With the heating season upon us, we wanted to take some time to answer some of our most frequently asked questions. We hope the answers help you stay warm all winter long!
I just bought my first oil heat home and I don’t know where to start. How do I order a delivery of fuel oil?
A: First, you want to decide whether you plan on establishing an account with a company for the foreseeable future or if you plan on shopping around for the lowest price every time you need a delivery. It is also important to determine whether you want your fuel oil company to be able to provide service/repairs if necessary. You may find that some of your local fuel oil providers do not offer any kind of service. Establishing an account with a company that has a fully staffed service team will benefit you greatly in the event of an equipment issue or breakdown as these companies prioritize their oil customers before those without. It is important to remember that all fuel oil providers will have varying account and delivery options, so take some time to figure out what is right for you. If you are worried about running out before deciding what type of account you want, we recommend placing an order for the minimum delivery with one company and paying for it upfront. This will allow you more time to consider the type of account that best fits your needs.
How do I know what size tank I have & if the equipment is in working order?
A: The easiest way to determine how many gallons your tank will hold is to have the tank filled from empty. However, it that isn’t possible, there are other ways to estimate. First, if your tank is above ground (in your yard or basement), and measures 44” high by 60” wide by 27” deep, it holds 275 gallons. Most in-ground tanks are standard in size and could be any one of the following: 288, 340, 420, 518, 550, 555 and 675. You can always have the driver measure the tank before after adding oil to more accurately estimate your tank size.
How many gallons of oil will I use in a month/year? How much will it cost?
A: This is a loaded question and the real answer is that it varies greatly. Every home is different in terms of the type & age of your oil burning system, thermostat settings, how well the home is insulated, and the overall square footage. Add these factors to the always-changing temperatures and market driven oil prices and it’s almost impossible to establish a true average. The best “average” we could give you would be around 400-500 gallons, with the coldest months of the year (Dec-Feb) burning about 100 gallons per month. We recommend contacting the home’s previous fuel provider if you are privy to that information. They would be able check the property’s records and provide you with actual gallons use/dollars spent for years past.
Q. What happens if I run out of oil?
A. Running out of oil happens. If you notice your heat has stopped working, check your tank gauge to see if it is reading empty. If so, the first thing you want to do is schedule a delivery as soon as you can with your fuel provider. Alert the company that you have run out of oil, this will communicate to the driver that you may need your furnace restarted. Drivers can typically take care of this issue during the oil delivery. Sometimes, restarting the furnace is as simple as pushing the reset button on the oil burner. Other times, it may take a trained technician to bleed the lines before the heat will be restored. Most companies can offer protection from run-outs through automatic delivery. Remember to discuss this with your provider when setting up your account. Some companies can also accommodate same day or after hours deliveries in the event of an emergency for an added fee.
Q. I think my pilot light is out, what do I do?
A. Great news! Oil fired furnaces do not have a pilot light, which is a great thing. It means you are not burning through fuel when the furnace is not producing heat for you. If your system if not producing heat, always check your thermostat first to ensure settings are correct. If they are and it’s still not working or your system is off on safety, contact your HVAC technician.
Q. What do I do if I have a smell or soot?
A. Different smells can mean different things. First thing you should do if you smell something smoky or sooty would be to check your service record. When was the last time your equipment was cleaned? If the answer is greater than a year, it could mean that a nozzle, oil filter, and pump screen replacement are needed. We highly recommend you have your unit serviced annually to ensure peak efficiency and prevent against costly repairs or breakdowns.
Fun Fact: Home heating oil needs to reach a temp of 140 Degrees F and be sprayed (atomized) in order to burn! You don’t have to worry about the safety of fuel oil like you do natural gas.