Stay Safe & Comfortable in an Oil-Heated Home
There are so many benefits to living in an oil-heated home in New Jersey. For example, the flame inside the heating oil system burns hotter than other types of systems. As a result, homeowners who use heating oil enjoy warm homes with evenly distributed heat—a big comfort during all those cold days and nights of winter.
Plus, you have so much choice about the company that delivers your oil and services your equipment. This way, you can select a company that best fits your needs and your budget. And heating oil companies are known for delivering top-notch service and customer support. So, you can feel very confident knowing that you and your family are going to be in good hands.
Advanced heating fuels like ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO) and Bioheat® fuel are becoming more wide spread, ULSHO contains very little sulfur and this helps heating oil systems run more efficiently.
Bioheat fuel is the industry’s official registered name for the fuel that consists of a blend of ultra-low sulfur heating oil with renewable biodiesel that’s made from organic and recycled products. These products can range from soybean oil, used cooking oils, inedible corn oil, canola, tallow, fats and even algae.
Bioheat fuel is sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries and local economies. That’s good news for New Jersey!
The most refined grade of heating oil available, Bioheat fuel is one of the cleanest burning heating sources for your home or business. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly and no changes to your existing heating oil system are necessary if you want to use Bioheat fuel.
Modern Aboveground Oil Tanks
Years ago, an old, steel oil tank buried underground often drove people away from living in an oil-heated home. But that obstacle is rapidly becoming a nonissue because many homes today have a modern, aboveground oil tank.
There have been big improvements in heating-oil tanks over the years. One of the most important is double-walled construction with an outside layer of corrosion-proof galvanized steel. This keeps the chance of a costly leak to a minimum. Other innovations include:
- leak-detection systems
- long-term warranties
- sleek designs that allow the tank to fit into smaller spaces
To sum up, today’s heating-oil storage tanks provide peace of mind and convenience—in addition to all the other benefits of heating your home with oil!
A heating-oil storage tank also gives the homeowners the ability to safely store an adequate supply of heating oil that’s ready for immediate use whenever a need to heat the home arises. Heating oil is very safe. In fact, if you dropped a lighted match into a bowl of heating oil, the flame would go out just as if you had dropped the match into water.
Additionally, a heating oil furnace or boiler poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And if there is an issue, your system will alert you with a visible warning
Today’s heating oil–– the more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel about using it!
To learn more about the benefits of Bioheat fuel and the other advantages of having an oil-heated home in New Jersey, please go here.
Is It Time To Replace Your Old Oil Boiler?
Fast fact: North Jersey has five times the number of boilers as the national average while South Jersey has 2.5 times as many. So, there’s a good chance you may have a boiler too! Not sure what type of heating system you have? Here’s a primer.
In homes with a hot water, or hydronic, system, water circulates around your oil boiler’s combustion chamber. A circulator pumps the hot water through pipes to heat baseboards or radiators. Eventually, the water returns to the unit to begin the cycle again. Steam boiler systems work similarly except they generate steam, which rises up to radiators (no circulators are needed). A low water cut-off shuts down the boiler if water levels drop too low, preventing boiler damage.
If you don’t have baseboards or radiators in your home and warm air blows out of vents or registers instead, then you have a furnace.
Like any piece of equipment, your boiler will eventually have to be replaced one day. Here are five signs that will help you determine if a replacement system is in order.
Boiler Replacement Warning Signs
If your boiler’s age is close to 20 years old–or older–you’ll save money on your annual heating costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient system. New oil boilers heat your home using significantly less energy compared to older generation equipment.
2. Signs of corrosion
Just like your water heater, if you see outward signs of rust on your boiler, its time is running out. A professional inspection may also reveal damage to piping or other boiler components.
3. Your comfort levels
Is your old boiler keeping you warm enough? A properly working oil boiler should keep you comfortable even on the coldest New Jersey nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.
4. Your heating costs continue to go up
Your boiler’s efficiency slowly degrades the older it gets. Lower efficiency means higher heating costs. Add in a higher number of repairs for an old system and this is another strong sign that you would do well to let go of your old oil boiler and upgrade to a new one.
5. Diminished hot water production
If you depend on your boiler to heat your domestic hot water—and you’re not getting as much hot water as before–this could be a sign of a leaking or corroded coil on the boiler, a warning of potential boiler failure.
