Archive for the ‘Heating’ Category.

Thursday 29 October, 2015

How Shale Oil Affects Heating Oil Prices

Shale sampleThe price of a barrel of oil has become a thing of scrutiny ever since our attention was turned to the Middle East decades ago.  The need to be less dependent on foreign oil has caused innovators to find ways to better meet our own fuel demands.  As opposed to conventional oil, shale oil is capitalizing on technological advances in the way we harvest and process oil.  That is good news for the long foreseeable future.

What is Shale Oil?

Unlike rigs that drill for the bubbling crude, shale oil is a rock.  It is harvested and processed differently.  As you may have been able to deduce by lower gas prices this year, it is a more economically sustainable method.  As the price of a barrel of oil decreases, that price cut is noticed in all forms of refinery, including your heating oil.  And with the largest shale deposits in the world located in the central-west region of our nation, there is no shortage of supply.  According to most experts (even given the unpredictable volatile political climate), prices will continue to drop or remain stable with known deposits to sustain us for around 400 years.

How is Shale Oil Harvested?

It is commonly referred to as “the rock that burns”.  It takes an enormous amount of heat and pressure to keep oil in a liquid form.  It must be mined from the earth using a simple yet sophisticated system and then heated through a process called retorting.  There are other methods currently being looked into that would heat the shale before it is mined from the earth.   Once the shale oil is in liquid form, it can then go through the refining process just like all other oil that is drilled.

Shale 2.0

Our nation is on the cusp of revolutionizing the shale oil industry.  Technological advances and highly motivated entrepreneurs have not given up on the potential this black gold mine has.  The geo-political climate is being heated as the barrel tries not to drop too much.  But lowered fuel costs after being too high for too long will naturally take time to settle back into as the shock of $20/barrel wears off.

The surplus of oil in our nation right now is the highest it has been in many years.  This has allowed a surplus of new technology to develop and big data projects with extraordinary software that has left the market in an upheaval with many changes to come, including more affordable heating oil.

 
 

Tuesday 20 October, 2015

Ways to Save Money When Heating Your Home this Winter

Income.If your home is not properly winterized, it will be like throwing money out with your heat.  Snow and below freezing temperatures are the norm during Lynchburg, VA winters.  A few simple and easy preparations can save you a lot of money on your heating bill.  You may even be able to make it through the winter on just one tank of heating oil.

Places You Lose the Most Heat

Doorways and windows are the places where you will lose the most heat.  When you run your hand along the frame, do you notice a draft or change in temperature?  Replace worn out weather stripping with new, inexpensive rolls and for around $10 a door.   Continue reading ‘Ways to Save Money When Heating Your Home this Winter’ »

 
 

Thursday 15 October, 2015

Inspections for Oil Tank

ltankAn improperly working oil tank can cost you hundreds of wasted dollars.  Whether you are buying a new home or have an older pump that seems to be going through oil faster than it usually does, an inspection can tell a lot.  It is important to have your heating oil storage tank regularly maintained and inspected to ensure you will not only be getting what you pay for, but also to avoid costly repairs and lost oil.

Locating the Tank

It is important to determine if your home has an above ground storage tank (AST) or an underground storage tank (UST).  If you are purchasing a new or new-to-you home through a mortgage lender, they could deny your loan until proper inspection is completed.  They may deny it all together given the bad reputation of UST.  Even if your tank is above ground, it could still be leaking or have faulty parts.  Lynchburg is known for having some of the richest history in our nation and that means older establishments that need to be regularly maintained. Continue reading ‘Inspections for Oil Tank’ »

 
 

Monday 05 October, 2015

History of Heating Oil to Warm Homes

hot tea in bedIf you have ever been in a home warmed with heating oil, there is a depth to the warmth not found in homes that use electric or space heaters.  It is the most efficient source of heat and has a bright future to go along with its progressive heritage.  Originally marketed as a medicinal product, it wasn’t until a Pennsylvania chemist provided the needed insight to distill it and transform the energy industry as we know it.

From Wood to Oil

When our nation was first formed, fire was the way to procure heat.  It was used to keep the family out of the bitter cold and to keep warm food in bellies.  The use of oil was not a new method when it was first drilled in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859.  There are records of it being used as early as the 4th century in China.  But for the Western World, coal was rapidly replacing wood until the internal combustion engine allowed for a more economical refinement of oil that heating oil emerged.  But it still wasn’t until the turn of the 20th century that heating oil for homes began to surge and become the number one fuel source for home heating in Lynchburg, VA. Continue reading ‘History of Heating Oil to Warm Homes’ »

 
 

Tuesday 03 December, 2013

History of Home Heating

New Home Construction Framed with Wood StudsToday we are lucky enough to live in a world where we can control the temperatures in our homes with the click of a button or turn of a dial. I imagine most of us never stop to think of how people heated their homes even 100 years ago, it was certainly not that easy! With the cold weather letting us know it’s here to stay with this recent January like cold spell, lets take a look back to the origins of home heating.

