What can they save you and are they worth the money?
Everyone wants to save a little bit extra; money on their heating bills, decrease their carbon footprint and reduce their impact on the world. And, rightly so, it feels good to know you’ve saved money and done your bit for the environment. But the big question is “can heating oil additives be used to save you money whilst helping the planet too?”
So, in this post, we will explore this question and discuss common types of additives, how they work and whether they are worth investing in. Therefore, you can discover whether oil additives are the right product for you.
Let the discussion begin with some common problems associated with heating oil.
Common Problems with Heating Oil Systems
Contaminants present in your tank are dragged through into your system, clogging the burner nozzle and injectors, thereby, reducing the efficiency of your boiler.
Small amounts of water can seep into your tank causing bacterial growth, rusting and problems with your tanks filtering system.
Also known as gelling. When the temperature is low enough, heating oil can become very viscous and, therefore, can’t flow as easily through your oil system (This is very seldom seen in the UK outside Scotland).
Oxidation can lead to a deterioration of kerosene quality which affects the burning efficiency of your fuel.
Sludge formed from microbial growth in the tank sediments at the bottom. When your oil level is low it is pulled through your system and clogs your filter whilst putting extreme load on the pump.
Can these problems be tackled with additives?
They sure can and we’ve expanded below on how additives help and which to use.
Specialised additives can be found which possess ingredients that target specific problems associated with home heating oil storage, pressure jet boilers and vapourising cookers. They all tend to have the same basic ingredients which include Biocides, Detergents, Lubricity Enhancers, Demulsifiers, Corrosion Inhibitors and Anti-Oxidation or Stability Agents but they are formulated to optimise the benefits for the system storing and the appliance that is “burning” the fuel along with the way in which the heat is derived from the oil.
These aim to kill any microbes present in your fuel which lead to sludge formation. This is a problem when fuel is left in a tank for a prolonged period. For example, in the summer months when fuel consumption is at its lowest fuel can become stagnant. Biocides kill sludge forming microbes and so extend the shelf life of your kerosene by keeping it fresh.
Heavy-duty detergents clean the burner nozzle and injector as they pass through the unit and can assist in breaking up and removing soot and sludge.
These aim to extend the lifetime of your oil-fired system through effectively lubricating moving components, whilst also cleaning injectors and burning nozzles. Therefore, your system runs more efficiently for longer.
These work by forcing water and fuel to separate. Hence, this prevents “wet” oil from entering your burner, which would otherwise reduce the burning efficiency of your boiler and also prevents microbe growth by reducing the emulsified layer where they love to grow.
Anti-Oxidation/Stability Agents/Corrosion Inhibitors
These agents slow the natural oxidation process of fuel in storage and stabilise the same fuel if it is preheated prior to combustion (in many vapoursing burners for example) . The use of such agents ensures the original performance specification of the fuel is maintained for optimum combustion despite being stored.
Goff offer two Home Heating Oil Additives:
to maximise efficiency and minimise the impact on the environment from burning heating oil. These are optimised for use in either vapoursing burners or pressure jet boilers.
Topanol Vaporising Burner Combustion Additive
For Aga / Rayburn and other range type cookers.
- Stops the oxidation process to maintain fuel quality
- Inhibits deposit growth and corrosion
- Keeps feed pipes clean by reducing carbon and gum formation
- Optimises burn quality/combustion
- Reduced soot formation
- Improves fuel economy
- Extends service intervals
Exocet Premium Heating Oil Additive
for pressure jet boilers.
- Lowers Carbon Emissions
- Fuel is stabilised to increase shelf life
- Inhibits sludge formation and corrosion
- Powerful detergents clean burner nozzle and injector
- Removes soot deposits
- Deposit build-up reduced
- Improves your system efficiency
- Reduces service problems
How do heating oil additives work?
The premise of heating oil additives is that they will help to reduce the cost and impact of heating your home in one way or another. Whether that be by minimising oil consumption, reducing emissions, or by increasing the life of your system’s components.
Let’s start by stating that additives should be viewed as a long-term strategy and will indirectly lead to reduced oil consumption rates. Not only this but additives will not save you big bucks on your heating oil, they will well make it more efficient and should help prolong the life of your heating system which could save you mega bucks.
It’s true that there will be a decrease in maintenance costs for things such as filters, tank cleaning, unexpected boiler repairs, etc. However, this is harder to quantify because you cannot tell what would have gone wrong without the use of additives.
Instead additives should really be viewed as a cost-effective way of enhancing the care of your heating oil system and also considerably lowering it’s carbon emissions. The combination of good quality fuel combined with regular servicing and appliance specific additives will ensure your system runs smoothly and efficiently over a period of years, saving money from costly repairs whilst minimising the impact on the environment1.
Neither additive will have a detrimental impact on a heating system. Where two different appliances run off of one tank we recommend that you use the additive most suitable for the most sensitive appliance. Vapourising burners (Agas) are traditionally more sensitive than pressure jet boilers.
Whilst additives won’t save you the huge savings instantly, over time the little savings can snowball and if the price of heating oil rises, any savings made by using additives increases.
1. Additives must not be used as an alternative to regular boiler maintenance. The recommended guideline is that your boiler should be serviced once a year by an OFTEC qualified engineer, and your Aga be seen twice a year by an approved technician.