Author Topic: How to optimize oil company/furnace service plan?  (Read 974 times)

Poundwise

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1424
How to optimize oil company/furnace service plan?
« on: February 02, 2017, 10:49:50 AM »
Just got my oil bill for the month, whew! $411.65 for 189.50 gallons at $2.109/gallon, plus $375.28 for annual service plan is $786.93!

While insulating better is also on my list, right now I'm talking about reshopping oil companies or dropping/haggling the furnace plan. The first thing that springs to mind, is the service plan worth it? The furnace is at least 20 years old, maybe even older.  We've had 2 or 3 issues with the furnace over 3 years...  the first time, I believe it was a flow check valve that was not covered under the plan so we had to pay for an independent plumber to replace; the second time the oil guys came out twice to fix an issue which in the end my husband ended up diagnosing and fixing himself;  and the third time there was smoke pouring out of the furnace a week after they did their annual servicing, probably due to the incorrect nozzle being used.

Also, how do you go about shopping for an oil company?  Last time, I looked for local companies with good reviews, and picked the one that offered the best deal at the time. Is there any downside to re-shopping oil companies frequently?

Reynolds531

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
Re: How to optimize oil company/furnace service plan?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2017, 09:11:52 AM »
Is propane an option?

Gilly

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
Re: How to optimize oil company/furnace service plan?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2017, 09:38:05 AM »
I don't have an answer for you for getting the best oil service. My advice would be to get rid of the fuel oil furnace and replace it with one that doesn't use fuel oil (LP, natural gas, electric etc.). At my job I deal with the result of residential fuel oil tank leaks. First several constituents have inhalation risks- naphthalene and trimethylbenzenes in particular, and if your tank is one that is in your basement it is likely introducing those to the air you breathe even if there are no "leaks". If it spills in your basement it is a huge PITA to clean. If it is outside your home (either above or below ground) the release of fuel oil is a hazard that the state will require you to investigate. Many home owners insurance policies do not cover a release. Your state may or may not provide financial assistance depending on location. The range of cost to investigate and mitigate a release is $5000-$30000+ for an easy release. If it contaminates your foundation it is likely that will need to be replaced which adds more. I recently was a part of a project where a foundation and excavation was needed to a tune of ~$120,000 dollars. I consider this a PSA especially since your furnace is 20+ years old. Replacing it results in environmental and health benefits, and limits a potentially huge economic liability.

Poundwise

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1424
Re: How to optimize oil company/furnace service plan?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2017, 10:33:48 AM »
Propane _is_ an option, but with oil so cheap it hasn't seemed quite worth it at this point. 

The tank is not in the basement, but a crawlspace, seated on solid rock.  I don't know if that changes anything... the thought of replacing the tank/furnace terrifies me. Plus, we expect to move out of this house within 5-10 years.

Gilly

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 102
Re: How to optimize oil company/furnace service plan?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2017, 12:06:25 PM »
An above ground outside fuel oil tank would be my preference if I had to have one, since you can visually see the tank integrity, and minor spills are not in your breathing air. Line leaks would be the biggest concern, especially if the line ruptures. The $120000 clean up was the result of a catastrophic line failure where the line penetrated the wall, so about 200 gallons went into and along the cinderblock wall, into the wall and foundation and soaked into a support beam. Um, I'm not really being reassuring. I know there are many fuel oil tanks that don't have problems, but I only deal with the ones that go bad. So I encourage anybody who is thinking of replacing a furnace to do away with the fuel oil.
One thing for getting a delivery is if any neighbors have a fuel oil tank ask who their supplier is. Tankers that fill the furnace have a much higher load capacity than your tank hold, so I imagine if you can sync up your orders it is possible to reduce the service charge since their would be less mileage. This isn't first hand experience, just a suggestion for a negotiating tactic.