Frequently Asked Questions

We’re committed to keeping our valued Long Island home comfort and oil delivery customers in the know, and that’s why we’ve created this list of frequently asked questions. Please review the questions below, and if you don’t see the answer to your query, just give us a call! We look forward to speaking with you. You can give us a ring or use our convenient online contact form to submit your request for more information on any of our home comfort or oil delivery programs.

General Heating Oil and Delivery

Do you deliver heating oil on weekends?

We provide home heating oil deliveries on Saturday most of the year. We do not make home oil deliveries on Sunday.

How do I compare different heating fuel options?

Each fuel is different. Gas is sold by the Therm or cubic foot, electricity is sold by the kilowatt and heating oil and propane are sold by the gallon. However, a gallon of heating oil and a gallon of propane have different characteristics and different energy contents. Heating oil has 138,000 Btus per gallon. You need to find out how much energy is in the other fuels and compare it to heating oil. A local oil dealer can probably get you the information you need for your market. However, don’t forget the comfort and reliability of oil when you do your research.

Is today’s oil heat’s sulfur content reduced?

Over the past 20 years, the sulfur content of heating oil has been reduced from over 1% to as low as .05%, a reduction of over 93%. This has done a lot to clear the air. Oil heat is good for the home and good for our planet!

Why is heating oil red?

After refining, No. 2 heating oil is the color of champagne. For tax purposes, regulations require that heating fuel be dyed red before it is sold. This is so the authorities can tell the difference between heating oil and on-road diesel fuel. The dye has no effect on the fuel and how it burns.

How is heating oil made?

Heating oil is refined from crude oil. The refining process first separates crude oil into different “fractions” by using a distillation process. The middle distillates are then further refined to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel and No. 2 home heating oil.

Where does heating oil come from?

There are over 36 oil-producing countries. The U.S. is not overly dependent on any one region for our supply. More than 40% of our crude oil comes from the USA. Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, and Saudi Arabia are our other main suppliers. The world’s total proven reserves of crude oil are about 10% higher than they were in 1980. We are finding oil faster than we are burning it. This makes oil a dependable heating fuel of choice.

How can I take advantage of oil heat, or get it in my home?

Oil heat can be installed into any home and be easily combined with air-conditioning. If you don’t currently have oil heat, using oil heat should not be a problem. It will require the installation of a tank, which may be installed inside, outside or outside underground. The furnace or boiler may be installed either inside or outside depending on the space in your home, and what works best for you. The most important step is to find a local oil heat dealer who can work with you to ensure that the oil heating system you install will meet the needs of you and your family.

Has oil heat improved, and what is its impact on the environment?

Over the last three decades, oil heat equipment has improved its environmental performance. Before the development of the modern oil burners, the emissions of particulate matter from an oil heat system were 10 pounds per 1000 gallons burned, or .1 percent. Today’s oil heat has significantly lowered its emissions. Now, only 7 ounces is released for every thousand gallons burned, or .006 percent.

How safe is oil heat?

Heating oil is safe. It takes an advanced high-tech burner to ignite the oil. If you drop a match into heating oil it will go out as if dropped into water. Heating oil must be vaporized before it will ignite or burn.

Is oil heat clean?

Cleanliness is an important oil heat improvement. Today’s oil heat is 95% cleaner than it was in 1970. When properly adjusted and maintained, new oil heat systems create absolutely no soot, dirt, or odors in the home. It’s the intelligent warmth you need in your Long Island home.

Why choose oil heat?

If you want heat that is clean, comfortable, environmentally friendly, efficient, economical, dependable, safe and versatile, oil heat is for you.

Which is the best way to heat my home?

Home heating fuel consumers tend to report high levels of satisfaction with all aspects of heating fuel that were measured including: safe, clean, accessible, fast service, local, efficient, convenient, dependable, and reliable. Prices of energy vary from market to market and at different times of the year. The Consumer Energy Council conducted a study to determine the best ways for consumers to save energy in their home and they found that changing fuel sources was not effective.

What has changed over the years with heating oil?