There is evidence of central heating systems used as early as 100AD by the Roman Empire. It was actually an ingenious set-up for its time, using hot air to create underfloor heating. Fueled by wood, the system was both expensive to maintain and labor-intensive to run therefore it was limited to mainly upper class households. Other forms of central heating systems that have been seen throughout the years following the Romans vary from wood-fired furnaces in Spain (early 1200’s) to the Russian’s hydrological systems (1700’s) and finally the first steam-heating systems in England in the 1800’s. These lead to the modern American systems, which began with wood based systems.

Wood was the main source of home heating and remained so until 1885 when coal overtook wood for the first time. At the turn of the 20th century low cost cast iron radiators and riveted-steel coal furnaces were common in many homes across the country. These were kept in basements and since electricity was not yet available, homes were heated by natural convection otherwise known as the tried and true, warm air rises mantra. This process was facilitated through ducts that provided the warm air access from the furnace to the rooms above. Things began to change in the mid-1930’s with the forced air coal furnaces. Electricity had been incorporated into the design and electric fans were used to distribute the heated air.

It wasn’t long after that gas and oil were adopted as primary fuel sources and soon made coal heating and the need to “stoke the fire” a thing of the past. Today American homes are still primarily heating their homes from these sources. About 60% of homes are currently using gas and 10% use oil. It will be interesting to see where the world of home heating leads in the years and centuries to come, no doubt they will become more efficient and increasingly environmentally friendly.

 
 

Wednesday 27 November, 2013

Pros of Oil Heat

oil pumps on sunsetAccording to the United States Energy Information Administration, as of 2009 about 10% of homes (approximately 14 million total) in America use oil or propane to heat their households. You may often hear about the negative aspects of using either oil or propane. It is often portrayed as being expensive and bad for the environment, well here is a look at the pros of oil heating!

One of the biggest pluses to using oil heat is safety. A lit match dropped into your fuel tank will put itself out as it is only flammable in a vaporized state. Not only is it not explosive, if your furnace or tank is leaking, the oil fumes are generally not deadly. If the system is leaking carbon monoxide, homeowners will usually be able to tell far in advance that their system isn’t working properly with obvious signs like smoke, soot, and other types of odors.

Another great aspect to oil heat is that it puts out more heat (140,000 per British Thermal Unit/BTU for oil vs. 100,000 for gas) than any other heat source making your home more comfortable. Burning with the hottest flame of any other home heating source, your home will heat faster all while using less fuel. It is also a more reliable source in that you have your own supply stored in your home. You don’t need to worry about pipe pressure that could compromise the temperature in your home that can sometimes happen with gas heating.

Oil heat can also be economical. When upgrading to a newer heating system, oil furnaces are more reasonably priced than gas furnaces and will save you up to 40% on fuel costs over an older system. In addition, regularly maintained equipment will ensure that your system is running at its peak. Sterling Oil also offers financing in order to make sure our customers are able to heat their homes without worry this winter.

Finally, despite popular belief, oil heat is clean. If you have a newer oil burner, there is almost no smoke or debris from combustion. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, oil burners are one of the cleanest sources of combustion. There has also been a move to make heating oil better with the recent introductions of low sulfur oil options that use biofuel and burn even cleaner than natural gas. Home heating oil is also nontoxic, carcinogen free, and biodegradable!

 
 

Monday 25 November, 2013

Holiday Season Lynchburg Virginia 2013

Christmas background with ballsStores across the country seem to be preparing for the Christmas holiday earlier every year. In fact I saw Christmas trees replacing pumpkins at a local grocery store on Halloween day! Despite the stores each trying to get a jump on bringing in holiday shoppers, the city of Lynchburg thankfully waits until after Thanksgiving to begin its month long celebration. This year Downtown has a bunch of great activities for you and your family to enjoy.

The festivities begin December 3rd at 5pm with Yuletide Square. It is an open house event in Downtown with fifteen businesses participating. The trolley will be running for the length of the event, until 9pm, to help shoppers make it to all the participating shops and restaurants. This year’s Yuletide Square is being sponsored by The Clutch Guide and 93.7 KHF. Continue reading ‘Holiday Season Lynchburg Virginia 2013’ »

 
 

Tuesday 19 November, 2013

Furnace Replacement

furnaceOne of the easiest way to cut the cost of heating your home is to keep your heating system in tip top shape. This can be done by having your system serviced annually and keeping up on changing filters when needed on your own. Unfortunately there will come a time when your heating system needs to be replaced entirely. While this may be a big cost to you upfront, it will save you money over time as furnaces and boilers have continue to become more and more energy efficient.

There are many signs that it might be time to replace your old heating system. Age may be the first indication that you are in need of new equipment. Furnaces generally have a shelf life of 25 years and boilers may last up to 50 years. If your system is approaching these ages it will be time to upgrade sooner than later. Other indications that your heating system might be on its way out includes frequent calls for repairs or an unexplained increase in your energy bills. These are signs that your furnace or boiler are not as working as efficiently as they could or should be. Other less obvious signs include noisy equipment, rooms that may be too hot or too cold, a home that is too dry in wintertime, and/or excessive dust that can be distributed by leaky ducts.

