Why oil tanks are still a brilliant solution for new builds

Primesave Properties is a Shrewsbury- based house building company, which offers affordable yet quality housing in desirable country locations in Shropshire and Powys. However, rural living often means no local gas grid, so housing plots need alternative heating solutions.

Why oil tanks are still a brilliant solution for new builds

Martin Moore, Primesave’s sales manager, explains why heating oil is still the best solution for its rural new builds: “The gas pipelines are miles away from the housing developments and with natural gas being phased out it doesn’t make sense to have new pipelines constructed. While we know hydrogen could replace natural gas with potentially little alterations to existing pipelines, there is still too much uncertainty and expense to justify connection to the mains. For heat pumps to work effectively houses must be completely redesigned to increase efficiency with additional insulation, underfloor heating to cover a larger surface area suitable for the low-temperature heat output, and solar roofs to offset the additional running costs. This would lead to extra build costs of around £25,000.

Heating oil is still the most cost- effective and efficient heating option for our rural developments.”

Flexible solutions

Since Tuffa started working with Primesave eight years ago, the company has manufactured around 100 Fire Protected oil tanks, installed in new build homes across Shropshire and Wales. Martin explained that the flexibility provided by integrally fire rated oil tanks is critical for off-grid property developments. The ability to site the tanks as close as 300mm from buildings and boundaries acts as a mitigation measure, allowing Primesave to position them as discretely as possible.

Externally constructed fire barriers offered an alternative solution but not a simple one. Fire barriers would need to be planned into the build in advance, which, while possible, is far from ideal. Martin advises that it’s only when the house is built that you “get a feel for where the oil tanks should be sited.”

Tuffa’s Fire Protected oil tanks simplify the installation allowing tanks to be sited where it feels right.

An independent review submitted to Tuffa testifies to Primesave’s ability to sense the right location, with new homeowner, Dale McDonald writing:

“We have just moved into a new build property in Arddleen and have had a Tuffa 1150L tank installed. The tank itself looks great and isn’t an eyesore in the garden.”

Homeowners already familiar with oil heating

With around 5% of UK homes using oil-fired heating, it’s an easy assumption to make that most potential buyers will be concerned to find their desired new build property is heated with kerosene. However, in Martin’s experience, the majority of new homeowners purchasing a Primesave property are already familiar with oil heating.

Buyers are often moving from a local oil-heated home and have friends, colleagues or family members using alternative heating systems such as heat pumps so will be aware of their associated problems. Using a tried and tested heating system provided by oil heating is therefore rarely a concern.

Advantages of oil heating In many ways oil-fired heating isn’t dissimilar from natural gas. Fuel distributors typically offer pay-monthly schemes and UK energy price increases have affected both almost equally. However, one advantage of heating oil is not being tied within a contract which gives greater control to achieve lower prices. With around seven fuel distributors operating in the Powys area, prices are very competitive and many homeowners further reduce costs by joining community fuel buying groups.

Oil heating also provides the ability to bulk-buy fuel when prices are low. With a capacity of 1150L, the Fire Protected oil tanks installed at Primesave’s housing developments hold enough oil to last homeowners around 9 months. By purchasing during the summer, homeowners can achieve lower prices and with the fuel lasting until prices start to reduce in spring. This means that oil-heated properties do not disadvantage the homeowners.

Tuffa is now in the process of manufacturing 17 more Fire Protected oil tanks for Somerford Reach, the third phase of housing developments at Arddleen, while another 54 tanks are on advance order. tuffa.co.uk