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How can I tell if my oil company is ripping me off?

lostinheating Member Posts: 31
edited February 2018 in THE MAIN WALL
I would like to know what's the best way to tell if my oil company giving me the right amount of fuel. Seems like I've used 131 gallons in 3 past weeks in NYC. I don't know if that's good or bad. Only used for heating. Have hot water heater. Highest temp set at 70-71* . Just curious what's the best way to tackle this thx


  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    Without knowing anything about your house, it's size, insulation etc., IOW your heat loss, 131 gallons for these past 3 weeks of very cold, and very windy weather, is probably correct. Many of my customers have called me and asked me about their usage.
    It all depends on your usage pattern, your Degree Days and KFactor.
    It also depends on your boiler, its overall efficiency, if it's properly cleaned and tuned, if the right amount of water is in there, properly circulating and your system is free of air.
    And factor in things like dogs who go in and out (everytime the door opens, it could fire the boiler), extra people living there, etc.
    The sad reality is there are probably many ways you could be ripped off, most undetectable. There are plenty of news stories of shady people who were caught.
    If you have a working gauge on your tank, try to look at the level right before your delivery, and see if it matches up to the gallons delivered. In your case, on a standard 275 gallon tank, your gauge should've read a little under 1/2 when the driver started filling, and almost full when done.
    In the last 3 weeks in Philly, it was about 675 Degree Days. In a milder stretch, that 675 Degree Days may have been accumulated for 6 weeks.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
    People always think their getting ripped off. Oil companies have there oil meters on the trucks sealed by Weights & Measures and give the customer a metered ticket.

    For any legit company the risk of cheating the customer is too great to take a chance.

    Not saying it can't or isn't done. Deal with a reputable oil supplier.

    You can wire an hour meter to your boiler to clock how many hours it runs x burner nozzle size= gallons burned for any time period.

    Or you can stick the tank and use a chart.

    Don't forget this has been a cold winter. Many days with below normal temperatures
    DZoroPaul S_3
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,700
    I got the same calls this winter. This winter has been very cold. In my area, Jan was 10 deg colder for the whole month. That's a lot of fuel.

    you could always get a cheap hour meter on your burner and if you know the pressure and GPH of the nozzle of the burn rate you can deduce the gallons very closely.

    Only a dirt bag co would rig their pumps to deliver less oil than what their meter says.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
    No way to tell from the info. you've given -- but the replies above are all correct. And, for the sake of reference as to the possible ranges, the main place I care for has on some of these really cold spells we've been having go through that much oil in less than 4 days...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • lostinheating
    lostinheating Member Posts: 31
    Sorry if this came off strong. Should worded it better. Thanks for the input will look into these suggestions.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
    I would compare with the neighbors, especially those who have a different oil service.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    I live in a modest cape in the Boston area, and was very suprised to see my oil go down so fast...so your not alone...just us being us we in 35 years have yet to turn on the second floor heat...first floor is cast iron rads and a loop of radiant...under tile
  • Leonard
    Leonard Member Posts: 903
    edited February 2018
    Most people have no idea what they burn per day. When it's really cold like it has been recently you might be burning 50% more than normal. In fact around new years here in NH the exstream cold increased demand for fuel so much that drivers were out straight to keep up with increased demand and it was hard to get a delivery quickly if weren't on auto delivery.

    Back in early January I put an hour meter on my oil burner to help calibrate the tank gauge. I found when temp was mild ~ 30 deg days I burned ~ 6gal/day. But when it averaged 0 degs ( -10 at night and +10 in day) I was burning 9 gal/day. (1500 sq ft on 1 level)

    I remember years ago a cold windy stretch in February where oil tank needed a refill after only 10 days.