There are lots of great things about living in the country but equally there are lots of rather annoying things too – like muck spreading time where the smell of fresh manure follows you everywhere you go, or the miscellaneous animal remains you have to dodge in the middle of the road. Plus, there’s the irritation of meeting a massive oil tanker on those narrow roads on its way to, or from a house it’s just topped up with heating oil.

Now, if you live in a town or city the idea of using oil to heat your home might seem odd – old fashioned even. But for 2.5 million or so rural homes, it’s the norm and topping up your tank is a regular occurrence.

Like any energy supply there are pros and cons of using oil and one of the key issues affecting oil – the cost of it – can be both a pro and a con. The cost of oil fluctuates and its price is determined by a number of factors – things like the cost of crude oil, how much is produced and what sort of demand there is.

Heating oil is bought by the litre and domestic oil tanks come in various sizes and can hold anything between 1,000 and 3,500 litres – how much you use depends on the size of your house and how toasty you like it. In January 2016 the average cost of a litre of heating oil was just 32p which is a whole 14p cheaper than it was the year before. A 14p saving per litre might not sound like very much but if you’re buying 1,000 litres, that’s a saving of £140 to put towards something more fun than oil.

Another advantage is that with oil, you’re not tied to a contract with any one supplier. If you’re running a bit low, you just check to see who’s got the best price and order it from them. Clubbing all your orders together and being part of a community oil buying group can also shave off even more of the price – community spirit and saving money – what’s not to like? Of course a drawback of fluctuating prices means that what goes down can always go up again.

Another consideration with oil heating is that when it’s running low – you need to make sure you order more in plenty of time before it runs out, and the guessing game can be hairy if your oil gauge isn’t clear; or is broken; or the weather’s particularly bad – meaning the tanker might struggle to get to you. Plus, there’s the oil tank itself which isn’t the best garden feature but as long as there’s access from the road so the tanker can get to it, it can go wherever you choose.

Of course, man cannot heat their homes by oil alone – and you’ll still need electricity for everything else. Now, we know (and appreciate) that you’ll have better things to do instead of contemplating your energy bills, but it’s a good excuse for some time out and your efforts could mean you save some money on your electricity costs.

So for starters find out more about understanding your bill and discover what tariff’s best for you or if you can’t remember the last time you switched supplier then find out just how easy it is to switch.  And if you’re fed up of telling everyone else in your household ‘to switch that light off’ or ‘shut that door’ then show them some top energy saving tips instead and give your voice a rest.

We don’t actually compare oil, at comparethemarket.com. However,we do compare electricity (and gas), so make sure you comparethemarket.com.