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TRUE STORIES FROM THE TRENCHES
A True Story About Switching from Oil Heat
“Now I know I made a big mistake.” – Arnold Katz, former oil customer who converted to gas. “I had an old oil system that needed replacing, and the gas company persuaded my wife and me that we would have a lot less to worry about once we put in a new gas system,” says Mr. Katz. "I feel like I was misled. I thought I was getting a bargain, but by the time the gas system was in, I felt like I had been grossly overcharged.”

What Mr. Katz wasn’t told. When a gas company encourages an oil heat user to convert, the sales pitch often starts with what amounts to a bait-and-switch tactic. The “free” gas equipment offer doesn’t always make it clear that
  • labor is not included.
  • the offer is for low-end inefficient equipment (but the gas company will upgrade you to a more efficient model for a substantial fee).
  • you are likely to face hefty conversion costs.
The offer also doesn’t tell you that by switching to gas, you’ll lose the personal service you’ve depended on – for impersonal service from a faceless corporate entity.

Mr. Katz describes what happened after his conversion to gas. “When I lost my heat, I expected someone at my house the same day, like my oil dealer used to do. The gas company said they would come right out only if I smelled gas. I didn’t, so they told me to call a plumber.” Once a customer researches switching, they decide it’s not a very good idea.

 
One Couple Knows They Can Count on Oil Heat
"We’re very happy with our decision to convert to oil heat.”– Richard Bagley, who has learned about the pros and cons of different heating fuels.

Richard and Nancy Mae Bagley have lived in many different places and are familiar with a variety of fuel sources—from electricity (for heat pumps) to natural gas to oil. They recently spoke to us about their decision to convert their home from natural gas to oil heat.
“We used natural gas for a number of years in our current home before we converted to oil a couple of months ago. We had heated our previous home with oil,” says Mr. Bagley. Their least satisfactory fuel source was electricity. “Our heat pump just didn’t keep us comfortable enough,” she says. The Bagleys say at the time it just seemed easier to switch to gas. We were told it was much more efficient than a heat pump,” Mrs. Bagley explains.

But safety was a concern. A few months ago, the Bagleys found that they had a gas leak. “It upset us a great deal,” Mrs. Bagley says. “The gas unit was very old, and we found out that we had traces of carbon monoxide in our home. It wasn’t enough to cause a health risk, but that’s because the problem was discovered early.”

When it came time to replace the unit, the Bagleys agreed that they would feel more comfortable if a new oil heating system was installed. “We’re pleased with the workmanship that went into the installation,” Mr. Bagley says. “We feel it’s been a wise decision on our part because of the efficiency of the unit. Our home is comfortable and we feel safe because we’re using oil heat.”

 
Unlimited hot water, courtesy of oil
"I would recommend an oil system or water heater to anyone—and I do.” – Laura Dean, whose large family has always had plenty of hot water, thanks to an oil-fired water heater.

Here’s why oil–fired water heaters can keep even the biggest families “in hot water.” The heating efficiency of oil means water heats up quickly, keeping up with large–scale consumption of hot water. “At one point, we had as many as 13 people living in our home,” Mrs. Dean says. But even though her home only has a 40–gallon tank, they never once ran out of hot water! “After 35 years with oil and all the kids, it’s proved itself time and time again!” Mrs. Dean says.

Free hot water?

When you have an indirect-fired water heater, the heat from your boiler heats your water as well as your home. That way, during the heating season, your hot water is virtually free!
 
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