Millions of Americans must carefully manage their home heating oil, especially during the high-demand winter season when the cost of home heating is usually at its peak. Heating oil rates fluctuate continuously, and market events can significantly alter the price of filling a home heating oil tank. Unfortunately, some heating oil companies take advantage of their customers, charging premium rates at every opportunity.
Every homeowner needs to know how to determine if the company refilling their fuel oil tank is doing it at the best possible price and ensuring complete service with every visit. Pay close attention to the following red flags that your current heating oil provider is ripping you off:
Choose Reputable and Reliable Providers
The first step in choosing an oil company to deliver your home heating oil is verifying their record. Check their website, read reviews, and verify that they hold all necessary licenses. Be sure to look at both the supplier’s website and third-party review sites to get the most well-rounded spectrum of feedback to consider.
When evaluating local oil companies, remember that the prices listed on their websites could be subject to change. Therefore, you should review their pricing system before scheduling a delivery. It’s also a good idea to compare each company’s rates to the heating oil price guide curated by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Compare Local Prices
Remember that, while the EIA provides general pricing information for heating oil in the US, it does not account for price fluctuations due to local factors. Many variables can influence home heating oil prices by ZIP code; the price in one county could be significantly higher than the next due to demand, supply, distribution, and other extenuating circumstances.
If you notice that a local oil company’s price is higher than the national average by a substantial margin, do not hesitate to ask why the rate is different. An honest and reliable heating oil supplier should be able to provide a clear and reasonable explanation for its pricing.
Investigate Common Home Heating Oil Delivery Scams
While most of the heating oil suppliers and distributors throughout the US are honest companies, some take advantage of their customers using deceptive methods. One of the most important home heating oil tips for any homeowner is to know the most common signs of a heating oil scam, including:
Not Resetting Measurements Prior to Filling
Some heating oil delivery services may neglect to reset their measurements before filling a customer’s oil tank. Oil companies should use meters to track how much fuel they expend to fill a tank. If a delivery technician neglects to zero out the meter before a delivery, the customer will essentially pay for oil they don’t receive.
Under-Fueling at Full Price
Under-fueling at full price is another way some companies take advantage of heating oil for homeowners. For example, if your tank holds 250 gallons (a 275 gallon tank holds this much), you may be able to get a lower price for fuel by ordering 200 gallons. Make sure your tank is down to under 50 gallons before placing the order to ensure you can take the full 200 gallons. What shady oil companies will do is intentionally stop the meter at 5 or 10 gallons shy of the 200 mark so you end up paying a higher price overall.
Pricing Unnecessarily High
By far, the most common home heating oil scam is overpricing. It’s relatively easy for some local oil companies to overcharge customers. Companies get away with this when their customers fail to check prices or research national and regional averages.
These issues can be hard to spot when homeowners aren’t aware of the tools and resources available to help them make more informed home heating decisions. While it’s vital to know the signs of these common scams, it’s equally essential for homeowners to understand how to get the best possible prices on their home heating oil.
Take Advantage of Price Comparison Tools
Every homeowner needs to ensure they are only spending as much as necessary on their home utilities. One of the best heating oil resources for homeowners is a tool that allows quick and accurate price comparisons for heating oil prices by ZIP code.
If you’re concerned about finding the best rates for your oil, try using the FuelSnap platform to compare heating oil prices. This intuitive and reliable tool allows for simple and easy price comparisons, as well as the ability to check supplier reviews, customer service records, and much more. You can even purchase more home heating oil and schedule your next delivery time. The best part? All of these features are available on one easy-to-use platform!
Managing your home heating doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time-consuming. In fact, by taking a few simple steps and using a reliable price comparison tool, you can ensure you get the best deal every time you buy heating oil. That way, you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing your home will remain warm and comfortable at a reasonable rate.