How you can save on your home heating oil bill
The price of heating oil has risen to levels many of us couldn’t have imagined as recently as just a few years ago. This leap in rates has sent many people searching to find ways to save on their monthly utility bills, particularly during the winter months. While paying for home/central heating oil is unavoidable for many people, there are a number of ways to reduce how much you pay and the amount your home uses.
The standard heating oil is a heavy flammable petroleum product – a by product of diesel. However, not all home heating oil is derived from crude oil. Biofuel too has also found acceptance and use for generating heat in the home. Petroleum heating oil is of three main types. In the United States, each of the three types is denoted by a number. Number 1 refers to kerosene. Of the three types of heating petroleum fuels used in the home, kerosene is the purest. However, this level of purity comes at a price as dollar for dollar, kerosene fuel is among the more expensive fuels anyone can use for domestic heating. Number 2 refers to diesel, which has a significantly higher volume of impurities than kerosene. Diesel is the most commonly used home oil for home heating. The third type of fuel used for heating the home is number 4 fuel, which is a mixture of distillate fuel and residual fuel.
7 Ways to save money when high heating oil prices hit
1. Comparison Websites
Due to online comparison websites and easy access to company websites, prices are more transparent than ever. There are a few online comparison websites dedicated to heating oil companies in the UK. Using these sites has replaced ringing around heating oil businesses as it is more efficient in terms of time and money, i.e. they very quickly let you know which companies offer the best value. Be mindful however to check that your chosen comparison website has the most up-to-date information.
2. Lower Your Thermostat
The simplest way to lower heating bills is to lower the thermostat. Sacrificing a slight amount of comfort could well be worth it when the next utility bill arrives. Marginally re-setting the thermostat downwards by a few degrees during the winter days will make a noticeable difference in oil usage. Moreover, at bedtime, the thermostat should be reduced even further.
3. Buying in bulk
When comparing prices take into account the fact that buying large quantities may be far cheaper than buying smaller quantities and having to unexpectedly top up again.
4. Replace Your Air Filters
Dirty air filters make the heating unit work much harder (i.e. use more oil) than it has to, so regularly check the filter to see if it needs replaced.
5. Use Good Insulation
Insulation in the walls and under floors or ceilings in your home trap warm air or cool air inside and keep the external air from penetrating the house. When insulation is too thin or improperly installed, or nonexistent, the consequence can be a heating unit that is constantly labouring to warm the home. Adding extra insulation to the home, particularly above the top floor in the attic, will trap more heat inside during winter, and make the home far easier to cool during warm weather.
6. Use the Heat from your Kitchen
When working in the kitchen there are a couple of good ways to help with the heating oil usage: either turn the stove-top exhaust fan off immediately after the job is complete or do not use it at all. These fans can suck out an entire houseful of air in about an hour. Moreover, after using the oven to cook a meal, open the oven door partially and allow the heat from inside to escape into the house. This will raise the air temperature in the areas near the kitchen and can have an influence on the rest of the house, depending on its size.
7. Dress Warm
The easiest solution to dealing with rising heating oil costs is to put on more clothes. Wearing many layers of thin clothing is better than a few layers of heavy clothing.
The price of home heating oil will generally mirror the trend of global crude oil prices, however it does shift seasonally based on demand, regardless of crude oil’s day to day shifts. During winter with demand at its peak and this will often translate to high prices. To hedge against this, many people will often stock up on heating during summer when prices are comparatively lower (if they have storage ability). You can achieve this by having a single high capacity tank or installing several tanks. Note that domestic oil storage tanks can be either underground or above ground. Most homes have above ground oil storage tanks as they are cheaper and easier to setup and relocate. Underground tanks are more suitable where large capacity is required but they come with a higher price tag. One thing you must do however is to make sure that regardless of the location of the tank, it must be fireproof.
As earlier mentioned, oil is not the only heating agent you can use at home. In fact, gas is by far the most frequently used home heating agent in the Unites States. Gas trumps heating oil because of one key factor: availability. Gas supply to the home is direct in virtually every part of the country so there is no need to worry about the fuel running out of supply as long as you are current on your gas bill. There is also less unit cost variation in winter when one is using gas as compared to oil. The cost of fitting a gas heating system is also lower than that of heating oil, although many people are hesitant to switch over because there still is a significant switching cost in place if you are already set up for heating oil.