Today’s Heating Oil Systems: Incredibly Efficient
The latest oil boilers (and furnaces) are small, smart and super-efficient and can save you 20% or more on your annual heating costs. There are many different equipment options to fit your budget and your local heating oil company has expertise in all types and models of oil heating equipment.
Compared to 25 years ago, homeowners now need an average of 500 gallons less oil to heat their homes each year. That’s because new, high-efficiency heating systems feature enhanced technology and control capabilities to provide optimal comfort while decreasing your energy costs. Another popular feature of modern, high-efficiency heating systems is that they operate significantly quieter than old heaters.
In contrast, heating systems from the “old days” were built with thick metal components that do a poor job at transferring heat. Unfortunately, many of these systems are still in use today and people who still use them pay so much more to heat their home than someone who has upgraded their oil heating system in the past few years.
Despite this potential for big savings, many people don’t bother to update their heating system until something major goes wrong. They don’t realize that a new, high-efficiency system could actually pay for itself in a fairly short period of time.
The combination of continually improving ultra-low sulfur Bioheat® fuel with increasingly efficient heating oil systems is the 1-2 punch that will help homeowners save significant money on their heating bills. At the same time, their oil-heated homes will be on the path to becoming carbon-neutral.
To see how much you can save with a new, high-efficiency system, reach out to your local heating oil service provider and they’ll be glad to crunch some numbers for you. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you could save. Equipment rebates for new boilers are also available! Read more here.
Does Your Heater Need A Repair Or A Tune-Up?
When you set up an appointment for heating oil equipment service now, you can usually have your pick of appointment times. Your local New Jersey heating oil service provider will have more openings, and will not be backed up dealing with heating emergencies. When the fall chill hits, however, the situation changes and it will be much harder to get a preferred time locked in because of heavy demand.
Think of getting your heating tune-up done in the summertime just like going shopping for holiday gifts in July. No crowds, no stress and you get exactly what you want.
Regular heating equipment maintenance is a vital money-saving investment for heating oil systems– not just because it can keep your equipment running safely and at peak efficiency, but also because four out of five heating system breakdowns are preventable if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations.
A tune-up also allows certified heating oil technicians to identify minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, a burner that needs adjustment, etc.)
If you noticed any problems with your system last winter, please take care of it before you need to turn on your oil boiler or oil furnace again. These problems are most likely “red flags” alerting you to the need for professional service. Here are a few examples of some common problems.
Heating Equipment Warning Smells
Unusual Noises Coming From Your Heating System
Here are a few sounds and the possible cause. Note: a correct diagnosis can only be made with an onsite visit by a heating oil service technician.
- Banging, whistling, howling, or the sound of rushing water in your pipes. These are common symptoms of air in the pipes, insufficient water flow, or a build-up of sludge.
- Booming or rumbling burner. It’s normal to hear an oil burner “kick on,” but if it makes a loud boom, also known as a “hard start,” the burner is not igniting properly. It needs to be serviced as soon as possible.
- Straining sound from the fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system, for instance, in a filter or supply line.
New Jersey Heating Oil Rebates
A heating system inspection sometimes results in your technician recommending a replacement system because it’s a better option than spending a lot to repair an outdated system. When you replace your old heating oil system with a new one, you may be eligible for two different waves of New Jersey rebates. These rebates could save you as much as $1,400 on qualifying high-efficiency systems.
Not only will you be adding value to your New Jersey home when you upgrade your system, but you could also be cutting your annual heating costs by 20% or more. And think of all the money you will be able to add to your pocket when you get your rebate checks!
Read more about New Jersey heating oil rebates.
Energy Savings: Looking Beyond Your HVAC System
When it comes to saving energy and money, there’s a lot more to it than just your home’s heating and cooling systems. While your HVAC system represents a major part of your home’s energy output, there are also other components. This means that homeowners have numerous opportunities to reduce their energy bills.
You can think of your entire house as a system, and that system has three main parts:
- The building envelope – roof, walls, windows, doors and foundation
- The mechanical systems – furnace, boiler, water heater, central air unit, etc.
- The occupants themselves – their energy decisions and overall energy usage.
Each component contributes to your home’s energy efficiency and you can make a positive impact on energy usage (and your energy bills) in a number of ways.
For example, in terms of the building envelope, you could choose to insulate your attic or other parts of your home. Many homes are colder than necessary in the winter due to poor insulation levels. In the average home, about one-third of heat loss occurs through the ceilings, which should have a minimum of six inches of quality thermal insulation to keep heat inside the home, where it belongs. Otherwise, some of your heat will rise through the ceilings into the attic and then seep outside. What a waste of heating energy!
