Many people in the United States rely on fuel oil to keep their homes warm during winter. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), at least 14% of the US population relies on heating oil. In a liberalized market, companies can offer heating oil delivery services to homeowners. However, choosing the right company is not always easy for everyone. With that in mind, here are some factors that you should consider before choosing an Allentown heating oil company:
Ideally, you should choose a company that can easily get to your home in the event of an emergency, for example, if you lose heat in the middle of a winter storm. For that reason, do not shy from contacting representatives from different companies to get a breakdown of the areas that they cover. Ask if they can send a service technician or representative to your home. This will give you a good idea of how fast a company can have personnel at your doorstep. While regional companies are usually able to respond to emergencies within their territories fast, you should not dismiss all other companies outside your area.
When it comes to making any purchase decision, price often plays a big role. Just as in almost every other industry, the market dynamics of demand versus supply determine the price of heating oil. Therefore, it is best to compare fuel oil prices from different companies. The prices should be more or less in line with the industry’s price index. If you would like to receive up to date information regarding heating oil, contact the Oil Heat Institute (OHI). This body can access heating oil data and information from reliable sources such as the Pennsylvania State Energy Office, the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and the Journal of Commerce.
Although heating oil has many benefits, it is highly volatile. This is why it is important to ensure the heating oil company has liability insurance cover. In case of an accident attributable to the company that delivered the heating oil, you should get compensation for the damage. Find out if the liability insurance covers the company’s employees and equipment. If you overlook this simple aspect, you could end up with hefty hospital bills to clear in the future.
In simple terms, a service agreement is a document that outlines what you can expect from the heating oil company over a given period of time. In return, you will have to purchase fuel oil from the company for the agreement to remain valid. The contents of the service agreement will depend on the type of heating system that one has installed at home. In general, there are two basic types of heating systems: hot water heating and forced air heating. With this in mind, ensure that the service agreement covers furnace or boiler maintenance. This includes routine maintenance tasks such as replacing defective components. Besides repairs, the company should also undertake preventative maintenance on a regular basis. This includes cleaning the boiler or furnace, adjustments, as well as tune-ups. Finally, the service agreement should have a clear description of the zone coverage. In addition to the standard service agreement features, you can get extra components provided you pay some extra cash. For example, you can get a hot water heater or a separate oil tank at additional cost. It is up to you to decide if you really need the additional components in the service agreement.
While insurance liability coverage is important, you should also make sure the company holds a valid license. To ascertain this, visit your local municipality offices and inquire if a company has the license to deliver fuel oil to consumers. If you work with an unlicensed company, you could potentially void your homeowner’s insurance policy, which is a very important insurance product for virtually every homeowner.
Another item that you should have on your checklist is the reputation of the company. If a company operates regionally, find out if anyone has lodged a complaint against the company, particularly in regards to its services. Another way of finding reliable information about the reputation of a company is by visiting the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. The rating alone should give you a good idea of the kind of company you are dealing with. In addition, find out if the company is a member of professional heating oil associations. One of the most prominent organizations in the heating oil industry is the Oil & Energy Service Professionals (OESP) — formerly known as the National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals (NAOHSM). Most states have their own organizations such as the Vermont Fuel Dealers Association (VFDA), the Delaware Valley Fuel Dealers Association (DVFDA), and the Harrisburg Oil Heat Association (HOHA).
Terms and Conditions
Choose a company that gives homeowners the freedom to adjust the fuel oil delivery program. This can result in significant savings over the long term. For example, you should be able to switch from a capped to a fixed price program depending on the prevailing market conditions. The fixed price program allows one to purchase heating oil at a set price regardless of changes that may happen throughout the season. On the other hand, the capped program sets a particular price ceiling that a company cannot go beyond. For example, you could fix or cap future heating oil deliveries and still use cash to purchase fuel oil for your current needs. Other terms and conditions that you should take into account include discounts and budget plans. Some companies offer new customer discounts and senior citizen discounts. Do not just fall for the discount trick. Try to find out what type of discount the company is offering.
Indeed, heating oil is necessary to keep your home warm and comfortable during the cold months. When choosing a heating oil company, consider various factors such as its reputation, its licensing status, its terms and conditions, the service agreement, liability insurance, pricing, and how the company responds to emergencies. In most cases, how a company responds to your queries is a good indicator of what you can expect from the company in terms of service delivery.