We have dramatically reduced the amount of sulfur in the fuel from over 1% in 1970 to an average of .2% today (an 80% reduction). This leads to improved efficiency, cleaner burning, lower environmental impact, and increased longevity for heating equipment. Today, many dealers have gone even further. They are marketing .05% sulfur fuel. Intelligent Warmth reflects this steady improvement and ongoing commitment to improve our fuel.

What is the average oil consumption of a household?

The oil heat industry has made great progress with energy conservation. In 1978 the average American home burned 1,297 gallons per year. In 2005, the average number of gallons burned is 860. This is a 33.6% decrease per household! A new system offers exceptional efficiency you could save up to 25% or more in heating and hot water costs.

Need fuel service from your local experts at ParkSide? Contact us today!

Heating Oil Pricing and Payment

Why do heating oil prices fluctuate?

Heating oil prices fluctuate for a variety of reasons. These include: Seasonality in the demand for heating oil – When crude oil prices are steady, home heating oil prices tend to slowly rise in the winter months when demand is highest. Changes in the cost of crude oil – Crude oil is a major price component of heating oil, changes in the price of crude oil will generally affect the price of heating oil. Competition in local markets – Competitive differences can be substantial between a locality with only one or a few suppliers or dealers versus an area with a large number of competitors. Regional operating costs – Prices also are impacted by higher costs of transporting the product to remote locations. In addition, the cost of doing business by dealers can vary substantially depending on the area of the country in which the dealer is located. Costs of doing business include wages and salaries, benefits, equipment, lease/rent, insurance, overhead, and state and local fees. Because the heating oil industry is composed of many companies, there are a wide variety of pricing options for consumers. Not all of these are available from every retailer or in every area.

Why are oil prices higher than they were a few years ago?

The United States sources of heating oil are domestic refineries and imports from foreign countries. Refineries produce heating oil as a part of the “distillate fuel oil” product family, which includes both diesel fuel and heating oil. Distillate products are shipped throughout the United States by pipelines, barges, tankers, trucks and rail cars. Most imports of distillate come from Canada, the Virgin Islands and Venezuela. Heating oil is traded on the commodities market just like other home heating fuels. This means heating oil cost is subject to fluctuations, just like the stock market. The price of crude oil has the biggest impact on the price of wholesale heating oil. Due to the variations in crude oil prices, dealers are generally price takers on any given day. Heating oil like any energy product responds to supply and demand fundamentals, such as cold or warm weather. Additionally, heating oil prices in this country may be affected by a supply disruption in oil producing country, or even cold weather in Europe. On a daily basis, heating oil prices can vary widely.

What do you recommend to combat higher energy costs?

Heating oil consumers should first talk with their heating oil retailer about oil heat buying programs such as price caps and fixed price programs. They should also establish a budget plan with their retail dealer. The best strategy continues to be conservation. NORA has completed a 160 page training guide “Efficient Oil heat, An Energy Conservation Guide” which is the foundation for the NORA Gold Certification. This program educates technicians on energy conservation strategies ranging from simple thermostat replacements to system redesign including boiler replacements and how to analyze the energy savings for consumers. It also includes information on how to explain these energy improvements to the customer. Working with customers, oil heat dealers can help them cut energy costs by 20 to 25 percent. Careful attention to energy conservation can cost effectively be achieved by nearly all consumers. NORA estimates that a replacement of an older boiler that is burning 1200 gallons of oil per year could save nearly a third of the oil consumed and bring the house down to the national average of 800 gallons per year. If the party was paying $2.50 per gallon, this would save nearly $1,000 per year. Another way of looking at it is to say that the boiler conversion essentially lowered the cost per gallon by 33 percent or to $1.65 per gallon. Less expensive modifications such as insulating pipes and ducts can save 5 percent per year, and even a modest tune-up may save 3 percent. For a house using 1000 gallons, these changes will pay for themselves in a short time.

Do you have “locked in” home heating oil contracts?

We offer a capped price on our contracts. This means that your oil won’t go over a certain price, but if the oil prices are less, you receive the lower price.

Are credit card prices higher than the cash oil price?

No. We do not charge different prices for credit card or cash transactions.

