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Heating Oil Terms

  Budget Plans       Automatic Delivery       Will Call      Full Service     Fuel Additives

Service Plans      Oil Tank Removal      Tank Testing      Tank Enclosures      Electronic Monitoring



  Budget Plans

  Scheduled payments by the consumer to the heating oil company that is based on a calculated gross usage volume of oil used based on history. Normally it runs over an 11 month period. Some more progressive oil companies offer it over a full 12 months. This is good for the oil company since it spreads out their cash flow.

PRO: It's good for the home owner since it also spreads out their cash flow over the year so they don't have big payments 2 or 3 times a year.

CON: If the oil company isn't in good financial health they can spend that money and when heating season comes around, they don't have the money so they can't buy oil and the home owner is out the cash and out the oil. This has become a big problem all around the country.

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  Automatic Delivery

  The oil company schedules delivery's' automatically to top off the homeowners oil tank. The oil company likes this since they are assured a solid on going customer. Company's base these deliveries on what they call degree days. Their computers calculate your usage and anticipate when you'll need a fill up. This allows them to better schedule their time. This is not an exact science and unless the oil company is on top of it they can cause you to run out of fuel.

PRO: If the oil is delivered timely, you get a fresh replacement of oil delivered to in to your tank. Oil will go bad over time and fresh warm oil is better then old cold oil. You can get more details at  heating oil help.com

CON: If the company isn't organized and detailed they could miss your fill up and you could run out of fuel. If you do, it'll usually be at on the coldest day of the season and since your behind ... chances are your not the only one. If that's the case plan on being cold until they show or read heating oil secrets and tips to find out a quick and easy way to restart your heating system and make it run until the oil company finally is able to make it to your house.

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  Will Call

  This is the term the heating oil companies use for consumers that call in when they want a delivery. According to the companies this type of customer is the lowest on the totem pole. They figure a will call, calls around for the best price and has no loyalty to any company or they have no money.

PRO : You can shop around and if the market is cooperating you can make choices for who to buy from and what to pay for your oil. THis can hurt you or help you depending on the swing in the oil market.

CON: You don't get a chance to establish a relationship with an oil company. Like any other business if they know you or if you're a long time customer they usually treat you better, respond to you faster and work to make you happy and keep you a satisfied customer.

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  Full Service

  These guys don't just deliver fuel. They have a full time staff of well trained staff that are on call 24-7 to service their customers needs. If something goes wrong with your system the good ones are at your home in 2 hours or less.

PRO : Your dealing with a professionally run service oriented company that has your best interest at heart. They focus on service and the good ones will move heaven and earth for you. More progressive companies use an additive in their fuel that helps your system run more efficiently and reduces the change of system failure. By using these additives, I've seen failures and problem calls reduced by 30% and more.

CON: The service and the quality of fuel that your getting from a full service company increases their costs and in order to make money, they need to bill you more money. The old clich, you get what you pay for in most cases rings true. This doesn't mean COD companies are bad, just different. 

NOTE: Ultimately your decision to choose between a full service company and a cod guy is based on your needs. Remember all full service guys aren't created equal either. For a clear description with all the details between the two different companies and what makes a good full service company and what to be concerned about you should read heating oil secrets and tricks. It takes you by the hand and explains all the details that you need to be aware of.

It's like having a brother in law in the business and these days the way the heating business is going, having a broth in law in the business is a very good thing. 
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  Additives to Fuel

This is a combination of petroleum distillates that keeps the fuel fresher longer. The current heating oil is a lower quality fuel then the fuel from years past and the lower quality creates havoc on your heating system. (the new fuel goes through a cracking process that destabilizes it)

It will also reduce the amount of sludge that builds up in your tank, conditions the fuel to burn better (more efficiently) reduces the chances for the oil to freeze and gel at low temperatures and reduces the corrosion in your oil tank.

PRO : The right combination of petroleum distillates works wonders on the quality of the fuel and the wear and tear on your equipment. Service issues, tank problems, fuel efficiency, gelling and fouling issues are all reduced and almost a thing of the past.

CON: Some people call it snake oil and in many cases they are right. Unless you are using a top grade, certified and tested product (really tested) it's easy to pay a lot of money for essentially nothing but marketing magic. You need to know which ones work and which ones don't. OR you end up wasting your money and putting your entire heating system at risk.

NOTE: If you're using the right stuff it works like magic and the additive is worth it's weight in gold. I've seen lot's of smoke and mirrors from using the US navy as a reference to beautiful packaging that surrounds a substance that doesn't do a darn thing.

I am finishing my own testing and research to identify (at least for me and my testing lab) what the best additive is to use that's on the market. I won't be disparaging anyone's product but I will certainly be recommending the best of breed. I'll consider cost and performance when I make my decision. I will send out a note as soon as the results are in.

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  Service Plans

 For an annual fee the oil company guarantees to service and repair your system. You choose (usually from 2-3 options) the best plan that meets your needs. Essentially it's like an insurance policy for your heating system. If something goes wrong, depending on the program you're covered for particular parts and or labor.

PRO : Like most insurance policies... for the most part, if something goes wrong you're covered. You end up paying a reduced annual fee that covers you if something mechanically goes wrong. The good news is some programs are all inclusive and that includes labor too.

