December 15, 2019

How to Avoid Extra Heating Fuel Charges this Winter

As that temperatures drop, your indoor heating costs start going up. Even the most energy efficient home will find that they spend more money on fuel during the winter season, and while you can’t avoid the uptick in cost, there are some  charges that you can avoid if you are prepared.

Here’s the top savers:

  1. Keep your tank full. One of the easiest ways to incur extra charges is to let your tank run empty before a scheduled fill. If you use oil, allowing your tank to get too low can also result in sludge being kicked up and clogging your tank as well. Most fuel providers have set operating hours, and even if they provide 24/7 emergency service, if you run out of fuel on a holiday or late Saturday night, you may be waiting several hours in the cold for an emergency fill – with a possible extra surcharge as well. You might also need a service technician to restart your heating system if you ran it completely empty, and this could be another additional expense.
  2. Order more than the minimum. When you get fuel delivered, have them fill your tank versus just ordering the 100 gallon minimum. This leaves less room for running out of oil before you can schedule another fill. Planning for the long term can help you avoid running out of oil on a night, weekend, or holiday – and avoid extra emergency delivery charges.
  3. Look for hidden fees. If you are switching to a new fuel provider because their per gallon price is much cheaper than your current provider, make sure you check for hidden fees. Some fuel companies will tack on extra fees on top of their quoted per gallon price. These fees can quickly eat up and exceed any savings that you thought you might be getting. Common types of fees include a separate delivery charge, a fuel surcharge, or delivery premiums during bad weather, holidays, or after hours. Before you buy, make sure you know what the final delivered price should be. This is why we suggest getting on an automatic delivery program.
  4. Plan ahead. Many people prefer not having to manage scheduling their own fuel deliveries and choose to sign up for automatic delivery – which as we just noted can also save you money! Your fuel provider can estimate your usage based on the outside temperature and schedule the deliveries for you to make sure that you never run out of fuel. If you prefer to monitor and schedule your own deliveries, make sure you have at least a week’s worth of fuel during the busy season, so a driver has time to get to your home and you avoid those emergency delivery charges.
  5. Learn to read your fuel gauge. One of the best and easiest ways to avoid an after hours emergency delivery is to know how to read your fuel gauge. Your gauge should be marked with lines and numbers. The position of the gauge will tell you how much fuel is in your tank. If it reads F, your tank is full. If it reads ½ it’s 50% full, and if it reads ¼ it’s at 25% capacity. When your tank hits ¼, you should plan on arranging a fuel delivery within the next week.
  6. Fill up during the off season. It won’t help you now that cold weather is here, but during the off season, when you aren’t using your heat, you should fill your tank. Prices tend to be lower when the demand is lower. When homeowner wait until mid to late Fall, they could find that their tank is empty and end up paying a much higher price per gallon. Also, if you haven’t had your heating system properly serviced, you could find that you need some repairs to get it in working order again now that you need it.
  7. Conserve fuel. The easiest way to save money on fuel costs is to use less fuel. Making sure your home is properly insulated and free from drafts could save you hundreds of dollars each year. You can also keep your thermostat set to a lower setting and throw on an extra sweater instead.

During the winter heating season, the easiest way to avoid extra costs associated with heating your home is to simply keep an eye on your fuel gauge. If you know you are getting low, and bad weather is coming, plan ahead. Using the tips above should you’re your home warm and cozy and your wallet a little heavier. Have questions about Baribault Fuel’s delivery service – give us a call!

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