Your oil tank is a very important part of your heating system that needs to be kept clean and working in order to heat your home efficiently. Knowing more about how your tank works can help you know when something might not be working right and whether it’s time to call for a repair. Here’s a handy infographic to help you learn the basic parts of a typical indoor tank.
Automatic delivery is a time saver and stress-reducer for many of our customers. You never have to worry about whether your oil tank might be low. We offer worry-free automatic delivery service that will determine when you need oil to be delivered to your home. But with thousands of customers across Nova Scotia how do we determine when each customer will need oil? As magical as it might seem, we have a trusted system to figure it all out, it’s called Degree Days.
The Degree Day system is a model that combines 2 statistics – historical daily outdoor temperatures and the amount of oil your home consumed last season.
Using these numbers, we calculate a customer’s burn rate or how much fuel they are likely to consume depending on the outside temperatures and determine if they will be in need of a fuel delivery soon.
Next thing you know you’re getting a fuel delivery just when you need it most, no magic needed! Let us worry about your oil tank so you can focus on what matters most to you! Contact your local branch to sign up for automatic delivery.
Winter in Nova Scotia often means being prepared for any type of weather, from a downpour of rain to falling ice pellets or even a full-on blizzard. Nova Scotians should be prepared for anything, and while having an ample supply of storm chips is very important, we thought we’d let you in on a few more tips to keep you comfortable the next time there’s a storm headed for our province.
Keep an eye on our local weather stations or your favourite app. Environment Canada will issue a statement, advisory, watch, or a warning when a storm is approaching. A statement means weather conditions are unusual and could possibly cause concern. An advisory is for specific but less severe weather conditions that could impact people. A watch the risk of bad weather has increased and could cause safety concerns, you may want to start preparing. Finally, a warning means we are very likely to be hit by a storm and you should be prepared.
What to do at home
- Stock up on non-perishable food items. If the power goes out, you won’t be able to keep food cool so items that don’t need to be refrigerated are most important. You also may want to consider foods that don’t need to be heated as well, unless you have a gas stove that can be lit with a match.
- Stock up on water, it is suggested to have three days worth of water available in case access to water is cut off. You can either buy jugs at your local store or you can fill your own at home. Some people will even fill a clean bathtub before a storm.
- Stock up on batteries for flashlights and candles in case of a power outage. Also, consider getting a portable charger for your phone.
- Stock up on toilet paper.
- Take out and extra blankets and warm clothes as most heating systems don’t work in a power outage.
- If you take any medications make sure you refill any prescriptions that may be running low. Consider stocking up on anything over-the-counter you may take as well.
- Consider having lots of activities on hand for the kids, as they may get restless when stuck inside, especially if the power is out.
- If you have a fireplace, make sure the flue is clean so you can start a fire without any safety hazards.
- If you use an oil heating system make sure your oil tank is full. You don’t want to run out in the middle of the storm and be left in the cold. Signing up for automatic delivery can make sure you don’t run out when you most need it.
What to do with your car
Ideally, it is best to stay home and off the roads during a winter storm but if there’s an emergency you may need to travel. Make sure your car is prepared as much as your home.
- Fill up your gas tank.
- Top up the antifreeze.
- Stock your car with a snow shovel, ice scraper, salt or cat litter, jumper cables, emergency flares, a flashlight, water and snacks.
- If you park on the street make sure you have another parking option available, many cities have street parking bans during storms to allow ploughs to clear snow.
These tips might keep you more comfortable during the next winter storm to hit Nova Scotia and in the meantime, we can all continue to hope for an early spring!
Last month, we looked at the pros and cons of various heating systems. Today, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of the fuel that runs those systems and heats your house!
Heating oil is still the most commonly used heat source in Nova Scotia with the latest information estimating just over 50% of households using oil to heat their homes. While oil prices have gone up over the years, oil heat continues to be a frequently used heating fuel because of its efficiency.
- Oil heating systems can reach up to 90% efficiency.
- Oil heating systems are often cheaper to purchase.
- Oil works well in boiler systems which create a lot of heat that is more efficiently dispersed and are quieter than other systems.
- Oil heating systems often last longer than other systems, with a lifespan of over 25 years.
- Oil can be more expensive, especially during a cold snap when you use more fuel.
