Boiler vs. Furnace

Boiler vs. Furnace

What’s the Difference, Why It Matters

boiler or furnace wisconsin Your heating oil system can either be a furnace or a boiler. Both of these heating units will keep you warm, but there is some information you should know that may come in handy if a problem arises.

If it’s something minor, you may be able to correct it yourself. And if you need to discuss something with a heating oil service technician, you will at least have a working knowledge of how your heating system operates.

How an Oil Furnace Works

Because it generates heated air, a furnace is also known as a forced-air or warm-air system. Here is how it produces heat.

  • the thermostat sends a signal to the controls on the oil burner.
  • the fuel pump then draws oil through a filter to the burner.
  • the burner turns the oil into a fine spray, mixes it with air, and ignites it in the combustion chamber, causing the chamber to become very hot.
  • air absorbs heat in the heat exchanger.
  • a blower sends this air through ducts and exits through vents to heat the home.
  • the air eventually circulates back to the heat exchanger and the cycle continues.
  • combustion emissions are vented out the flue.

How a Boiler Works

Boilers use hot water or steam to heat your home. Another name for a boiler is a hydronic heating system, which is defined as a system that transfers heat via a circulating fluid, such as water, in a closed system of pipes.

Steam boilers can still be found in older homes, usually ones built before the 1950s. If you have this type of system, your boiler stays true to its name because it actually has to boil water to make steam before your heat can be distributed.

In comparison, newer boilers do not need to boil the water to make steam. Instead, they use hot water to distribute heat through a home’s piping. The heat is distributed through your home by either radiators or baseboards.

Because a boiler is a closed-loop system, water does not need to be constantly brought in or replaced, making it more efficient.

Some of the key components of a boiler system include:

  • A burner, where the heating oil is ignited in the combustion chamber.
  • A heat exchanger, which allows heat to be exchanged between two substances (fuel oil and water) while not allowing the two substances to mix together.
  • Circulator pumps, which push the hot water from the boiler into the piping. A steam boiler doesn’t require a circulator pump because it doesn’t need to be pushed into the piping. It rises up the pipes naturally.
  • Piping, which includes supply lines to deliver the heated water (or steam) to the radiators or baseboards. When the water cools or the steam turns back into the water, return lines bring the water back to the boiler for re-heating.

Tip for Your Oil Furnace: Check the Air Filter

All warm air systems have air filters to screen out dust and other impurities. In general, you should check the filter’s condition about once a month during the heating season and change/clean it when necessary. Contact your heating oil service company if you’re not familiar with this procedure.

Tips for Your Oil Boiler

  • If you’re not getting heat from a baseboard, check to see if the damper is open. Make sure the bottom of the unit isn’t blocked by heavy carpeting.
  • A radiator valve has only two positions, on and off. Keeping the valve’s handle in between does not regulate the temperature but can strain the pipes and produce a hammering sound.
  • For steam systems, check the boiler’s water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause of shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the gauge looks rusty. Ask your heating oil service contractor if you’re not familiar with this procedure.

General Heating System Tips

  • Keep the area around your system as clean and clutter-free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system.
  • Keep registers, baseboards, or radiators clean and unobstructed to ensure maximum airflow.

New Boiler Installation or New Furnace Installation

If you think it’s time to replace your old furnace or boiler, please contact your heating oil service company about your options in a boiler installation or furnace installation. Today’s oil boilers and oil furnaces offer homeowners a great opportunity to increase their comfort while decreasing their energy usage.

New systems now heat your home using significantly less energy compared to older generation equipment. Energy-efficient equipment can be installed with controls to use only as much fuel as needed to heat your home or a specific part of your home.

What Is Heating Oil?

Where It Comes from and How It Keeps You Warm

heating oil source wisconsin Heating oil comes from crude oil, which has to be refined to remove impurities. It’s then separated into different “fractions.” More refined, lighter fractions are used to produce such products as gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel and No. 2 home heating oil, which is what you use to heat your home. By the way, did you know that diesel fuel and No. 2 fuel oil are virtually the same thing, in terms of their chemical composition?