During the summer months, you could do little things like installing curtains or drapes to block the heat of the warm sun coming through your windows. Or raise your thermostat setting by just one degree. These changes could save you more than you might think!
Use A Smart Programmable Thermostat
In terms of your own energy decisions, investing in a smart programmable thermostat is a wise move. When used correctly, it will pay for itself in just a short time. If you choose a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature from your smartphone.
In the spring and summer, the U.S. Energy Department recommends setting your central air conditioning system to 78°F when you’re at home. Program your A/C system to shut off 20-30 minutes before you leave home each day; return the temperature setting to normal comfort levels 20 to 30 minutes before you come home.
In the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.
To learn about how you can positively impact your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to mechanical systems like heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please visit our website.
Staying With Heating Oil Vs. Converting
New Jerseyans who have heating oil equipment that’s 20 years old or older have a decision to make sooner or later: should they replace their heating oil system with a new model or switch to another fuel to heat their home?
If they do decide to convert, the payback could take much longer. That’s because the upfront cost to convert a heating fuel system alone can be expensive. But the bottom line really comes down to investing in efficiency. It really doesn’t benefit you to switch to a less efficient fuel when heating oil can keep you warm even on the coldest of nights.
Why Heating Oil Keeps Your Home Warm
Heating oil generates a very high number of Btu’s of heat energy per gallon, so it will warm your New Jersey home reliably—and more evenly.
Modern, efficient heating oil systems in well-insulated homes can help homeowners achieve the same amount of warmth while using much less fuel. This results in huge savings and reduces fuel consumption considerably.
And keep this in mind if you are ever on the fence when it comes to switching fuels. When it comes to efficiency, heating oil systems are no different than any other outdated heating system, regardless of the fuel used. Old furnaces and boilers can generate higher-than-necessary fuel bills, but they can be easily replaced with equipment that incorporates today’s new heating oil technology.
And with the availability of New Jersey heating oil equipment rebates, it is easier than ever to cut your fuel costs and save even more by upgrading to the best heating oil system available.
Improvements In Fuel Quality
The growth of ultra-low-sulfur Bioheat® fuel supports more efficient heating oil equipment while also reducing emissions dramatically and eliminating the source of most equipment breakdowns. New heating oil systems are smarter, more efficient, and can save you 20% or more compared with your old, outmoded heating oil system.
In a continuing effort to be a partner in reducing fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions, hundreds of heating oil industry leaders unanimously passed a resolution to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through the accelerated use of clean, renewable Bioheat fuel blends in heating oil.
In The Future: Higher Blends Of Clean-Burning Bioheat Fuel
Full-service heating oil companies in New Jersey and other states are embracing Bioheat fuel, mostly beginning with B5 blends (5% biodiesel) and increasing from there. Each increase in the percentage of Bioheat in the blend results in even greater energy efficiency and lower emissions.
Heating oil companies in New Jersey, along with the entire industry, have committed to adopting even higher blends in the not-too-distant future. This includes achieving industry-wide blends of B20 by 2023, B50 by 2030 and a 100% Bioheat fuel by 2050, which will result in net-zero carbon emissions! Bioheat fuel is a big reason that homeowners in New Jersey can look forward to a long, comfortable and fuel-efficient future as heating oil customers.
What Is Bioheat® Fuel?
If you’ve been in New Jersey for a while and use oilheat to keep your home warm, you probably know something about Bioheat® fuel. If you’re new to our state or you are using oilheat for the first time, you can count on hearing about Bioheat fuel a lot in the years ahead.
That’s because in recognizing the benefits of this revolutionary fuel and making it available to consumers, the Garden State has been ahead of the national curve, establishing itself as one of the leaders in the adoption of this ultra-clean-burning fuel.
Bioheat Fuel, Explained
Bioheat fuel is made up of a blend of renewable biodiesel and ultra-low-sulfur heating oil (ULSHO). Renewable biodiesel is made from organic and recycled components, called feedstocks, which can include used cooking oil, inedible corn oil, fats, algae, canola, tallow and soybean oil.
What’s the difference between B20 Bioheat fuel and B10 Bioheat fuel?
When a biodiesel blend (Bioheat fuel) is established, its name comes from the percentage of biodiesel it includes. B10 means that the fuel has a 10% blend of biodiesel; the rest is ULSHO heating oil. B20 means you have a 20% blend of biodiesel.
Do I need new equipment to use Bioheat fuel?
