Heating Archives - Black Bear Fuel
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Heating and fuel costs can sometimes be unpredictable, especially for people who live in areas where the weather is unpredictable or there are extreme seasonal changes. As our customers know, the weather in our service area experiences a little bit of both of these things! Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating and AC offers an EZ Pay plan that helps customers avoid sticker shock by paying their heating costs in pre-determined monthly installments.

How EZ Pay Works

A stack of money representing the pricing for Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating and AC in Harris, NY

Sometimes the area experiences a particularly warm February and then a brutally cold March, making it impossible for residents to predict how much they will owe in heating and fuel costs for each month. With EZ Pay, we estimate the total amount of fuel consumption a household will use during a 12-month block of time based on consumption in previous years. That amount is then divided by 12, and this will be the amount the customer will owe per month. This way, each customer can more realistically budget for heating and cooling costs throughout the year instead of waiting until the bill is due and hoping for the best.

Benefits of EZ Pay

Avoiding sticker shock isn’t the only reason residents should sign up for EZ Pay from Black Bear—the plan simply makes the most sense. The EZ Pay plan means no customer will ever run out of heating oil, and they can say goodbye to large oil bills because they’ll still pay the same amount each month regardless of consumption. Plus, automatic delivery can be set up, and no delivery charges will be applied, even for multiple deliveries in the same month.

Perhaps best of all is that there’s a price cap, which protects customers when the cost of oil goes up. But if the price of oil goes down, we charge customers the lower price for oil, so some months customers even see lower than expected heating and fuel bills! On average, our customers have saved more than 70 cents per gallon on their heating and fuel costs this year—and you can too.

Contact Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating and AC at (800) 399-0479 to learn more about saving with the EZ Pay plan or to enroll today!

propane vs oilheat new yorkWhen replacing a home’s heating system, homeowners have several potential options, including oil, propane, or natural gas. For those in the midst of making this important heating service decision, this comparison will help weigh the choices based on home size, budget, and lifestyle.

Ins and Outs of Oil

Oil heat remains a mainstay among homeowners who appreciate its ability to heat spaces more quickly using less fuel. That’s because oil burns about 300 degrees hotter than natural gas. Because it doesn’t produce carbon monoxide or carry the risk of explosion, it’s safer to store and use than other types of home heating fuel. An oil heating system also has lower upfront costs than natural gas. Although it carries ongoing maintenance costs like refilling a tank, many heating service providers have convenient delivery and affordable payment plans.

Propane Pros and Cons

Propane furnaces are available as central heating units, wall units, or a combination of the two. While the initial cost of setting up a new propane furnace can be costly, homeowners can offset this cost with federal, local, and state tax credits. Propane heat also lasts longer and has a low overall cost of maintenance compared with other systems. Propane furnaces burn clean—meaning they don’t compromise interior air quality. The seasonal cost of heating a home with propane is generally less than with oil heat but more expensive than with natural gas.

Yes or No to Natural Gas

Natural gas tends to be the most affordable of these options, with the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) reporting that the average seasonal cost of natural gas heating is currently about 70 percent less per household than for households with oil heat. Gas also produces lower carbon emissions than oil heat. However, natural gas furnaces are more expensive than oil heat systems and produce lower BTUs, meaning it may take longer to heat the home to the ideal temperature.

When it’s time to replace your home’s heating system, talk with an experienced heating service provider who can help determine the best fuel source for your needs. This depends on your personal preferences as well as budget and existing home infrastructure. If you’re in Sullivan, Eastern Ulster, or Northern Orange County, contact Black Bear Fuel to learn about heating services available to you.

Air conditioning is one of the last things people think about when it’s cold and snowing outside, but that’s the perfect time to take care of HVAC summer preparation. Do the following during the winter months, and everything will be set for cool comfort by the time summer returns.

Replace the Air Filter

A exterior hvac unit installed by Black Bear Fuel Oil, Plumbing, Heating and AC in Harris, NY

One of the simplest cooling system maintenance tasks is also one of the most important. The air filter needs to be replaced every few months to maintain a higher quality of indoor air. An air filter catches debris, and failure to replace filters on a regular basis results in clogged filters. This can lead to an inefficient air conditioning system that may not reach its full lifespan.

Test for Leaks

In winter, do you feel distinct cold spots around the house? If cold drafts are coming in through the doors, windows, attic, basement, or other places, then in the summer months, cooled air will leak out through these same avenues. Replacing insulation or sealing gaps can fix air leaks. It’s also important to test for leaks in the refrigerant lines and other HVAC equipment components. Preventative AC maintenance conducted by qualified technicians includes testing for both kinds of leaks.

Remove Debris

HVAC summer prep also includes removing leaves, twigs, and other debris that accumulate around outdoor units. Debris can impact performance, so be sure to clear away yard matter as well as trash. Also, trim any vines or branches that are too close to the unit.

Clean Vents

Throughout the home, vents get dirty. Wash off the grime to keep circulated air clean and healthy. Soapy warm water usually does the trick, though stronger cleaners may be needed if it’s been a while since the vents have been washed.

Get Preventative Maintenance

For more thorough HVAC summer prep, it’s a good idea to get professional help. A company like Black Bear, with knowledgeable HVAC technicians, will troubleshoot the system to locate both common and more obscure AC problems. Timely repairs keep a system working properly for years to come. Make an appointment today to ensure your AC is summer ready.