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Easy Guide to Regulations External Oil Boilers

  • Explore each before installing an external oil boiler. 
  • Take into account the size of space you have for the tank installation, 
  • Calculate heat escaping outdoors.

Nowadays, around 38% of homes in the UK have some sort of boiler, many of which are oil-fired. That’s why ever more people ponder and regularly ask Bob’s Handyman Team where to place one. Should such a bulky feature reside inside or outside your home? While boilers among the many appliances we repair, this is something we have to address in a special guide.

Aside from sparing you the noise and smell associated with these units, having your oil-fired boiler fitted externally benefits safety concerns. You have a boiler easy to service from day one.

If you are thinking of replacing your old oil boiler and moving it outside, please read on. At best, to comply with all regulations on external oil boilers, it is best to use a reputable and certified company comment experts from The Easy Boiler Company.

Because yes, out of sight often means out of mind. So get it done right from the outset to avoid any future headaches. Then you’ll be able to enjoy your garden or patio without having to worry if it’s safe as all rules and regulations are adhered to.

What are Oil Boilers?

An oil boiler is an appliance that delivers central heating and hot water into your property by burning oil. As simple as that. You should store oil in a storage tank, unlike natural gas delivered through the mains upon demand. 

There are 3 main types of oil boilers: combi boilers, system oil boilers, and oil regular boilers. Each boiler type has its specifics, so it is best to find which one suits your needs in particular:

  • Oil combi boilers have the most efficient running costs and provide how water and central heating on demand.
  • Oil system boilers directly heat the central heating system and store hot water in a specialised cylinder.
  • Regular oil boilers are the oldest and run on a cold water feed coming down from storage tanks in lofts. This is common in larger, traditional properties. 

Each of these oil boilers requires a storage tank installed somewhere outdoors.

External Oil Boiler Location Regulations

Regulations arise from the harmful substances boilers emit as waste gases. Fossil fuels like oil naturally produce toxic leftovers, just like car exhausts do with fuel. Therefore, it is essential for plumes to be ejected through the flue at a safe distance from humans or any other pets and stock.

As time spent at home increases, it is crucial to guarantee safety and comply with regulations and the law. 

To read full regulations per relevant country, refer to these official documents:

Advice to Heed for External Oil Boiler Heating Systems

The boiler unit itself is generally a floor-standing model, although some wall-hanging units can be found also hung on walls and ceilings. The difference with an internal oil boiler is mainly the fact that those outside need protection from the elements, meaning a specialised covering or shell.

Whatever type of oil boiler you are about to install, know that they all release fumes which you have to steer away, be it with a professionally-built flue or DIY duct pipe solutions. Therefore, the following have to be taken into consideration when looking for the ideal spot to store an oil-fired boiler.

  • 1m distance with openings. Map out all windows, doors and vents nearby. Clear at least 1m between the oil boiler and these openings to comply with UK regulations.
  • 2.5m from driveways and pathways. The reason for this is that waste gases may turn into a hazard in icy conditions, as they cause the road surface to become slippery.
  • Open-air exit for the flue terminal. Whatever the flue will be facing once in place, you need to be sure it isn’t going to be blocked by a shed, fence or other obstructing feature.
  • Electrical connections. As with any other fitting works around the home, make sure to steer clear of electrical routes when adding new piping. Our colleagues from the electrician department point this as the main concern with new installations.

When operating, a condensing oil boiler releases acidic condensate that requires a drainpipe. Does it sound a little overwhelming? The professionals in the water restoration department know it is.

In order to ensure full compliance with regulations in place for your location, it is indeed best to consult with an OFTEC-certified engineer or an installer registered with the Competent Person Schemes

OFTEC stands for Oil Firing Technical Association that provides reliable guidance and services to homeowners, tenants, and landlords in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The 2025 Future Homes Standard

In 2020, the UK government pledged to enter a new phase in home energy efficiency. Learn more here.

From 2025, all new properties have to be fitted with zero-carbon heating systems. This means gas and oil-fired boilers will no longer be used in new builds from this date onwards comments oil boiler grants advisor Existing homes can however continue to operate on whatever energy source they are already fitted with for heating purposes, experts add.

New guidelines have not as yet been disclosed for plans to reduce carbon emissions throughout existing homes. Although the announced goal is to strive for zero emissions in the shortest time frame possible, expect some years until anything is passed into law.

Add to this several years for any new regulations for existing homes to become effective… and you’ll find the new condensing oil-fired boiler you are purchasing today will have reached the end of its lifespan by then. 

For reference, the lifespan of an oil-fired boiler rarely exceeds a dozen years, although some authorities in the US give it 15 to 30 years, but don’t bet on it.

Are External Oil Boilers a Good Choice?

Oil boilers are generally used as the main heating system for a home that is not connected to the gas network. External oil boilers work the same way an internal boiler would, but a tank is needed to store the oil. This is the oil tank. The tank and boiler are connected, which in turn automatically feeds fuel when needed. Boilers heat and then generate water supply for your taps, shower, radiators, and etc.

The main advantage of an external oil boiler is that you do not need to spare utility room to host the appliance. 

What are the disadvantages? 

Outdoor space, heat loss, and maintenance. 

For example, an internal combi or gas boiler would radiate heat into your home, right?

How Far to Install from the Property?

Oil tanks have to be a minimum of 1.8 metres away from any part of the building that is not fire-resistant, such as windows, doors, and cladding.

Do you Need Planning Permission to Install an Oil Tank?

It is considered permitted development to install a fuel tank and planning permission is not required. However, there are limitations and conditions regarding the installation, including the capacity of the tank must not exceed 3,500 litres.

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