate daily, therefore there are no guarantees that prices will continue falling or rise.

However, typically demand is lower in the summer and therefore prices tend to follow suit.

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Lee Cowles, managing director of BoilerJuice, said: ‘Most people buy heating oil when they need it, typically as the weather gets colder and homes need more heating, but the best time to buy is usually during the summer.

‘In eight out of the last 10 years, prices have been lowest in summer, so we advise those looking to save money to buy in advance, when demand is low and the price reflects that. Plus, unlike with other utilities, consumers aren’t tied into a contract, making it very easy to switch.

‘Whilst we can’t predict the future, we can advise heating oil users to buy now in the summer when demand is low. As far as previous trends go, we can suggest it is likely to increase as winter draws closer.’

To check how prices have changed, there is a tool on the Boiler Juice website and you can track the price for the past four years to see how it has changed both as a UK average and for your own postcode.

A three-bedroom house will spend an average of £775 on heating oil every year

This is in contrast to the way standard gas and electricity prices work, as energy suppliers in this market buy around 18 months to two years’ in advance, and therefore the price should be protected from fluctuations in the market, although this doesn’t always happen in practice.

Mark Todd, founder of Energyhelpline, comments: ‘Heating a home with heating oil tends to be much more expensive than heating one with gas so any price cut in heating oil will be well deserved.

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‘A typical UK gas bill is £600 a year but a typical heating oil bill tends to be much more – often £1,000 a year.

‘A 15 per cent decrease in prices in heating oil will potentially narrow the gap significantly to gas and will be a huge relief to customers.

‘As ever, price cuts may not be given to heating oil customers automatically, they may need to shop around or demand a price reduction to get fair treatment.

‘Remember your heating oil company is not your friend – they are there to make money from you. Demand a 15 per cent price cut if you haven’t got one yet. Ditch and switch if they refuse.’

If you use heating oil, the best way to lower your price is by shopping around and checking a few different suppliers. There are a number of specialist sites which list the price of different suppliers, including Boiler Juice, Heating Oil Shop and FuelTool.

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Shrewd consumers can take advantage of this by reviewing deals every year to ensure they are on the cheapest deal. Even moving every other year will save you significant amounts.

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You only need to be interested in the tariff that is going to be cheapest where you live, so do your own postcode comparison in minutes using the tool above – or here – to find the best price.

Read more about other quick tricks to make sure you are getting the best deal on your household bills here

How heating oil prices are determined

How heating oil prices are determined

Prices of heating oil are mainly determined by the world price of crude oil. Although some portion of its final price is built up by means of distribution, and despite the fact modern fuel oil often has a certain level of organic fuel, crude oil prices are always the main criterion for it. Oil is a commodity traded daily on stock markets, on most finance-related websites you can get current prices from major world stock exchanges in real time. Although most fuel oil is made of domestic crude, it’s still traded at prices dictated by various events across the globe which determine market trends.

Global conflicts

Major disadvantage of heating oil, which comes from the price of crude lies in the fact that some major oil extraction countries are located along politically troubled areas. The Middle East is most commonly referred to as a troubled area rich in oil. Various terrorist and insurgent groups are constantly seeking to capture areas with oil extraction fields, as they can resell that oil on black markets to fund their activities.

In most cases, the regular armies of these countries, with help of the US Army and other Western allies will manage to keep oil extraction and distribution facilities safe. But stock brokers are very cautious. Once news of a terrorist attack close to a major oil extraction field in Iraq reaches the Wall Street, oil price will explode. The fact that actual oil extraction would most likely remain undisturbed doesn’t help much, stock brokers primarily take risks in their account and use price hikes to mitigate them. Prices will be usually back to normal, but it can last for weeks.

Currently, the oil price sees one of its historic lows, despite the ongoing armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, as well as rather unstable situation in Libya, as armies remain successful in protecting oil fields, pipelines and ports from insurgent attacks.

Supply and Demand

Global economy is continuously facing the convergence effect, which means that less developed countries grow faster, and so does their oil demand. China for example, had only a few million cars on its streets twenty years ago. Now the number exceeds 100 million. Similar things happen in other developing countries as well, playing as a push force for oil price. Speaking of developed nations, there is no more growth in number of cars on their streets, but their oil demand is pushed up by airlines, as people now fly more often than before.

