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oil companys annual cleanup..what a rip off

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Leo
Leo Member Posts: 770
It may be good for the homeowner to have a list but instead of handing it to the tech ask first what the tune up includes. I have had people ask me what I do. I have also had them "tell" me what to do and it comes across as an insult. It takes me from one hour (in the house) to two hours depending one the age of the system, how often and well it has been serviced, and if parts other than the usual nozzle, filter, and strainer have to be replaced. The newer the system the more service friendly it tends to be. I have been called slow, fussy, a perfectionist but I have never been called a hack.

Leo

Comments

  • alex_11
    alex_11 Member Posts: 35
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    The oil companys boiler tune up guy came and changed the fuel filter.Also he did change I believe the filter inside the fuel pump.Quickly and haphazrdly cleaned the combustion chamber.

    Do u guys agree if this is all it is to annual tune up.

    Woudd like to know what you guys think of this.Or is it the norm.

    BTW when I insisited the guy put a probe in the flue pipe and the attached machine printed out the details of efficency which said 70%.The guy than insisted that this machine of his is faulty as it is not reading the correct room temp.

    Would like to hear other tune up stories...

    Thanks.
  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040
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    Stack only tells the temp & CO output. Not efficiency. I would want to know the CO levels in the flue gas, and know the boiler has the correct combustion and makeup air and manifold pressure...then the efficiency. Safty first.

    Tim
    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • fsk............

    They do that crap up here in Canada too! They put an ad in the newspaper reading, "Clean Your Furnace Or Boiler For $79.95", and do an efficiency test! I`d like to know how they do-it that fast as I`m sure you know, it takes a while to properly clean one, let alone the test! I`d go "broke" if I did that, but that`s how they get their foot-in the door for a replacement! The gas company is like that here too! Most of those "kids" never even threaded a piece of pipe before. They usually scare old people by "waiving" a co meter over the draft hood, and telling them it`s unsafe, you need a new-one!
    Go figure!
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
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    the best thing about your post is the part about

    FairLawn NJ :)
  • KAG
    KAG Member Posts: 82
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    Rip off

    > They do that crap up here in Canada too! They put

    > an ad in the newspaper reading, "Clean Your

    > Furnace Or Boiler For $79.95", and do an

    > efficiency test! I`d like to know how they do-it

    > that fast as I`m sure you know, it takes a while

    > to properly clean one, let alone the test! I`d go

    > "broke" if I did that, but that`s how they get

    > their foot-in the door for a replacement! The gas

    > company is like that here too! Most of those

    > "kids" never even threaded a piece of pipe

    > before. They usually scare old people by

    > "waiving" a co meter over the draft hood, and

    > telling them it`s unsafe, you need a new-one! Go

    > figure!



    Ever watch those news programs that stick a mircophone in a contractor face and ask the question "why haven't you anwsered so and so complaint about your work. I wish they would ask the homeowner was this the lowest bid and how much research they did before they hired the contractor. Remember "If it is to good to be true, it probaly isn't".
  • KAG
    KAG Member Posts: 82
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    Rip off

    Ever watch those news programs that stick a mircophone in a contractor's face and ask the question "why haven't you anwsered so and so complaint about your work". I wish they would ask the homeowner was this the lowest bid and how much research they did before they hired the contractor. Remember "If it is to good to be true, it probally isn't".

    Eye catcher ads are what they are to intice you to call. Free weekend in (name your destination), then spend the weekend saying "I am not interested".

    Most homeowers will do more resaerch on buying a car than they will do on home contractors. The lower bids usaslly win, because if I am going to get ripped-off atleast I won.'t pay that much.

    I am guilty of this my self some times the right price for the right job is just to much. But in the end I pay much more any ways.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,541
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    Why?

    Don't you call and speak to the service manager and express your concerns? There's a lot of competition for oil accounts and if they don't satisfy you, find someone who will.You'll get better results taking your complaint to them rather than posting it here.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • don_182
    don_182 Member Posts: 69
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    I find that

    very funny as long as oil has been the big picture homeowner
    themself have no clue as what should be done.Excuse me sir how long did you say you been in this house?

