In this post we’ll review all the different heating oil buying options including COD oil delivery, automatic delivery and contracts. Heating oil is delivered to customers by truck, which allows consumers to choose among several different ways to order and pay for it. There are three main ways to get home heating oil: will-call cash on delivery (COD), automatic delivery which can be done with or without a contract, and contracts.

Cash on Delivery (C.O.D.) oil

Will-call Cash on Delivery (COD) is the oldest and easiest way to get heating oil fast. Consumers order COD oil whenever they estimate oil levels in their tanks are low, specifying the amount to be delivered, and are obliged to pay for it in full to the driver at delivery. Although this option usually requires consumer to have cash readily available, it can lead to considerable savings. You can also pay with a credit or debit card. COD oil is usually cheaper than contract oil, and consumer may employ various techniques to get a really low price.

One of most common techniques to get really cheap COD oil is to order oil off-season. In spring and summer demand is low and oil companies lower their prices to motivate consumption, or empty their reservoirs before cleaning and other maintenance. This all results in significantly lower prices of oil during these periods. However, each household is limited to its oil tank size, since most homes on Long Island consume no oil until October.

todays heating oil pricesOther techniques can be applied year round. Prices of heating oil always vary among different suppliers, and it is influenced by various factors. can help consumers in comparing prices among many suppliers across their area at any given time.

To benefit from Will-call  COD, consumers need to know how to measure oil levels in their tank. Based on that they are able to estimate how long the oil remaining in the tank would last, and in what time they need to secure funds for the next delivery. With COD option, consumers can always specify an exact amount of oil to be delivered.

It is always good to know the exact usage of heating oil, and how much oil is currently left in the tank. Low level of oil in the tank can inflict damage to the burner. That is why some people prefer Automatic Delivery.

Automatic Oil Delivery

Automatic Delivery option spares the consumer from worrying over how much heating oil is left in their tank. Automatic delivery services will audit consumer’s home and fuel oil consumption habits to estimate their oil usage. All findings from the audit are entered into a computerized system which combines it with other data such as current weather, to estimate fuel consumption.

Once the automatic delivery service estimates that oil level in the tanks are near the lowest allowed amount, the consumer will be schedule for delivery. This may give comfort to customers who are too busy or don’t want to track their fuel oil consumption. All assumptions are based on calculation which takes previous audit results into account, so once the consumer makes an abrupt change in consumption, the system will not be notified. If, for example, due to greater amount of days spent at home oil consumption increases abruptly, actual consumption will be greater than estimated by automatic delivery software. In case the consumer forgets to notify the supplier, damage to heating system can occur due to low levels of oil, or complete running out of it. That’s why it’s essential that you always notify your supplier of any change in heating habits.

There are two options for automatic oil delivery:

 Automatic delivery without a  contract  is a convenient and easy way to get oil, harnessing benefits of an automatic delivery system without any obligation regarding price or supplier. No-contract automatic delivery prices are at the market price, as they don’t include discounts nor extra costs. There are no supplier obligations either, so maintenance of the system is up to the homeowner.

Contracts for automatic delivery may have two price options:

Fixed price. With this contract the consumer agrees to pay for the oil at a single, fixed price during an entire season. Other than the price, the consumer usually agrees to buy a minimal amount of oil without penalties, but on the other hand there is a maximum amount, which once applied allows the consumer to withdraw from the contract once it is reached, before the contract end date. Such contracts are either paid fully in advance, or through budget plans. Withdrawal penalties may also vary in relation to the amount of oil purchased until the date of withdrawal.

Capped price contracts define a maximum price of oil (price cap). That is the highest price of oil the supplier can charge, and depending on market trends this price can only be lower or equal to the cap. Suppliers, however, decide on days when oil must be delivered and paid at the current price.

Neither of these two options can guarantee savings. Today, prices of oil change abruptly and it’s really hard to estimate how much it would cost in the next several months. Also, it is quite impossible to estimate consumption, as there are no accurate long-term weather forecasts. In case of a mild winter the consumer will most likely lose money, as they would probably not be able to burn the minimum amount of oil agreed and will have to pay additional penalties.

Both contract options may or may not cover maintenance costs. Various levels of maintenance can be offered. Most contracts will include annual system checks and tune-ups. Some companies will offer complete solutions which would include full maintenance, including cleaning and filter replacement. In most cases, such contracts include insurance that all damage which would happen to the system will be covered by the supplier.

Service Contracts

Finally, there are contracts which are only for heating oil system maintenance. There is a broad variety of possible contracts. Some may be annual, or have a 5-year or 10-year term. Some apply to the entire heating system, while others apply only to the furnace or boiler, and have an option for tank and oil pipes. Most maintenance contracts include warranty, which protects the consumer from cost of possible damages and system breakages whether they occur, provided that they did not breach the contract.