Category - Boilers
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

26 Oct : Updated 4 Apr ● 6 min read

What maintenance does an oil boiler require?

In this day and age, energy efficiency is becoming more and more important. And although it may come as a surprise, your boiler can become more and more inefficient when it's not being properly maintained.

Maintaining your oil boiler is crucial to ensure that it's running safely, reliably and efficiently (you don't want a sudden cold shower or a freezing home!). Regular maintenance can also help to prevent pricey repairs that will hurt your wallet, as well as help bring your heating bill down.

In this article, we run through the importance of oil boiler maintenance, and what you can do to keep your unit running optimally.

Why is oil boiler maintenance important?

Oil boilers are fantastic for heating your home and water, keeping you warm and toasty through the cold weather. But as with any other heating system, maintaining your oil boiler is incredibly important to ensure it’s running as it should be.

  1. Help spot boiler issues early, before they develop into something more serious - As much as an annual service can help keep track of the early signs of any issues, you need to know what to look for (and what to do) to ensure your boiler is working correctly. The last thing you want is an inefficient boiler, or potentially large unexpected repairs bill that could have been avoided.
  2. Can help reduce bills - Without checking on the health of your boiler and carrying out the proper routine maintenance, you may be unaware that your boiler is running inefficiently and costing you more money on your energy bills than it should be.
  3. Ensure a safe running boiler - Like most appliances within the home, poorly maintained oil-fired boilers run the risk of emitting traces of carbon monoxide. These traces can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if you aren't careful.

What's involved in oil boiler maintenance?

To keep your oil boiler running smoothly, there are a few handy things you can do as a homeowner to prolong its lifespan and save you from having to purchase a boiler replacement if things go wrong.

Of course, you should always make sure to get your oil boiler serviced annually to keep it in tip-top shape, but here are a few extra tips for maintaining an oil boiler: 

1. Keep the oil tank full

Oil boilers work by burning oil to produce heat and hot water. So it should come as no surprise that part of standard boiler care is keeping an eye on your oil line. This is particularly important in the chilly winter months when you may be running your boiler more often than usual.

If you notice your oil tank is almost empty, you should top up your oil as soon as possible. Try not to run the oil level too low or run out completely as this may pull any moisture or debris at the bottom of the tank into the oil line or pull air in if you run out completely.

If you have run out of oil, once the tank has been refilled you may need to reset the boiler more than once to pull the oil through. If the boiler still fails to re-light you will need to call out a qualified engineer.

2. Watch the water pressure

Checking your system's water pressure is often overlooked. But if you have a sealed heating system, it's an important part of maintaining your boiler. You can usually check the pressure on the gauge on the outside of your oil boiler.

You should always consult your boiler manual to determine the necessary pressure. If your boiler pressure has dropped below the minimum level, you may need to top it up by opening the filling loop until the pressure gauge indicates the right pressure.

It's important to note that frequent drops in water pressure may indicate an underlying issue with your unit. This could be caused by a leak or another problem with the system's installation and should be repaired as soon as possible. So if you notice the pressure drops on a regular basis and you are always having to top up the pressure it may be time to call in an engineer for repair work or book your annual service if it's due.

Want to learn more about boiler pressure?

We've got you covered...

We've got you covered...

Discover everything you need to know about boiler pressure in our complete guide. We cover everything from what boiler pressure is, what your boiler's pressure should be and what to do if you spot a problem with it.

Boiler pressure guide

3. Check for corrosion

If you want to keep your oil boiler working efficiently, you'll need to take every precaution you can against corrosion. Corrosion can creep into any of the components of your system, including your radiator, boiler unit, or pipes.

To prevent corrosion, you can treat the system's water by adding an inhibitor, this will help to protect the system and reduce the levels of corrosion that occur. As part of your oil boiler service, if you haven't already got one you can ask your engineer to fit a magnetic filter to the system. This will help to prevent debris and blockages and can be emptied and cleaned on the annual service, and ultimately help fight against corrosion.

4. Do a visual inspection

When you're assessing your boiler's health or getting ready for the boiler service, you may want to perform a visual inspection or spot check. This will help you to bring up any concerns you have with your engineer and get them sorted out as quickly as possible.

Some of the things you can do during your visual inspection include:

  • Check for water leaks underneath and around your oil boiler.
  • Check the pressure (if you have a pressure gauge) and ensure it stays within the desired range according to the boiler manual or instructions for use.
  • Check for error codes - these may indicate various problems with your boiler that can be resolved during a boiler service. Be sure to make a note of the fault code to give to your engineer.
  • Listening out for any unusual noises or sounds coming from your heating system. Try to locate the source of the noise and let your engineer know during your boiler service

5. Book an oil boiler service

It’s a requirement to book an oil boiler annual service in order to maintain your warranty agreement.

Without it, you may run into problems with your system and end up paying the price for costly repairs. So rather than shelling out on expensive fixes or replacements, it's best to pay the annual oil boiler service cost.

Although Gas Safe registered engineers are qualified to work with most gas boilers, they aren't your go-to guys for oil boilers. When you book an oil boiler service, you'll need to contact an OFTEC-registered engineer.

OFTEC-registered engineers are qualified to maintain, repair, and service your oil boiler, and will know exactly what to do to keep your system working correctly.


Final thoughts

Taking care of your oil boiler means more than just phoning up for an oil boiler service once a year. It means regular monitoring of the performance of the oil boiler, and with simple checks, you can help keep it running healthy and efficiently too.

By keeping up with a maintenance schedule, you can keep your home warm, comfortable, and cosy while also cutting back on your heating bills.

Do you think your oil boiler is ready to be upgraded? BOXT can help find the best boiler to suit your home with our handy Find a Boiler tool. 

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