Do you take checks for home oil delivery?

Yes, after three consecutive deliveries your account will be reviewed for the ability to accepts check on your home oil deliveries. If you receive a positive account review, we will take checks for your account.

Where can I go for help in paying heating oil bills?

Families in need of assistance and the elderly can apply for heating fuel assistance (Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP) through state agencies such as the Department of Housing & Community Development. Every state has different eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for assistance.

What is the definition of the wholesale price for heating oil?

The wholesale price is the price the dealer pays for his oil from large, and generally multinational companies. These prices reflect the daily trading activity that occurs on world energy trading markets such as the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Your local oil heat dealer has no control over the wholesale price, however, most dealers work hard to find the lowest wholesale price in their market. A dealer prices heating oil to customers by examining the wholesale price, overhead or fixed costs associated with running the oil heat business (rent, vehicle expenses, employee wages, insurance, etc.), and the price trends and other prices in the market.

What is a pre-buy heating oil plan?

A “pre-buy” allows customers to effectively buy heating oil, agreeing to take a certain number of gallons at a set price during the next heating season.

Can you describe price cap and fixed price heating oil payment programs?

A fixed price program is first developed when an oil heat dealer secures heating oil contracts for his/her customers on the wholesale market for a specific price. The dealer then adds on the overhead costs of running the business (employee wages & benefits, insurance, vehicles, rent, etc.), as well as a profit margin. Once that price is established, the oil heat dealer will offer the price to customers and the price is fixed for a given period of time and will never go up or down. The customer agrees to pay that fixed price even if the price for a gallon of heating oil goes up or down on the open market during the heating season.

A cap price program allows for market changes. Customers can lock in a price for the entire heating season with a price cap, which the highest price they will pay no matter how high is heating oil prices may go throughout the heating season. If the retail price goes up the customer pays the cap price, but if the retail price goes down the customer pays the lower price. With both fixed price and cap price programs oil heat dealers sign for and are committed to contracts with their suppliers for fuel oil months in advance of the heating season. This enables the dealer to lock in a price and pass the price on to their customers, but the dealer will most likely pay for insurance to protect these investments. The cost of this insurance, often called “downside protection,” is usually passed on to customers.

Are heating oil companies charging too much?

In the view of noted energy analysts, heating oil dealers are simply passing along the steady increases in heating oil that have been occurring for the past year. The extreme spikes in heating oil prices cannot be absorbed by the local heating oil company.

Heating and Water Heating Equipment

How much smoke is produced in my heating unit?

An oil heat system with one of today’s modern burners is capable of burning 99.9% clean. The oil burners of today are so clean that they produce on average six ounces of particulate emissions (soot) a year. To put that in context, consider that the six ounces of emissions comes from burning three and a half tons of heating oil.

How do I know it is time to call for HVAC service?

We all know to call for service when our heat goes off or we have no hot water but all too often we hear customers say “this has been going on for a few weeks, should I have called then?” The answer is, YES! A heating or cooling issue that could have been nipped in the bud earlier can be a real problem later. First and foremost, Parkside Fuel is a full service oil and HVAC company and we sincerely hope you will call us whenever you have any heating questions or problems. We pride ourselves on our excellent reputation for customer service and all our customer service representatives will listen carefully to your questions and advise you what the next course of action should be. Customer satisfaction is our common goal. Please feel free to call for service anytime you see or smell oil, have a water leak, see or smell soot or smoke, have to hit the reset button more than one time during any given week, hear an unusual noise or to schedule your annual preventative maintenance. Remember, an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.

When is the best time to schedule my boiler annual tune up?

Boiler maintenance can be and is done 12 months of the year and there is no “better” time to have it done. We would like to see most of the maintenance scheduled in the Spring or Summer months, to accommodate busy schedules. Naturally, during the heating season, emergency service takes precedence and it is difficult to predict what any one day may bring. Please call our Service Department to schedule your boiler maintenance!

How big are the heating appliances?

New oil fired heating boilers and furnaces are much smaller than older ones. The average boiler today is as big as a three-drawer filing cabinet. Furnaces are similarly sized.

