5 Things To Ask When Buying a Home With Heating Oil

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By Levco

Whether you are buying an oil heated home or considering one, you’re not alone. And it doesn’t have to be a scary process. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there are approximately 5.3 million homes powered by heating oil. And since the majority of those are located in the Northeast, it’s more than likely you will consider purchasing a home with heating oil. 

Buying a home can be a stressful process, but how the home is heated shouldn’t add to that stress. If you’re looking at a home with heating oil, make sure to ask these five questions of the real estate agent or seller before you buy.

Is the oil tank in good condition?

First, you want to make sure the oil tank has been well maintained. Sellers in Connecticut must fill out a disclosure form, available through your real estate agent, that will include information on various home systems, including heating and cooling equipment. This information should include the tank’s age, size, and maintenance history. Not only should you review this documentation, but consider the oil tank itself. Or, most home inspections include a thorough evaluation of all the components of the heating system. So make sure to hire a reputable, licensed inspector. If you prefer, have a professional HVAC company, like Levco, check out the equipment. Above ground tanks are, of course, easier to examine. The inspector will look at the exterior of the tank to check for corrosion, pitting, or distortions such as denting or bulging. There should be no signs of leakage and all bolts, rivets, and seams should be intact. Make sure that there is no debris or other fire hazards. If any condition issues are discovered, discuss an oil tank replacement with your seller or real estate agent. Often, if the tank is older and needs to be replaced, the you can negotiate with the seller to replace the tank before you sign a purchase agreement.

How much should I expect to pay for oil?

As with all consumer goods, oil prices vary based on demand, weather, availability and world events. In the warmer months, your oil bill will likely be less expensive than in the winter. Heating the average home with heating oil costs between $1,500 to $2,000 annually for automatic delivery customers. While will-call or discount oil services may look less inexpensive on the surface, experts agree that utilizing an automated oil delivery service saves you money and inconvenience in the long run by reducing the likelihood of run outs and equipment failure when you most need your home to be warm and comfortable. 

Ask the property seller what their average costs for oil have been for the last few years. This can give you a good ballpark, depending on your usage and family needs. Be sure to also ask which oil delivery company they’ve used , and how many gallons the oil tank holds.

Is the boiler in good condition?

If the home utilizes a boiler, ask about its age, tune-up history and efficiency. This can save you from potential breakdowns in the future and help you get the most out of your heating oil. Asking about the make and model will also help you retrieve this information, and will come in handy if you plan on purchasing a boiler insurance policy. Not only should you ask about age and efficiency, but ask the seller where the stop tap is located: knowing where the stop tap is could help you manage any water-related issues in the future.

How often will I need maintenance services and oil delivery?

Like oil pricing, maintenance services and oil delivery will vary depending on several different factors. When reviewing documentation of the home you’re purchasing, consider the square footage, the winter temperatures, how many people will be living with you, and the insulation. Also, gauging your preference for how warm you like to keep your home will help you further understand how much oil you’ll need. The size of your tank, your heat and hot water needs, as well as the factors mentioned above, will determine how often you will need an oil delivery. Here again, automatic delivery is your safest bet. Levco uses a proprietary system to calculate and schedule the appropriate time for your next delivery. Levco recommends scheduling an annual tune-up that includes cleaning and servicing in order to maintain the equipment efficiency and safety.

What should I do if I have a heating emergency?

Ask your seller about any heating emergencies they may have experienced in the past, what went wrong and how the situation was resolved. It’s crucial to choose an HVAC company that offers 24 hour, 7 days a week emergency services. While uncommon, a well maintained system can still experience occasional problems. When choosing an HVAC company, make sure they are reliable, highly skilled, and most importantly, there when you need them!

Still Don’t Have Answers? Call Levco.

While the seller likely has lots of helpful information about a home with heating oil, you may not get the answers you’re looking for. In that case, contact us. We are happy to answer all of your HVAC questions. To learn more about heating and cooling solutions in CT, check out our FAQ. And once you’ve purchased the house, Levco is happy to help our customers become more familiar with their new equipment. Give us a call today!

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