How to find the cheapest home heating oil

Liquid fuel can be good alternative to natural gas if you live off-grid. Here’s all you need to know about heating your home with oil and how to cut the cost.

What affects the price of home heating oil?

Over the last two years, the price of home heating oil has fluctuated dramatically, and Irish households have seen oil prices soar in response to global prices and demand.

The price of home heating oil changes frequently and is affected by things like:

  • Seasons and weather
  • Consumer demand
  • Stock markets and exchange rates
  • Global conflicts

What types of heating oil are there?

There are three types of heating oil – gas oil and kerosene. Gas oil is a heavier oil generally used for commercial reasons, while Kerosene is used in many homes.

  1. Gas oil is dyed green so it’s not mistaken for regular diesel. It’s also known as Marked Gas Oil (MGO), Green diesel and 35 second oil.
  2. Kerosene is an orange colour and is also known as Jet A1 kero, Standard kero and 28 second oil.
  3. Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a fossil-free fuel with up to 90% lower net CO2 emissions.

woman warm radiator

How much kerosene do you use in a year?

An average 3 bedroom household uses around 1,300 to 2,000 litres of kerosene a year. Most households need to buy oil two or three times a year, depending on their tank size.

The amount of home heating oil you use depends on things like:

  • The size of your home/household
  • How often the heating is on
  • Whether you use kerosene to cook food

Tips to save money on your heating oil

Check out these smart tips for cutting the cost of heating oil. Use these five simple strategies to save money and stay cozy all winter long.

1. Avoid seasonal hot spots

Whilst you can’t control the price of heating oil, you should avoid topping it up between October and February. Usually, December is the priciest month because demand is at its peak.

For this reason, opt to stock up in the spring or summer months instead. A big order around late August or September can last you right through the winter.

2. Buy in bulk and reduce your orders

The more oil you buy in one go, the cheaper the price per litre will be. Avoid ordering less than 500 litres if you can, and opt for 1,000 litres or more for the best rates. The fewer orders you make, the less you’ll spend on delivery charges too.

How much oil does a domestic tank hold?

The capacity of an oil tank varies greatly but an average size tank can hold around 1,000 to 2,500 litres.

If you’re not sure how much your oil tank holds, there should be a product label on the side or back of the tank confirming its maximum capacity. Alternatively, take some measurements using a tank size calculator.

If you’ve overestimated how much oil will fit in your tank, most suppliers will top it up to a safe level and only charge for the amount you take.

3. Buy online and check extra charges

It’s nearly always cheaper to order online than over the phone or in-store.

As well as checking the oil price per litre and buying online, there are other costs to look out for, including:

  • Delivery charges: These depend on the supplier and how rural your location is.
  • Credit card fees: Expect around 2% of the total or a flat rate charge per order.
  • Paying in instalments: Paying upfront is usually the cheapest option, so do this if you can.

4. Join a community oil club

Consider bulk ordering oil with others in your area for cheaper rates. You’ll get a better rate per litre of oil if you place a larger order, and you’ll spend less on delivery charges.

You can find find a local community oil club via neighbours or community groups in your area. Try searching social media, like local Facebook pages too.

If there isn’t an oil club in your locality, you could gauge how much interest there is and consider asking neighbours if they’d be interested in setting one up.

5. Shop around and compare oil prices

By comparing suppliers that deliver to your area, you can find the best rate available. allows you to compare prices from different companies. Simply select your location and get a list of local suppliers you can sort by price.

There’s also a link to each supplier’s website, so you can use their quick quote tool to get an exact amount.

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What is HVO?

HVO stands for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil. It’s a type of biofuel made from renewable sources like vegetable oils or animal fats and often derived from waste materials so it’s sustainable and renewable. It’s chemically processed to remove oxygen and impurities, which makes a fuel similar to diesel oil.

With simple modifications, many homes in Ireland can retain their liquid-fuelled boiler and use Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO).

Here’s some of the benefits:

  • Lower carbon footprint: It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to traditional heating oil
  • Cleaner: It’s cleaner than fossil diesel, leading to lower harmful emissions and healthier air
  • Better performance: It burns more efficiently in boilers, potentially leading to lower fuel consumption and reduced heating costs
  • Renewable fuel source: It’s made from renewable feedstocks like vegetable oils and animal fats

Disadvantages of using HVO for heating oil:

  • Higher cost: It’s more expensive than traditional heating oil which is a barrier for many
  • Limited availability: Although HVO production is increasing, it’s not readily available yet
  • Sustainability: The production process and sourcing of HVO can have environmental impacts
  • Compatibility with older boilers: While HVO is compatible with most modern boilers, some older models may require adjustments or upgrades

What about electricity costs?

If you haven’t switched your electricity provider in over a year, you’re probably on a standard tariff and paying more than you need to.

Here’s how to find and compare the cheapest energy deals to cut household bills.

Once you’re ready to switch providers, use our guide How to switch gas and electricity which takes you through the process, step by step.

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