Stocking up has been a widely used technique for saving money on seasonal difference in the price. Just like any other good, heating oil is price-sensitive to demand, which normally peaks during the cold period of the year, to dramatically fall during spring and summer.

Stocking means that you order oil during the summer when the heating fuel (not only oil, but also propane, coal, wood pellets, or any other fuel that can be stocked) is cheaper, to keep it for winter. How much you save depends on the summer and winter price difference and the size of your tank. The bigger the tank, the more oil you can stock, so you save more.

Stocking works best when the wholesale prices of oil are high, as result of high crude oil prices. In such cases price variance between summer and winter may be great. However, you will still remain limited by the volume of your oil tank.

The best time to stock up on home heating oil

Generally the best time to stock heating oil is May, June or July. In August, as the heating season slowly approaches at the end of summer and fall, more people tend to stock their oil which pushes the price slightly up. Since suppliers see low sales during the months aforementioned, many of these use them for basic maintenance tasks. These tasks require them to empty their inventories, which they do by putting the remaining oil on a kind of clearance. Such oil sold on clearance is usually cheaper than the wholesale price. Yes, they lose money on it, but the cost of keeping it may be even greater for them.

Of course, not all suppliers do that simultaneously. Some will offer very cheap heating oil in May, while others would do that two months later. If cash on delivery (COD) oil is your weapon of choice in battling high heating costs, your main concern is to secure funds prior to ordering oil. Once you secure funds to fill your tank off-season, you will need to know which suppliers currently offer the lowest prices in your area.

If you live on Long Island, which includes Suffolk and Nassau counties, you can rely on HeatingOilExpress.com, a free heating oil price comparison website. Besides the ability to monitor COD heating oil prices, this website can let you schedule an appointment for annual tune-up of your oil furnace or boiler, a task which is best to be done off-season.

Before you stock your heating oil, you have to inspect the oil tank, and see if it leaks or has sludge collected on its bottom. It’s strongly recommended that you stock high quality oil from a reputable supplier.