Coming into the 2013-2014 heating season in Massachusetts, homeowners can expect a milder than normal winter, (according to the Old Farmer's Almanac long-range forecast for the Northeast U.S), but global demand for oil and continuing unrest in the mid-east can send prices reeling by $0.05 to $0.10 per gallon in a single day.
At the peak of the 2012-2013 heating season average oil prices $3.97 per gallon, up slightly over the previous 2011-2012 season when prices peaked at $3.90 -- and during both seasons the some days the highest daily prices some homeowners were paying exceeded $4.00 per gallon -- the message here; plan ahead.
If the past few winters are any indication, Massachusetts homeowners can expect average peak season prices to hover around $3.75 and rise to over $4.00 coming into 2014.
Aside from caulking windows, installing weatherstripping and insulation, and taking other steps to weatherize your home -- if you haven't done so already, fall in New England is the time to get your oil burner, (oil-fired furnace or boiler), cleaned, tuned-up, and checked for efficiency.
After a cleaning and tune-up, your oil burner, the service technician should be able to tell you the AFUE, (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency), of your oil burner.
You may be surprised to find that your older heater is only running at 60% to 70% "fuel efficiency" -- literally wasting 30% to 40% of the money you spend on oil heat.
With oil at $4.00 per gallon, if your home uses 1000 gallons per year, and you are only running at 70% efficiency, you will be wasting $1200.00 worth of oil this winter -- if your old system runs at 60% AFUE, you could be wasting $1600.00 worth of heating oil!
Replacing an inefficient oil furnace or boiler now will save that much money this year -- and each year after.