According to a recent study, Americans are spending 12% of their disposable income on energy.
If you take a little time to shop around for the best service and heating oil prices, you could save a few hundred dollars on your heating this winter. Spend a couple of hours calling at least six local oil companies and ask the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- What’s your price at market rate for a gallon? Do you offer fixed and capped rates? If so, what’s your price per gallon, and do you offer discounts?
- Do your contracts include servicing? If not, how much is it, and what does it include?
- What is your policy if I choose another provider before my contract with you has ended? Would you charge any penalties?
When first calling a potential dealer or provider, you should see a red flag if no one answers the phone, or if you get a busy signal or a voice message. If someone did answer the phone, was he or she polite or curt? Did he or she tell you someone would get back to you – but no one did? You won’t want to deal with this type of attitude. Imagine if your burner breaks down in mid-February. You want to know that you can get an immediate response from the company assuring you that repairs will be done.
The condition and age of your furnace should also be considered when making your decision. For example, if you live in the northeast and you’ve got a 15-year-old furnace, you may need a full-service company with a contract that includes a 24-hour emergency service.