As long as you have a working, up-to-date system, you should be able to use Bioheat without feeling any transition at all. In most cases, furnace, boiler and storage tank manufacturers will cover Bioheat fuel under their warranties. Bioheat fuel’s performance standards are approved by ASTM International, which is the organization that establishes industry standards for lubricants and fuels.
Bioheat Fuel And The Environment: 5 Facts*
- Bioheat fuel mixes low-carbon renewable liquids like biodiesel with conventional heating oil.
- Biodiesel is a gallon-for gallon substitute for petroleum-based fuels, which have a higher carbon intensity.
- By 2030, it’s estimated that biodiesel will displace 529 million gallons of heating oil.
- The Northeast’s use of Bioheat fuel annually avoids more than 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
- 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions–or 3 billion pounds–is equivalent to removing 320,000 vehicles from the road—-or the equivalent of the emissions from the annual energy use in 180,000 homes.
Why Do Pipes Bang When My Boiler Makes Heat?
A noisy boiler can be a fairly common problem for people who have a closed loop hot water boiler. Similar to a radiator in your car, your boiler is filled with water. But if air leaks into the system, the pressure rushes through the pipes. This results in a banging noise.
Why does this happen? Air can be drawn into the system in several different ways. This includes a defective valve, a broken bleed screw, a pressure leak, or previous repairs done to piping.
Another possibility is a problem with the expansion tank. Because water expands when heated and contracts when cooled, extra space is needed to store air. This is called an expansion tank. But air can be drawn back into the boiler from this device.
To solve this problem, you should contact your full service heating oil company and request an evaluation of your boiler.
North Jersey has five times the number of boilers as the national average; South Jersey has 2.5 times as many.
There are two types of boilers: a steam boiler, most often found in older homes, and the modern, and more energy-efficient, hot water boiler. Steam boilers require special safety precautions because of the temperature of the steam (the water must be heated to 212°F). As a result, it is vitally important to follow a regular maintenance schedule.
Your boiler extracts heat from heating oil as it burns; this heats the water (or creates steam) that will run through the zones that are calling for heat. The heat is delivered through your radiators or baseboards.
The problem is that some heat (as much as 30% in some older boiler models) will be lost as exhaust, which means you are paying a lot of money for heat that will never reach your living space.
In a high-efficiency condensing boiler, heat loss is reduced dramatically. By recycling heat from the exhaust process – and by operating at lower temperatures overall – your condensing boiler can improve operating efficiency by 10-15% compared to a non-condensing boiler.
However, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. Plus, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated heating systems.
If you have questions about decreasing your energy use, reducing your heating costs or simply using energy around your home in smarter ways, make sure to contact your local heating oil company for advice.
Is Heating Oil A Safe Fuel For My Home?
Many families in New Jersey rely on oilheat to keep their homes warm. And they can do this with confidence, knowing that heating oil has always been a remarkably safe fuel.
Yet, surveys have shown that while heating oil customers have exceptionally high levels of satisfaction with the service they receive, many people, particularly younger ones, have big misconceptions about the safety of heating a home with oil.*
But when was the last time you heard about an oil-heated home exploding? Never? In fact, heating oil has an excellent safety record, especially considering that it has been widely used for decades.
Let’s set the record straight by starting with flammability. Heating oil is biodegradable, nontoxic and nonflammable. It cannot burn in its liquid state. Before combustion can occur, heating oil must first be vaporized by an oil burner at temperatures above 140°.
That’s why the oil in your tank is as likely to explode as the water in your backyard swimming pool. It’s that safe!
Oil Tanks Offer Security And Safety
With an oil tank on your property, you can always count on having a secure, on-site supply at your home. Heating oil is easily transported and handled by highly trained professionals using equipment and techniques that keep safety at the forefront.
Modern heating oil storage tanks have been designed to be virtually leak-proof. Whether your oil storage tank is located in your basement or outside your home, the tanks being installed today are designed with corrosion-resistant materials.
Oilheat’s Safety Net For Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
An oilheating system poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If an oil burner malfunctions (most often due to a lack of maintenance), the safety devices in the unit will typically shut the furnace or boiler off.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that oilheat consumers shouldn’t have working carbon monoxide detectors inside their homes, especially near all bedrooms. Besides a malfunctioning boiler or furnace, there are many other sources for carbon monoxide leaks, including:
- operating unvented appliances for long periods of time
- backdrafts caused by pressure imbalances near the heating system
- leaving a vehicle idling in an attached garage
- running a gasoline-powered generator in a basement or attached garage
- a blocked flue
Make sure you check your carbon monoxide (and smoke) detectors regularly to confirm they operate properly!