Refining is just a step in the process. There is more work to be done before your fuel reaches your heating oil tank. After it is refined and ready for use, heating oil is transported by ship, barge, truck, and/or pipeline to major fuel terminals. It is distributed from these terminals to local heating oil companies. Many of these companies have their own storage facilities, which can hold thousands of gallons of heating oil. These secure storage facilities ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is on hand during the cold months to ensure people get their safe heating oil delivery whenever they need it.

How Heating Oil Keeps You Warm

You either have an oil furnace or oil boiler in your home. A furnace uses air to heat your home, while boilers use water. Furnaces and boilers can both use fuel oil to heat, and it starts in the combustion chamber, where the oil is tuned into a flame by the oil burner.

Oil Burner: Engine of Your System

Like any mechanical device, heating oil systems require all components to work together. But some parts are more important than others. One component that is particularly vital to the efficient and effective operation of a heating oil system is its burner.

The burner can be considered the engine of the heating oil system. When your house gets chilly, the thermostat will send a signal to tell the oil burner in the furnace or boiler to turn on. A fuel pump then starts to draw the oil from the tank and through fuel lines to reach the oil burner.

There is a device on the burner called the nozzle, which turns the oil into a very fine spray. This oil mist mixes with air and ignites in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. This heat then gets moved around your home and comes out either through radiators or baseboards (if you have a boiler) or vents (if you have a furnace).

How efficiently this is done depends on the design of the burner. Modern burners contain electronic pre-purge and post-purge controls to ensure ultra-clean starts and stops. New two-stage burners also have an efficiency level that’s 5–15% higher than older ones because they have been designed to conserve fuel.

Combustion Problems in an Oil Burner

If an oil burner seems to have combustion issues, it doesn’t always mean the burner is malfunctioning on its own. Sometimes, poor air flow around the system can be the culprit. Poor air flow can be caused by a variety of factors.

  • the furnace or boiler room is always sealed off or closed.
  • insulation or other energy conservation steps have been taken, resulting in a very tightly-sealed home.
  • a clothes dryer, workshop or pet’s living quarters are near the system. Lint, sawdust or animal hair can be drawn into the air openings of the burner and clog it.

If the burner flame looks weak, its color is orange and if there are signs of soot, there may be a lack of combustion air. To confirm this, open a door or window to bring fresh air to the area around the heating system and watch the burner flame. If it turns a bright white, lack of combustion air is the problem.

If you are uncertain about the cause, the best thing to do is to reach out to your heating oil service contractor and arrange for burner service.

How To Avoid Home Heating Mistakes

Don’t Compromise Safety for Savings

heating mistakes wisconsinWhen we come home, we expect to warm up quickly, especially for anyone who uses heating oil to heat their home. And why not? The flame in a heating oil system burns hundreds of degrees hotter than in other energy systems.

But when temperatures plunge into the single digits and the wind chill gets to below zero, people get worried about their heating fuel costs going up. That’s when some will try extra hard to save a little money on heat.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on heating your home, you need to do it in a smart way and never take chances with your safety. Here are some common home heating mistakes—and how to avoid them.

Electric Space Heater Safety

It’s not a good idea to shut off your furnace or boiler (or turn their thermostat way down) and use electric space heaters to try to save on fuel. You may save a little bit on fuel, but you’ll run up your electric bill instead. You’ll also vastly increase your chance of frozen pipes.
Space heaters also pose safety risks. Here are tips for using them safely.

  • Always turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Keep your space heater away from anything flammable
  • Never plug a portable space heater into an extension cord or power strip. Extension cords and power strips have not been designed to handle the high flow of electric current needed for a space heater. Doing so can cause the heater to overheat or even catch on fire.

Leave Your Heating Vents Open

Another common mistake is closing the heating vents in seldom-used rooms. The belief is that this will conserve heat and save money but this is not recommended

Closing some vents disrupts normal airflow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder. Closing vents can also raise the risk of frozen pipes, especially in rooms that tend to be on the cold side anyway.