CON: Many in the industry offer programs that are confusing to understand either on purpose or by mistake. The copy tries to bamboozle you into deciding purely on the number of items listed. (this is an old trick used in lots of industries not just the heating industry) If you own a new heating system (1-5 years old) in my opinion you're wasting your money. If you'd like to learn the details on what each part is on the list and the average longevity of each part, run over to heating oil help and pick up the heating oil secrets and tips book. It does a great job giving you all the details.

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  Oil Tank Remova l

  Here's a hot topic. With all the noise about oil tank leaks people are sometimes being forced into replacing their oil tanks. You need to hire an authorized tank removal expert. They are not difficult to remove however they can be tricky. What you're really paying for is the protection of a spill during the removal process and the authorized disposal of the tank. You certainly don't want to be responsible for the environmental issues of the tank after it leaves your home. Leave it to a professional. (check their references see heating oil secrets and tricks )

PRO : Eventually those tanks need to come out of all those basements and out of the ground. So do it now or do it later. The good news... if it gets done whether it needs it or not, at least it's done and you're protecting the environment from a potential oil leak. Regardless of how slim statistically they occur.

CON: If you listen to all the pundits, the sky is falling and oil tanks by the hundreds are cracking open, spilling oil and contaminating every house in every neighborhood. The statistics show that the number of cracks and leaks of home heating oil tanks are very small. Unfortunately thanks to the press we all think it's happening every day.

This is a similar situation to air transportation vs car transportation. When a plane goes down it's big news and people rightfully tremble. But the fact is people stand a greater chance of being killed in a car crash then in a plane crash. Either way there are more irrational fears of flying then jumping in your car and going for a drive. Same holds true for oil tanks. According to the stats, it's not as big an issue as people make it out to be.

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  Tank Testing

This is an interesting new twist. There are companies on the market that claim they can test your oil tank using a process that will tell them with a certain amount of certainty if its structurally in good shape or not. They sell this to oil companies they sell it to you. They also back it with a dollar amount guarantee. So if the tank does go bad, they will cover a certain amount of the expense involved.

PRO : It's always nice to have some one help you financially when something goes wrong. Essentially what the tank testing companies do is offer you an insurance policy. So for a small fee if something goes wrong your policy is activated and they cut you a check.

CON: My research shows to date the current testing methods are not reliable. I'm not to keen on the marketing twist that tank testing companies use but the fact remains, if you look at it as purely an insurance policy and after you crunch the numbers it makes sense... then by all means sign up.

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  Tank Enclosures

These are usually made out of a strong chemically resistant plastic that covers your tank. I've seen some that your tank actually rest in. They usually come in a variety of colors and styles. Great for protecting your tank from the environment and spoofing it up a bit so it actually looks nice outside.

PRO : If you have an above ground oil tank you'll have to agree it's not a pretty sight and it certainly doesn't enhance the look of your home. That's why a tank enclosure is sp perfect. It hides the industrial look of the tank and with the enclosure it makes things look oh so much better.

CON: I haven't seen any thing that grabs me as far as design goes. Now if I could choose from some of the really nice versions in Europe well... know your talkin!  Bottom line they certainly spruce up the place. It's just that I like the European designs and choices so much better.

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  Electronic Monitoring of Home Temperature

This piece of electronics keeps tabs on the temperature in your home. It can be set to monitor a variety of temperature settings. It's especially good for people that have more then one home or have valuables that could be damaged by cold or water. Simply install it in your home and it monitors the temp 24-7 and will contact you or the appropriate person if the temperature reaches a pre set number. It's a great safety net.

PRO : Some more sophisticated companies tie it directly into an alarm system. If your not at home for lengths of time and you are looking to protect your valuables from cold or water damage (pipes burst due to freezing)

CON: Not everyone offers this device. Most that do don't do a great job letting their customers know it's available. As far as the item itself, certain products are better then others. There is a list of choices in heating oil secret and tips special report.

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Home Heating Articles


The technician should be able to provide proof of his Oil Heating License; law requires it.

Smart controls: The latest in micro-processing technologies allows the system to
automatically adjust itself to changing environmental requirements resulting in fewer
on/off cycles. This reduces fuel consumption, wear on equipment, exhaust emissions
and electrical usage by the system.

High-pressure flame retention burners: Hotter flames with less air and fuel required are
evidence of improvements in the high-flow atomization and vaporizing technologies used
in the newer burners today.

Safe: Fuel oil, in its natural liquid state, wont burn. It must be vaporized to ignite. It will not
burn if a lit match is thrown into a puddle of it. By virtue of this quality, it cannot explode
when exposed to a spark or flame. Also, heating oil fumes are not poison like natural gas.

Clean Burning: The average oil burning system emits 6 ounces of particulate emissions
(soot) per year or roughly 1/8th of a pound of soot for every ton of fuel oil burned.
That marks a 95% improvement over the last 25 years or so.
There are no federal regulations on heating oil emissions.

If you heat with another source of energy or are building new, then you should be aware
that heating oil is a viable option to meet your familys heating needs.

Heating oil technology has kept pace with the competition from other heating options
and in some cases surpassed it. If you currently heat with oil, then it is a safe bet that it
will continue to serve you well into the new century before us.


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