Heating Oil Delivery Tips

If you are building a custom home in a rural area and are considering the use of an oil-fired furnace versus installing an electric HVAC system, then this is an excellent choice. Heating oil is safe, reliable, and much cheaper to use than electricity. However, unlike electrical services where you very likely don't have any choice of providers and must use the company that serves your community, heating oil is available through a variety of different delivery companies.

Since you are free to choose the heating oil delivery service who provides your oil, keep these tips in mind when shopping around:

Tip: Compare the Prices and Offerings of Each Heating Oil Company Servicing Your Local Area

Even in rural areas, there are generally at least two or three heating oil providers you can choose from. The more expensive companies tend to be those who offer full-service, 24-hours-a-day emergency calls, and other perks. The least expensive companies tend to be those who only deliver Monday through Friday and require you to contact someone else if there are any after-hour emergencies.

When comparing heating oil suppliers, make sure you ask about each company's':

  • tank rentals vs tank purchasing programs
  • emergency policies
  • delivery policies and schedules
  • service agreement contracts and their required length

In addition, ask about each oil company's preventative maintenance plans and if they include tuning up and cleaning your oil-fired heating system or if you are required to call in an HVAC technician each year to do the work.

Tip: Evaluate the Various Pricing Plans Available from Each Heating Oil Provider

When shopping for heating oil, you will need to decide which type of payment plan you prefer. Typically, those on offer are:

  • fixed
  • ceiling
  • variable
  • balanced 

Fixed-cost payment plans offer your heating oil for the same price per gallon for the length of your contract. This is great if the price of oil goes up, but not so great if the price drops. Variable payment plans offer your oil at the current market price on the day it is delivered. Ceiling plans are nice because they cap the maximum price per gallon you will be required to pay for the year if the price of oil goes up, and they also drop the price you pay when the market price goes down. 

As their name implies, balanced payment plans average out your yearly oil usage and you pay the same price each month to cover the year's worth of deliveries.

Tip: Reduce Your Heating Oil Usage to Save Money 

When the frigid temperatures of winter arrive, there isn't really much you can do about it. Similarly, while there is always going to be some small fluctuations in the market price of heating oil, ultimately, the price is what it is. However, you can always save money by reducing your usage. Turning down the thermostat a few degrees, taking advantage of passive solar heating, and wearing layered clothing indoors are wonderful ways to reduce your heating oil usage and save money.