heating oil efficiency massachusetts

Today’s new high-efficiency oil heating systems feature enhanced technology and control capabilities to provide optimal comfort while decreasing your fuel bills.

The latest clean-burning heating oil equipment can also be installed with controls to use only as much fuel as needed to heat your Massachusetts home, or a specific part of your home.

Thanks to the growth of Bioheat® fuel, heating oil is cleaner, greener and more economical than ever. Plus, the latest oil heating systems are small, smart and super-efficient and can save you, on average, 20% on your annual heating costs. There are many different equipment options to fit your budget and your local heating oil company has expertise in many types and models of heating equipment.

Understanding Heating Oil Furnaces and Boilers

While a furnace or a boiler will both keep your home warm, it’s important to understand the difference. This will help you to make smart choices if you’re considering replacing your old heating system with a new high-efficiency model.

Oil Boilers

When you have a boiler system, water goes through the combustion chamber. Thanks to a circulator, the hot water gets pumped through the pipes to heat either baseboards or radiators throughout the home. The water then makes it back to the boiler and the process begins again.

Older 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.

An Oil Boiler Can Reduce Your Water Heating Costs

A great advantage of having a boiler is that you can get it connected to an indirect-fired oil water heater.

An indirect-fired water heater uses the water heated by your oil boiler to heat the water in your water heater’s storage tank. (The boiler-heated water never comes in contact with the water in the tank.) An indirect-fired water heater heats water super-fast and it saves you money!

Oil Furnaces

Also known as warm-air or forced-air systems, furnaces produce heated air in the combustion chamber. This is sent into your home with the help of a blower fan. The fan blows the heated air through a network of air ducts before the warm air reaches you through registers or vents throughout your home.

Modern-day furnaces can operate at a range of speeds and feature other efficiency-enhancing features, including microprocessor-based controls, high-pressure flame-retention burners and durable heat exchangers.

The Advantage of Having a Furnace

Besides heat, the ductwork that connects with your furnace can provide other kinds of conditioned air, including through:

  • a central air conditioning system
  • a whole-house humidifier
  • an air-cleaning system or air purifier

If you want to take advantage of today’s energy-efficient heating oil systems, your local heating oil company will work with you to design a new heating system that fits your home and your budget.

Contact your local heating oil company to get an estimate on the cost to replace your boiler or furnace. You may also qualify for a rebate for replacing your old heating oil system with a new one!

oil delivery massachusettsDid you ever think about all of the work that’s involved before heating oil actually reaches your fuel storage tank? It starts with heating oil being refined from crude oil, which is a complex mix of hydrocarbons plus oxygen, nitrogen, and sulfur. The refining process separates crude oil into different “fractions.”

The lighter fractions eventually become propane, butane and petrochemicals while heavier fractions are used to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel and No. 2 home heating oil. But it doesn’t end there. Heavier fractions become No. 4 or No. 6 heating oils, which are used in commercial and industrial buildings, schools and hospitals.

After refining, No. 2 heating oil resembles the color of champagne. However, for tax purposes, regulations require that heating fuel be dyed red before it is sold so it cannot be confused with on-road diesel fuel, which is subject to tax. The dye has no effect on the fuel and how it burns.

After it is refined and ready for use, heating oil is transported via ship, barge, truck, and/or pipeline to major fuel terminals. It is then distributed from the terminals to local heating oil companies. Many of these companies have their own storage facilities, which can hold thousands of gallons of heating oil. These company storage facilities ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is on hand during the cold months for people who keep their homes warm with heating oil.

Big Improvements to Heating Oil

In much of the country, there is another step in the process of getting heating oil to your home: blending ultra-low sulfur heating oil with renewable biodiesel. This blending process results in the creation of Bioheat® fuel, This reformulated fuel is considered an alternative energy source in Massachusetts, and heating oil companies are eligible to receive alternative energy credits if they deliver renewable Bioheat fuel with a 10% blend of biodiesel or more.