    Either the customer does not care or,we the hvac contractor
    are not doing our job.






  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
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    Hear Hear!

    Though venting is nice, the moral of the story is: shop around! It's one of the huge benefits of oil heat, i.e. the ability to choose your provider / service organization (and they do not have to be the same).

    Given the recent merger of keyspan with a yet even bigger organization, I see the remaining vestiges of gas competition in our area disappearing... and the consumer is the one most likely to hold the bag.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
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    right.

    Annual service skillset's are a crapshoot.

    Best way to help get it done right is to have a list of stuff that needs to be done, and hand it to the tech when they come. if the HO doesn't know what needs to be done, or doesn't put the time into researching this via mfr. reccommendations, etc, then they get the catch of the day when the tech comes..

    Even better, have the service provider send THEIR list of procedures before hand to see if it meets criteria. No different than auto dealership menu boards.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,111
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    oil boiler annual service cleaning

    Not to sound bad but what do you except for 79 bucks i personally would not drive from my shop to fairlawn for that ,when i perform a annaul; inspection and cleaning it is time and materal why ?Because if i did not install it it could be a nightmare with no access to clean it properly plus a good inspection ,cleaning ,and burner cleaning ( blower wheel ,burner coupling,blast tube ,electrodes ,noz assm, retention head filter noz strainer pump cut off ,pump pressure ,check for after drip on noz ****,clean burner housing and reset the air adjustment blow back oil lines and hand pump ,chk pump vacume and perform a eff test )then checking condition of chamber ,debrie in chamber ,smoke pipe , chimmey base and lets not forget checking cad cell ,oil protector relay and the rest of the controls and zones ,pump aquastat limits to me for 79 bucks no oil guys do all that for that little money espically when done right it takes a leats 1 to 1 1/2 hours with a good install and easy access,but that's just me plus please remenber that when your boiler has soot on it's heat exchanger what the boiler does not absorb goes right up the chimmey good for the oil co but bad for you i my opion you will never get a good annually for 79 bucks may be 160 to 200 bucks is really the deal when it done correctly but that's just me and i did do oil service for a few years 24 /7 and i did all that on every annual cleaning why ?Because i did enough of them at 2;30 in the morning to know better that there are no short cuts just some fool who has to do it in the middle of the night because some one was to lazy to do it properly because they where to lazy there's alot of that going around that's why i got out of the oil game and only service oil on jobs i installed .Some would say that's a really anal list but it's not it's the way i was taught and by doing all this aside from bad oil tanks with sludge it cuts down on those late nite fire dept calls of a house filled with smoke from a inproperly serviced boiler .On another note do you have you boiler serviced each and every year or just when smoke is pouring out of it's orfices? and do you take out a service contract each year also and buy your oil from the same co that services your system or do you go the cash discount dealers just wondering oil co want to keep there custemers usually at any cost Sorry for the rant but i hear it from all angles in all faucets of the bussiness heat /a/c /ref peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Dave_4
    Dave_4 Member Posts: 1,405
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    fsk

    fsk,

    Why was the "oil tune up guy" at your property? Was this service part of a service agreement you signed up for, and if so, which one (many companies offer different levels)? You said " Also he did change I believe the filter inside the fuel pump.Quickly and haphazrdly cleaned the combustion chamber", I'm just trying to get all the facts here so lets first start with the filter inside the pump. You "believe", does that mean the "guy" changed it, or cleaned it, in regards to the filter inside the pump? You also said they "Quickly and haphazrdly cleaned the combustion chamber", I understand the word quickly but your going to have to define your definition of "haphazrdly" (haphazardly).

    Please explain.


