The cost of owning and maintaining an old oil boiler

‘Make do and mend’ might work for some parts of your home, but your boiler isn’t one of them.

Maintaining an old boiler, especially an oil one, will cause more stress and expenditure long-term because of the need for regular inspections and equipment replacements, and the risk of an oil leak (Link to blog 2/014). Moreover, with increasing government pressure to move away from fossil fuel-only boilers, now might be the perfect time to look for alternative heating methods.


Regular maintenance needed

It’s recommended that your oil storage tank is inspected annually by a registered ‘competent person’ (usually a member of Oftec) who can then advise on any repairs or replacements. Inspections will cost around £70 to £100. If you’ve recently moved into a property with an oil boiler and tank, arrange an inspection as soon as possible if you don't know when the last one was.

If you have a steel tank with an oil-resistant coating, then this needs to be consistently maintained to prolong the life of the tank which, at a minimum, involves monthly checks by you and annual professional servicing — but depending on the model and its age, you might need to get the professionals in more regularly.

Always keep an eye on rust, as this can cause your tank to fail, potentially leading to costly issues with leaking and maintenance down the road.

Get into a habit of checking your tank and equipment monthly because a faulty gauge or pipework can cause oil to suddenly leak potentially costing thousands to remediate. Look for any potential damage, or signs of a leak, that access to the tank is clear, and that gauges, vents, and bunds aren’t filled with dirt or water.


LPG is an attractive alternative

If this sounds overwhelming, it’s worth considering alternatives like LPG (liquid petroleum gas) which can require less maintenance and monitoring. Installing an LPG boiler is relatively inexpensive compared to a new oil boiler (LPG boiler models start from £350 versus £4,700 for oil). LPG boilers are available from most mainstream boiler manufacturers, giving you a wide choice of models.

You also get more flexibility with your storage options including cylinders, above-ground tanks, and underground tanks. Also, bulk LPG tanks remain the property of your supplier, so maintenance costs and responsibility lie with them.


LPG versus oil fuel costs

Generally speaking, LPG will cost slightly more than oil at 15.5p per kWh compared to oil at 11.8p per kWh. But this cost can be offset by the savings made with your boiler installation and renting your tank. Picking the right sized boiler can improve heat efficiency and ensure your boiler can cope with the demands of your home. Modern LPG boilers can reach efficiencies of over 90% and are A-rated energy efficient.

LPG boilers can be more affordable and easier to install than oil-based alternatives. Gas Safe Registered Engineers, a legal requirement in the UK, are readily available for advice, repairs and servicing.


With 35 years of experience in fuelling off-grid homes, Flogas is here to help you get started on your LPG journey. Contact us today for advice.