Even if your system is not quite on its last leg yet, you may still want to consider replacing your existing system. Depending on when your system was built, it will score various ratings on the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) chart. Systems installed prior to 1970 will generally score a 65% or lower. This percentage number tells you how much fuel is actually being converted into heat, and a 65% means only that amount out of 100% is actually used to heat your home, the rest is turned into exhaust and is ultimately wasted. The highest efficiency equipment you can purchase on the market today has over a 96% rating, this is over 30% less fuel waste! You would see savings immediately if you switch from one of the older systems. Find out where your heating equipment stands in the ratings on the Department of Energy website.

Whether the time is right to replace your heating system put of necessity or if you are just weighing the pros and cons of simply updating your working but inefficient equipment, you will see significant cost savings immediately. So now might be the time to take the plunge, especially before the real winter weather sets in!

 
  • Posted by : Heating
  • Written By: admin1
 

Monday 04 November, 2013

Petroleum Products

overall view of oil and gas installationAt Sterling Oil Company we offer a number of different petroleum products such as kerosene, fuel oil, and various levels of gasoline. You hear of these products quite often in daily life but do you really know what they are? Here is a quick look at each of the petroleum types carried by Sterling Oil.

Probably the most commonly known petroleum product is home heating oil otherwise known as #2 Fuel Oil. The number ‘2’ is actually a class of oil rated by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) classification system. It is delivered in a low viscosity liquid (meaning it is not too thick) state and is used widely throughout the United States at just under 7 million households.

Sterling Oil also carries ‘Low Sulfur (LS)’, a cleaner alternative to #2 Fuel Oil. LS is marketed as such because its sulfur content, is at the most, 15 parts per million.  To obtain this lower sulfur standard additional steps are taken during the refining process. It is a big step in the effort to lower emissions and become more environmentally friendly.

Kerosene is probably one of the more versatile petroleum products but is generally associated with lighting (such as kerosene lamps), cooking, and heating. Did you know it is also used as jet fuel and as an ingredient in insecticides? Like #2 Fuel Oil, kerosene has a low viscosity and is derived through the distilling of petroleum. It was the first to be extracted for large commercial purposes in the mid 1800’s.

In addition to all the products above, we also carry three grades of gasoline – regular, midgrade, and premium. The difference in the grade is based on the octane rating of the three. The higher the octane content, the higher the grade. Gasoline with a higher rating is less likely to self-ignite and will burn more evenly. When you are at the gas pump, the gasoline rating of 87, 89, or 91 (sometimes 93) correlates to their level of octane.

Various fuels have been distilled from petroleum for over 2000 years, first discovered by Arabian scientists. Petroleum products are, in short, very complex mixtures. In fact, there are many products we come across in our everyday lives that we do not realize are derived from petroleum, such as linoleum, perfumes, soap, and even vitamin capsules. Sterling Oil is proud of the petroleum products we carry and are proud to be serving the beautiful city of Lynchburg.

 
 

Friday 04 October, 2013

Lower Winter Heating Costs

Frau erhält HeizkostenabrechnungWith the fall season in full swing and the big box stores already stocking their shelves with holiday decorations, it’s time to start thinking about and preparing for winter. One of the biggest concerns facing families each and every year is the cost of heating their homes during these cold months. Here are some good tips and tricks that can help to lower your heating bill this winter.

You don’t need to wait for the cold weather to arrive to prep your home and perform maintenance on your heating system. An easy step to prevent both heat loss in the winter and air conditioning in the summer is to ensure any and all gaps in doors and door frames are sealed. Also taking the time to re-caulk the drafty areas around your windows will prevent air from escaping. Take a walk around your home, paying attention to furniture that may be blocking radiators. This could prevent heat from circulating around the room when needed so you may want to consider rearranging your furniture. If it has been awhile, you might also want to get your heating system checked to make sure everything is in tip top shape and ready to tackle the marathon that is winter heating.

Once the cold does arrive, keep shades and curtains open during the day to maximize the sunlight flow into your house, this will help to naturally warm your home. Close them both once the sun has set to prevent heat loss. Keep you kitchen vents, closest doors, and fireplace dampers closed to also prevent warm air from escaping. In addition, turn down your thermostat a degree or two while you are out or sleeping and turn the water heater temperature down to 115-120 degrees ensuring you will use less energy without really noticing a difference.

Finally, there are bigger steps you can take that might cost a little up front but will pay off in the long run. Installing a programmable thermostat will lower fuel costs over the course of a year and will also prevent you from having to constantly regulate the temperature manually. If you have them, lowering storm windows will keep air from escaping and if you don’t have them it might be an investment you want to make.

Don’t fret over the winter cold this year. With these tips you shouldn’t have to anguish over your home heating bill, instead enjoy the winter weather! As Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 
  • Posted by : Heating
  • Written By: admin1
 
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