It’s always better to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program your thermostat to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.

Don’t Turn the Thermostat Too Low

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it about 8°F lower while you’re asleep or away from home. But you should not set your thermostat below 60°.

Moving your thermostat setting too low is another way to raise your risk of frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to enter.

How to Save with Energy-Efficient Temperature Settings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.

The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher temperature inside your home will slow heat gain into your house, saving you money on air conditioning costs.

The U.S. Energy Department concludes that you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.

If your oil furnace or oil boiler has not been keeping you warm enough, please explore current heating oil equipment rebates and then reach out to your heating oil service provider for advice.

Read more about a new boiler installation or a new furnace installation.

New Study: Switching to 100% Biodiesel Saves Lives

Lower Cancer Risk, Fewer Premature Deaths Among Findings

biodiesel fleet wisconsinA new study has revealed that switching to 100% biodiesel could have a life-saving impact for community residents, with such benefits as decreased cancer risk, fewer premature deaths and reduced asthma attacks.

The study, sponsored by the Clean Fuels Alliance America and supported by organizations like the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, sought to assess the public health benefits and potential economic savings of converting from petroleum-based diesel to B100 (100% biodiesel) in 13 sites and communities across the country. These locations were chosen because of their high rates of air pollution caused by petroleum diesel.

Here are some of the startling findings about the potential results of using 100% biodiesel in place of all-petroleum diesel in these selected test locations.

  • When Bioheat® fuel made from 100% biodiesel is used in place of petroleum heating oil, there was an 86% reduced cancer risk and 17,000 fewer lung problems.
  • In the 13 communities and sites studied, there would be 340 fewer premature deaths, 46,000 fewer lost workdays, and $3 billion in avoided health care costs.

The movement toward biodiesel—in home heating fuel and elsewhere– ensures a greener, more sustainable future for everyone. Biofuels like biodiesel reduce carbon emissions, particulate matter, and other harmful outputs like sulfur oxide.

It also supports Wisconsin’s economy. Biodiesel production adds 13% of the cash value of soybeans grown in the Badger State.

Madison Moving Toward 100% renewable energy

This news about the health benefits of biodiesel coincides with the encouraging news that the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the Clean Fuels Alliance America has invested funds to help the City of Madison retrofit 20 of its fleet service vehicles to run nearly 100 percent on biodiesel fuel.

Over its life cycle, biodiesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86% when compared with petroleum diesel.

Madison has set a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy and zero net carbon emissions for all city operations by 2030. In fact, Madison became the first city in America to achieve LEED GOLD status for environmental sustainability with its fleet garage.

The city has already launched an integrated energy management approach to reduce its emissions, which includes the use of not only biodiesel but propane, solar, renewable natural gas, and electric vehicle technology.

While all are proving to be viable solutions, B100 technology is a 100% renewable solution that is available now and doesn’t require the costly purchase of new vehicles.

You can read more about clean renewable energy by going here.

Why Is There Whistling During an Oil Delivery?

That’s Your Vent Alarm—and You Can Get a Rebate for Upgrading It!

oil delivery wisconsinIf your oil tank is located in your basement and you’re home when a driver makes his delivery, you’ll probably hear a whistling noise as your tank starts to fill up. But don’t worry. This is perfectly normal.

Besides the tank itself, your heating oil storage system includes important components like the fill pipe, vent pipe, and vent alarm.

What Happens During a Delivery

After the driver arrives, he connects the hose from his oil truck to the fill pipe and starts releasing the oil. As oil flows into the tank, the air is pushed back out. As the air goes through the vent alarm–located between your tank and vent pipe–it makes a whistling sound. When the whistling stops, the tank is just about full.

Since your basement tank is out of sight from the driver, the vent alarm prevents overfilling and the possibility of a spill. Safety codes do not allow your heating oil company to deliver your fuel if the vent alarm is not working.

If your vent alarm needs to be replaced, you may be eligible to receive a $300 rebate for installing a new one. This is the latest heating oil equipment rebate to become available through the WPMCA Rebate Program, with funding provided by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). Read more about Wisconsin rebates.