- Price of oil can vary and changes can make it harder to adhere to a strict budget.
Electric heating is the second most common heating fuel in Nova Scotia with approximately 30% of households using an electric system. Electric heat can be a cheaper alternative to oil heating systems, particularly if you use a heat pump, but the efficiency doesn’t compare. However, if you’re interested in having air conditioning as well as heat some electric systems can offer you both.
- Cheaper depending on the system you use.
- Some systems can also offer air conditioning.
- Not as efficient. Electric heating systems don’t provide as much heat or disperse it as efficiently. So if you like a very warm house in the winter your costs may end up being more than anticipated despite the cheaper initial cost.
The use of gas heating systems is slowly increasing in Canada, though they are not a common system in Nova Scotia. If you are considering using gas you’ll find the cost quite attractive and the space needed to install a unit is very small, with some units compact enough to hang on a wall. But again the efficiency doesn’t compare with oil heating systems.
- Cheaper fuel cost.
- Doesn’t take up much space.
- Not very efficient, may take more fuel to get the same amount of heat as with an oil system.
- Not as safe. You’ll want to be careful of gas leaks. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home.
For many people the ins and outs of their heating system isn’t knowledge we have or care to learn. But when something goes wrong and you suddenly don’t have heat, having an understanding of your heating system can be helpful when we have to shop for a new one. Today, we’ll look at three common types of heating systems and the pros and cons of each.
Furnaces are a central type of heating system, usually controlled by one main thermostat, and heat your house using heated air which is blown throughout the house using duct work. Furnaces can use natural gas, propane, heating oil or electricity to create heat.
- A common heating system so they’re fairly inexpensive and easy to maintain
- They have a variety of fuel options so you’ll be able to find what’s available in your city and best suited to your budget
- Modern furnaces have become very energy efficient
- As a central heating system they are controlled by one thermostat so heating different areas of the house individually is not possible
- They can be noisy due to the fans that push the heated air throughout your house
Boilers use hot water to heat your house with radiators. The boiler heats water and circulates the hot water through radiators to heat the house. With this system areas can be heated separately using different zones and thermostats. Some boilers can also supply you with hot water for your taps too. Oil, gas or electricity can be used in conjunction with a boiler to supply heating and hot water.
- Multiple thermostats means you can heat only the parts of the house you want to heat.
- This method of distributing is considered more energy efficient and heats your house more evenly.
- No noise from fans like with furnace systems.
- Boilers also give you the option to install radiant floor heating, a modern form of distributing heat through your floors that, though expensive to install, is very energy efficient and will save you money over time.
- It may be more expensive up front to install a newer, energy efficient, boiler.
A central heat pump system works the same as a furnace. Using electricity or geothermal energy and the outside air, it moves warm air through the house using a fan and Duct work. It can either heat or cool your house with electricity and the outside air.
- Can provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer
- Cost effective for those living in milder climates that don’t get too cold
- Like boilers, heat pumps distribute heat more evenly and effectively
- Not the best option in colder climates
- The heat produced is not as warm as with other systems so it may feel cooler than usual if you’re used to a boiler or furnace system
- Can sometimes require a backup or additional system to effectively heat your home.
If you want to learn more about all the options out there for heating homes in Nova Scotia please contact your local West Nova Fuels or Superline Fuels branch and they’ll be happy to let you know what we can do to help!
Even when you do everything you can to make sure your home is in tip top shape issues can arise without any warning that need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Oil tanks leaks are one of the things all homeowners with oil heating systems should be on the lookout for. While the latest materials in new tanks help to keep your oil tank leak free there’s still a chance an issue could develop. That’s why it’s very important to make sure you have regular cleanings and inspections of your tank to keep the possibility of a leak lower, but if you do discover one here are the steps you should take to make sure everything is cleaned and fixed up.
First things first, you’ll want to contain the oil leaking from your tank. Grab a bucket and place it under the leak to catch the oil. If your oil tank is inside your house, you’ll also want to ventilate the area until the oil is cleaned up.
Next turn off power to your system and the oil shut off valves. You don’t want to aggravate the issue by having the system still on, plus with a leak it won’t be running optimally and could be costing you more money.
Call your heating service company. You don’t want to wait to get this fixed while your tank is still leaking and your system is turned off. They can make sure everything is dealt with efficiently so you won’t be out in the cold too long.
