Here’s what you need to know about your oil heating system.
As an oil heat consumer, you should know that oil is a clean, efficient, cost-effective, safe and versatile fuel.
Heating oil is one of the most effective ways to heat your home. Oil has great energy potential and new oil heat systems are highly efficient & effective.
1. YOU own your heating oil tank, it belongs to the home.
Because propane companies own the propane tanks at a home, this can be confusing to someone new to heating oil. The oil tank in your home does not belong to the oil company, and you can use whatever oil company you want to fill your tank.
2. You CAN run out of heating oil.
If you are coming from electric or natural gas heat, those are 2 sources that do not “run out”. However, the heating oil in your oil tank can and will run out if not replenished regularly. Consider automatic delivery to ensure this never happens and you go without heat or cause damage to your heating system.
3. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with your oil heating system basics.
First, you need to determine whether you have an oil furnace or a boiler.
How does your oil furnace work?
An oil furnace is a device that burns oil to heat air.
(A) The thermostat sends a signal to the controls on the burner.
(B) The fuel pump draws oil through a filter to the burner.
(C) The burner turns the oil into a fine spray, mixes it with air, and ignites it in the combustion chamber, causing the chamber to become very hot.
(D) Air absorbs heat in the heat exchanger.
(E) A blower sends this air through ducts to heat the home.
(F) The air eventually circulates back to the heat exchanger and the cycle continues. (G) Combustion emissions are vented out the flue.
H) Hillside Oil Heating & Cooling delivers is a full-service heating oil company. We deliver fuel to your home and can install, maintain, and repair oil (and natural gas, propane gas, and electric) heating systems in DE, MD, & PA.
Another type of oil heating system is a boiler. Instead of air, boilers heat up circulating water which is pumped through pipes to radiators. Some oil heat systems also heat hot water.
4. Determine how much oil is still in the tank.
Tanks should never be empty. If your tank is less than a quarter full you should order more oil as soon as possible. Running out of heating oil is bad, worse than running out of gasoline in your car.
There are several ways to measure how much oil is in the tank. If you have an oil gauge, you just need to read it, but if you don’t, you can use a dip stick or a rod to find out how many inches of oil you have, then consult a tank chart.
Remember:it’s best to be conservative and order your heating oil early rather than ordering in a no-heat emergency. The best way to manage this risk? Sign up for FREE Automatic Delivery and let Hillside Oil Heating and Cooling worry about managing your heating oil.
5. Heating oil bills can be expensive during the coldest winter months.
Budget plans are available. A monthly budget plan is an effective way to avoid large peak season bills. Monthly budget payments allow customers to spread their heating expenses throughout the year. The calculation of a customer’s monthly budget is straightforward and simple. Hillside uses estimated annual expenditures and divides that amount into equal monthly payments. The budget amount may be adjusted up or down as many times as needed throughout the season depending on price and weather.
6. Oil heat systems do require maintenance.
An annual check-up is the key maintenance task. This includes inspection, cleaning, tuning up and replacement of some parts such as filters and nozzles as needed. Properly maintained oil heat systems can last for up to 20 years.
Make sure your thermostat is set to heat and set high enough to call for heat, meaning the desired temperature is higher than the room temperature. Also, make sure if your thermostat requires batteries, the batteries are good.
2. Make sure you have oil in your tank.
Locate your tank: Your oil tank is more than likely in the basement or outside the house relatively close. It’s a big metal tank. Do you know how to read your oil tank gauge?
Find the fuel gauge: Your oil gauge is a clear tube with a float inside and will be located on top of the oil tank. A standard residential oil tank holds 275 gallons. Based on that size, the following readings indicate how many gallons of oil your tank contains. The float goes up and down according to how much fuel is in the tank:
F (full) = 275 gallons
3/4 = 200 gallons
1/2 = 130 gallons
1/4 = 70 gallons
1/8 = 40 gallons
E (empty) = near empty
Reading your gauge is like reading the gas gauge in your car. If the float is at the bottom of the tube or not visible, then the tank is empty or close to empty. See Hillside’s Tank Chart.
Do NOT always trust your gauge, they can be finicky. To manually check your heating oil level in an oil tank you will need a straight stick.
Remember:We recommend ordering heating oil when your tank is one-quarter full rather than ordering in a no-heat emergency. Sign up for our Worry-Free Winter and we’ll manage everything for you.
3. Locate the emergency shutoff switch.
Usually, the emergency shutoff switch is located near the basement steps and/or next to your heating system. Make sure the switch is in the “ON” position. These switches look just like a light switch and accidentally get turned off if you have guests in your home. This happens more frequently than you might think.
4. Check your power source.
Locate and open your electrical panel. It’s usually found in the basement or in a utility room. Check for and fix any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. Sometimes our furnace technicians “repair” the furnace by simply making sure your furnace is getting power.
5. Reset your system.
Sometimes a simple system reset is all that’s needed. Locate your heating system’s burner and press the reset button ONCE (and only ONCE) and listen for the system to start up. If you had to open a door to access your furnace be sure to close that door after pressing the reset button.
The Hillside Maintenance Plans are designed to prevent minor problems from turning into major issues! Extend the life of your equipment, reduce the need for costly repairs, and increase the performance of your heating and cooling systems while lowering your utility bills.
Hillside Oil Heating & Cooling has been family owned and operated for over 65 years. Three generations of family attitudes and values have allowed us to continue to successfully service our customers and communities. Everything about Hillside is locally owned and operated. We do not answer to any parent or mother corporation in some far-off land. Real human beings still work here and answer our phones. We have no touch-tone mazes to navigate in order to speak to a human being that can assist or answer questions. Customer service is the most important thing. We know what it is like to be a customer and how we like to be treated. We take pride in thinking like a customer when dealing with our customers. Support of Hillside is support for local, homegrown, family business in our area. Thank you from everyone at Hillside for your business. Hillside is a full-service home heating oil company as well as a full-service heating and air conditioning service company. We make daily deliveries of home heating oil, diesel fuels, and gasoline.