The most refined grade of heating oil available, Bioheat fuel is one of the cleanest burning heating sources for your home. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions significantly and no changes to your existing heating oil system are necessary.

Where Bioheat Fuel Comes From

Biodiesel (also known as biofuel) 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.

Biodiesel is a non-toxic, degradable renewable liquid fuel. The biofuel that’s blended with heating oil to create Bioheat fuel is generally produced by agricultural byproducts, including used cooking oil, animal fats, inedible corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil.

This puts excess oil and fats to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel. Bioheat fuel is also sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries and local economies. To read more about Bioheat fuel, go here.

Bioheat Fuel: Readily Available in Massachusetts

Bioheat fuel is readily available now through your local retail oil company and it requires no modifications to your existing system. In Massachusetts, we are well on our way along the road to a carbon-neutral future with Bioheat fuel.

To learn more about Bioheat fuel as well as the other advantages of having an oil-heated home, please visit our website.

oil tank service massachusettsIf you have plenty of heating oil in your storage tank right now, that’s good news. In warm weather, empty space in your oil tank can create problems for both the tank and your heating oil inside.

When there’s a lot of empty space in an oil tank, condensation can form. Water, which is denser than heating oil, drips down from the walls and sinks to the bottom of the tank. That’s where it then gets busy creating a home for bacteria and other microorganisms that eventually become sediment—and eventually, corrosion. This, of course, will then result in tank failure.

A Summer Fill Means You’re All Ready For Fall

You can avoid the problem of condensation simply by going through summer with a full tank of oil. Don’t worry, it won’t spoil if it sits in your tank unused for a couple of months. Knowing that you’re protecting your heating oil storage tank should give you plenty of motivation to get an oil delivery.

But there are other benefits to filling your oil tank now, rather than later:

  • A full tank guarantees that you’ll have fuel for your heating system on hand when you need it. Cold weather can sneak up on us here in Massachusetts, so don’t be caught without enough heating oil to get you through the first surprise cold snap next fall.
  • You’ll have more flexibility for scheduling a home heating oil delivery at your convenience in the summer, rather than waiting until fall—when everyone else is requesting deliveries too. Why wait in line and have to run the risk of an inconvenient—and more expensive—emergency fuel delivery?

Besides filling your tank, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect it, as signs of trouble sometimes become visible. Here are some things you can check yourself on your aboveground oil tank. Look for:

  • blistering, which are dime-sized blisters in the paint, commonly found on the tank’s underside (feel the underside to find it). It can be a sign of pending failure
  • pinhole leaks, which are caused by rusting from corrosion inside the tank
  • condensation on the outside of the tank, long after a heating oil delivery.

If you notice any of these signs, contact your Massachusetts home heating oil service provider.

New Heating Oil Storage Tanks In Massachusetts

There have been some big improvements in heating oil tanks over the years. One of the most important is double-wall construction with an outside layer of corrosion-proof galvanized steel. Other innovations include leak detection systems, long-term warranties and sleek designs that allow the tank to fit in smaller spaces. Read more about new oil storage tanks.

Now is a great time to replace your home heating oil tank. Your Massachusetts heating oil service company is less busy with emergency heating oil deliveries and repairs, and you’ll likely be able to get your replacement scheduled quicker.

You may also qualify for a $200 rebate for upgrading your oil tank. Contact your local Massachusetts heating oil service provider today for more information!

heating oil rebates massachusettsWith support from the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), the Massachusetts Energy Marketers Association (MEMA) is ready to restart a highly popular program on May 1, 2021: heating oil equipment rebates for consumers. Here are the program’s highlights.

