Homeowners had become skeptical of oil heat in recent years because of the perceived high price, but as oil prices began to drop this fall, people started to recognize again the value of oil heat. High-efficiency furnaces and boilers have made modern oil heat more cost effective and new low-sulfur and biofuel mixes have reduced oil’s impact on the environment. We’ve written here before about the great value of oil heat over other fuels like natural gas and propane, but in this post we’d like to highlight some other less publicized advantages to oil heat.
Competition means value
When you heat your home with oil, you have a variety of oil delivery services to choose from. Customers are free to shop around for the best deal and can utilize any number of pricing and delivery plans. While market price sets the general price of oil on a given day, there can be a small price variance depending on company. Delivery services also attract customers with excellent customer service, flexible payment plans and other perks that make it easier to budget your winter heating costs. Competition among these services benefits the customer.
Other fuels, like natural gas, limit customers to buying from one utility. When utility prices increase, customers have no choice but to pay it. Utilities can also charge fees and may be subject to certain taxes which oil companies do not charge.
Oil heat is safer than natural gas
Few people realize that No. 2 heating oil, the industry name for the oil used to heat homes, is not volatile in liquid form. Only when it is vaporized, as it is when your furnace or boiler runs, is the fuel flammable. Dropping a match into barrel of liquid No. 2 oil will only cause the match to go out, as if dropped in water. Natural gas and propane, on the other hand, are highly flammable.
The oil heat industry is working toward cleaner fuels
Oil companies are transitioning to new, ultra-low sulfur heating oil, which contains less than 1 percent of the sulfur content of traditional heating oil. The addition of biofuel, which is mixed with standard heating oil, is further lowering emissions.
Wood stoves and pellet stoves, on the other hand, emit large amounts of air pollution, including carbon monoxide and particulate matter which can have negative health impacts. In urban and suburban areas, burning wood is considered a major contributor to air pollution.
Natural gas, although touted as a cleaner fossil fuel, also has an emissions problem. Natural gas is 95 percent methane, which is a greenhouse gas with 105 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. Studies show that the cumulative effect of extracting and burning natural gas could aggravate global warming more than using coal, and certainly more than using oil.
Buying oil means buying local
While the oil found in your tank at home did not come out of the ground down the street, the oil company that delivered that oil is likely locally-owned. Most oil delivery services are small businesses, some of which have been family operations for many years. These companies employ drivers, office staff and other workers who live and work in your community, boosting the local economy.
Utilities are large corporations beholden to shareholders. Although these companies employ people in New Hampshire, their business model does not have the same direct impact as a locally owned company.
M.L. Halle is a local, family-owned company based in Manchester for decades. We service the Greater Manchester area from our Lincoln Street headquarters, where we’ve been doing business for almost 40 years. To learn more about M.L. Halle’s services and pricing, call us today.