Dispelling the Myths
Myth: Oilheat Is ExpensiveTruth: Oilheat Is Usually Less Expensive
As energy prices rise and fall in response to market forces, one energy source can enjoy a temporary price advantage. From 1992 through 2006, Oilheat was a better value than natural gas nearly every year in many states, including Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. From 2006 to 2010, natural gas gained a price advantage in many states.
Some natural gas utilities are promoting fuel conversions on the basis that natural gas is a better value, but they do not mention that natural gas producers are aggressively seeking market expansion in other sectors. They are pursuing expanded use of natural gas in transportation and power generation while also seeking to increase exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The forces of supply and demand will likely cause oil and gas prices to equalize again in the near future.
The problem of volatile energy prices may continue in the years ahead, but it will likely affect all competing fuel types equally. Oilheat customers can work with their Oilheat companies to implement conservation measures, including the use of advanced, high-efficiency equipment that typically delivers a 35% reduction in fuel consumption.
Myth: Oilheat Is Bad for the EnvironmentTruth: Oilheat Is Clean and Might Soon Be the Cleanest Heating Fuel
While the natural gas industry is lobbying to fend off regulation of the environmentally harmful drilling practice known as hydrofracturing ("fracking" for short), the Oilheat industry is actively lobbying to use cleaner fuels. Oilheat dealers are working with regulators in many states to mandate the use of ultra-low sulfur Oilheat and clean, renewable biofuel blends.
Within a few years, most of the Oilheat sold in the U.S. will probably be a blend of ultra-low sulfur heating oil and renewable biofuel. Testing has shown that a blend containing 12% biofuel burns cleaner than natural gas, and natural gas industry further pollutes the atmosphere and aggravates global warming with its methane emissions.
Myth: Oilheat Is DangerousTruth: Oilheat Is Exceptionally Safe
There are very important differences in the safety risks for different petroleum products, and Oilheat is on the safe end of the spectrum. It does not ignite at room temperature, and it is safely stored inside a durable tank on your property, where it poses no safety risk.
Oilheat is nothing like gasoline or natural gas. Gasoline is formulated to ignite easily, and natural gas is a flammable gas that can cause large explosions. If a leak forms in a natural gas pipe, fitting or appliance, natural gas can become concentrated in a home. If ignited, it can cause an explosion powerful enough to level the home. Natural gas is the cause of numerous explosions every year, including a blast in San Bruno, Calif., in 2010 that killed eight people and damaged or destroyed 55 homes.
Myth: The Oil Supply Is Running OutTruth: There Is Lots of Oil, Including Non-Fossil Oil
The supply of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas may be limited, but there is no end in sight for the world's oil supply. In fact, exploration has yielded several important oil finds in the U.S. in recent years that raise the hope of increased domestic supply.
Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. draws only a portion of its oil imports from the Middle East. Only one of the top six international suppliers of oil to the U.S. is in that region (Saudi Arabia), and our largest supplier is Canada.
Oilheat customers are uniquely connected to a renewable supply, because Oilheat is very similar to a renewable fuel known as biodiesel. Oilheat and biodiesel are blended to create Bioheat® heating oil, which is an established fuel that is approved for use in all Oilheat systems by ASTM, the international standards-setting authority. Biodiesel can be derived from sources as diverse as soybeans, used cooking oil and algae. Biodiesel is one of the nation's most important alternative energy sources, and you support alternative energy suppliers when you choose Bioheat® heating oil.
Myth: Oilheat Is Old-FashionedTruth: Oilheat Means Advanced Fuel and High-Efficiency Systems
Oilheat is tried and true, but hardly old-fashioned. The fuel itself is evolving rapidly with the transition to ultra low sulfur fuels blended with renewable biofuel. At the same time, equipment manufacturers are developing advanced, high-efficiency equipment that rivals anything used with other fuels, such as natural gas.
Modern Oilheat systems incorporate important design advancements such as modulating burners, which use different flame sizes depending on the demand for heat. When a home or building requires a lot of heat, the system uses a large flame to deliver maximum comfort quickly. When less heat is required, the system uses a smaller flame to save energy and heat the building more evenly. Many new Oilheat systems also employ microprocessor-based controls that optimize the on/off cycling for efficiency and even heating.
Some new Oilheat boilers are built with advanced metal alloys that improve the tolerance for variations in the system water. This allows the boilers to deliver efficient low-temperature heating for radiant heat systems and outdoor reset control. This gives customers more options to improve comfort while reducing heating costs.
Many new Oilheat furnaces are built with variable-speed blowers that deliver just he right amount of hot air without overheating a room. The variable-speed blowers are also compatible with high-efficiency air conditioning equipment.
Myth: It Makes Sense to Switch to Natural GasTruth: Customers Lose When They Convert to Gas
Despite what the utilities say, it makes good financial sense to upgrade an Oilheat system rather than switch to gas. Here are seven great reasons to stay with Oilheat.
- Natural gas prices could rise, leaving you without any benefit for the investment you made in a gas heat system. When they raise their prices, you'll be stuck.
- By switching to natural gas, you are likely walking away from an excellent local company that competes hard for your business, only to depend on a faceless utility that offers no in-home service and has a poor track record on customer service.
- The cost of converting to gas is greater than the cost of upgrading to a high-efficiency Oilheat system that can cut your fuel consumption by 30% or more.
- A full-service Oilheat company provides preventive maintenance and responds to heat emergencies at any time of day, and your business is important to them. Most utilities offer no in-home service at all, and you have to turn to an independent heating maintenance company where you are a small account.
- Through methane leaks alone, the U.S. natural gas industry accounts for 2% of all U.S. greenhouse gases. Natural gas utilities routinely tolerate non-emergency methane leaks.
- Oilheat is safer than natural gas.
- Oilheat customers increasingly use biofuel blends and thereby support an important American alternative energy industry.