What is the AFUE number on the yellow sticker on my appliance mean?

AFUE is an attempt by the Department of Energy to measure how much heat stays in the system versus how much escapes up the chimney. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. However, AFUE test procedures have some problems. NORA is now conducting a study to determine how much energy is really used to keep your home warm and to keep plenty of hot water flowing for a normal family. We believe that this will revolutionize how Americans make appliance purchases.

What is the future of heating equipment?

Oil heat equipment manufacturers have made the most dramatic advances for intelligent warmth. New oil-powered equipment is significantly cleaner burning and more efficient than it was thirty years ago. We have also increased reliability, thereby increasing maintenance intervals from one year, to as long as three years for new equipment. Manufacturers are hard at work in their research laboratories today on technological improvements that will make oil heat even cleaner, more efficient, more reliable, and even easier on the environment.

How does oil heat, heat water?

There are two kinds of oil-fired water heaters: direct-fired water heaters, and indirect that use the heating system water from the boiler to heat the domestic water. A direct-fired water heater heats the water in a storage tank directly by the heat of the oil flame on the outside of the tank. You’ll usually find a direct-fired water heater in a home with a warm air furnace. Indirect-fired water heaters heat the water in the home with a boiler. The boiler water heats the domestic water. The domestic water and boiler water are separated by a heat exchanger. The most common indirect is the tankless coil. It is a coil of copper pipe inside the boiler. The water flows through the inside of the coil where it is heated by the boiler water surrounding it. It is then delivered to the faucets and appliances around the house. A better option uses a combination of a coil and a storage tank. The boiler water flows through the coil. The domestic water is heated by the coil and stored in the tank until a faucet or appliance is turned on.

What is the oldest boiler that is still in use?

The oldest kind of oil boiler you are likely to encounter had been converted from coal. Due to antiquated design, high draft loss and poor heat transfer plague these systems. The oldest systems are steam heat and gravity hot water. The gravity hot water works on the same principle as gravity warm air. The lighter hot water rises up into the radiators as the cooler heavier water falls back to the boiler. There is no circulator pumps or zone valves on gravity hot water.

What is the oldest furnace that is still in use?

The oldest kind of oil furnace you are likely to encounter will be connected to a gravity warm air heating system that was designed to burn coal and has been converted to oil. As the name implies, the air to heat the building is circulated by gravity, warm air rises and cold air falls. There is no fan to move the air around. Older oil heat systems were good in their day, but the technology is from the 1930s. Oil heat technology has come a long way since then.

Can I determine the age and life expectancies for a heating system?

One way to determine a system’s age is by checking the serial number; the date of manufacture is sometimes “hidden” within the serial number. Look for labels and tags near the unit. It’s possible that the installer tagged the system with the date of installation. As far as longevity is concerned, oil-fired boilers and furnaces easily provide 20 years of service if properly maintained and serviced. Many of these units last even longer providing quality service to the homeowner for many years.

Do I need a chimney for oil heat systems?

Some new systems do not require chimneys, they vent directly. In fact, the newest trend is to put the boiler outside of your home, or to combine a furnace and an air conditioner, and have that unit outside.

What kinds of oil heating systems are available?

Today’s versatile oil heat systems can heat with water, steam or warm air. Additionally, a boiler can dispense hot air through the home by using hydro-air. Thus, any oil heating system is compatible with air conditioning. Oil heat is also a terrific option if you are interested in radiant heat.

Does oil heat produce a hot shower that stays hot?

Homeowners with oil-fired water heaters have discovered they have low-cost access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water. Oil heat’s ability to produce a reliable, inexpensive supply of domestic hot water is one of its strongest features. Although an oil-fired water heater may cost a little more to install up front, its efficiency in heating water means extremely low operating costs over the life of the unit. Oil-fired water heaters have high recovery rates, which means they can heat large amounts of water quickly. Homeowners can contact an oil dealer to find out which water heating option is best for their home and family. The oil company can work with them to make sure the water heater they choose has a sufficient recovery rate for their needs. Two adults, for instance, may never need more than 30 gallons of hot water an hour, but a family of six may need 70 gallons.