    Robert O'Connor/NJ


    Weezbo and Clammy. I never read "Fairlawn", it was East Orange.
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
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    History is everything *~/:)

    might be good to check the history that way you would know.:)

    Robert, don't believe everything you read :))

    my crystal ball has a lot more colours than you might think:) AND its made out of rubber:) that way i can erase a great many mistakes,quickly:) having FSK hire Clammy would have saved him a great deal of consternation. i am 3 4 thousand miles away...i do recall the annexing of a chunk of Fairlawn in the 50's ...
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    I've removed

    the name of the company referenced. It's a good conversation to have, but no need to name the company. The poster may very well be this company's competitor, and I have no way of knowing that.
    Retired and loving it.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,111
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    hey weezbo

    weezbo where about's in beautiful fairlawn where you annexed the excellent radburn section peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Mark_60
    Mark_60 Member Posts: 13
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    FSK,
    Is this your normal oil company or did you get a tune up for a good price? Usually, you get what you pay for.
  • alex_11
    alex_11 Member Posts: 35
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    I am a new HO.This is our first winter in this house.I didnt shop for price.All I did is call around and decided to go with this oil dealer (he will supply oil as well) and agredd to buy an annual service contract that will include a free tune up.

    I am too new to oil,and I just bought this house.However the burner is old and will need replcement soon.If you are close and would like to come over give me your details.

    Also any suggestion on what my best options are running/maintaing an oil furnance.Shall I go the discount route and find my own pro for tune up.Will that pro be there to cover emergencies.

    Also on a different note,do I need tank insurance.Its a 550 gal underground tank.

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thank you.
  • Ken D.
    Ken D. Member Posts: 836
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    Tune up.

    I have been in this racket for far too long. One thing I have learned is you get what you pay for as suggested by the previous posts. We had a company some years ago advertising an oil service contract for $39.95. This is when everyone else was over $100. Come to find out as the same customers that called our company a rip off for charging over $100 for our contract, came back on board totally dis-satisfied wtih the $39 dollar wonder. The units were a disaster when we went back to clean them. Dear Homeowner, this is what should happen on an Oil Tune Up. The oil burner should be disassembled and the nozzle replaced. The electrodes cleaned and adjusted. The drawer assy. and combustion head cleaned. The burner fan, pump strainer (if equipt.)burner coupler, air inlet as well as all air handling parts should all be cleaned and inspected. The flue gas areas should be disassembled, baffles pulled, flues, collector, vent connector, chimney base, heat exchanger, vents, vent terminations) all cleaned, vacuumed and inspected as well as the combustion area. Motors and circulators oiled. Oil and air filters changed. Motor bearings checked. Motors amped out. Circulator couplers, motor mounts, oil wicks and all unit wiring thouroughly checked. steam control tubing cleaned and inspected. Low water cut offs should be opened and any mud or scale be cleaned. Unit reassembled. Fuel pump pressures and vacuum and boiler pressures checked. Unit test fired. High limits, controls, low water cut offs, relays, safeties- including flame safeguard timing- checked. Draft, combustion(CO2, 02, CO, stack temp.,excess air, smoke, and efficiency) should all be checked and adjusted for maximum safety and efficiency. Circulation, airflow, zone valves, air dampers, thermostats, automatic feed valves, relief valves, air vents, water valves, oil valves(including solenoids) checked. Emergency shut off switches checked. System should be checked for air, oil, gas or water leaks and if found, corrected. The area must be cleaned up including spilled oil and the system running safely and cleanly before the mechanic leaves. The customer must be notified if there is any extra charges to bring the system into compliance. If the customer does not want to spend money to correct unsafe conditions, the mechanic must have the intestinal fortitude to shut the system down permanently until repairs are made. The same goes for gas heat. All systems must be handled the same. If I've forgotten something, the Wallies will let me know(we use checklists). Oil (and gas) is great heat and very safe when properly maintained, but you are talking about a system that produces heat by fire with dangerous combustion by-products. It has electric power and hot surfaces including water at near boiling temperatures. Any heating system can malfunction and cause serious bodily and property damage including death. It is nothing to fool with or to take lightly. If your mechanic takes his job (and your life) so non-chalantly, you should find someone else. But- expertise comes at a price.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,111
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    fsk

