The convenience of using heating oil in a home or at a place of business has made it a popular choice. When hunting for a heating oil services provider, it's wise, however, to ask about these five issues before committing to a contract.
1. Fuel Types
You're likely to encounter three different types of heating oil, gas oil, kerosene, and biofuel. Gas oil, also called red diesel, is a heavy oil that's commonly used in agricultural and commercial applications, but it's also employed in many older residential boilers. Kerosene burns cleaner and is lighter, but it's less commonly used in the U.S. than in other countries. Biofuel is beginning to gain popularity, with products made from soy being the most common in America.
Heating oil services firms do typically assess fees, the most likely being credit card processing fees to defray the expenses incurred by working with companies like Visa and Mastercard. During times when vehicle fuel costs are high, some businesses also add a surcharge to offset part of rising delivery costs. Most firms remove this fee when motor fuel costs are low, and they typically try to provide some written notice of changes before new deliveries are made.
3. Tax Credits
Many states offer a range of tax credits to folks who use home heating oil. Additional credits for the use of biofuels are also becoming more common, so you may want to talk with your tax preparer about what credits your state offers.
4. Payment Plans
Given the up and down cycle that comes with delivering fuel mostly in the winter, heating oil services firm tend to be happy to make payment arrangements with their customers. This allows you to not take the biggest hit in the coldest month, and spreading payments out over the course of a year allows the company to maintain a steadier source of income. As with most payment agreements, you may be subject to a credit check prior to approval. Many firms will want to see a down payment before delivery.
5. Delivery Times
Most oil delivery services companies now use route-optimization software to provide delivery in an efficient manner, so be aware that any delivery time is an estimate and not a promise. The company is trying to be profitable while also satisfying its customers' needs, and you can expect them to make every effort to deliver oil on the day you're scheduled.