20 years ago when I bought my oil heated home, I used a local HVAC guy who would work on oil burners and I'd buy fuel COD from cheapest source.
I got the best of both worlds, I paid only for an annual service or actual repairs that were needed and saved on fuel.
5 years later the guy retired.
I opened the combustion chamber, cleaned a small amount of soot out, changed the spinon-on and installed a new nozzle for one season, but the wife wanted the security of a service contract and a payment plan to smooth out the monthly bill paying.
We signed up with that big oil company that rhymes with "Meetro."
It was initially a little more expensive but she always paid the bills, so I didn't realize how much the costs crept up.
Shame on me.
When the wife and I split, I took a look at the costs and I was paying MORE for heating oil than automotive diesel was costing at the pump! And we were supposedly guaranteed/locked in to the lowest pricing! A full service contract was $560 by time I canceled. They would come annually, replace the nozzle, replace the spin-on and check combustion. They were in and out in under an hour. In 12 years they replaced one $200 pump under the service contract, so I consider that a less than economical deal.
Not to mention when I looked at my boiler, I found that at some point the "pros" had stripped a bolt on top of the combustion chamber, and either the same tech or subsequent tech just removed the other 3 bolts and bent the lid up to access the combustion chamber. At some point another tech must broke the stripped bolt off and never bothered to replace it and there was a slight leak around the rope gasket for who knows how long.
I discovered this about a year AFTER I had let the oil company go, so I couldn't really call them up and complain.
I removed the combustion chamber lid, bent it back carefully with a hammer and sheet metal dolly, got it perfectly flat and fixed the broken bolt myself.
I went a little longer and had a no heat issue I couldn't resolve so called local service company A.
They came out diagnosed a bad ignition coil without testing it with a meter. The guy initially told me it wouldn't spark, and was clueless when I advised him that it had a mercury switch and wouldn't spark when open. "Well it was bad anyway." They also changed the nozzle. I think the issue was just a nozzle. They didn't perform any kind of combustion test, just "dialed it in by eye."
I had another issue a few months later, same symptoms. I didn't want Company A back in my home. I called the local oil company B and they didn't have a service technician available. There only guy was out on medical leave. They referred me to Company C that only performed service. They did urge me to become a customer and buy their oil...but didn't have a service tech available. That didn't sit well with me.
I called company C, this guy seemed more knowledgeable. He changed the nozzle straight off, but he too just "dialed it in by eye." No combustion check.
Neither company A, B or C wanted to perform a full service (with combustion check) without an annual service contract or becoming an oil customer.
Does anyone know of a good company servicing the 08518 zip code (or even an individual) who will come out and do a proper service (check draft, clean chamber, check all settings, combustion test) without an annual contract or oil contract? Alternately, does anyone have a good oil dealer serving the 08518?
To date since dumping Meetro I have saved around $1300 in service and oil costs, even with the out of pocket service costs.
I just want to pay a fair price for oil and a fair price for just the service I need.
Weil-McLain Gold P-WTGO-4 DOM 07/09/96, rated 1.25 GPH
Beckett AFG Burner DOM 05/23/96, F4 Head
Delavan 1.0gph 80° B solid nozzle
10 Micron Westwood spin-on