Inform your insurance company as soon as possible for the best chance of getting repairs or replacements of your tank covered by your plan.
Dealing with an oil tank leak quickly is important if you want your heating system running smoothly again. But how can you recognize a leak before the issue gets worse?
If you see or smell oil in your house you probably have a leak somewhere. It’s easiest to spot leaks from indoor tanks; regular inspections of your tank can mean finding a leak before it becomes a major issue.
Outdoor tanks can be a different story, as you won’t necessarily see or smell the oil. Contaminated well water is an indication of an outdoor oil tank leak. If you’re doing any construction that requires digging, soil that smells like oil could be another sign of a leak.
Regardless of where your tank is, you’ll want to keep an eye on your oil consumption. Are you running out of oil more often than usual? Knowing your patterns of consumption can help determine whether there may be an issue with your system when you stray from your usual pattern.
West Nova Fuels and Superline Fuels customers don’t have to worry too much when it comes to emergency services like oil leaks. Our 24 hour service promise means we’ve got you covered when a crisis hits!
We’re well into fall here in Nova Scotia and with snow already falling in November, it’s time to talk about how to prep your oil tank for the impending winter. Keeping your tank in tip top shape before winter comes will help extend its life, so you’re not having to budget for a new tank too soon, and will keep your delivery driver happy when his visits to your house become more frequent.
Your first step is to get your tank inspected. Just like your furnace you want to have regular oil tank check-ups with a qualified technician to make sure everything is running smoothly. They’ll be looking for things like leaks, clogged filters, broken gauges, water built up, rust or anything else that may indicate an issue. Just ask us for assistance.
Keeping your tank clean is another important step to making sure you’re set for winter. An oil tank should be cleaned out once every three years to remove the sludge that gathers at the bottom over time and can clog the lines and filters. You want to make sure to get this done before you regularly have your heat on or else you may have to go without while any cleaning is being done.
In addition to cleaning the inside of the tank you’ll also want to make sure the outside look good too. Cleaning it off and applying a fresh coat of paint will help keep the tank from getting rusty and corroding. Also make sure the tank is level and not leaning. It should have been placed on level ground when installed but over time the ground underneath can become less stable and you may need an installer to come by and level everything out again.
Once you’ve given your tank a thorough once over with a technician you should be ready for winter. Make sure you keep you tank full through the cold months so as not to wake up to a cold house when the oil runs out. An automatic delivery plan can help make sure you’re never left out in the cold. Keeping your tank full not only makes your life easier (and warmer) but it also is healthy for the tank itself. A full tank prevents condensation build up that can cause rusting and keeps the fuel from gelling, a process that happens in colder weather that causes fuel to run to your furnace slower.
With these tips you should be all set for a cosy and warm winter with a well taken care of oil tank and no interruptions to your heating!
At West Nova Fuels and Superline Fuels we know that the cost of home heating and making sure the bills are paid on time is a big priority for many of our loyal customers. We have many payment options to help make your life easier. Whether it’s making sure you’re staying on budget or remembering to get that bill paid each month there’s an option for you!
With the busy life our customers lead, no one has time to remember bill due dates! By enrolling in our Automatic Payment Program, your monthly balance is automatically paid, with no hassle. And when you sign up to go paperless, you will be sent an email at the end of each month with your monthly statement, for seamless convenience and a focus on environmentally friendly practices.
There are two options under our automatic payment program. The first is to have the balance of your account come out of your bank account generally around the 16th of every month. This means we see the payment immediately and your bill is paid. There’s no chance of late payments and it’s great for busy people who just want to set it up and forget about it. The only thing you need to make sure is that there’s always enough money in that bank account by mid month to cover your bill cost or you may incur service charges from both your bank and us. Setting up your automatic payment plan with an account that you regularly deposit your pay-cheque into will help keep everything running smoothly!
The other automatic option is to set up your plan with a Visa or Mastercard. Similar to the bank account option above the payments are done around the middle of each month and we see the payment immediately so there’s no chance of a late payment. Again you’ll just want to make sure you have enough credit on the card to cover the cost of your bill each month.