What You Should Know about Your Oil Piping

  • The vent pipe relieves the vacuum created when the oil burner pulls fuel from the tank.
  • The vent pipe should be at least 1.25 inches in diameter. A narrow diameter allows excessive pressure to build up inside the tank during filling, which can cause a tank rupture.
  • PVC piping does not meet NFPA safety codes and must be replaced because they are more likely to crack when tanks are being filled.
  • It is the homeowner’s responsibility to properly maintain fuel tanks and all associated piping.

Help Your Driver Make Safe Deliveries

Ice and snow can turn an already tough job into a potentially hazardous one. Maneuvering with a heavy hose while navigating slippery surfaces can be challenging; sometimes delivery drivers lose their footing and sustain injuries.

You can help the driver make safer deliveries by keeping the path to your oil tank clear of snow and ice and removing any nearby obstacles, such as fallen branches.

It is also important to shovel or plow your driveway and keep it free of ice. Safety codes prohibit your heating oil company from parking an oil truck on an incline unless it is perfectly dry.

Marking the edges of your driveway makes it easier for delivery drivers to navigate. Remember, just because you can get your car down your driveway doesn’t mean a 15-ton heating oil truck can make it, too.

If you have any questions about deliveries or your oil storage tank system, please reach out to your local heating oil company.

And if you’re thinking about replacing your oil storage tank, read about your options here.

New Study: Switching to 100% Biodiesel Could Save Lives

Research Sponsored by the Clean Fuels Alliance America

biodiesel wisconsinA new study has revealed that switching to 100% biodiesel could have a life-saving impact for residents in selected communities, with such benefits as decreased cancer risk, fewer premature deaths and reduced asthma attacks.

The research project, sponsored by the Clean Fuels Alliance America and supported by organizations like the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, sought to assess the public health benefits and potential economic savings of converting from petroleum-based diesel to B100 (100% biodiesel) in 13 sites and communities across the country. These locations were chosen because of their high rates of air pollution caused by petroleum diesel.

Biodiesel Startling Findings

Here are some of the startling findings about the potential results of using 100% biodiesel in place of all-petroleum diesel in these selected communities.

  • When Bioheat® fuel made from 100% biodiesel is used in place of petroleum heating oil, there was an 86% reduced cancer risk and 17,000 fewer lung problems.
  • Researchers found the communities surrounding the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach would avoid about $1.69 billion in health costs because of improved air quality.
  • In the 13 communities and sites studied, there would be 340 fewer premature deaths, 46,000 fewer lost workdays, and $3 billion in avoided health care costs.

“Saving lives by reducing the health impacts of transportation and home heating fuels is a priority, and biodiesel is widely available today to achieve that goal,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO of the Clean Fuels Alliance America, formerly known as the National Biodiesel Board.

“These immediate and substantial emissions and health benefits can and should be an important part in any state, regional or national climate program as our nation moves toward decarbonization through advanced alternative fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel.”

The movement toward biodiesel ensures a greener, more sustainable future for everyone. Biofuels like biodiesel reduce carbon emissions, particulate matter, and other harmful outputs like sulfur oxide. It also supports Wisconsin’s economy. Biodiesel production adds 13% of the cash value of soybeans grown in the Badger State.

Heating Oil and a Net Zero Tomorrow

With all of this good news about the positive benefits of switching to 100% biodiesel, you might wonder where home heating oil stands. Don’t worry. Not only is today’s heating oil environmentally friendly but it’s also a vital part of America’s progress toward reaching net-zero carbon emissions.

Advanced heating fuels like Bioheat® fuel combine ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and biodiesel, composed of organic products like used cooking oil, tallow, fats, and algae. Produced in the United States it is one of the cleanest-burning energy sources.

Biodiesel is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum-based fuels. Widespread regional use of Bioheat fuel annually prevents more than 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of removing 320,000 vehicles from the road.