State of the economy

Strength of an economy is defined through a key indicator called purchase parity power (PPP). When a country, or a major part of the world shows signs of recession, the PPP is about to fall, resulting in lower oil demand. Recession may play similar role in oil price determining as aforementioned terrorist attacks – yet here these effects are much stronger and last longer. Most Western countries are now in stagnation. America’s growth is rather slow and is maintained by growth of private sector, while European economy is in trouble because of Greek bailout plan. When recession is around, people start to refrain from oil consumption through less driving and booking less flights.

Since the West still leads the world in oil consumption, these forces play a greater role in global oil consumption and pricing than growth of China and other developing countries, and that explain current low oil prices.

Technological advancement

High efficiency oil consuming equipment, from trucks, locomotives and cars to oil heat furnaces consume less oil for the same amount of effect expected by its users. For example, modern oil furnaces usually have efficiency levels (AFUE) of 90% and more, and households use them to replace their old ones which had efficiency of 70-75%. Motors are also more efficient, so present-day pickup trucks consume the same amount of fuel as mid-size sedans used to burn 10 to 15 years ago, and present-day mid-size sedans consume as much as subcompacts did back then. Airlines replace or overhaul engines making their jets more energy efficient. Various technologies also switch from oil to electric solution, which is the case with cars and locomotives. This all allows people to improve their life, have more heat and more fun without spending more on fuels. Add to that the trend of healthy life. Many people walk or ride bicycle instead of driving shorter distances, or simply eat less than before, and lower food consumption means less working hours for tractors and trucks.

What to Expect

Oil price is just like the weather, it is impossible to forecast it accurately for any term longer than days or weeks. Though political and economic factors are more predictable than armed conflicts in oil rich areas, these data can be used for making long-term estimations.

Latest news is that Iran, another major oil rich country has promised to stop making nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting the oil embargo. First major exports out of Iran should be expected during early 2020. This will definitely push prices low. There are also news of slowing growth in China, high uncertainty in Europe regarding debt of Greece and some other Euro states. This will certainly influence low level oil prices.

Forces which can make oil grow in a foreseeable future is a continuous high economic growth in places such as Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Since none of them can have a major stake in global oil consumption any sooner, their effect on oil price trends would be minimal.

Then there’s also the glut in oil that should keep prices low well into 2020.

Seasonality

Seasonality is a factor which applies primarily to heating oil, and it’s one of main reasons why petroleum companies dye it red to tell it from motor diesel fuel. Prices of heating oil always grow during fall and winter, though if crude prices remain this low, oil heat will not grow substantially. Have in mind that crude prices halved over last 12 months and that much less oil goes for heating than for road vehicles and aircraft.

Why Oil Filled Space Heaters Are Energy Efficient

NewAir oil filled space heaters are a reliable way to supplement your central heating system and reduce your utility bills. They offer both the flexibility and power required to warm rooms up to 150 square feet and compensate for under heated rooms in your home. In these situations, the best way to achieve a stable and even temperate is with a space heater. Unlike traditional convection heaters, which transfer heat directly to the air, or radiant heaters, which heat people and objects, oil filled space heaters heat oil inside the heater, which then gradually lets heats your home in a controlled manner, creating an even, stable temperature. The unique thermal properties, combined with their portability, make oil filled space heaters the most energy efficient and reliable way to heat rooms in your home, office, or workspace.

How Oil Filled Space Heaters Work

Oil filled heaters are built from a series of stacked radiator fins, like the NewAir AH-450B Space Heater, or a large, flat panel, like the NewAir AH-400 Space Heater. The fins and the panel are filled with diathermic oil and connected to an electric resistor in the control panel. When the heater is plugged in, the electricity activates the resistor, which begins converting it into heat. The heat is absorbed by the oil in the body of the heater. As the oil warms up, it begins to circulate through channels built into the radiator fins and flat panel, transferring its heat to the heater’s metal exterior through the process of thermal conduction. As the metal warms up, it heats the air through the process of thermal convection. Air near the heater absorbs its heat and rises, drawing in cool air that’s heated in turn. This creates a convection current that distributes the heat evenly across the entire room.

Why Oil Filled Space Heaters Are So Energy Efficient

The biggest advantage of oil filled space heaters is that they can be moved from room to room, allowing you to concentrate their heat where it’s needed most. One of the biggest problems with central heating is that its heat output is based on the average temperature of the air being returned to it through your central heating ducts. Because the air is an aggregate, drawn from air all over your home, air from the warmest parts of your house can mask cold air from the coldest parts, so it becomes difficult to maintain an even temperature throughout the day. There are a lot of factors that affect your home temperature – sun exposure, leaky windows, degree of insulation – that it is extremely difficult to program a furnace thermostat in order to compensate for them all.

