Signs It’s Time for an Oil Boiler Upgrade

Boiler Care

As homeowners continue to grapple with energy costs, an oil boiler upgrade is the last thing on their minds. If you live in an off-grid property, it’s likely you’ll have this handy gas boiler alternative. To avoid unnecessary costs, it’s important to take precautions.

The key with these systems is to schedule in regular oil boiler maintenance, rather than waiting for a costly breakdown. You can also keep your oil boiler running for longer by checking it regularly for leaks and observing your energy use. Of course, every appliance has its own lifespan. When the time comes, here’s how to tell if you should upgrade your oil boiler.

1. Your Oil-Fired Boiler Has Reached a Certain Age…

As a general rule, oil boilers last between 10 and 15 years. If you’re not sure how old your oil-fired boiler is, look for a sticker on the front panel. This sticker will contain a serial number. The third and fourth numbers correspond with the year it was made – for example, 0 and 9 would indicate it was made in 2009.

It’s also wise to check the warranty if you’re thinking about an oil boiler upgrade. If yours is less than 10 years old and is beyond repair, you may be able to get a free replacement. Warranties are usually one to five years, but extended warranties can last up to 12. 

2. Your Home Heating Isn’t Working as Well As It Once Did

Is your central heating system running too cool or just sporadically? Perhaps you’ve noticed hot water drying up faster. This is a sign that your oil boiler isn’t as energy efficient as it could be – and there could be a range of causes. For example, the oil burner might not be working properly or your filters could be clogged.

In isolation, these issues might simply be a case for an engineer. If you’re experiencing other problems though, it might be time to think about an oil boiler replacement.

Learn more about the oil boiler issues people often face and how to resolve them.

3. You’re Calling Out Engineers More Often

You should have your boiler serviced by an OFTEC registered technician once a year. While some people might want to do this more often for peace of mind (or indeed, to stick to warranty agreements), this shouldn’t be a necessity.

If you’re booking frequent callouts, it’s likely more than just a maintenance issue. Ask your engineer if you’re not sure, as it could save you a lot of money!

4. Your Heating Bills Are Getting Higher for No Reason

An efficient heating oil boiler will burn fuel without any issues, helping to keep costs down. If there’s something stopping your current oil boiler from burning like it used to, you may have to seek other options. 

You could have a clogged flue pipe or cracked heat exchanger. This build-up of debris stops oil heating systems from burning fuel optimally, which means you might be using more. Speak to your energy company to see if their pricing has changed. If not, look at your energy usage – if it’s gone up for no reason, an old oil boiler could be the problem.

5. You’re Hearing a ‘Kettling’ Sound

This has nothing to do with crowd control! In oil combi boilers terms, ‘kettling’ refers to a high-pitched whistling sound. These may come from the boiler or from your radiators’ pipework. You may also hear gurgling, hissing or banging, particularly in the winter months.

Noises like this usually indicate deposit build-up. Left ignored, they can lead to higher energy bills and shorten the lifespan of your oil-fired boiler. Always speak to a technician if you’re not sure.

6. You’ve Started to Notice Leaks

Keep an eye on your oil boiler and your oil storage tank, especially if running costs are going up. There may be leaks around the oil boiler itself, which will need immediate inspection from an engineer. 

With the storage tank, look for seals. If your seals are dried or cracked, they may be prone to leaks. You may also need to replace your oil tank for safety and energy saving.

Read our guide on common heating oil tank issues and how to fix them.

7. Your Oil Boiler’s Flame Colour Has Changed

The colour of the flame isn’t always a cause for alarm. Depending on the make and model of your oil boiler, the flame could be blue, white or yellow. What’s important to note is whether or not the flame has changed colour. 

In particular, bright yellow or orange flames might signify incomplete combustion. In some cases, this poses a carbon monoxide risk, so it’s always best to be safe. An engineer can confirm this for you.

8. You Can No Longer Find Spare Parts

Depending on your type of oil boiler, you may struggle to find spare parts. This in itself is a sign that the technology is outdated, and could pose further risks if your engineer can’t source the right components. It will also contribute to further oil boiler costs.

If yours is a model that’s no longer supported, an oil boiler replacement cost can be cheaper in the long term. Bear in mind that it’s likely your warranty will have expired, too.

9. Your Oil Boiler Can’t Support Smart Technology

Moving with the times is a great excuse for replacing an old boiler! Smart controls help to keep oil boiler costs down, using real-time data to show you how much energy you’re consuming. If your current model can’t support these, it could be costing you more.

If you’re worried about the cost to replace oil boiler equipment, there’s an added incentive. Some households may qualify for government grants to support smart meter installations. The ECO4 scheme supports all kinds of energy from oil boilers to air source heat pumps and you can apply online.

10. You Keep Experiencing Breakdowns

Perhaps the best sign that it’s time to replace oil boiler tech is a constant stream of breakdowns. Maybe you can’t access heated water or you’re getting nothing from your radiator heaters. You may even be feeling the chill on your underfloor heating. Whatever the cause, it’s time to call out the oil boiler technicians – again. With repairs ranging anywhere from £100 to £500 a visit, a new oil boiler is a far better long-term investment. 

How Can I Avoid High Installation Costs?

If it’s time for an upgrade, you’ll understandably be concerned about the cost of oil boiler installations. As part of Certas Energy, we’re here to help you find the most cost-effective technicians working throughout England and Wales.

Get a free quote on an A-rated boiler from top brands including Worcester Bosch and Grant Vortex Blue. For off grid homes, oil boilers provide an efficient alternative to natural gas and other fossil fuels – and the latest technology can even help to reduce your carbon footprint.

Remember, prevention is always better than the cure. We can also help you source the best value combi and system boiler servicing, helping to reduce your bills and carbon emissions. This will help you to:

  • Avoid seeking energy alternatives like electric heating
  • Reduce carbon without the cost of fully transferring to renewable fuels
  • Cut back on maintenance or breakdown visits from technicians
  • Keep your home warm throughout the winter months
  • Lower your energy costs by burning fuel more efficiently.

Looking to replace your oil boiler or just need some advice? Get in touch today.