Are you waiting for the green light to make your heating more environmentally friendly?

If you’re an oil heating customer you don’t have to choose between your dependable oil system and a renewable alternative. Instead, adopt the hybrid approach and enjoy the best of both worlds!

Hybrid Heating Systems

Hybrid systems (sometimes called bivalent systems) combine two or more heating technologies in one combined system. We recommend solar water heating and air source heat pumps as the best renewable technologies to partner with an existing oil heating system. It’s already possible to create a hybrid heating system using off the shelf components, but manufacturers are currently working on more complete solutions and these are likely to be available very soon.

Solar Water Heating

The UK climate allows a solar energy system to use the heat from the sun for a large part of the year. Unfortunately, its performance depends on the season and it can’t generate sufficient water temperature for a typical central heating system (which needs around 80°C).This means solar water heating (sometimes called solar thermal) can’t be used as a stand-alone heating system, although it will provide most of your domestic hot water requirements during the summer. However, even in winter solar energy can be used to raise the temperature of the cold water supplied to a hot water storage cylinder, which means that the main heating system then uses less fuel to raise the temperature of the water to its required level. It is usually quite easy to integrate solar thermal with an existing oil heating system and we recommend you contact a local OFTEC registered installer for advice.

Things to consider:

An air source heat pump will need to be attached to an external wall heat pumps produce some noise during use so care must be taken not to disturb neighbours.

Air Source Heat Pumps

There are two common heat pumps for use in domestic property. Air source heat pumps (ASHP) use energy in the outside air to produce hot water for domestic heating and hot water systems. They work a bit like a fridge in reverse. However, they produce heat at relatively low temperatures compared to typical oil heating systems, which is why they are best used to compliment an existing oil boiler, rather than as a replacement.

Used in this way, an ASHP can provide all the heat you need during mild weather, and can be supplemented by the oil boiler when things turn colder. This twin system approach can be very effective at cutting heating costs because the oil boiler and ASHP are being used in the most efficient way possible.

Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) are similar to ASHP but take energy from the ground instead of the air, using a buried ground loop or borehole to transfer heat into a building to provide heating and hot water. These are usually more efficient than an ASHP but are much more expensive to install. They also require more space. For most homes, an ASHP is a better option as a compliment to an existing oil heating system.

It is also possible to combine all three systems together – oil, solar water heating and an ASHP. This is potentially the most efficient and environmentally-friendly system of all, and will have the biggest impact on reducing your carbon emissions.

Things to consider:

An air source heat pump will need to be attached to an external wall Heat pumps produce some noise during use so care must be taken not to disturb neighbours Planning permission may be required

Grants and Financial Support

If you’re struggling to afford your energy bills, you might be able to take advantage of certain benefits, grants and help offered by the government and energy suppliers.

Contact Citizens Advice For More Information

Frequently Asked Questions


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