Frequently Asked Questions About Home Heating Oil
Here is a listing of the most common fuel oil questions and answers that we get from our customers. Still need some help for your personal situation or needs? Give us a call today!
“Automatic” delivery means that Point Bay Fuel will automatically determine when a customer needs fuel by using degree day monitoring. The customer does not need to place a call to the dealer for a delivery. Point Bay Fuel will automatically deliver fuel efficiently and as needed which helps prevent running out of fuel.
“Degree days” are a calculation used to help estimate when an automatic delivery heating oil customer will need an oil delivery.
Degree days are calculated by adding the high and low temperatures of the day together then dividing by two and subtracting sixty-five from the quotient.
These calculations are done daily throughout the year, and then applied to your home’s “k-factor” (see next question). Based on degree days and customer usage, our oil delivery schedule is adjusted every day to be sure that you never run out of oil, regardless of the weather – and that we do not schedule deliveries when your tank is nearly full.
Along the lines of “miles per gallon”, a k-factor is “degree days per gallon”. Your heating system will use one gallon of oil for a certain number of degree days, which varies from home to home. After topping your tank off 2 or 3 times we can determine your k factor. Once established, your deliveries will be base on your k factor and the number of degree days since your last delivery.
Ideally, a thermostat should be mounted on an inside wall about five feet from the floor. It will not communicate proper heating needs if it’s near a heat source, like a lamp or television, or if it’s in an area prone to drafts, such as near a door or window. Programmable thermostats can save a lot of energy by reducing the call for heat when you are asleep, or not home.
Oil prices fluctuate for a variety of reasons. These include:
Supply and Demand - When crude oil prices are steady, home heating oil prices tend to slowly rise in the winter months when demand is highest. “Demand” includes not only heating oil demand, but other distillates as well, like diesel fuel and kerosene. Prices tend to spike when the supply is interrupted, like during storms or global conflict.
Speculation - Crude and heating oil are commodities. They are traded on exchanges throughout the world. Wholesale prices are directly tied to the prices set by these exchanges whether the price genuinely reflects the local market conditions (supply and demand) or not.
Competition in local markets - Competitive differences can be substantial between a locality with only one or a few suppliers or dealers versus an area with a large number of competitors. Comparing the price of a full service oil company to a C.O.D. company is like comparing the cost of a gallon of paint to the cost of having the room painted for you. They are just not the same thing.
Regional operating costs - Prices also are impacted by higher costs of transporting the product to remote locations. In addition, the cost of doing business by dealers can vary substantially depending on the area of the country in which the dealer is located. Costs of doing business include wages and salaries, benefits, equipment, lease/rent, insurance, overhead, and state and local fees.
Primary controls have a reset button. This button allows the homeowner to restart the burner should a problem cause the unit to shut down. (For example, burners may need to be restarted after a power outage.) Pushing the reset button should get the burner running, but if the safety switch shuts the burner down again, the homeowner should call for service. Homeowners should NEVER push the reset button more than once because it might cause excess oil to be pumped into the combustion chamber. This will result in a lengthy and costly repair. If a homeowner finds that periodically they need to push the reset to make the equipment work, they should schedule a service call so an expert can check the system.
The US Department of Health and Human Services offers assistance through The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which can be accessed at:
The Affordable Housing Alliance offers assistance though the program TRUE which can be accessed at:
O.C.E.A.N., Inc. is the community action agency for the residents of Ocean County. A community action agency is a private non-profit or public non-profit organization that was created in the 1960’s to combat poverty throughout the country. This assistance program can be accessed at:
New Jersey Shares, Inc. is a non-profit organization charged with a mission to provide assistance to individuals and families living in New Jersey who are in need or temporary help in paying their energy bills. This assistance can be accessed at:
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, heating equipment that is maintained annually uses 13% less fuel than units that are not. Approximately 55% of American homeowners have their heating equipment serviced. Those that do not may experience an increase of 10-15% in fuel bills. Maintenance extends the life of your heating equipment by as much as 20-30% which can translate into 5 to 10 years of additional usage for a furnace or boiler. Approximately 75% of all emergency repairs can be avoided with regular maintenance.
No, it is not. Conversion is an extremely expensive process. In most cases the thousands of dollars you spend to convert to natural gas are never recovered. It is almost always more cost effective to upgrade your existing system. New oil heat furnaces are state-of-the-art and will heat a home with efficiency approaching 90% or more – a fact that prospective buyers will appreciate. Point Bay Fuel is an expert on the costs and consequences of conversion, so be sure to call first.
Oil heat burns 400 degrees hotter than natural gas, resulting in a cozier house that heats up faster. And because oil heat has a higher burn temperature, it provides a more even temperature in all rooms throughout the house. It’s no surprise that most people who convert to natural gas or electricity regret their decision.
First, it’s important to know that the prices for all home heating options are going up. Unlike home heating oil, natural gas just does not seem to adhere to the old adage of “what goes up must come down.” Once the big utilities raise prices for natural gas, they almost never go back down again! Second, your local oil heat dealers keep heating oil prices as low as possible through good old fashioned competition and a variety of service options. In addition Point Bay Fuel understands the value of superior customer service. A public utility just cannot match our dedication. Finally, consider the long term costs. Oil furnaces last significantly longer than other options, averaging 30 years compared to 15 years for a typical gas furnace. Moreover, a gallon of home heating oil produces more heat compared to a comparable amount of natural gas. In other words, your home heats up faster and stays warmer longer – which saves you money.
There are over 36 oil producing countries, and the U.S. is not overly dependent on any one region for supply. However, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia are some of the United States’ major suppliers. 85% of our heating oil is refined in the United States, at 149 refineries in 31 states. When it comes to heating oil supplies, there is no need to worry about running out of oil! New deposits are being discovered every year, all over the world and new oil heating innovations including Biofuels – oil from tar sands, and shale oil – may even extend available oil sources well into the next century.
Yes. Heavy, piled high snow and packed ice make it challenging to access your home for deliveries. You can help by clearing any snow and ice from areas leading to and around your fill pipe. Point Bay Fuel suggests that you place a bucket over the fill pipe to make it easier to locate the fill pipe as well as help prevent the surrounding area from snow and ice coverage. Please also be mindful of uncovering exhaust vents from heating systems. Vents on the sides of homes can easily become blocked by high snow, could even result in heating system malfunction s, carbon monoxide getting into the home and create a safety hazard. Please make sure that your exhaust vents are clear of all obstructions.
Oil heat is not flammable – if a person dropped a lit match into a tank of heating oil, it would go out as if it were dropped in water. Homeowners who use oil heat can rest assured that their family and property are safe.
Today’s oil heat burns 95% cleaner than it did in 1970. When properly adjusted and maintained, new oil heat systems do not create dirt, soot, or odors in the home. Regulations requiring the reduction in sulfur content of heating oil are right around the corner. When blended with bio fuels, the new heating oil will be one of the cleanest burning fuels available.
No. Oil heat is non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and biodegradable; therefore, oil heat does not pose a threat to the environment.