The two most popular ways to heat a home that do not have access to natural gas through the gas mains supply, are with an electrical heater or with an oil heater. Homeowners who rely on electricity simply pay the bill on a monthly basis for the amount of electricity they use. The others must purchase the fuel they need in advance and store it in a tank on their property.
So what is heating oil?
Depending on the particular system, it may run on kerosene, or in the case of an older system, red diesel. Newer systems that use kerosene are more energy efficient. This causes some homeowners to think about upgrading their systems if they are still using equipment that requires diesel fuel.
Kerosene, also known as Kerosene 28, is a light-coloured liquid. It was used in the days before electricity in kerosene lamps. It is a non-corrosive fuel and, when stored properly, will last for years. It is created by distilling petroleum. Diesel for home heating is dyed a red colour to indicate it has been taxed at a lower rate than diesel sold for use in automobiles.
Like any other commodity, the price of fuel fluctuates depending on supply and demand. Consumers who want to save money should keep an eye on the prices throughout the year. By purchasing fuel during the months when it is in less demand, the homeowner save on annual heating costs. A local dealer can advise customers about the best time to purchase their fuel.
Suppliers will deliver fuel to the customer on demand or according to a prearranged schedule. Most people purchase what they need in batches of 100 litres, usually up to 500 litres. Some suppliers have a minimum order requirement, but some will deliver any amount at any time upon customer demand. This is convenient for homeowners when they want to top off the tank before the winter.
Filling up the storage tank before the weather turns cold is best way to get the lowest price and ensure the fuel does not run out when homeowners need it most. It should be obvious that demand increases during the winter. The increased cost of transporting fuel in inclement weather is another factor that drives the price up.
Snow is something that has a dramatic impact on a fuel company’s efficiency and its ability to deliver the product quickly. Consumers who live in remote areas may have additional problems receiving deliveries if access to the property is by a narrow path. In these cases, the supplier must make special arrangements to send a baby tanker and the consumer may have to wait longer for delivery.
Even consumers who plan ahead may run into a situation where they need fuel and they need it quickly. In these cases, many suppliers offer their customers emergency service options. They can deliver fuel outside normal business hours on any day of the week to meet their customers’ needs. The last thing a homeowner wants to do is allow the system to run out of fuel. This can have devastating effects on various components requiring expensive repairs or even replacement.