Category - Boilers
Guide author photo

Will Scholfield, Engineer

18 May : Updated 4 Apr ● 7 min read

What should I replace my oil boiler with?

Although oil boilers are less common than gas boilers, 5% of the UK population still rely on oil to heat their homes. If you're looking to replace your oil boiler with a new boiler or heating system, there are plenty of options that could make your home more efficient and help to reduce your energy bills.

What is an oil boiler?

Like gas boilers, oil boilers require fuel. But instead of natural gas, these boilers rely on oil for central heating and domestic hot water.

Oil boilers are a popular choice for homes not connected to the gas network. Instead, an oil tank is stored on-site, and the boiler takes fuel from the supply tank. Whenever you need more oil, you'll have to arrange for a supplier to come and top up your tank.

Oil boiler systems require a large space to store the tank, usually in your garden or surrounding area. You'll also have to keep your eye on the fuel levels to make sure you don't run out.

Different types of oil boilers

1. Oil regular boilers

These are the oldest type of boiler, often found in large, traditional homes. Regular boilers fueled by oil take water from a cold water cistern, usually in the loft space. The central heating system then heats the water and stores it in a separate hot water cylinder.

Regular boilers are a great choice for larger homes, but they take up a lot of space with an oil tank, cistern and cylinder. Once all your hot water has been used up, you'll have to wait for this to refill before you can use the hot water again.

2. Oil system boilers

These boilers take their water supply directly from the mains, eliminating the need for a cold water F & E tank. The water is then heated and stored in a hot water cylinder.

3. Oil combi boilers

These boilers provide central heating and hot water on demand. So other than an oil tank, no additional cylinders are required. They work similarly to your standard combi boiler, other than burning oil rather than natural gas. 

Oil combi boilers might be the perfect solution for small homes, but they would struggle to meet larger properties' heating and hot water demands.

What are the alternatives to oil heating systems?

If you're in the market for an oil boiler replacement, the alternatives are listed below. Each comes with various pros and cons, so take the time to find the ideal heating system for your home.

1. Gas boilers

A gas boiler works similarly to an oil boiler by burning gas and pumping hot water to the radiators in your home when you turn the central heating on.

Gas is generally more affordable than oil, which is one reason why 78% of the UK population use a gas central heating system as their heating and hot water source.

If you’re looking for a replacement for your old oil boiler, it's worth considering connecting your property to the gas grid. This is an extensive network of pipes running all across the UK, working to deliver natural gas to homes and businesses.

If your property isn't connected to the gas grid, this is likely because you live in a remote location. The further you live from your nearest gas supply, the more expensive it will be to connect to the gas grid.

Gas boilers are much cheaper to fuel and run than oil and electric boilers, so once connected to the gas grid, you’ll notice a decrease in your energy bills. 

Gas is pumped directly into your home from the gas grid, so there's no need for an oil tank in your back garden, as with oil boilers. As gas is a popular fuel source for UK homes, manufacturers continuously invest in more efficient and reliable technology.

If you're on the hunt for the perfect oil boiler replacement, check out BOXT's range of boilers.

2. Electric Boilers

Rather than burning fuel, electric boilers convert electricity into heat to warm up water and heat your home.

Electric boiler installation is typically cheaper than gas or oil as they don't require laying a gas line or installing a condensation or flue pipe in your home.

Electric boilers are an excellent choice for those seeking a greener fuel type, as no fossil fuels are burnt to heat your home. And if you're not keen on connecting to the gas network, an electric boiler could be the best choice as they don't require any gas.

However, these boilers are typically more expensive to run than other fuel types and aren't well suited to larger homes as they often struggle to meet high hot water and heating demands.

Discover the pros and cons of electric vs. gas boilers in our previous guide, and find out which is better for your home.

3. Heat pumps

If your house is too big to be heated by an electric boiler, but you still want to be environmentally friendly, an air or ground source heat pump might be the solution.

Heat pumps effectively pump heat from one space to another. This is done by extracting heat from the air or ground and using it to provide heating and hot water to your home.

Heat pumps are incredibly efficient, using only small amounts of electricity and taking their heat from either the ground or air. 

However, heat pumps struggle to provide the same consistent heat output that other heating systems maintain, so they tend to work best when paired with systems like underfloor heating.

4. Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems combine two or more technologies to provide heating and hot water. These typically consist of a heat pump or solar thermal panels integrated with an oil or gas boiler as a way of adapting to changing seasons and increased demands. 

The heat pump element of the system is better suited to the warmer months when the air or ground is warm. In colder months, when the air and ground are naturally much colder, the boiler element of the system proves more suitable.

These systems require less energy and gas simultaneously, meaning lower energy bills and increased efficiency.

5. LPG boilers

If you’re considering a gas boiler but live too far away to connect to the grid, an LPG system might be the ideal choice. LPG stands for Liquified Petroleum Gas, produced from a combination of natural gas, oil extraction and oil refining.

They work similarly to a gas or oil boiler, as LPG boilers burn fuel to produce the energy required to provide hot water and heating for your home.

Like oil boilers, LPG boilers require fuel to be delivered and stored in a fuel storage tank on your property.

LPG boilers are generally cheaper to purchase than oil boilers, but the fuel is more costly. Compared to other oil boiler alternatives, LPG boilers still require a large fuel tank stored in the garden which can be off-putting for many.

To find out more, check out our ultimate guide to LPG boilers.

6. Biomass boiler

Biomass is a biological material which comes from living organisms like plants and is considered a sustainable option for heating your home. This heating system operates similarly to an oil boiler but instead burns biomass to supply heating and hot water.

This biomass can come in wood pellets, chips or logs and, depending on which form you use, has different maintenance requirements.

Biomass boilers require much more space than gas or oil boilers, as the system is larger. You'll also need to store the biomass in a wood store or something similar. This storage must be entirely airtight so the biomass fuel can remain dry - otherwise, it won't burn efficiently.

One of the most significant downsides of biomass boilers is the initial investment. Purchasing a biomass boiler costs considerably more than other heating systems, ranging between £4,000 and £8,000.

Ready to upgrade your boiler?

Ready to upgrade your boiler?

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FAQs about replacing your old oil boiler