Frequently Asked Questions
Curious about our services, delivery, costs, payments or anything else related? Here’s a bunch of questions that we’ve compiled after years of working with customers and getting an understanding of what information they want and need to know.
If you have a question and it’s not in the list below. Please contact us!
Most of the technology being worked on focuses on burner controls, such as the Flame Quality Indicator. This electronic device monitors the flame and detects any changes. Through a modem, the signal can directly alert the oil company that provides service if there is a problem. This technology will also lead to lower costs for burner service, longer intervals between tune-ups and even greater reliability of oil heating systems.
In addition to this, energy research facilities are working on a concept for a burner that requires very little electricity to run. A Fan Atomized Burner (FAB) would provide emergency backup to supply heat to homes during power outages.
Because of the advances in oil-burning technologies, home heating oil may soon be used for cooking, refrigeration, space cooling, electric power generation and other home energy needs. New advances are constantly being developed.
Yes. At Damascus Fuel we will provide our customers with proof of contents for the fuel left in the tank, so they can receive the full value of that fuel at the time of closing and an evaluation of their heating equipment to help make potential buyers feel at ease. We can also transfer service plans, when applicable, to the new homeowners.
If you are moving to a home within our service area we will also provide a free inspection and system evaluation for the heating system of the home you’re moving into.
Yes. Damascus Fuel will give your air conditioning system an annual tune-up. Our highly trained technicians can help catch service problems before they cause a disruption in your comfort. Tune-ups can also lower your electric bills by ensuring peak efficiency. Please note however, we do not service heat pumps.
Yes, we accept both MasterCard and Visa.
Yes, if it’s an oil-fired water heater we can provide you with inspections, repairs or replacements.
When you leave an oil tank only partly full over the summer, you’re also leaving a pocket of air inside where water can condense. Moisture is all it takes for bacteria to build up and grow. After the bacteria dies, it falls to the bottom of your tank and helps create sludge – a leading cause of system breakdowns.
The condensed water can also corrode your tank and, if it gets into your heating system, it becomes another cause of breakdowns. By keeping your tank full of oil over the summer, you can help prevent these problems.
Oil heating systems rarely cause those dirty streaks and smudges that can appear on the walls, ceiling and other areas in your home. Things that do cause this include:
- Cigarette and cigar smoke
- Cooking by-products
- Fireplace residue
- Burning scented candles (use only high quality – >5% paraffin wax)
If your older system is in good working order, it may not pay to replace it. Sometimes however, it makes good economic and ecologic sense to replace a working system. New oil heat technology is much cleaner, more powerful, compact and efficient than units 15 years old or older. New systems often operate as much as 25% more efficiently than older units that are still in good working order. If your older unit is only just hanging in there, your fuel oil savings could reach as much as 40% by replacing the unit.
In addition, if you wait until your system gives out for good, it might cost you more, and not just in dollars and cents. You’ll have to deal with the inconvenience, and possibly a cold home. If your system breaks down during a cold snap, you might have to pay thousands to repair frozen pipes and other related damage. And in getting your heat on immediately, you may not have the time to consider as many options.
Enrollment for new Budget Plan participants begins in the summer with the monthly payments starting in August.
There are five great reasons to stick with oil. First it’s clean burning. If you’ve ever heard “Oil heat is bad for the environment,” think again. Advances in technology have made today’s home heating systems extremely clean burning. For example, a recent study proves that oil burners produce 123 times fewer hydrocarbons (particles of unburned fuel) than the average combustion source. In contrast, gas burners produce nearly five times as much as oil. If all combustion equipment operated as cleanly as residential oil burners, air pollution would not be a problem is the US.
Second, oil is a better value. Natural gas rates are rising at a higher rate than oil. While inflation has increased over 5% per year on average on almost everything, form stamps to medical insurance, the cost of heating oil has gone up only 24% over the past 16 years. Figures released by the Department of Energy project that gas prices will rise 31% faster than oil prices through the year 2010.
The third, and most convincing, is that fuel oil is safer. Oil doesn’t explode. Before it can even burn, it must be turned into a fine particle mist and ignited. Also, oil poses a smaller risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to your family. A 1993 report found that gas units are associated with 82% of carbon monoxide deaths in the home while oil units were involved in less than 10% of deaths due to carbon monoxide. You get more heat per gallon with oil. Heating oil creates the hottest flame of any home heating fuel. It’s 400 degrees hotter than natural gas or propane and makes electric heat and heat pumps shiver in comparison.
Finally, you will receive better service with heating oil dealers. If your system malfunctions, we’ll be right over. Unlike the giant utilities, we’ll work before, during and after “regular working hours” if you need heat. We can keep track of your oil automatically, so you never have to think twice about whether you need fuel. With oil, there are no intrusive meter readers and you never pay for “estimated” use. You only pay for what you use.
At Damascus Fuel Company, we’ve built our family business on personal service. It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life.
Here are a few ways to prepare your home’s heating system for the upcoming cold. Taking a few minutes now can save a lot of anxiety on the first wintry day.
First, make sure your basement is clean. Dust or lint from a clothes dryer, sawdust from a woodworking project or pet hair can reduce your system’s efficiency and cause service problems.