Plus, homes that heat with energy-efficient Bioheat fuel use less energy overall. Right now, and in the years ahead, you should feel great about heating your Wisconsin home with renewable heating oil!

Learn more about Bioheat fuel here.

Should I Repair or Replace My Home Heating System?

Guidelines to Help You Decide

heating system service wisconsinMuch like your car, regular preventive maintenance goes a long way in extending the lifespan of your heating oil equipment, whether it’s an oil furnace or oil boiler. But even the best-maintained heating equipment eventually wears out.

You will then reach a point where repairs will cost more than they’re worth since an old furnace or boiler will continue to have low fuel efficiency – along with poor performance and a greater chance for further breakdown.

How To Decide Whether To Fix Your Heater

So how do you determine whether to repair or replace your home heating oil system? Here are some guidelines.

  1. The age of your heating system – If your heating system is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing it soon. It’s better to invest your money into a new high-efficiency system with the latest technology– which will lower your annual fuel costs– rather than putting your money into an aging system with worn parts prone to failure.
  2. Compare repair and replacement costs – A new oil furnace or oil-powered boiler represents a significant investment for your home. But repair costs can be high, too – and with a repair, you have to consider the possibility of the problem happening again in the future. Here’s a rule of thumb: if your heating system repair exceeds 50% of replacement costs – especially on an older unit – you should probably replace it.
  3. Consider system efficiency – Old heating systems burn more fuel because of their inefficiencies, which means you’ll get higher bills. An old heating unit could have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of less than 70%. A replacement model can be 85% efficient or higher.
  4. Consider Wisconsin heating oil equipment rebates – Current rebates for energy-efficient heating systems could save you hundreds of dollars on new equipment – perhaps enough to tip the scales in favor of replacement. Read more.

Ensure a Proper Installation

Once you have selected a new system, your heating oil service expert will install it the right way. This requires skilled technicians with specialized training. The bottom line: installing a new heating system will increase energy efficiency and save you money, as long as the boiler or furnace is sized and installed correctly.

Benefits

You can expect to reduce your annual fuel expenses by 20% or more—depending on the age and efficiency of your current system—not to mention virtually eliminating high repair bills, with a replacement system.

A new heating oil system is also a green choice. Emissions from an old system can be significantly reduced by upgrading to a high-efficiency heating oil system. Today’s heating oil systems are efficient and their emissions are negligible. Advances include systems with reduced fuel-firing rates. Plus, today’s greater use of Bioheat® fuel is reducing emissions even further.

Don’t wait until your heating system fails on the coldest day next winter! Start doing your research now.

Thinking of switching fuels? Please read this first.

Energy Saving Tips for Spring

Little Changes Can Add Up to Big Savings

home energy saving wisconsinThese days, everyone is scrambling to find ways to save money. With heating and cooling comprising about 60% of your total home energy expenses, it pays to examine ways you can conserve on your heat and air conditioning.

There are actually many small yet important energy conservation methods that can add up to impressive savings. Let’s take a closer look at some of the steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The key to saving energy and money is improving efficiency! And when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your heating system, one of the best things you can do is schedule an annual heating system tune-up with your equipment service provider.

Tune-ups (sometimes called “system cleanings”) are typically recommended once a year. Not only do they ensure that your heating oil system is running properly, but this preventive maintenance will also ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency. In fact, a tune-up can help reduce heating oil usage by up to 10%!

5 Tips for Saving Money on Heating and Cooling

  1. Check your air filter on your heating and cooling system on a regular basis. Be sure to change it if you see that it’s necessary to do so. Talk to your service provider if you need assistance in deciding whether you need a new filter. If you do, your technician can also talk you through the steps of replacing the filter.
  2. Look to your windows. Lock the hot air out and hold the cool air in this summer by sealing windows. You’ll save money in the long run with this step, which you can accomplish with caulk for nonmoving parts and weatherstripping for moveable joints.

    During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and solar energy during the day, then close them at night to keep it in at night. Do the reverse in the summer by closing curtains and shades during the day to block solar heat. Smart window treatments can help manage solar energy throughout the year.

