Optimizing Your Heating Oil Orders for Comfort and Cost
When the temperatures start to dip in the fall, does your family play the “let’s see how long we can freeze until we turn on the heat” game?
It’s funny but the volatility of the oil market, with home heating oil prices spiking, then dipping, then spiking again, can make you want to cry.
You can choose a pre-buy plan where you pay for your yearly heating oil upfront or a budget plan where you estimate how much oil you’ll use and commit to paying for it over the course of the year. These plans require committing to your heating purchase in late summer.
If that’s not your style – maybe those options don’t work for your budget or you just don’t want to commit to buying oil you may or may not use – you probably want to buy your heating oil as you need it.
Buying as a “Will Call” heating oil customer means you’ll be paying market price, so you also want to take steps to get the best possible price each time you need to place an order.
What Causes the Changes in Heating Oil Prices?
So, when is the best time to order heating oil? The answer starts with how heating oil is priced. Oil prices are determined by the many factors influencing supply and demand.
- Global crude oil supply and demand
The global supply and demand of crude oil is the main driver in determining the price of heating oil. Wars, instability and the health of the global economy all influence the supply and demand of crude oil. When demand drops, leaving a surplus of oil, prices go down and when demand increases and the availability of crude oil is stretched, prices go up.
- Local heating oil supply and demand
If you live in an area with a high population, there will be more demand for heating oil. The supply available will depend on how many home heating oil delivery companies are in your location. The number of these companies will also affect the price. Is your area served by only one or two companies who can charge what they please because they know you need the oil? Or do you have many companies to choose from, who are more likely to be competitive on price?
- Time of year
Demand fluctuates with the temperatures. The price of heating oil can go up in the winter and lower in warmer months.
- How you buy your oil
The price you pay for your heating oil will also change depending on how you buy it. Will you opt for a 12-month plan with a price cap, meaning you’ll save money if prices are high but if the price of oil drops you might not benefit. It’s a decision you have to make for yourself and your circumstances.
What is the Best Time to Place the First Order of the Season?
Two things are true: you want to make sure you have heating oil when you need it and you want to buy it at the best price. So, when is that?
In general, demand for home heating oil dips during the warmer months of the year – from April through September – with the lowest prices available in the summer. It’s a good idea to fill your tank in the summer so you’ll be ready to keep your home warm when that first cold snap arrives in the fall.
Stay on top of your oil supply to stay warm
Here are some things to keep in mind to avoid running out of oil and the expense of an emergency delivery.
- Order oil when your tank is one-quarter full.
This way you don’t run out of oil and you will prevent water condensation. A build-up of water condensation in your oil tank can cause the remaining oil to turn to sludge, clogging your fuel lines and the burner nozzle of your furnace. Condensation can also cause physical damage to your oil tank.
- Check Oil Prices Daily
If you know your tank is getting close to the one-quarter mark, check the price of home heating oil. Here at Central Bucks Oil, the market price is updated on our website every day.
- Pay extra attention during the holidays or before a winter storm.
The holiday season means everyone is busier and that includes your local home heating fuel companies. Keep a close eye on how much oil is in your tank so your family gatherings can stay cozy. The same rule applies when a winter storm is coming. Make sure you have the oil you need to get through it, especially since companies will be busier with deliveries.
Focused on Your Comfort
At Central Bucks Oil, our focus is on you. We promise to provide you with the best heating oil price available. Call us at 610.847.1012 or you can even place your order online. We’ll deliver your oil and an experience that is reliable, affordable and friendly.