When winter approaches and your oil furnace begins to kick into high gear, it can be hard to ignore the accruing cost of using it every day. While heating oil can sometimes get pricey, there are many things you can do to keep heating oil costs down. With rising and fluctuating fuel oil and energy costs it is smart to try to reduce heating oil costs. These 4 ways to save on your heating oil costs will help you save money and heating oil resources while keeping warm over the New Jersey winter months. We’ve taken some of our posts to Facebook and combined the tips posted into this guide to save on heating oil costs for your New Jersey home.
11 Ways to Save on Your Heating Oil Costs
1. Proper Maintenance
Call for a checkup. Proper maintenance will help your heating unit run more efficiently. Electric and oil heaters should get professional attention at least once a year and gas heaters every other year. A yearly service plan is a great way to make sure proper maintenance is completed on your heating oil system. Also, here’s a step you can take all on your own: Remember to check the filters in your heating system and make sure they’re clean and clear. Dirty filters lead to higher heating costs.
2. Don’t Buy Fuel During the Night or During Holidays
Delivery fees for fuel will change based on when the delivery is made, so keep in mind that these fees will be higher if you order extra fuel on holidays or after dark. This is simply because delivery men need to get paid extra in order to do their job during atypical hours. If you are running low on fuel then keep an eye on the fuel gauge and plan your purchase during weekdays before nightfall so you won’t be charged extra delivery fees.
Keep furniture away from radiators. The foam in upholstered furniture is a very effective heat insulator and prevents it getting into your room.
4. Keep Your Fuel Tank Full as Often as Possible
One of the worst mistakes you can make with your furnace’s fuel tank is waiting until it gets empty before you refuel it. Not only do you run the risk of forgetting that your tank is empty and may have to deal with no heat, you also run the risk of allowing your furnace to include any harmful residue laying at the bottom to get mixed in with the new oil. This will have a bad impact on the purity of your oil, which will lead to inefficient heating and oil contamination.
5. Check for Drafts
Light a candle. Not for warmth, but for the purpose of doing a little sleuth work. Hold the flame near windows, doors and light fixtures and look for smoke moving in a horizontal direction. If you see it, that means you’ve spotted an air leak, and it likely means heat is escaping your home easily. To solve that problem, install some low-cost caulking or weather-stripping, or consider adding some insulating material.
6. Check for Proper Insulation in Your Home to Conserve Heat
One of the easiest things you can do to conserve heat and fuel during winter is to stop as many air leaks as you can within your own home. These locations often include vents in the kitchen or fireplace dampers that should be closed when they are not in use. You can also prepare before wintertime by making sure the walls of your attic and basement are properly insulated. This will really help keep extra heat inside your home so you don’t have to crank the furnace up as much.
7. Bathroom Fans
Turn bathroom fans off as quickly as possible to prevent heat loss. If they are on a timer, adjust the timer so that it is not running longer than it needs to be (this will also cut down on electricity consumption).
8. Fill Up During the Summer
Heating oil is always at its most expensive during winter as this is when it is most in demand. Fuel fees are at their cheapest during the summer. You can take advantage of this by stocking up on heating fuel during the warm seasons so that you’ll get the fuel you need for winter for cheaper prices, and you’ll have it in advance too.
9. Turn Down Your Thermostat when You’re Out of the House
This one may come off as a no-brainer but it’s one tip that many people surprisingly don’t use. Turning down the thermostat when you’re out shopping or at work is a great way to save extra on fuel charges as there is no point to keep an empty house heated up. While you may return to a cool house it will only take moments for it to heat back up when you return. The money you’ll end up saving will really make this tip pay off.
You can also turn down the thermostat by a couple of degrees at night when you’re going to bed as you probably don’t need as much heat while you’re sleeping as you do when you are awake.
10. Don’t Get Tempted by Contracts
Many fuel delivery companies will often present you with a contracted agreement once they deliver you their product. Many of their deals will claim that you can sign up with them for a designated amount of time and end up saving 25 or 30% on fuel delivery fees. These deals sound very tempting but most of the time they have fine print issues that need to be kept in mind.
11. Always Look for Extra Service Fees
Some companies will try to obscure their extra fees in ways that don’t always show up with the initial delivery fee. These extra fees are often added onto the initial fee after the fact and will often only pop up after the job is done. This can be an especially sneaky tactic because some fuel companies will be advertising a sale they are doing but are actually charging extra when it’s all said and done.
Fuel surcharges are a common tactic these kinds of companies use. They are essentially miscellaneous fees that can be explained by almost any kind of reason. It would be wise to inquire if any surcharges exist before purchasing a fuel delivery.
Another kind of fee that is often hidden are delivery premiums. Much like how deliveries at night or on holidays are more expensive, some 24/7 delivery companies will also ask you to pay a premium for delivery on certain days like weekends. While delivery premiums in and of themselves are not a bad thing, hiding these extra fees from customers as opposed to being upfront about them is.