How does the deliveryman/woman fill my oil tank?

In addition to the tank, a heating oil storage system includes the fill pipe and the vent pipe. The oil driver connects the hose from the delivery truck to the fill pipe when making a delivery of fuel. The vent pipe releases air from the tank as it’s filled. The terminus of the fill pipe and vent pipe are outdoors and near each other. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires inside tanks to have a whistle (generally called a vent alarm) that indicates when, during a delivery, the tank reaches its fill point.

Where should my thermostats be mounted in my home?

Ideally, a thermostat should be mounted on an inside wall about five feet from the floor. It won’t communicate proper heating needs if it’s near a heat source, like a lamp or television, or if it’s in an area prone to drafts, such as near a door or window.

What creates the cozy feeling when I heat with heating oil?

You can feel the difference with oil heat. There are many technological reasons that contribute to oil heat’s legendary warmth. A high percentage of oil heated systems are hydronic rather than warm air. Hydronic systems provide a more steady heat. Oil heat systems are sized to provide very fast recovery times for both space and water heating. Oil heat systems suffer very low infiltration losses; that is they draw relatively little air out of the building that must be replaced by cold outside air.

What is the difference between “automatic” delivery and “will call”?

“Automatic” delivery means that an oil heat dealer will automatically determine when a customer needs fuel by using degree day monitoring. The customer does not need to place a call to the dealer for a delivery. The dealer will automatically deliver fuel on a regular basis and the customer is assured of never running out of fuel. “Will-call” means that a customer will monitor their own consumption and “will call” the dealer when a fuel delivery is needed.

How long does an annual tune-up take?

A complete professional tune-up generally takes from one to two hours. It typically includes a series of safety and operating tests and any needed adjustments. These include, among many others, testing the draft, the stack temperature, burner operation and system efficiency.

What is the reset button and why should I only press it once?

Primary controls have a reset button. This button allows the homeowner to restart the burner should a problem cause the unit to shut down. (For example, burners may need to be restarted after a power outage.) Pushing the reset button should get the burner running, but if the safety switch shuts the burner down again, the homeowner should call for service. Homeowners should NEVER push the reset button more than once because it might cause excess oil to be pumped into the combustion chamber. This will result in a lengthy and costly repair.

What is the highest AFUE on the market now for an oil furnace?

With a 96% AFUE the Efficiency Expert Condensing Furnace made by Adams is designed to heat instantly on fire-up 50,000 through 250,000 BTU – more heat and more savings! However, National Oilheat Research Alliance is continuously researching combustion efficiencies that may result in even higher AFUEs.

What is a steam boiler?

In a steam system, water heated in the boiler turns to steam, and the steam rises to radiators to heat the home. For the most part, steam boilers have not been installed in new homes since the 1950s, when forced hot water heating systems proved to be cheaper to install and more efficient. However, steam is still an efficient and comfortable way to heat a home.

What is the difference between a furnace and a boiler?

To heat the home a furnace uses air and a boiler uses water. A furnace uses the flame from the oil burner to heat air, which is distributed throughout the house. A boiler uses the flame to heat water that is either sent around the house in pipes to radiators, or is sent to a fan coil unit that heats air.

How does an oil burner work?

Heating oil in liquid form must be turned into vapor and mixed with air before it can burn. The oil pump lifts the oil from the storage tank, pressurizes it and delivers it to the burner’s nozzle that sprays the oil in a fine mist of small droplets. This process is call atomizing. These droplets are mixed with air and then ignited by a spark from the burner’s ignition system. The flame from the oil burner heats the air in a heat exchanger inside the boiler or furnace. On one side of the metal is the flame, and on the other is the water or air that circulates in the house. All of the emissions from the oil flame (mostly nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide) are sent up the chimney.

How much heat does an oil burner make?

The efficiency levels of oil heat systems can exceed 95%. For every gallon of oil burned, a whopping 140,000 BTUs of energy are released.

What is degree day monitoring?

