A Complete Guide to Connecticut Heating Oil
Did you know that in 2018, homeowners in the Northeast purchased about 3 billion gallons of heating oil, which was equal to about 85% of the total U.S. residential heating oil sales?
Oil-based heating systems are popular in the Northeast because there is limited access to natural gas. And, when homeowners opt for bioheat blends, heating oil becomes far more efficient and emits fewer carbon emissions than natural gas, too.
Given that roughly half of all Connecticut households use fuel oil as their primary source of energy to heat their homes in the winter, we thought it would be interesting to provide a brief look at the story of heating oil: Where it comes from, why prices fluctuate, examining bioheat as an alternative, and how you can pick the best heating oil company in Connecticut!
Heating Oil Sources and Demand
Heating oil is a petroleum product refined from crude oil, and is used mainly in boilers, furnaces and water heaters.
To meet the demand for heating oil in Connecticut during the winter months, we rely on two main sources:
- Domestic oil refineries: Which produce excess heating oil in the summer and fall and store it for delivery in the winter
- Imports from other countries: Heating oil is usually imported during the winter months, most often from Canada, to help meet demand in the Northeast. The oil is moved throughout the country by pipelines, tankers (ships), barges, trains, and trucks.
The demand for heating oil is seasonal, with spikes in the coldest winter months. Typically, the heating season in Connecticut runs October through March.
Heating Oil Prices in Connecticut
The price of heating oil in Connecticut changes by market conditions around the world since it is a commodity trader on the commodities market. The main factors that drive the price of heating oil include:
- Cost of crude oil for refiners
- Cost for refiners to produce heating oil
- Costs to market, distribute, and deliver heating oil to consumers
Though market changes can be unpredictable, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does a great job of analyzing historical pricing data, as well as predictions on future oil prices to estimate seasonal changes in heating oil.
In October 2019, the EIA released its “Winter Fuels Outlook” predicting that “average expenditures for the major home heating energy sources will decline for most households this winter compared to last winter because of warmer forecast temperatures.”
For Connecticuters, the predictions are proving correct. Currently, residential heating oil prices are down roughly 32% from one year ago.
Heating Oil and Bioheat in Connecticut
In 2010, Connecticut passed legislation that called for the use of biodiesel blended heating oil, which touts lower sulfur content than traditional heating oil.
As of July 1, 2011, all heating oil was required to contain 2% of biodiesel. Since then, that percentage has slowly increased:
- 2012: 5%
- 2015: 10%
- 2017: 15%
- 2020: 20%
What Is Bioheat?
Given Connecticut’s clean fuel mandate, many homes are using bioheat as an improved version of heating oil. It’s an easy switch as homeowners don’t need to make any changes to their existing heating oil equipment to use bioheat.
Bioheat, a clean, efficient, and renewable energy source created by fatty acids found in natural sources, is made from:
- Vegetable oil
- Animal fat
- Recycled restaurant oils
Bioheat is named by the blend, including:
- A mix of 15% Biodiesel and 85% heating oil is B15
- A mix of 20% Biodiesel with 80% heating oil is B20
When you use biodiesel blend versus natural gas in your home heating equipment, you reduce the emissions of:
- Sulfur dioxide by 97%
- Particulate matter by 80%
- Nitrous oxide by 10%
- Carbon dioxide by 2%
Because the market for Bioheat is young, and is part traditional heating oil, the price is volatile. The cost is still comparable to conventional heating oil, especially because it burns more efficiently, lowering the overall price per gallon even more.
How To Choose A Heating Oil Company
Whether you currently use heating oil to warm your home, converting to heating oil, or are thinking about making the switch to bioheat, there are several things to consider when deciding which company should supply your fuel.
In our opinion, it’s a matter of trust, reliability:
- Predictive delivery: Choosing a company that will take the guesswork out of your delivery schedule is hugely helpful, especially when the demand of heating oil is high, but your supply is low. Santa offers reliable tracking technology to help you calculate when it’s time for your next delivery so you can guarantee a refill, despite the competition.
- Price protection: As we touched on above, the heating oil market can be volatile. Santa offers protection from unpredictable pricing so you can have a consistent idea of how much you will be paying for heating oil each month.
- 24/7 emergency services: If your furnace breaks in the dead of winter, you’ll be forever grateful to heating oil companies that are available 24/7. It’s important to find a company that will be there when you need them most, not just during business hours, which is at the core of Santa’s customer service.
- Highly-reviewed staff: In addition to ensuring their technicians and support staff are highly trained in their craft, does the company receive high marks from existing customers? What is their response time? What type of training does their staff receive? Most importantly, what do their customers say about them? You are inviting these techs into your homes, so you want to make sure you trust who the company you work with. Our success is measured entirely by our customers’ satisfaction, reviews and feedback. (We are always happy to hear from you.) We hope to have the chance to work with your family too!
Santa Energy and Heating Oil in Connecticut
Santa Energy started delivering kerosene in the Bridgeport, Connecticut area back in 1940 with a single delivery truck. Today, we are proud to call ourselves a leading energy supplier in New England.
We’ve been able to stay in business for more than 75 years, thanks to the families across the Northeast who invite us back into their homes each year. Our customers open their doors (and crawl spaces) to our expert technicians, so we can help them live comfortably in the heat and the cold.
And, we hope to have the chance to work with your family too!