An Introduction to Oil Heat

In recent years homeowners were making the move away from Oil and going to Natural Gas, so the idea of someone going from Natural Gas to Oil seems to be an odd one. We get a lot of people who have never had Oil before due to moving into a new home with oil or buying their first home and going from renting with natural gas to own an oil tank.

We would like to outline a couple of things that you should know when you are first introduced to Oil has your home's heating source.

  • Oil Tank
  • Tank Gauge
  • Deliveries
  • Annual Maintenance
  • Service Plans
  • Equipment

  • Your oil tank, this is probably the most part of your entire home heating package, without it you have no heat and in some cases no hot water. Oil tanks predominantly come in two styles, horizontal black tanks, and vertical silver Roth tanks. Oil tanks come in various sizes as well, the lowest being 275 gallons and going up to 500 and more. Oil tanks can also be “joined” together where they are connected with piping and are filled and emptied at the same rate. This boosts the capacity and reduces the number of times you need to get them filled. Black tanks are made of steel and rest of four legs that support the weight of the tank, they are usually installed in basements but they can be installed outside. Roth tanks are more resistant to leaks as they are doubled line to trap any leaks. Roth tanks sit closer to the floor or ground when placed in a basement or outside with very little clearance under the tank. They are much taller than steel tanks, but aren’t as long, allowing them to take up less room in your basement. Roth tanks can be installed inside or outside like their steel counterparts.

    With natural gas you never had to worry about how much you had in your house, it came in on-demand from the street via pipes. With oil you need to be aware of much oil is in your tank this is accomplished by your tank gauge. This displays the amount of oil that is in your tank, there are several version of a tank gauge and can be read in different ways. The styles are a bobber (vertical), dial (horizontal), and a needle. Gauges display the amount of oil in the tank based on ¼s or ⅛s. For the vertical bobber style gauge, it is important to know that you need to read the bobber from the top of the bobber, not the bottom.

    As we mentioned above, deliveries are the only way to get oil when you move from on-demand natural gas. These are done by a driver from your local oil company and there are two different types of oil deliveries you can get, automatic delivery or will call. Automatic delivery is where your oil company comes out periodically to fill your oil tank, you do not need to call or schedule a delivery, it is all done for you. Will call deliver is where you call to schedule your delivery, this requires you to keep an eye on your tank gauge, it is recommended that you call at ¼ of a tank. Oil tanks have a vent and fill pipe that goes from your tank inside your home to the outside of your home. The oil driver will fill your tank from the fill pipe, it is important to keep the fill pipe clear of snow and ice in the wintertime and brush and other debris during the summertime.

    The oil in your car needs to be changed every 6000 miles or so, the same needs to be done with your heating system. Your oil-fired furnace or boiler needs to be maintained on a yearly basis, this helps to find small issues before they become bigger problems. Regular maintenance keeps your heating system running at peak performance saving you fuel over the heating system.

    What is a service plan and what does it do for you, the simple answer is that it covers you for certain parts if they break. Some companies even include annual maintenance in their service plans. ckSmithSuperior has two different service plans, our silver, and gold, these plans cover your heating equipment in varying degrees of increased coverage. A service plan is a good idea to have, in case something breaks in your heating system. The fact that annual maintenance is included in service plans almost pays for itself.

    Now the equipment; furnaces or boilers, the burner, and water heaters, are for the most part the exact same thing as their natural gas counterparts. They just aren’t interchangeable. For the longest time, natural gas equipment was much more efficient than oil equipment. For those worried that their new home will have a super inefficient heating system, rest assured new oil heating equipment has come along way. Not only has the equipment come within 90% efficient but oil heat has never been more energy efficient. Bioheat has become the standard for oil heating for ckSmithSuperior, it is cleaner burning, energy-efficient, and developed in the United States.

    How to Read Your Delivery Ticket

    To better serve our customers we've created a sample delivery ticket with explanations. Click here to view the PDF (167kb) >>>

    ckSmithSuperior Sample Delivery Ticket