Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions on Oil Boilers

I’ve just had my oil boiler serviced and my technician says I need a fire valve. What’s a fire valve?

A fire valve is an important safety feature of an oil installation. BS 5410 Part 1 : 1997 (which is the accepted industry means of compliance with the Building Regulations) requires that a remote acting fire valve should be installed so as to cut off the supply of oil before it enters the building remotely from the appliance in the event of an overheat/fire situation.

A fire valve body must be located externally before the oil supply line enters the property with the sensor at the appliance. Sometimes historically, this may not always have so easy to achieve as remote sensing fire valves used to be comparatively restricted in length. However, you will be pleased to know that today remote sensing fire valves are available up to 25m in length both mechanical and electrical types.

I am a Church Warden based in Cornwall, our regular service technician says our single skin oil tank is no longer compliant. Why should he suddenly say this?

The Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 states that all oil storage tank installations above 200L being used for commercial/industrial, places of public entertainment or assembly and domestic (above 3500L) installations must have had secondary containment provision retrospectively by 1st September 2005.

For further information on the Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (England) Regulations 2001 download the OFTEC Information Sheet

I live in a terraced house. My regular fuel delivery company has told me that they will no longer be able to fill tank by bringing the hose through the property. Is there a way to overcome this?

You can consider having an extended fill line installed. This can be run either under the property in approved plastic pipework or through the building in concealed positions using 50mm black steel tubing. Any joints that are made must be accessible and consideration should be given to running the line through an oil proof sleeve incorporating a leakage detector.

Where the oil storage tank and its contents gauge cannot be seen from the fill point, the oil storage tank must be bunded and an overfill alarm be installed.

I am having a replacement boiler installed and my OFTEC Registered Technician has advised that my chimney will need re-lining. The chimney was re-lined six years ago; will the lining need to be replaced?

Yes, when installing a new/replacement appliance the chimney will need to be re-lined with a stainless steel flue liner, the OFTEC Registered Technician is required to ensure as far as is reasonably practicable that the liner should last the life of the appliance.

If a new/replacement is reconnected to existing stainless steel flue liner, the existing stainless steel flue liner may spilt (allowing products of combustion to escape) when it is disturbed without the technician knowing it.

My new boiler has just had its first service The OFTEC Registered Service and Commissioning Technician advised that I should have had a conventional flue data plate fitted. Where can I obtain one?

You should be able to purchase a flue data plate from your OFTEC Registered Service and Commissioning Technician. If your technician has difficultly in obtaining them he can now get them from OFTEC Direct. I must add that as your original installer was not OFTEC Registered you will need to apply to your Local Authority Building Control Department for a “Regularisation Certificate” (basically a retrospective Building Notice) as soon as possible so that you are not liable for committing the offence of non-notification of the fitment of a “Controlled Service”.

Are oil boilers safe?

If your boiler and the flue system is installed to comply with current regulatory and manufacturers’ requirements and the installation is regularly serviced and maintained, you can expect many years of safe operation. As an additional safeguard, a remote sensing fire valve must be fitted in the oil supply line immediately outside the property. This will automatically cut off the fuel supply into your house and to your boiler should a problem occur.

Are oil boilers noisy?

Advances in design and appearance of oil boilers over the last twenty years have been enormous and many of the existing boilers available have been developed for installation into kitchens. There may be some minor operational noise, on start-up.

Balance flue boilers tend to be quieter than conventional flue boilers. As with any boiler, audible noise levels will vary according to its location within your house and background noise.

I forgot to order oil, and my oil storage tank ran dry. I’ve had a delivery, but the boiler won’t work. What can I do?

Call your local OFTEC Registered Service and Commissioning Technician (you can search for a Registered Technician in your area by using the “Locate a Registered Technician” facility here on the OFTEC website). The oil line system will require bleeding and venting, and it’s also advisable to check the filter. When this has been done your OFTEC Registered Service and Commissioning Technician will fire the boiler and carry out a combustion analysis to check that it is operating safely and efficiently.

There are several types of sight gauges suitable for domestic oil storage tanks. Also, many plastic oil storage tanks are now fitted with an electronic sight gauge that displays the oil level on a readout indoors, and warns you when the oil level is getting low. Ask you OFTEC Registered Technician which type they recommend.

The electronic gauge can be linked to a new computerised oil ordering system that automatically reports the level of oil in your oil storage tank direct to your supplier via the telephone. They can then arrange for a delivery without your even having to order. More and more oil companies are using this system. Ask your supplier if they offer it.