    If you have a buried 550 and it's old then get tank insurance from or through your oil company you may also have to get your tank tested before the policy will be actavated .It would be very wise to have tank insurance not to scare you but had one 2 years ago would not replace his above ground 30 year old 275 after being told for years about his tanks condition he finally called late one nite that he had no heat and wondered if there was a OT charge for late nite service and there was said he would wait till monday well he called sat afternoon and i went over found the bottom of his tank went dropped about 250 gallons into the ground cost say about 25 grand he got very lucky did not make it into ground water no tank insurance now instead of retiring he's got a part time job aside from his full time to pay for the clean up ,The bottom line if your tank is old get tank insurance unless your loaded and got money to burn .What town are you located in was fairlawn NJ correct peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Jim_93
    Jim_93 Member Posts: 5
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    Oil Service

    I live upstate from the big NYC. My company provides service only to oil and Natural Gas heating equipment customers. I find that since 9-11 there has been a migration of people northward to my neighborhood. THese folks have a fancy car, a TEVO, satTV dish, a computer, fancy digital camera etc etc. THey have studied magazines and books, reasearched diffrent dealers etc to get the best toy for the cheapest price. Then after they purchase their first home, they have no clue about the equipment and its service requirements. Price is all they know.
    In this thread someone stated that they would call some one over to explain their service. Please remember: when I put the key in the ignition someone is going to pay a service fee. Maybe I did not research the purchase of my PC before I bought it. Thats why I have to pay an over the phone service consultation fee or a carry in service fee for my PC.
    Bring me your oil burner and after you pay me I'll look at it.
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
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    I always did my furnace cleanings

    Flat rate. I had a printed list of everything I did, which was very thorough, but any other repairs/changes from said list were billed T & M. and yes, I was accused of being a rip-off too. But when I spend 2-3 hrs. on each one, and the HO was there to see it, and heve their furnace/boiler run all winter without failures then the objections disappeared. I still do annual service on about 15-20 per year, even tho I've been out of the biz full time for 8 yrs. These are friends/former good customers.
  • fsk
    fsk Member Posts: 31
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    Are you close?I am in northern NJ.Would you be interested in helping me out.
    Let me know.
    Send an email with price and the level of satsifaction I should expect.
    Thank you.
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
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    FSK, you mean me?

    I'm nowhere close...I'm in NW Va. Look under "Find a Professional" to see if someone is in your area. If you did mean me, thank you for the consideration, but I am no longer in the biz full time. I just keep my hands on things enough to keep up the skills.
  • fsk
    fsk Member Posts: 31
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    Would you be interested in having me as a customer..let me know..send email.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,204
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    I got an education...

    ...when I learned to service oil fired equipment.

    As a landlord and engineer I could not believe the amount of dirty work required to service and clean a boiler. When when you learn all about it, you realize how important it is and how much money a clean boiler will save in heating costs.

    I maintain the boilers in all my buildings, easily spend half a day on each one annually. In return, I probably save $300 - $400 in oil from each one and I avoid almost all of those Christmas and Thanksgiving-eve "no heat" calls. When there is a problem, the equipment is clean and easy to access.

    And yes, not all oil companies do a good job. Back when I was purchasing this work, of three or four I've used, only one did the job right. And of course, their oil cost 25 cents per gallon more and their service was $250 instead of $39.

    And as the brothers above had said, where your safety and health are concerned, oil burning service is no place to try to save money.

    Long Beach Ed
  • [Deleted User]
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    Just to clarify for you FSK, Ken D's list contains checks for a steam, hot water, and warm air system. Not everything on that list would apply to your system. It's a nice list, but I wouldn't want the next tech that goes to house looking like a slacker because he didn't check circulators on your warm air furnace.
This discussion has been closed.