January 12, 2017

HELP! What to do if you’re about to run out of oil….

emptyFirst, don’t panic.

Whether you’re running extremely low or you’ve run out completely…this will walk you through what to do.  Start by calling your fuel oil supplier to find out what your options would be for their next delivery day to your area.  Depending on the company, some may have same-day options available for a nominal fee.  If you’ve been dealing primarily with a discount company, they may not be able to get you a delivery until the following week.

Side note-this is one of the downsides to using a discounter.  Most will only go to a particular area once a week.  Their routes and schedules don’t have the same flexibility as full service companies.   On the flip side, full service companies will typically only extend emergency services to existing account holders. So, although you will pay a slightly higher per gallon price, you will get that back in customer service and piece of mind.

Once you have your delivery scheduled, it’s time to address a more short term solution.  Depending on how long you need to hold the system over, hit a gas station and get some kerosene.  5-10 gallon should be enough to get you through for a few days.  Pour this directly into your oil tank using your tanks fill location.  For most indoor tanks, this fill is a pipe somewhere around your house and will look similar to this:


fill pipe


This should be enough to keep the heat on until your delivery arrives.  If you notice that the heat still is not working, consider scheduling a service call in addition to your delivery.  If you’ve let the tank run out completely, your system may need to be primed.

Again, a downside to discounters is that most don’t provide service, they only deliver fuel oil.  So if the issue is anything other than you running out, you will need to search around for an HVAC company who will have someone available.  If you aren’t an existing account holder, you may end up paying more & waiting longer for a service call than someone with an active oil account. 


After your run-out is resolved:

-Time to consider establishing an account with a full service company by exploring the costs and benefits.  Topics to ask about would be prices and payments, emergency service, service policies, and automatic delivery.  Then, weigh if paying the few cents extra is worth the added piece of mind in the event of a future emergency.

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Current Central PA Heating Fuel Prices: Oil – $2.899 /gallon; Kerosene – $3.799/gallon; Blend – $3.349/gallon (Prices effective on orders placed on or after 1/11/18)