  3. If you’re looking for an all-weather, year-round solution, install a smart programmable thermostat. Whether you’re away or just sleeping through the night, one of these devices will help you conserve energy and save on your bills. In fact, a smart programmable thermostat can cut up to 10% from your annual energy usage!

    In the spring and summer, the U.S. Energy Department recommends setting your central air conditioning system to 78°F when you’re at home. Program your A/C system to shut off 20-30 minutes before you leave home each day; return the temperature setting to normal comfort levels 20 to 30 minutes before you come home.

    In the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.

  4. Clear away any unnecessary items in front of your baseboards or vents. Whether there are pieces of furniture in the way, a too-thick rug, or assorted kids’ shoes and toys on the floor, you’ll want this area to be clear in order to make the most of your home’s energy usage. Finally, for safety’s sake, keep the area around your heating system as clean and clutter-free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system.
  5. Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans work for your home throughout the year. The circulating air helps keep you and your home cool in the summer. In the winter, reversing the direction of the blades will push down the warm air that’s trapped near the ceiling. That helps you use less heating oil while still keeping your home warm.

To learn about how you can positively impact your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to systems like heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please go here.

Why Did the Price of Oil Go Up So Fast?

Understanding the Energy Markets & Oil Price Fluctuations

oil prices wisconsinYou already know that the price you pay for heating oil in Wisconsin can change from year to year. But it’s been a long time since we have seen such a dramatic rise in heating oil prices, which seemed to happen in a blink of an eye—although prices have been trending upward for quite some time.

What Is Going On?

First, it’s important to point out that for the most part, the price of oil has been fairly stable since 2014. But there have been a lot of changes over the past year that have upended the markets.

Second, the market price of heating oil is always tied to a variety of factors that are constantly changing.

If you would like to view a long-term history of wholesale heating-oil prices in Wisconsin, please go here.

Russia Invades Ukraine

Global crude oil prices soared to their highest point in eight years after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. As you probably know all too well by now, as the price of crude oil goes, so goes gasoline, heating oil, and the many other products derived from it.

Prior to this, energy prices in all sectors—oil, propane, natural gas, and electricity—had been on a steady rise because global oil production hadn’t yet caught up with the pent-up demand that quickly followed the perceived end of the pandemic.

Even before the war in Ukraine further accelerated price increases, frenetic consumer spending–combined with persistent supply shortages–had sent inflation rates in our country to their highest level in 40 years.
 
The only good news is that this shocking price spike occurred near the end of winter, instead of the beginning. You can view a heating oil price update from the U.S Energy Information Administration by going here.

So how did we get here and where are we going now?

Lagging Oil Supply

As was noted before, global crude oil production hasn’t yet caught up with pent-up demand. Unfortunately, a simplified and misinformed solution to the production shortfall that’s regularly offered up by some pundits and politicians in the U.S. is that “we just have to drill for more oil at home.”

First, even if the U.S. did drill for enough oil and keep it all here to gobble up for ourselves, that crude oil would still be tightly married to the global oil market—and beholden to whatever the world’s highest bidder is willing to pay for it.

This “solution” is also ignoring the fact that right now, oil companies are feeling enormous pressure to give up fast growth in favor of steadier profits and stock-boosting finance moves, such as higher dividends, more share buybacks and reduced debt. Read more about this here.

Investors have also been reading the tea leaves, and realize that a zero-carbon emissions world is not too far off in our future. Big money is holding back on fossil fuel investments as legislators try to move the country toward more renewable energy. Investors instead are looking to sink their money into long-term, profitable opportunities in the burgeoning green energy field.  By the way, the heating oil industry is making excellent progress with making our fuel more dependent on renewable energy too. Read about the benefits awaiting us in the future with Bioheat® fuel.

