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What is the difference between LPG, gas and oil as fuels and how will this affect my new boiler?

You probably have a good idea of what is meant by the terms ‘LPG’, ‘gas’ and ‘oil’ in everyday conversations but when it comes to boilers and central heating systems, the meaning of these words become a lot more specific. So let’s take a closer look at what each fuel type is, how they’re commonly used in homes across the UK and which are best suited for different boiler types.

What type of fuel does my boiler use?

The majority of homes in England run their heating using gas with the exception of just over 1 million properties that use either oil or LPG, these properties are more likely to be located in the countryside ‘off-grid’ where mainline gas isn’t always available.

What is LPG?

LPG, or liquefied petroleum gas, is a mixture of propane and butane and is not commonly used for heating. Where LPG systems are in place, it is often a backup option for homes that ordinarily rely on solar power as an energy source. LPG fuel gets delivered in bulk to your home and needs to be stored in a tank.

LPG is highly efficient in terms of its energy output per unit volume burned. It has a high calorific value (43MJ/kg) so you get more heat per litre than you do with other fuels and this contributes to its cost-effectiveness too.

What is Heating Oil?

Heating oil, also referred to as kerosene, shares many characteristics with diesel but it’s refined for use as a fuel for heating in a boiler. The main difference between heating oil and diesel is that heating oil has been fully refined whereas diesel has not.

As with LPG, heating oil is delivered in bulk and stored in a tank on your property – the main benefit of this is that you can stock up when the price is lowest, although prices can fluctuate vastly depending on the time of year and other external factors.

What is mains gas?

Mains gas is delivered to your home by the gas network which comes from pipes under the ground. Mains gas is a mixture of different gases and contains varying amounts of methane, propane and butane. The composition of mains gas varies depending on what type of plant it came from as well as how far away it came from (the further away, the more likely that there will be more methane in your supply).

Mains gas is the most common fuel used for heating homes and it is usually when a gas supply isn’t available due to location that people use LPG or oil systems.

Which type of heating fuel is most economic?

There is no doubt that gas is the most economical. It’s cheaper to heat and costs less to maintain than oil, which was once the fuel of choice for central heating. LPG is somewhere in between these two fuels when it comes to price.

Can I choose which type of fuel I choose for my heating?

There are a few things you need to consider when it comes to choosing the type of fuel you want. Firstly, if you have an oil boiler and would like to switch over to LPG or gas, your current heating system will need some modifications made in order for it to work properly with your new system. You may also need to get an alternative source of heat such as electric radiators if there isn’t enough space in the room or home itself. Alternatively, you could choose to have an entirely new heating system installed which runs on LPG or gas as well as oil so that no changes have been made to your existing setup whatsoever!

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you to understand the differences between LPG, mains gas and oil as fuels for your new boiler. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can save money by changing your boiler, please read our guide: Save Money By Changing Your Boiler. If you’re near Essex, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Kent or London and would like us to help you find the best boiler to suit your needs, then call us on 0808 134 9499 (landline) or 01992 238 252 (mobile) to arrange a consultation now.

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