  • Funds are limited and offered on a first-come, first served basis
  • Customers’ home or business must be located in Massachusetts
  • These customers are eligible to receive a $200 rebate when they install a higher efficiency heating oil system than the system currently in their home or business.
  • They will also be able to receive a $200 rebate when they install a new heating oil storage tank, either at the same time as the system replacement or separately.
  • One rebate is available per customer but the rebate can amount to $400 for a furnace/boiler and tank replacement.
  • Companies doing the installation work must provide the rebate in the form of a discount to the customer upfront. Companies will then perform the work and then upload paperwork showing proof of completed work through the MEMA rebate online portal. Rebate reimbursements will then be sent directly to installation companies from NORA.
  • Rebate-eligible work must be completed after the May 1 program start date. Rebates will not be granted for any work performed prior to that date.

How You Benefit From A New Heating Oil System

You can expect to reduce your annual fuel expenses by 20% or more—depending on the age and efficiency of your current system—not to mention virtually eliminating high repair bills with a replacement system.

A new heating oil system is also a green choice. Emissions from an old system can be significantly reduced by upgrading to a high-efficiency heating oil system. Today’s heating oil systems are efficient and their emissions are negligible. Advances include systems with reduced fuel-firing rates. Plus, today’s wide use of Bioheat® fuel in Massachusetts is reducing emissions even further. Read more about Bioheat fuel.

Don’t wait until your heating system fails on the coldest day next winter! Start doing your homework now by contacting your full-service heating oil company so you’ll have a head start when the rebates go into effect.

energy-saving tips massachusettsWith spring finally here, now is a great time to make some home improvements, especially in terms of improving energy efficiency. Follow these tips to save money and increase your comfort throughout the year.

Saving Energy

Besides partnering with your liquid heating fuel company to replace low-efficiency heating equipment and schedule heating system maintenance in the spring, do your own self-audit to find areas where you can make improvements. Here are some suggestions:

  • Determine if your attic is well insulated and upgrade if necessary. This alone can save you hundreds of dollars each year on heating and air conditioning costs.
  • Install ceiling fans. Using them will help you feel cooler in the summer even with your thermostat set at a higher temperature. You can also use them during the winter to push down warm air trapped near the ceiling, which means you can use less heating oil and still stay warm.
  • Install flow-restricting showerheads. You can reduce your hot water use by as much as 50% without affecting shower pressure. Make sure you also scrub away mineral deposits on your showerhead from time to time to prevent clogs.

Use A Smart Programable Thermostat

Studies show that about nine out of ten people say they’ve rarely or never programmed their thermostat because they’re not sure how to do it. That’s a shame, considering that managing the temperature of your home is one of the easiest ways to save energy and lower both heating and cooling expenses. (Tip: Spend a little time watching “how-to” videos online).

Once you’re more comfortable programming your thermostat, follow this advice. 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.

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, getting one is a smart 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.

planet friendly home fuel massachusettsRight now, Bioheat fuel is the only home energy source that can make an immediate impact on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for our climate. The heating oil industry’s embrace of renewable Bioheat fuel is transforming home heating and helping to create a better future.

In fact, the heating oil industry has made a commitment to the climate change movement. In September 2019, the industry resolved to reduce GHG emissions by 15% by 2023, 40% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

What’s most exciting is that ambitious objectives are achievable. In 2020, two independent studies on the feasibility of accomplishing these emissions reductions goals validated the industry’s plan to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with renewable Bioheat fuel.

80% Reduction In GHG Emissions

Just two heating oil retailers in Massachusetts displaced nearly 1.5 million gallons of heating oil with approved Bioheat fuel in the first half of 2020. Doing this resulted in an 80% reduction in GHG emissions, compared to traditional heating oil.

For the industry to achieve its 2023 target of 15% fewer emissions, the standard Bioheat fuel blend will need to be in the 20% range. There are already many heating oil companies in Massachusetts that are delivering Bioheat at this level. Some are even delivering blends as high as 50% (B50 Bioheat SuperPlus™)

Where Does Bioheat Fuel Come From?

Biodiesel (also known as biofuel) 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.

Biodiesel is a non-toxic, degradable renewable liquid fuel. The biofuel that’s blended with heating oil to create Bioheat fuel is generally produced by agricultural byproducts, including used cooking oil, animal fats, inedible corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil.

