Here is my story with the facts about my house and the oil delivery company…
The previous owners of the house had informed me that they were consuming a minimum of 1,200 gallons of oil per year. I knew that amount could be lower.
The “Heating System” for the house produced heat for the winter months and domestic hot water all year round for Faucets, Showers and the Clothes Washer. I did not have a Dish Washer appliance, but used hot water when washing dishes by hand.
The “Heating System” had 3 parts:
1st - Oil was the fuel
2nd - The boiler that created the heat
3rd - Hot water baseboards delivery the created heat throughout the house
So after moving in, I immediately changed the 1970 thermostats to new Multi-Set back programable clock thermostats. When the oil company’s manager, who my family knew and bought oil from for 40 years, saw my new thermostats - he lied to my face via the process of omission! After all, he probably was thinking, how much can this young kid know?
He proceeded to tell me that turning down the heat at night with these new thermostats would cost me more money, because I would be burning more oil in the morning to get the house warm again. I wasted my money buying them and I should return them, was his final proclamation.
Yet, the facts remained. My house wasn’t that old and the pervious owners added insulation and a new 81% efficient Retention Head boiler that replaced the old Steam heat unit from the 1940s. They also installed throughout the house a new Baseboard delivery of the heat to replace the steam radiators. The oil company’s manager omitted those facts from our conversation to secure his narrative.
My savings with the new thermostats was good, but not tremendous. Perhaps I decided to go “tremendous” because of being told calculated lies created through the omission of certain facts. At least that was the catalyst for me working in earnest to really save, save big and save fast.
Over the next two years I addressed all three parts of the Heating System and lowered the consumption of oil from 1,200 gallons of oil per year to ONLY 290, then 250 gallons per year!
What I did was not Rocket Science. I implemented logic, current technology and trade secrets. Below is a list of what I did after changing the thermostats:
*I did an SSE test on the boiler. SSE is a Steady State Efficiency test and ALL Oil Heating systems need this test EVERY year. If you don't have an Access hole on your boiler's stack, the SSE test was never done! See image below. Details about this are available through previous Going True Green blog posts and in our GTG Membership.
*I put in a separate Hot Water Heater that used Natural Gas as the fuel, not oil.
See image on left.
*The Biggest action, which immediately saved 1/3 the oil I was using, was the addition of a Cold Start Control Panel. See box mounted on right side of my heating unit in first image below. This cost $400.00 and I saved that within the first winter! Details about this are available through previous Going True Green blog posts and will be available in our GTG Membership.
Just type in “Cold Start Boiler” in the Search box at the very top of this page.
*I changed shower heads and faucets to low flow efficient ones.
*I caulked each 1942 window in the house and put new weather stripping around the doors since I did not have the money to change all my windows and doors to new ones. Additionally, the payback with changing windows is found in comfort and connivence, not dollar savings. For more info about this fact, please see my previous 6/15/21 GTG blog called: The Big Picture Review
So after two years of energy saving actions, I was using as little as 250 gallons of home heating oil per year. This was such an apparent astonishment for my oil company that they responded not by offering me any congratulatory comments, but by demanding I buy 800 gallons minimum per year. When I stated that wasn’t possible, because I was only consuming 250 gallons held in a tank that only holds 250 gallons, they retaliated by refusing to sell oil to me. They dropped me as a customer, because I didn’t buy enough oil from them. Perhaps they thought I was buying oil from another company between their oil deliveries. Of course this was a completely false presumption.
I asked if what they were doing was legal and apparently, yes. They could sell or not sell, to anyone they want. Wow, a heating fuel that is a necessity to keep warm, to keep alive through the cold winter months and they could just drop me on the spot. This isn’t like buying some other product that we could still live without. Utility companies can’t just shut off your electricity due to a few unpaid bills, they have to wait months and investigate the complete story behind the belated payments. Yet, an oil heating company can just drop us like a rock. Thank you political leaders NOT really looking out for us or our environment.
So the moral of this story is to do your homework and then implement. Don’t wait for some government or politician or celebrity or company or organization to save the day for you. They haven't and they won't.
You are the super hero !
Today I have a Net Zero house for electricity and still working toward True Green within my own budget of time and money. One more thing, I am doing this without sacrificing anything in order to save, because there is always another way for accomplishing.
Yes, this is a Happy Anniversary.
Bill Lauto, at GoingTrueGreen.com
International Sustainability and Energy Consultant
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