It’s time to turn up the thermostat and prepare for the winter…..hopefully you had your boiler serviced while the heating was not required over the summer months. The summer is the best time to get your boiler serviced as technicians have more availability and you can make sure you appliance is healthy and running efficiently before the winter kicks in. When was the last time you gave your oil heating system a health check to ensure your system is operating at its peak efficiency so that it is ready for the winter months?

You may have been putting off that boiler service, possibly for years. The boiler is working. The water is hot. Why bother?

  • The good news is that oil boilers and cookers are reliable and long lasting. The unwelcome news is that a poorly installed and maintained appliance will cost you extra – every day of its life. A service by an OFTEC Registered Technician will ensure that your boiler or cooker is efficient, safe, and in top working order to face the worst that winter can throw at us.
  • We in the Province are still behind the rest of the UK in our use of energy-saving controls, though new homes now have condensing boilers and separate controls for heating and hot water fitted as standard, plus radiator thermostats that keep each room at the temperature you choose. Controls can be fitted to older systems too, and will pay for themselves in lower fuel bills and a cosier home. When your service engineer calls, ask him about modern controls that can be fitted to your system to cut heating costs and add to your comfort. The new Building Regulations introduced in NI now mean that all new or replacement oil boilers must be condensing – this is good news as it means oil can compete with natural gas and renewable technologies with an efficient and reliable product – all the local Northern Ireland manufacturers have condensing appliances available.
  • All fuel-burning appliances must be checked each year to ensure that they are safe and that emissions of flue gases are kept to a minimum. Every winter, Carbon Monoxide, the ‘silent killer’ claims lives that might have been saved by a visit from a competent heating engineer. Over the years, flues and ventilation can become blocked, so don’t take a chance with your family’s safety!
  • A thorough service should always include a tank check. Plastic tanks are tough and durable, but their pipework and fittings should be checked for signs of damage or leaks. A broken sight gauge could allow oil to leak out, pollute your garden and possibly contaminate a river or stream. For extra protection, if you live near a watercourse you should install an integrally bunded tank, which has an outer skin to contain any leakage.
  • Finding the right technician – make sure that you choose a trained professional to service your heating system. All OFTEC Registered technicians are trained in modern techniques, and can offer you heating advice and an expert service. For information on oil heating, a list of appliances, or to contact a Registered technician in your area, visit OFTEC’s website www.oftec.org or phone 01473 626298.

Home Heat Costs

Annual cost of Space and Water Heating for an average size three bedroom house (£) Sunderland July 2019 in Northern Ireland based on previous 3 months fuel costs.

FUELNorthern Ireland £Stg

Condensing Boiler


Oil *1054
Phoenix Nat Gas 1050
Firmus 1120
Wood pellet1118
Electric Radiators - E71870
Air Source (Rads)1654
Air Source (Underfloor)1246

Note: Building Control legislation means it is now compulsory to install a condensing boiler in a new build or replacement boiler situation from 1st January 2011. A condensing boiler is more efficient than the standard boiler it replaces and will save you money.

For your nearest OFTEC Registrered Technician who will advice you on the benefits of oil condensing technology see: http://www.oftec.org


  • *900 Litres of fuel delivered to 2725 litre storage tank.
  • Figures show annual cost for previous three month period.

Source: Sutherland July 2019 – Sutherland Tables and copyright.