This puts excess oil and fats to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel. Bioheat fuel is also sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries and local economies. To read more about Bioheat fuel, go here. [Link to: https://mybioheat.com/ ]

Bioheat Fuel Is Readily Available In Massachusetts

Bioheat fuel is readily available now through your local retail oil company and it requires no modifications to your existing system.

The bottom line: in Massachusetts, we are well on our way along the road to a low carbon future!

To learn more about the benefits of Bioheat fuel and the other advantages of having an oil-heated home, please visit our website.

how much fuel massachusettsIf you’ve been an oilheat consumer for many years, you’re familiar with reading your oil tank gauge and knowing when it’s time to call for more fuel. To avoid this task, you may have asked your oilheat company to put you on their automatic delivery schedule so you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel.

Fuel Tank Gauge Basics

But with the worst of the winter still ahead of us, it never hurts to review the basics of reading your heating oil tank gauge.

  • Your heating oil tank gauge is usually a clear glass or plastic cylinder located at or near the top of the tank. The gauge is marked with numbers that look like a car’s fuel gauge: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float tells you how much fuel you have left. If the marker is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible, your tank is empty–or close to it.
  • To make sure the gauge is working, carefully remove the outer case and gently press the float down. If it bobs back up to the original position, the gauge is working. If the gauge is not working, arrange for a repair.
  • Order more fuel when the gauge reaches ¼.

As noted before, if you don’t want to spend time reading your tank gauge and placing an order when you need more fuel, your oilheat company may be able to set you up on an automatic delivery schedule.

Your heating oil supplier will estimate when your next delivery is needed based on computer modeling and your past usage. In most cases, they will get your heating oil to you when your tank is about one-quarter full.

How Much Heating Oil Will You Need This Winter?

Many factors will affect how much heating oil you will use. This can include outdoor temperatures, the overall efficiency of your heating equipment, and how well your home is insulated. But here’s one measuring stick: if outdoor temperatures average about 32° over a 24-hour period, a 2,500 square foot house will burn about 6-7 gallons of heating oil per day.

If you have questions about your heating oil tank or heating oil deliveries, contact your Massachusetts heating oil company and they will be glad to help.

heating oil warning signs massachusettsEvery problem has a symptom, and frequently, it is accompanied by something you see, hear, smell or even feel.

Use the gift of your senses to uncover common problems you might encounter in your oil-heated home.

Seeing Icicles?

If there are icicles hanging from your roof, you could be facing double jeopardy. First, there’s the safety risk of their falling and injuring someone. Second, icicles usually mean that you’re losing heat through your attic.

Icicles form when a roof has “hot spots” (caused by escaping heat), which melts snow, The water then trickles to colder spots on the roof and freezes. The water that drips over the eaves turns into icicles.

Eventually, ice dams can form and water trapped behind these mounds of ice can seep into the home, resulting in costly repairs.

The solution for heat loss and potential water damage is to seal air leaks in your attic and then improve the insulation. These steps will lower your heating costs—and reduce cooling bills in the summer because your attic will retain less heat.

What’s That Smell?

Foul smells can often be caused by stagnant water—the most common source for bad odors because it often turns to mold. Look for water leaks in the roof, foundation, around sinks and other piping. Besides correcting water leaks promptly, you can keep indoor air virtually odor-free with correctly sized equipment, constant airflow and air purification systems.

Other Problems To Sniff Out

  • Oil odors. If your system is working properly, you should never smell fuel oil. An oil smell could be caused by a leak, burner troubles, a heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. You should schedule service as soon as possible to correct this situation.
  • Smoky odors when your burner is operating. If a fireplace or exhaust fan is running at the same time as your oil burner, this can result in a smoky odor because a backdraft is pulling flue gases through the exhaust system and into the home.

What’s That Noise?

Here are a few sounds and the possible cause. (Note: a correct diagnosis can only be made with an onsite visit by a 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 a 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 fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system, for instance, in a filter or supply line.

