Being responsible for heating your home with heating oil or propane for the first time can be daunting. There is a lot to consider not only when choosing a heating oil or propane supplier, but also after you’ve chosen the supplier. Here are some things to consider as a first time heating oil or propane user:
The Right Supplier
Choosing the right heating oil or propane supplier is important to your home comfort. You want a reliable, efficient and friendly provider to heat your home and to be there when you need them the most. And, you want a heating oil or propane provider to give you a wide range of options, anything from price protection plans to service. Be sure to consider these important questions when choosing the right supplier:
Are they reputable and have they been in business a long time?
Do they have flexible payment options?
Do they offer a price protection or cap program?
Do they offer expert heating equipment installation, service and service plans?
Do they have 24/7 emergency repair?
Do they have enough people to ensure that your covered no matter what your need?
Some homeowners choose to be on an automatic delivery plan. This means your heating company calculates how much heating oil or propane you need based on the outside temperature and previous usage. Using this method, the heating provider is able to get a good idea of when you need to be filled up again. Automatic delivery is the hands off approach to heating oil or propane deliveries.
The alternative to automatic delivery is “will call”. With this option, you have to monitor your heating oil or propane levels and call your heating company to schedule a delivery when you need more heating fuel. This approach is good for people who want to control their deliveries. If you choose will call, be careful not to run yourself out of fuel. There are additional costs to get you running again.
CAP Plans and Price Protection Plans
In the U.S. and Canada, many heating providers offer plans that allow you to fix or cap your heating oil or propane price for the entire heating season. With these plans, you’ll need to sign a contract with your heating provider for a specific amount of heating oil or propane. CAP plans and price protection plans are good for homeowners who want to know exactly what they’ll pay or the maximum they’ll pay for their heating costs throughout the heating season. Knowing your costs will allow you to budget your heating expenses.
There are differences between the plans offered in Canada and the U.S. It’s important to do your homework on what might be best for you.
Service Plans and Maintenance
A service plan is like insurance for your heating equipment. If something breaks down or needs replacing, it could cost you hundreds of dollars if you’re not covered by a service plan. Irving offers multiple service plans, and each provides a different amount of coverage. A service plan covers your equipment for a year, and it can be paid in monthly payments. Be sure to take a minute to reviewIrving’s heating oil and propane service plans.
If you think a service plan might not be for you, keep in mind that your heating equipment needs routine maintenance to keep it running smoothly and reliably. Having your system break down in the middle of winter could literally leave you out in the cold.
The rule of thumb is you should have your system cleaned and inspected every year. During your system’s annual maintenance, your heating technician will let you know if there is any issues with your system. Remember, an annual cleaning and inspection is covered under most service plans.
You should familiarize yourself with proper usage and precautions to take with your home heating. Don’t hesitate to contact your heating provider if you have any questions. And, be sure to check out more information on heating oil safety or propane safety.
If you are a business owner or manager, no one needs to tell you how tough the current business climate is. The energy industry is no different and the effect it could have on your heating oil or propane supplier may give you cause for concern.
Unfortunately, over the past two years several fuel suppliers have gone out of business, leaving their customers without service. This is especially troubling when customers have paid for fuel that they never received. With prices rising, many consumers are drawn to the discount fuel supplier.
Here are some things you might consider as a business owner before you decide on your fuel supplier:
Can they supply all of your fuel needs in all your locations? If your business runs on more than one type of fuel and has multiple geographies, it may be easier to have one supplier for all these fuels and locations.
Are they a full service provider? Or do you need to call another vendor or two to service the equipment you use in your business everyday?
Do they have a long history and will they be there for the long term?
Can you call them anytime if your business has an issue? Or do you get an answering machine after hours or on weekends? Can your business need wait until Monday morning?
If you lock-in, are they purchasing your gallons at that time?
Like our residential customers, we recommend you use the Better Business Bureau as a reference for your fuel supplier. Irving Energy is proud to have earned an A+ rating on the Bureau’s reliability report. View the full report on Irving Energy. The more you know about your energy provider, the better decision you can make for your business. The last thing you need as a business owner is lying awake at night wondering if your fuel supplier will be there in the morning.
75% of North Americans use the internet and over 92% have purchased something online1. With this ever increasing use of the internet, Irving Energy recognizes that our customers expect to be able to work with their heating oil or propane provider through the internet. Here are some ways we are providing online convenience to our customers:
Blog: If you are reading this you already know that our blog is a place where you can find a variety of interesting posts on topics from heating safety to the benefits of automatic delivery. And you can also sign up for contests.
E-billing: Our customers can save time, effort and the environment by signing up for e-billing. email us and start receiving your statements via email in no time!
When selecting a heating oil or propane provider there are many factors to consider – such as heating prices, heating service, location and the list goes on. But have you ever considered the Better Business Bureau as a tool for making your selection on the best heating oil or propane company? Understanding which company you are going to do business with, especially during this down economy, is an important decision. Over the past few years, several heating fuel providers have filed for bankruptcy and have left their customers out in the cold. This can be a serious hardship for consumers who have pre-bought their heating oil or propane for the season. The Better Business Bureau uses a proprietary rating system to grade companies that will help you select reputable and stable heating oil and propane providers. According to the Better Business Bureau’s website “the grade represents BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns filed with BBB uses many factors to rate companies”.
Irving Energy has a long history of serving our customers and has built a reputation as a heating oil, propane, and diesel delivery company that delivers great products, service and support to our customers, and we will be there for you too. We are proud to be listed with an A+ on the US BBB reliability report and we will continue to strive to be the best heating oil and propane company for our customers. Click here to view the full report Irving Energy – BBB Review.
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So you’ve been with a full service heating oil supplier for years and then one day one of your neighbour’s tells you about the new discount heating oil company that just opened. Your neighbour goes on to tell you about the low heating oil price this new company offers and you think to yourself – ‘why am I paying so much more for my heating oil with my full service heating oil company?’
Well before you make the plunge and sign up with the discounter there are a few things you should consider.
1. Does the Discounter Offer Heating Equipment Repair?
Many discount heating oil companies “appear” as though they have service but in fact other companies provide the service on the discounter’s behalf. Or they have 1 or 2 technicians just to say they have service. If your furnace breaks down in the middle of the night do you want to call 2 or 3 different companies and likely wait until the morning? Full Service Heating Oil companies keep certified technicians on call 24/7, have fully stocked service vehicles, and can typically respond to a customer within 1-2 hours. If 24/7 peace of mind is important to you, then a full service provider is your best choice.
2. What Are Your Payment Options
Payment options are something else to consider. Full Service companies offer different options for you to pay. For example you can choose to pay by cheque, pay within 30 days, pay by credit card, pay by EFT, sign up for a budget plan (dividing annual heating oil bill into equalized payments), or select a price protection option. Discount Heating oil companies typically require cash or cheque at the door. You’ll need to be there and have the cash handy.
3. What Is Their Experience and Reputation.
There is an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Look for full service companies with years of experience, a good reputation, and a stable financial foundation. The last thing a customer wants or needs to hear is that the company they rely on for keeping them warm has gone out of business. This can and does happen. You can read about one case in New Hampshire (Flynn’s Oil Leaves People in the Cold). So you should be sure to do your research and select a heating provider with years of experience.