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Domestic heating oil - what you need to know

If your home is in a part of the UK that isn’t connected to the gas mains network, you might use heating oil to power your central heating system and hot water.

This page explains how using domestic heating oil works and your consumer rights when you buy and use it.

How does oil central heating work?

If you have oil central heating, you will normally have an oil-fired boiler. This heats water to provide central heating through radiators and hot water through the taps in your home.

Unlike mains gas, heating oil is delivered to your home in a tanker. It is piped into a tank on your property, which you may have to buy or rent from your supplier. Some suppliers insist on minimum orders and you usually have to pay up-front for your oil.

Because oil is delivered by road, rather than through a continuous piped supply, it is possible you could run out while you wait for your next delivery. Therefore, you should always be sure to order your deliveries with plenty of time to spare, especially in the winter months.

Your rights if you are a heating oil customer

When you buy heating oil from a supply company, you have legal rights as a consumer under the Sale of Goods Act. If the oil supplier makes a mistake with your order or tries to change the agreed price, you can take action against them.

Saving money on heating oil

Heating oil is a very efficient fuel, but the price can still go up. You may find you can save money by joining together with others in your area to form an oil club. By clubbing together to buy larger quantities, you can get better deals from the oil suppliers.

Next steps

More information

  • Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) code of practice and customer charter for members at