Another factor influencing oil companies is the memory of the breathtaking fall of crude oil prices during the early days of the pandemic. In the Spring of 2020, crude oil prices fell all the way to negative $30 per barrel! Traders had to pay buyers to take oil! Since then, however, prices have been steadily rising before they exploded in late February after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Could they drop that far again? Well, by mid-March, crude oil prices had begun to fall–but quickly took a U-turn and went up again as the situation in Ukraine remained unstable and the call for boycotts of Russian energy products picked up steam.

To say that we are currently in the midst of an extremely volatile energy market could be viewed as an understatement.

How Your Wisconsin Heating-Oil Company Can Help

Your full-service heating-oil company has perfected many ways to help you cut your heating costs dramatically while increasing your home comfort. Consider your Wisconsin heating-oil company your energy-saving partner, one that takes pride in delivering service with a personal touch.

During our long heating season in Wisconsin, your full-service heating-oil company will always maintain and ensure an ample supply of fuel to make sure you stay warm and safe.

Your local heating-oil company may be able to make life easier with automatic deliveries of fuel so that you don’t have to worry about calling for deliveries or running out of fuel when you need it the most.

To take away any worries about the normal ebb and flow of oil prices, contact your heating-oil company. Many companies offer programs designed to save you money and keep your heating bills manageable—no matter what happens with world oil prices or heating-oil prices in Wisconsin.

Rest assured, your Wisconsin heating oil supplier will do everything possible to ensure they can make deliveries—no matter the cost or difficulty they face.

What Comes Next with Oil Prices?

We don’t know where things will go from here, but if history is a guide, we can expect to see prices drop pretty significantly in the not-too-distant future. If you would like to read the U.S. Department of Energy’s short-term energy outlook, please go here.

Nothing will make your local Wisconsin heating oil company happier than when prices return to normal.  Until then, trust your heating oil supplier to look out for you and let’s hope that—regardless of what happens with energy prices—we will soon be living in a more peaceful world.

Buses in Madison To Run On Biodiesel

Clean Fuels Alliance America Invests in Wisconsin

clean fuel options wisconsinClean-burning, super-efficient biodiesel is hitting the roads in our state’s capital! The Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and Clean Fuels Alliance America (formerly known as the National Biodiesel Board), have invested funds to introduce 20 fleet service buses in Madison that will run on renewable biodiesel fuel.

The buses are retrofitted to start their engines with standard diesel, then switch over to biodiesel once the engine warms. What’s most exciting about these vehicles is that they will burn B100 fuel, or 100 percent biodiesel with no petroleum-based component.

It’s all part of a push in Madison to incorporate organic fuels into buses and ambulances. Since 2018, these initiatives have prevented over five million pounds of carbon emissions.

This is a win-win for Wisconsin. It ensures a greener, more sustainable future for everyone. Biofuels like biodiesel reduce carbon emissions, particulate matter and other harmful outputs like sulfur oxide. It also supports Wisconsin’s economy. Biodiesel production adds 13% of the cash value of soybeans grown in the Badger State. So, the next time you see a bus in Madison, it might be burning 100% renewable fuel!

Biodiesel Production Grows

Today, more than 125 production plants around the country make biodiesel. The United States biodiesel industry produces about three billion gallons of biodiesel now.

Increased production isn’t just about achieving a cleaner environment. It’s about building a stronger economy too. The biodiesel industry supports nearly 60,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in GDP, household income and tax revenues.

Heating Oil and a Net Zero Tomorrow

While we’re on the subject of renewable fuels for the future, you might wonder about where home heating oil stands. Don’t worry. Not only is today’s heating oil environmentally friendly, it’s also a vital part of America’s movement toward net-zero carbon emissions.

Advanced heating fuels like Bioheat® fuel combine ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and biodiesel, composed of organic products like used cooking oil, tallow, fats and algae. Produced in the United States it is one of the cleanest-burning energy sources.

Biodiesel is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum-based fuels. Widespread regional use of Bioheat annually prevents more than 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of removing 320,000 vehicles from the road.

Plus, homes that heat with energy-efficient Bioheat fuel use less energy overall. Right now, and in the years ahead, you should feel great about heating your Wisconsin home with renewable heating oil!

You can read more about Bioheat fuel here.