Four Preseason Oil Heating Tips

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If you heat with oil, now is the time to get a head start on winter home heating preparation. By doing a few things now you can both avoid potential problems and possibly save money on your fuel costs. The following tips will get you off on the right foot:

Tip #1: Perform a basic maintenance check

There are three main things to check before you need to turn on your furnace for the season – the pilot light, the furnace filter, and the thermostat. The pilot light should be on; if not, you must relight it. The filter also needs to be changed if you did not do so in the spring. Finally, verify that the thermostat is fully operational and that the heat kicks on and off as it should. You may also want to bring in a service tech to perform a more thorough inspection of the furnace and oil burner, as well as the oil tank if you have an older system.

Tip #2: Check for heat leaks

Most homes have a few areas where heat is lost, which can put undue stress on the furnace because it has to work harder, as well as cost you more in heating oil. Make sure the weatherstripping around all doors and windows is in good shape. Check for drafts around them as well, and use caulk or more stripping to seal any leaks. You may also want to add more insulation to windows, such as with a plastic film kit or by investing in heavy heat retaining drapes.

Tip #3: Top off your oil tank

Fill your oil tank before you need to use your furnace. There are two reasons to do this. First, it is usually less expensive to purchase oil before the heating season begins. Second, if your tank was nearly empty, the fill can dislodge sludge from the bottom of the tank. This can then clog the fuel lines and cause the furnace to fail. You want to discover this problem before you need to heat your home so you can have the lines cleaned if necessary.

Tip #4: Set up a delivery plan

You have a couple of oil delivery options that can help save you money, depending on what is offered by your oil delivery company. For example, prepaying for oil in summer before prices go up in the winter can allow you to lock in a lower rate. Some companies may also give discounts if you go on a plan of regular deliveries. Find out what your options are before you are desperately in need of fuel.

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