Some people would rather go through the process of making a payment each month to better keep track of their finances. In that case you can also just make payments through your bank either by going in to see the teller, stopping by a bank machine or by logging into your online account. However, with this method the payment can take 2-3 business days to reach us so make sure you’re submitting your payment several days before the due date to avoid being late.
The same goes for one-time credit card payments. You can your local branch with your Visa or Mastercard number to make a non-recurring payment on your account. This type of payment is instantly seen by us and your account will immediately be up to date.
Our final payment option is for customers who want to more easily fit their home heating costs into their budget. Because heating costs can vary from month to month we know it can be difficult to stay on budget. Our interest-free Budget Payment Plan allows you to spread out your heating costs so you can keep your home warm and manage your energy costs. We estimate your annual oil cost using past oil consumption information for your home. We then divide that estimate into 10 equal monthly payments. Then, using interest-free automatic payments, you choose to pay the set amount on the 1st or 15th of each month, September through June. You’ll receive automatic delivery and a corresponding statement every 2 months which shows the volume of oil consumed and your account balance.
The deadline to sign up for our Budget Program is coming up at the end of this month. Contact your local branch for more info!
Nova Scotia’s most common home heating source is oil so for the last year we’ve been letting all our followers in on the many benefits of oil heating for your home. When compared with other alternatives such as electric and gas heating sources oil often comes out on top for being budget friendly and less environmentally impactful than you’d think. Check our Benefits of Oil Heating list below for all the information we’ve shared with you so far.
- More affordable than ever! The cost of heating oil has dropped an average of 22% over the years!
- New Oil Furnace vs. New Electric Furnace or Boiler – $300 – $600 more per year for electric
- Oil furnaces produce 58% less GHGs than electric furnaces
- 99.9% of today’s heating oil is used to create heat and only 0.01% ends up in the air as pollutants
- Studies show that the impact of clean-burning oil heat is as low as natural gas
- Nova Scotia recently reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 14,000 tonnes by upgrading 7000 oil furnaces across the province. The equivalent of removing 5000 vehicles from the road
- Oil heats water twice as fast as propane and five times faster than electric.
- Oil heats your home 30% faster than electric heat
- Newer oil appliances can reach efficiencies of 97%
Nova Scotia has finally settled into some warm summer days and the sweaters and blankets of winter are now just distant memories and so, most likely, is any thought of your furnace. When the weather warms up we tend to turn the heat down and then forget about it until fall when the temperature drops. But what is the best practice when it comes to your furnace in the summer? Should you turn it off and forget about it or does it require a little more TLC than you thought?
There are both pros and cons to turning off your furnace for the summer, but first things first, does your system even allow you to do so? If your boiler is also used as your hot water heater or your furnace is part of your home cooling system then you don’t have the option to turn off your furnace in the summer as it’s a needed part of another system in your house.
However, if your furnace is a standalone system you may have the option to turn it off. You may think that just turning down your thermostat is enough to turn off your heating system but that may not be true. Older furnaces have a pilot light, originally intended to make it easier to keep your furnace running so that you don’t have to constantly light it every time you want to heat up your home. The pilot light keeps your furnace running even when your thermostat is turned down and is responsible for the inefficiency of older furnaces because it tends to lose heat. Newer furnaces don’t have a pilot light, instead they use electronic ignition to light your furnace so they’re more efficient, but run at a low level even when your thermostat is turned down.
So you have the option to turn off your furnace but should you? The main reason for shutting down your furnace in the summer is to save money. With older furnaces that may be worth it but your best bet is to compare previous summer heating bills to see how much you could save. On the other hand, turning off your furnace does have risks associated for your equipment. A cold furnace is the perfect situation for condensation to build up and condensation means rust which could mean replacing your furnace sooner than you’d like. Even if you manage to control the moisture in your system the other dangers are corrosion from soot buildup or debris like insects and such crawling into the vents and pipes and preventing fuel from getting to the right place when you turn everything back on again. The risks are avoidable however with proper maintenance and cleaning of your unit at the start of the summer and before you turn it back on again. Topping up your fuel tank at the beginning of the summer can keep debris at bay and turning your system on once a month for about five minutes will help combat the moisture that can cause rusting.
Regardless of whether you decide to turn off your heating system this summer a West Nova Fuels and Superline Fuels technician can give your furnace a good cleaning and maintenance check this summer so you’ll be ready to go when fall arrives a few months down the road.