High heating costs seem to be typical for every home these days. When the cold season starts, you have to brace yourself for another run at increased energy spending. Every heating system, regardless of what fuel or energy source is used, will be experiencing some significant wear and tear during the winter season, and that’s because the need for warmth and heat will increase. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that everyone will expect to spend more during the winter months.
Homes Using Oil Heat
As for homes that use oil to heat their homes, high heating costs are a normal scenario. This is especially true when it comes to those living in the northeastern part of the U.S. As a matter of fact, the cost of heating oil will make a huge impact on the budget. For a lot of homeowners, higher oil prices correspond to less discretionary income while for some, the increase in oil prices will draw a fine line between getting by and living in poverty.
While it is unfortunate to know that there is no way for us to control or dictate the forces that affect the price of oil, at least in the outside, there actually are ways for homeowners like you to be able to pay heating oil at a significantly lowered price. The key is learning the best payment plans that will suit your current need and situation.
Picking the Best Payment Plans for Heating Oil
In locked-in pricing, a specific price per gallon can either be availed fixed or capped for one year. As the term suggests, a fixed rate price will not go up or down. A price cap on the other hand will set the highest price that you are going to pay. Therefore, if the market prices go down, you also are going to pay the lower prices. The fixed rate is usually set at less per gallon compared to a capped price. In essence, locked in pricing is actually a win-win situation for the customer and the heating oil delivery company. This is because the oil dealer gets the guarantee of someone who will be purchasing their oil for one year. The customer on the other hand will get the benefit of a lower price compared to the expected market pricing.
2 – Market Price
The market pricing option is quite simple really. When you pay for the market price, there will be no contract involved. You’re simply making a purchase with a price that’s based on the current market rate for that day when you want oil to be delivered. The consequence for this option is that the pricing will go up or down based on the market price.
3 – Pre-Buying Option
If you want to pre-buy your heating oil, the biggest advantage is that you are to pay preseason for the total estimated oil you’re going to use for the entire winter season. This means that the price you’re paying for it is going to be competitive compared to the expect market pricing in the middle of the winter. Therefore, if winter heating oil prices rise, it shows that you made the right decision to pre-buy. If they go down, you lost on your gamble. But then again, it’s almost impossible to see heating oil prices going down right in the middle of the cold months.
Doing Your Homework
If you want to do a best buy with your heating oil needs, you will want to exert more effort in doing your homework. Call your local consumer affairs office to get more tips and valuable information. You also can go online and read forums and blogs. Try to anticipate the recent trends in heating oil prices. Are they going up and down constantly? Are prices steadily climbing? These are questions you need answers so that you’ll have a better idea on what payment plan to embrace.
Furthermore, you can visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration website. There’s a link on their homepage that allows you to use a feature called Short Term Energy Outlook. It provides information on projected heating costs for the incoming winter season as well as fuel costs by region and type of fuel, including heating oil.
You need to spend some time and lots of effort in calling different prospective heating oil delivery companies. The most important thing to consider during your search of a company to deliver you oil is that they have to be local. Perhaps five or six companies are good enough to start your interview. The main reason why you want a local company is because you want your oil delivered to you the quickest way possible. It really makes no sense at all if you hire a company that’s a city or town away because there is no guarantee that they’ll deliver the oil in a day. Obviously, you can’t afford to wait for it for a couple of days.
In choosing a heating oil company, be sure everyone including its service technicians is fully licensed, insured, and certified. This is to make sure that your property is protected and covered in case there will be accidents. You may want to check with your local consumer affairs office as well as the Better Business Bureau to figure out if the prospective delivery companies are actually reputable.