The oil heating industry has been working hard to reduce its emissions and produce new boilers that are super-efficient. The EU has been bringing in standards to reduce emissions from all oil heating appliances. The UK industry originally challenged the timetable for this but has actually made great strides in producing new products that produce far lower emission levels.

As a result of these efforts to reduce emissions, we now have condensing boilers that perform much better, are easier to control and produce far lower amounts of nitrogen oxide. It is expected that the levels that boilers are allowed to produce will continue to go down, and the industry has anticipated this by moving to produce boilers with even lower levels of emissions, which is beneficial for oil prices NI.

It’s unclear what effect Brexit will have on oil prices NI and this drive to lower emissions, but it may well be the case that the UK government decides to adopt the drive for cleaner oil boilers. If our industry wants to sell into Europe, it will need to meet European standards.

The key phrase to look for in some of these new and more efficient boilers is “blue flame”, which refers to the colour of the flame when the boiler is burning oil. Current models are known as “yellow flame” boilers. Several UK manufacturers have been developing domestic blue flame burners with low nitrogen oxide emissions, and some of these will be launched in spring 2017.

Some of the new blue flame burners are fully modulating. The benefits of this are that the boiler cycles on and off less frequently and operates more efficiently, with less wear and tear on parts. Remember to have the boiler serviced regularly, even if it is new, because this makes a significant difference to whether the boiler burns efficiently and cleanly.

A central heating system powered by a modern oil-fired boiler should have the same kind of controls as any other central heating system. These should include a room thermostat, radiator valves and a seven-day electronic programmable timer with separate heating and hot water controls.

The hot water tank should have a cylinder thermostat, and the thermostats and the boiler should be wired in an interlock. This stops unnecessary cycling when heating and hot water are not required.

With keen oil prices NI, as far as oil-fired burners are concerned, the future is definitely blue.