Oil filled space heaters provide the flexibility that allow you to overcome this difficulty. They’re designed to be moved from room to room and draw a relatively small amount of power, compared to the average furnace (400-1500 watts on average), so you can add heat strategically in order to optimize your environment . Both the NewAir AH-450B Space Heater and the NewAir AH-400 Space Heater have convenient carrying handles that allow them to be picked up and moved without risk of burns or injury. The NewAir AH-450B Space Heater even comes with four caster wheels, to make it easy to transport from room to room. To find out what size space heater to use in any room in your house, read How to Pick the Perfect Size Space Heater for Your Room.

Oil filled heaters are also over 99 percent energy efficient. Almost all the electricity the consume is converted directly into heat. A small amount (less than one percent) is diverted and used to operate the control panel and extra features, which, depending on the model you own (the NewAir AH-450B Electric Oil Filled Heater or the NewAir AH-400 Portable Oil Filled Space Heater) may include a thermostat, timer, and energy settings to modify the amount of electricity your heater uses. The NewAir AH-450B has three energy settings: HIGH (1500W), LO (900W), and ECO (alternates between HIGH and LO).

Compared to Water Filled Space HeatersHowever, the main reason oil filled heaters are so energy efficient is due to the unique thermal properties of the oil. Diathermic oil has a high specific heat capacity, which is the amount of energy a substance can absorb before its temperature rises one degree. A high heat capacity allows the oil can absorb and retain a very large amount of heat. Its a heat reservoir that allows the unit to keep radiating heat even after the resistor has been deactivated. This means that once the room has reached your desired temperature, a NewAir oil filled space heater requires less power in order to maintain it. Space heaters monitor temperatures with a built in thermostat, which triggers the resistor whenever the temperature in the room falls below your pre-set level. Since the resistor consumes the majority of the electricity used by a space heater, the less often if has to be activated, the more energy efficient your space heater will be. Oil filled space heaters, which are capable of radiating heat without a resistor, are the most energy efficient of all.

Water filled space heaters operate very similarly to oil filled space heaters. They’re constructed with a series of stacked metal radiator fins filled with water. The water is heated through a boiler or heating coil, which causes it to expand and circulate through the structure, transferring heat to the metal, which then transfers it out into the room via natural convection. Hot water can also be pumped in and circulated through the heater by connecting them directly to your boiler or hot water heater.

Water filled heaters are an older type of heater and the advantages of oil filled heaters are gradually making them a less desirable heating solution, but are still in use in some places. Water filled heaters are permanent structures, not portable heaters. They have to be fixed in place when they’re installed, so don’t provide the same heating flexibility as an oil filled heater. Their lack of portability is due to their relatively low boil

ing point. Because they’re normally heated to 160°-180°F, water filled heaters require additional structural support in order to contain the vapor pressure of the water as it approaches its boiling point. The diathermic oil in NewAir oil filled space heaters has a boiling point three times higher than water, so it remains liquid during operation, which means the heaters don’t have to function as a high pressure vessel, allowing them to remain light and portable.

How You Know You Need an Oil Filled Space Heater

If you’re uncertain whether you really need a NewAir oil filled space heater, check to see how well your furnace heats your house. Heating every room of a house to a uniform temperature is difficult to do. If your thermostat’s set to a comfortable temperature and you find some of the rooms of your house are still too chilly, an oil filled space heater is the right remedy. They’re just what you need in rooms with big windows, poor insulation, or drafts.

If you really want to save money, turn down your thermostat a few degrees to where it’s just barely comfortable, and use an oil filled space heater to warm up just the rooms you’re using at the moment. If the cost to heat a few rooms is less than half the cost to heat your house, you’re losing money by not supplementing central heating with an oil-filled space heater.

Downside of Oil Filled Space Heaters

There is a drawback to using an oil filled space heater you should be aware of before purchase. Because oil has a greater thermal mass than water, they take two to four times longer to warm up and begin heating than water filled space heaters, or even ordinary convection and radiant heaters. Their thermal mass also means NewAir oil filled space heaters also continue radiating heat for two to four times as long as other heaters, but it fast heat is critical to you, they may not be the right choice.

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