Saving money on your home heating bill is not just shopping for the best price on oil. Read the following tips to help save money on your heating costs.
1. Do an energy audit NOW to identify where you need to make your home more energy efficient. Things like proper insulation, energy efficient windows (have them installed by a registered home improvement contractor), and programmable thermostats can make a big difference in your energy consumption.
2. Schedule a yearly tune-up on your furnace or boiler now. A dirty or poorly adjusted unit can waste a significant amount of oil.
3. If your furnace or boiler is over 20 years old, consider replacing it with a newer energy efficient unit. This can often pay for itself rather quickly, especially if the prices rise significantly.
4. Know your tank capacity and what you use on average per year so that you don’t over-buy or contract for way more oil than you’ll need.
5. Check this webpage for wholesale and retail oil prices. These prices are posted on a regular basis during the heating season and can give you an idea of the going rate for oil in your area. If a company is offering fuel at a price significantly under these reported amounts, take this as a red flag and be very cautious before doing business with this company.
6. Make sure the dealer you buy from is registered with the State Department of Consumer Protection, as required by law. Visit ct.gov/dcp/verify to learn how to verify the license of any heating fuel dealer in the state, or call 860-713-6160.
7. Pre-buy contracts are risky, since you don’t know if the price will drop in the near future. If you do sign a pre-buy contract, use a credit card that has purchase protection and buy only from a dealer with whom you have done business in the past.
8. Cap price plans, which set a maximum per-gallon price for the season, are less risky than pre-buys.
9. Any contract that you sign must meet requirements under Connecticut law. Any contract for the retail sale of home heating oil (or propane gas) that offers a guaranteed price plan, including a fixed price contract, must be in writing and all terms and conditions must be disclosed in plain language. Read more by checking the Connecticut DCP's fact sheet.
10. Ask for a signed, dated copy of any contract that you sign, and hold on to all your oil delivery receipts for a least a year, in case there is a dispute.
Call the Department of Consumer Protection at 860 713-6160 if you have any questions about home heating fuel or your fuel contractor.