Why it makes good financial sense to upgrade your oil heating system rather than converting to natural gas.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Cost of Heating
Oil heating is once again a better value than Natural Gas as oil prices hover below $2.00 per gallon. Despite this, natural gas utilities are promoting conversion. Don't do it. Here's why.Read More
Homeowners with oil heat want to know the easiest and most cost-effective way to pay for their oil deliveries. Delivery services offer a range of options for customers. Some are a better deal than others depending on market trends and customer preferences. At M.L. Halle Oil, we offer customers automatic oil delivery and will-call oil delivery. Which choice is right for you? Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Automatic Oil Delivery
Homeowners that choose automatic oil delivery never have to worry about remembering to call for an oil delivery. Automatic delivery also ensures you will never run out of oil. This delivery system is based on your previous oil usage, size of your home and something called “degree days,” a measured used to determine the demand for home heating fuel. This is a system used by a number of oil delivery companies and is very accurate.
People often choose automatic oil delivery because it is convenient and protects against running out of oil and incurring additional fees for emergency response. Customers like that they do not have to monitor the level of oil in their tank, knowing oil will come when needed.
Another benefit with automatic delivery is you do not have to pay at time-of-delivery. Depending on your delivery service, you can arrange payment either before or after delivery. Some offer payment plans and fixed price plans that allow people to lock in a guaranteed price for a set period of time. This can save people some money, but only if the price of oil rises during the set period.
Some companies also offer pre-buy plans, where homeowners pay for their oil before delivery at a lower price than the current market price. Homeowners choose this option to lock in a set price, letting them know just how much they must pay throughout the winter. There are some considerations you must make with to pre-buy plans. One is that it requires an upfront cost for homeowners. Another is that the savings diminishes if the price of home heating oil goes down.
Will-Call Oil Delivery
Will-call customer must monitor their own oil usage. This also requires homeowner call when they need a delivery. At M.L. Halle, we recommend that you call when the tank is 1/4 full. It’s best to give companies advance notice of 1-2 business days for delivery, especially during the months of December through March when delivery services are busy. Delivery times may depend on the area where you live, as some places are serviced only one day per week. If you forget to call and you are close to running out, this could lead to additional charges for emergency delivery service.
If you have questions about the different kinds of oil delivery service, or would like to know more about your payment options, call M.L. Halle Oil today. We have a variety of payment plans and delivery options that can make it easier to plan and budget for your winter heating costs.
Many people in New England have considered changing how they heat their homes in recent years, largely to increase energy efficiency and to lower costs. For many years, oil was considered a more expensive home heating fuel, encouraging some homeowners to switch to propane. If you’re thinking about making the switch from oil to propane, you need to consider more than just fuel price. The cost of converting the unit, fuel efficiency and the type of furnace or boiler you have can increase the overall cost of heating with propane, even if you are paying a little less per gallon.
Here are some points to consider before you call your home heating specialist for an estimate:
Oil produces more heat than Propane (BTU's)
Different fuels produce different amounts of heat. For example, a stove full of coal will burn hotter than if using the same amount of fire wood. The measure of this heat production is called a BTU, or a British Thermal Unit. This is the measure of the amount of energy generated when burning a certain amount of the fuel.
Heating oil produces roughly 138,500 BTUs per gallon of fuel, while propane produces about 91,500 BTUs per gallon. Because oil has a higher BTU per gallon rate, a home’s furnace will produce more heat burning oil than it will with the same amount of propane.
Efficiency of your home heating unit is based on how much energy is used toward heating your home. This depends greatly on the make and model of your home heating unit, as well as the age of the unit. The average home heating oil system is between 80-90 percent efficient, while an average propane system is between 90-95 percent efficient.
If you have a very old oil system, it is likely less efficient. However, if you have a newer oil system, the efficiency could be as high as 99 percent.
The cost to switch
Converting an existing oil heating system to a propane system may end up costing you more in the long run. Conversions must be done by a professional, and depending on the system make and model, the size of the house and the age of the system, this can be costly.
Converting a system also means a loss in efficiency and potential maintenance problems down the line. Because you are altering an existing system to perform with a fuel different from the one it was designed to use, the propane conversion may not run as well as it would if you left it as is. If you have an oil burner, you may have to install a chimney liner, replace the flue and other parts to convert to propane, including:
Making a conversion is a major decision and should be done after careful thought. Calculating the actual costs, including installation, maintenance, fuel costs and efficiency can be complicated. One way to determine the cost of oil heat versus propane is with a comparison calculator. These calculations (one can be found here) use formulas to determine the real fuel costs of oil and propane based not just on price per gallon, but including efficiency and BTUs as well.
According to the calculator linked above, an 82 percent efficient heating system produces heat at a lower overall cost than a propane system that is 92 percent efficient. That’s even using a cost of heating oil at $4.10 per gallon and the cost of propane at $3.20.
With lower oil prices this winter than in recent years, heating with oil has become more affordable, and as you can see is actually quite efficient. Before making the switch to another fuel system, make sure to consider all the costs.
M.L. Halle is a family owned business providing oil delivery, equipment service, new boilers furnaces and hot water tanks and equipment to families and businesses. With a fleet of 11 delivery trucks and five service vans to serve Central, NH and the Greater Manchester area. We have the staff and ability to provide you the best service and lowest oil prices possible. Call us at (603) 627-7869