Oil Heat Novice? What You Need To Know About Fuel Oil Delivery

The heat produced by burning petroleum fuels is often considered to be more efficient and comfortable than that produced with electricity. While propane and natural gas are both popular petroleum-based heat sources, many homes across the nation are equipped with heating systems that burn fuel oil to produce heat. If you are a homeowner or tenant who is unfamiliar with the use of fuel oil for heat, you can use this information to help you better understand fuel oil as a heating fuel and proactively manage the deliveries you will need to arrange. 

What is heating oil?

The term "heating oil" actually covers several fuels derived from refining crude petroleum, all of which have the potential to be combusted in oil furnaces and heating appliances used for residential heating needs. In most areas, a grade of heating oil usually referred to as #2 heating oil is most commonly sold for residential use, but kerosene, diesel, and #1 heating oil can also be used for some heating appliances, usually without making any modifications to the furnace or heating appliance. 

Heating oil for residential use is delivered to the home in bulk and stored in a tank connected to the heating system. Similar to how propane is used, homeowners and tenants who depend on oil heat should learn to monitor their usage and become proactive about arranging fuel oil deliveries throughout the heating season. 

What kind of payment terms are available? 

Fuel oil delivery typically requires that customers set up an account with a heating fuel delivery service. As a new customer, you may be expected to prepay for the first delivery or set up automatic billing using a credit card or checking account. Some fuel oil delivery services may also offer perks such as discounts for prepayment or high volume usage. 

What actions should be taken when a delivery is expected? 

When expecting a heating oil delivery, homeowners and tenants will need to do a few things to ensure that the driver can safely maneuver the heating oil delivery truck and offload the fuel into the onsite fuel storage tank, including: 

  • ensuring the driveway is clear, gates are open and the home address is clearly visible to the driver
  • removing snow, leaves, or other debris from the area of the intake pipe or tank
  • ensuring that dogs are safely restrained away from the delivery area

Any special instructions for the delivery, such as filling more than one tank or offloading a specific number of gallons should be confirmed with the delivery company before the expected day of delivery arrives. 

Like propane, fuel oil can often be purchased at a discount during the late spring or summer months when demand is low. To learn about fuel oil delivery, contact a reputable heating fuel supplier in your area.