Feeling A Chill In Your Shower

If it takes longer to heat water than it used to, or the water doesn’t get as hot, these are strong signs that you are ready for a new water-heating unit. Other trouble signs include a slow leak from your tank or rust on the tank or in your tap water. (A water tank rusts from the inside out).

If you think your water heater is failing—the average water heater lasts anywhere from 7 to 13 years—please speak with your heating oil service provider about your options in oil-fired water heaters, including high-efficiency indirect oil water heaters.

Oil-fired water heating systems mean low-cost access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water. That’s because their “recovery rate” can reach up to 120 gallons per hour. Recovery rate measures how many gallons of water can be heated in an hour.

This means plenty of hot water for the whole family—something that less efficient water heaters often cannot provide.

If you are experiencing problems or 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.

You can also read about the benefits of having an oil-heated home by going here.

boiler instllation massachusettsIf you have a hot water (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.

Like any piece of equipment, that boiler will eventually have to be replaced one day. Here are a few signs that will help you determine if a replacement system is in order.

Boiler Age

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.

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.

Your Comfort Levels

Is your old boiler keeping you warm enough? A properly working oil boiler should keep you comfortable even on the coldest Massachusetts nights, but a boiler’s operating performance diminishes with the passage of time.

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.

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.

Understanding Boilers

There are two types of boilers: a steam boiler, 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.

Condensing Boilers

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.

So why aren’t all boilers condensing, considering their obvious efficiency advantages? For one thing, condensing boilers cost more to manufacture. Plus, a condensing boiler is not practical for all homes. What’s more, installing a condensing boiler correctly requires highly trained technicians who know how to capitalize on the efficiency benefits of these sophisticated machines.

Heating Oil Keeps Getting Better

By upgrading to a new oil boiler, you’ll be able to enjoy all of the great benefits of oilheat—now and in the future.

In a continuing effort to be a partner in reducing fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas emissions, more than 300 heating oil industry leaders—many from Massachusetts—unanimously passed a resolution last year to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through the accelerated use of clean, renewable Bioheat® fuel blends in heating oil.

Those in the oilheat business are excited by opportunities that will positively influence the long-term future of the industry and the environment while improving the oil heat experience for millions of customers.

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.

about bioheat Massachusetts

Last year’s resolution by the heating oil industry to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 represented a significant step forward by the industry to help ease the effects climate change.

The resolution also puts the industry on the path to achieving a 50% blend of renewable Bioheat® – a blend of ultra-low sulfur heating oil and biodiesel – which would reduce carbon emissions by 40%.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (MA DOER) says that the transition to Bioheat contributes to “the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals by increasing energy efficiency and reducing the need for conventional fossil fuel-based power generation.”* In fact, the increased use of Bioheat has already reduced heating oil use by 35 million gallons from January 2018 to January 2020.

Alternative Fuel Credits Are Paving The Way

Now that heating oil has been reformulated as Bioheat, it is considered an alternative energy source in Massachusetts, and heating oil companies are eligible to receive alternative energy credits if they deliver renewable Bioheat at a 10% blend level or more.

Alternative energy credits provide tangible environmental benefits. Currently, nearly 80 retail heating oil companies are participating in the credit program. The credits increase the likelihood that more and more heating oil companies will begin delivering higher blends of Bioheat, and this will help Massachusetts meet is stated greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals.

As a heating oil customer, you can be assured that your heating system requires no system modifications to accommodate Bioheat.

Where Does Bioheat Come From?

Bioheat is sourced and produced right here in the United States. Bioheat supports local farmers, local industries and a local economy. But that’s just the beginning. Consumers who use Bioheat benefit from:

  • the most refined grade of heating oil available. That’s why Bioheat is the one of the cleanest burning energy sources for your home or business.
  • a reduction of system maintenance issues. Bioheat blended with ultra-low sulfur heating oil eliminates the source of most equipment issues.

To learn more about today’s Bioheat, please go here.

*Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, https://www.mass.gov/about-doer