Heating oil – the best and safest way to heat your New Jersey home! If you have any safety concerns or questions, please reach out to your local heating oil company.
*Based on the NORA-funded Oilheat Consumer Research Study.
Why You Hear A Whistling Sound During A Delivery
If your oil tank is located in your basement and you’re home when a driver makes his delivery, you’ll probably hear a whistling noise as your tank starts to fill up. But don’t worry. This is perfectly normal.
Besides the tank itself, your heating oil storage system includes important components like the fill pipe, vent pipe and vent alarm.
What Happens During A Delivery
After the driver arrives, he connects the hose from his oil truck to the fill pipe and starts releasing the oil. As oil flows into the tank, air is pushed back out. As the air goes through the vent alarm–located between your tank and vent pipe–it makes a whistling sound. When the whistling stops, the tank is just about full.
Since your basement tank is out of sight from the driver, the vent alarm prevents overfilling and the possibility of a spill. Safety codes do not allow your heating oil company to deliver your fuel if the vent alarm is not working.
A Few More Things To Know About Your Oil Piping
- The vent pipe also relieves the vacuum created when the oil burner pulls fuel from the tank.
- The vent pipe should be at least 1.25 inches in diameter. A narrow diameter allows excessive pressure to build up inside the tank during filling, which can cause a tank rupture.
- PVC piping does not meet NFPA safety codes and must be replaced because they are more likely to crack when tanks are being filled.
- It is the homeowner’s responsibility to properly maintain fuel tanks and all associated piping.
Helping Your Driver Make Safe Deliveries
Ice and snow can turn an already tough job into a potentially hazardous one. Maneuvering with a heavy hose while navigating slippery surfaces can be challenging; sometimes delivery drivers lose their footing and sustain injuries.
You can help the driver make safer deliveries by keeping the path to your oil tank clear of snow and ice and removing any nearby obstacles, such as fallen branches.
It is also important to shovel or plow your driveway and keep it free of ice. Safety codes prohibit your heating oil company from parking an oil truck on an incline unless it is perfectly dry.
Marking the edges of your driveway makes it easier for delivery drivers to navigate. Remember, just because you can get your car down your driveway doesn’t mean a 15-ton heating oil truck can make it too.
If you have any questions about deliveries or your oil storage tank system, please reach out to your heating oil company.
If you’re thinking about replacing your oil storage tank, read about your options here.
Why You’ll Stay Warm and Safe with Oilheat
We all know that New Jersey winters can be brutally cold sometimes. Fortunately, it’s on the coldest days that oilheat delivers its greatest value.
And New Jerseyans who heat with oil have all the support they need to make their life at home safe and warm, thanks to their local heating oil company. These days, that’s more important than ever.
One reason for all these warm feelings is due to oilheat’s high efficiency. The flame in a heating oil system burns hundreds of degrees hotter than in other energy systems. This produces more heat and warmer air or water, which results in more even heat throughout the house.
So when the mercury on the thermometer is barely topping zero and the wind is rattling the windows of your home, all that heat produced by oil will keep your New Jersey home cozy.
4 Quick Facts About Oilheat Efficiency
- New oilheat systems boast efficiency ratings as high as 95%, providing more warmth with less fuel needed than ever before.
- Many new oil boilers now include energy-saving controls that greatly reduce fuel usage by as much as 10% and provide a more even heat.
- High-efficiency oil furnaces now feature variable speed motors that use about 80% less electricity.
- Bioheat® a blend of ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and renewable biodiesel fuel, eliminates the source of most equipment problems, which means a reduction in system maintenance and improved system operation.
Safe At Home With Oilheat Too
According to consumer surveys, many homeowners have misconceptions about the safety of heating their home with oil.*
The truth is, heating oil has always been a remarkably safe fuel. Heating oil itself is non-explosive. In fact, if you dropped a lighted match into a bowl of heating oil, the flame would go out just as if you had dropped the match into water.
Additionally, oilheat poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And if there is an issue, your system will alert you.
So when you use oil to heat your home, you’ll always have the peace of mind of knowing that your family will be safe. Read more about safe heating oil.
Please browse our website to learn more about the safety and warmth of oilheat and the many other benefits of living in an oil-heated New Jersey home.
*Source: NORA-funded Oilheat Consumer Research Study.