Second, if it hasn’t been cold enough for your burner to kick on, take five minutes for this simple test. Turn the thermostat up above room temperature. Your furnace or boiler should come on. Let it run a few minutes. If there is a problem, we can get to you much quicker now than we can during the first cold snap (when everyone calls).
Third, an annual tune-up is the best way to make sure your system is ready for the cold. We can detect and prevent any problems that may occur. We’ll adjust your system to peak efficiency and help you save on your fuel bills. Customers who have a service agreement with us have an annual tune-up included with their agreement.
Additional tips include: moving furniture, paintings and other large items away from your vents so air flows freely; marking your fill pipe well and keeping it clear of leaves and snow during the heating season; and if you have an above ground tank consider using an anti-gelling additive in your oil (extreme cold may cause the oil in your tank or fuel line to gel, causing a no-heat situation and costly repair bill).
Customers who purchase a service agreement earn a $50 credit toward the replacement of furnaces or boilers, burners, etc. You can accumulate up to $500 in credits. It’s our way of rewarding loyal customers.
Changes in your home or lifestyle can cause you to use fuel faster. If you’re on automatic delivery, please call and tell us if you have a change, so we don’t miss a beat and you don’t miss a delivery. The top 9 reasons why you could be using more fuel are:
- Adding a new room to your house
- Turning a basement into living space
- Installing a dishwasher or washing machine
- Bringing home a new baby
- Having a family member who is ill
- Ceasing to use a space heater or wood stove
- Allowing your son or daughter to move back home
- Installing a new oversized bathtub
- Having a recurring drip from a hot water faucet
Only if a big change occurs. Babies, sick people and the elderly all need a warmer home to stay healthy and comfortable. This can affect the rate at which your home burns fuel, which we keep on record to help schedule your deliveries. If this rate – your “K-factor” – changes and we don’t know about it, you run the risk of running out. Please give us a call if there is a change in your household.
No. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t make more money when prices are high, so we have no incentive to deliver more frequently when that happens. Our price usually rises quickly only when some world event or severe cold snap temporarily raises wholesale oil costs. And during these times we often lower our profit margin to stay competitive.
However, since higher wholesale prices and colder weather usually go hand in hand, you sometimes get more deliveries when prices are high. Since we can’t predict what will happen to wholesale prices, all we can do is deliver according to your usage rate. For more information about heating oil prices from the Department of Energy, click here.
There’s no need. You can trust that we will be there for you on time. Here’s why: we monitor the weather and keep track of your usage on a daily basis. We do this by counting “degree days.” When the weather gets colder, we make deliveries sooner. This system has proven to be 99.5% effective. A tank just one-quarter full can last a whole week for the average family of four, even when it’s zero degrees outside. That’s plenty of time for us to get to you.
There’s no cause for alarm. Properly tuned and installed, home oil equipment produces insignificant traces of carbon monoxide. And if an oil burner is so out of tune as to produce higher levels of carbon monoxide, it normally produces smoke as a clear warning. However, if someone you know is using natural gas burners to heat their home they should be concerned. Unfortunately, natural gas produces no warning of carbon monoxide danger. In either case it is beneficial to install a carbon monoxide detector (similar to a smoke detector) in your home.
No. Even though today’s oil heat systems burn cleanly and produce virtually no soot in your chimney you should still have your chimney checked for blockages every few years. Bird and animal nests, leaves and other debris can plug your chimney and cause fumes or smoke to back up into your house.
No, oil heat is very environmentally friendly and here’s why:
- Heating oil is biodegradable.
- Residential oil heat systems are so efficient and emissions so negligible that they are not even regulated by the Federal Clean Air Act (unlike other petroleum products).
- The oil heat industry is working to lower emissions even further. Advances include systems with reduced fuel firing rates and fuel oil with lower sulfur content.
- Oil-fired systems often reach efficiencies of 85% and higher without sacrificing reliability.
- Clean-burning oil heat equipment, when properly installed and maintained, does not produce any odors.
If you have trouble getting heat this winter, follow this checklist. After each step, listen to hear if the burner goes on.
- Check the heating system switches to make sure they are on. They’re red. One is probably located in a closet or stairwell. The other is probably near the heating unit.
- Check the oil tank. Is it empty or below 1/8 full?
- Check the thermostat. Is it set above room temperature, or to “heat”?
- Check the unit’s fuses or circuit breaker.
- Press the reset button on the burner relay once only. If you don’t know where it’s located, call us.
- If the unit comes on and stays on, great. If it kicks on for about 90 seconds and then quits, or if it doesn’t start at all, call us.
After normal business hours we consider the following as heating or air emergencies:
There’s no heat.
A serious fuel leak is discovered.
The situation appears dangerous.
If I have an emergency with my home heating system can I call you after hours?
Yes. All calls after hours are forwarded to our home. If you get the answering machine, leave your name, phone number and nature of the emergency. We’ll return your call as soon as possible and, if necessary, a service technician will be dispatched to your home to solve the problem. Being accessible at all times is just one way we strive to give you the best service possible.