Cat warmers are promised for oil heaters, as the price of oil is at a record low. When you usually have to shell out a euro for a liter of oil, now the price is even less than 70 cents.

Regularly, the price has been 70 cents last about ten years ago.

The average oil-fired house requires about 2,200 gallons of oil a year. According to Arto Hannula, Executive Director of the Heating Energy Association, if the tank is now filled, the savings can be as much as 600 euros.

- I don't remember that for a moment it would have been so profitable to heat your home with oil, Hannula says.

Oil consumption also largely depends on temperatures. If the winter is cold and the tank can hold a lot of oil, the savings could be even greater.

Some euro could have been saved if it had filled its tank at the turn of the month, when the price was still a few cents lower. According to Hannula, people are still moving at very competitive prices, and according to his calculations, oil heating is now even cheaper than natural gas in terms of total costs.

The change is large, as in 2017 and 2018, for example, oil heating was generally considered to be the most expensive form of heating. At its highest, heating oil cost about 1.20 euros per liter.

According to Hannula, total costs are also affected by things other than the price of oil. Among other things, the heating system should be serviced approximately every two years. The heating system should also be kept up to date, as according to Hannula, the energy efficiency of the new systems is much better than the older ones.

- Today, we are already achieving really good energy efficiency. The development is still ongoing.

According to Hannula, now is a good time to fill his oil tank, but one mistake should not be made:

- It is worth buying winter-quality heating oil. Summer quality is a few cents cheaper, but can cause problems if used even in cold weather. Defects in the heating system always become more expensive.

If you try to survive the summer quality through the winter, freezing can become a problem.

According to the Heating Energy Association, there are about 130,000 detached houses in Finland that use oil heating, although the number is declining by as much as 5,000 annually.

In many of these, heat is also obtained by other means, such as an air-to-water heat pump or a storage fireplace. Still, the number of people using oil heating is significant, according to Hannula.

Motiva's expert Teemu Kettunen says that the profitability of an oil-heated house depends on the size of the house to be heated and the heating costs.

In a small house that doesn’t have a high resale value, it may not make sense to switch from oil heating to another form of energy.

In contrast, in larger houses, the low operating costs of geothermal heat can make oil heating more uneconomical.

- In geothermal, start-up costs are high, but the higher the consumption, the faster the geothermal pays for itself.

Kettunen also reminds that updating the form of heating usually increases the resale value of the apartment. Therefore, upgrading may be commercially sensible.

- On the other hand, it must be remembered that cases are always individual. If you have just upgraded your oil boiler, changing your energy format is probably not worth it.

Kettunen emphasizes that his calculations are based on the fact that the price of heating oil will rise again to the euro. If oil remained cheap, there could be no economic justification for changing the form of energy.

You can also reduce your own energy consumption by tidying up your house, reducing water consumption and dropping the room temperature.

- A one-degree drop in room temperature cuts on average about five percent of heat consumption, Kettunen says.

The future of oil heating is still shrouded in obscurity. Ilta-Sanomat reported in February that the government wants to drive oil down as a form of heating.

First of all is the state and municipal real estate. Ordinary detached houses “will be encouraged to switch to other forms of heating during the 2020s through a separate program of measures”.

As part of this, the government intends to tighten taxation on heating fuels and cut tax subsidies on combined heat and power production so that tax revenues increase by EUR 100 million during the election period.

According to a ministry source, tax increases on light fuel oil will be “moderate”.

When the taxation of heating fuels was increased by EUR 45 million in the last government term, the Confederation of Taxpayers estimates that the annual heating costs of an oil-heated detached house will increase by about EUR 42.

Now the rise could be bigger.

  • Read more: Government wants to run down as a form of oil heating - Kalevi Saarikettu, 78, plans to continue heating his frontman's house with oil

Motiva tips: this is how you take care of oil heating

The oil burner should be serviced every 1-2 years, depending on the age of the unit and the amount of oil consumed. At least the nozzles are replaced during maintenance and the flame guards are cleaned.

The oil boiler and chimney should be sooted annually.

The boiler should also be serviced once a year. Maintenance includes cleaning the heat transfer surfaces and inspecting other parts of the boiler.

An oil burner lasts on average about ten years. Replacing it often results in better efficiency.

The service life of the boiler is about 25 years. You can also change the boiler for better efficiency.

It is a good idea to change the oil tank at least every 30 years.

Source: Motiva