The degree day system was developed by heating engineers who wanted a method to relate each day’s temperatures to the demand for fuel to heat and cool buildings. To calculate the heating degree days for a particular day, retail heating oil dealers find the day’s average temperature by adding the day’s high and low temperatures and then dividing by two. If the number is above 65, there is no heating degree days that day. If the number is less than 65, dealers subtract it from 65 to find the number of heating degree days. For example, if the day’s high temperature is 60 and the low is 40, the average temperature is 50 degrees. 65 minus 50 equals 15 heating degree days. Cooling degree days are also based on the day’s average minus 65. They relate the day’s temperature to the energy demands of air conditioning. For example, if the day’s high is 90 and the day’s low is 70, the day’s average is 80. 80 minus 65 equals 15 cooling degree days.

When I’m away, what temperature should I set my thermostat?

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, we advise to never leave your home unattended; in fact some homeowner policies have restrictions regarding vacant and unattended homes as well. Assuming you have someone entering and checking on your house at least twice a day, we recommend not leaving the thermostat set below 60 degrees. Make sure to have your “house sitter” check the basement for water leaks or smells.

Why should I keep my boiler on in the summer?

During these tough financial times, we are all looking for ways to save money and conserve energy; however, turning your hot water or steam boiler off for the summer is not the way to do that as this can cause water leaks. When you turn your boiler off completely, you may decrease the life expectancy of your boiler. Throughout the summer months, when none of your heat zones are calling for heat, the boiler will turn on and off only to maintain temperature within the boiler itself. The amount of fuel used is negligible. Additionally, by shutting the boiler down, you are giving soot and scale a chance to build up in the boiler and chimney base which presents potential problems when you fire it up in the fall on that first chilly night. There are far better conservation measures you can take that will enhance your savings. Warm air furnaces can be shut off during the summer months.

How reliable are new oil heat systems?

New oil heat system components are amazingly reliable. They are so reliable most manufacturers offer 3 to 5 year warranties, and if something ever fails it is easy to get replacement parts thanks to oil heat’s standardized interchangeable parts.

Oil Tank Removal, Abandonment, and Installation

Do I have to use all of my oil before getting a tank replacement?

No, you don’t. Our team of qualified tank replacement experts can pump out your remaining oil and transfer it to your brand new tank. This is more beneficial than running your tank out of oil, which can cause corrosion, rusting, and damage to your home heating system.

What causes oil tank failure?

The answer is corrosion. Corrosion is a natural process. It is essentially rust. Corrosion can only occur in the presence of water. That is why it is very important to protect the tank from exposure to water inside the tank. An outside tank does not have to be protected from rain, but it should be painted, and inspected to ensure that any rusting is only on the surface.

What should I look for in a tank installation and maintenance?

A professional should install it. Tank installation is NOT a do-it-yourself weekend project. Have it inspected periodically. This can be done during your oil burner preventive maintenance check. The service personnel should look around the tank; inspect the fittings, the area the tank is in, and the tank itself. You should ensure that the tank is away from debris and bushes, and metal objects should not be leaned on the tank. Also, if there is a smell of oil from the tank, bring it to the attention of your oil heat dealer. If a tank is corroding from the inside out, smells and small wet spots can indicate the tank is beginning to fail.

What should I do when it is time to change my tank?

Consult with an oil heat professional as to the ideal tank size, type, and installation location for your home. NORA recommends that if possible install the oil tank inside a building or enclosure to protect it from the elements.

When is it time to replace my oil tank?

Home heating oil tanks last a long time. They are made of high-grade steel, fiberglass, or sometimes double wall tanks of plastic and steel, and can last for decades. Maintenance of the tanks and inspections prolong the life of the tank. You should talk with your oil heat retailer about the potential need to replace your tank. He can provide advice on how to evaluate the tank, and oil tank replacement options.

Is it normal for my oil tank to give off an odor?

No, a properly functioning oil tank should not produce odors. If you notice an oil smell in the building it may be a sign that there is a problem with your tank, the piping or your heating appliance. You should contact your oil dealer for oil tank service.

Should I be concerned about my tank?

Tanks are an effective way to store oil, and with proper maintenance can last virtually forever. You should not be concerned if you or your oil dealer are taking care of the tank.