The average Burt’s Reliable customer saves $150 on their taxes!

tax credit new york What does the start of the year mean to you? New Year’s resolutions? Lots of holiday leftovers in the fridge?

We know that many homeowners on the North Fork and East End of Long Island start fretting about tax time as soon as the calendar year flips over. And after months filled with record-high inflation and painful increases in energy prices, the prospect of ponying up a tax return payment is less than pleasant.

Luckily, Burt’s Reliable heating oil delivery customers can look forward to a bit of relief in the form of a clean heating fuel tax credit.

What is this tax credit? It’s a way to reduce the New York income tax burden for Empire State residents that use eco-friendly Bioheat® fuel —the product we deliver to your home!

Why does New York offer this tax credit?

New York’s government has an ambitious goal to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, with an 85 percent reduction by 2050. One way they’re encouraging decarbonization is by incentivizing the use of clean-burning biofuel in heating and hot water systems. Biofuel is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum heating oil that’s produced from recycled and organic products.

So, New York state offers residents an income tax credit for purchasing biofuel-blended heating oil.

How do I calculate my income tax credit?

You can claim a credit of one cent per gallon multiplied by the percentage of biofuel in your heating oil.

Burt’s Reliable customers receive Natural Heating Oil® at a 20 percent blend, also called B20. This entitles our customers to a 20-cents per gallon tax credit. The average customer, using 750 gallons of heating oil annually, receives a $150 tax credit. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

Will Burt’s Reliable help me figure out my total clean heating fuel credit?

Homeowners must have proof to back up the clean fuel tax credit they claim. And we provide it to our customers each year.

At the beginning of the year, we send you a summary of all the fuel deliveries you received for the prior year, including the dates and the number of gallons purchased. We send this annual summary via “snail mail” or email, depending on whether we have your current email address on file.

With the statement, you or your tax accountant can quickly calculate your state income tax credit for the year.

Burt’s Reliable — Committed to your comfort and the environment

Many of our competitors sell a much lower biofuel blend for their heating oil. We opt for a B20 — among the highest blends available — because it’s much better for the planet and your home.

A B20 Bioheat blend burns cleaner than natural gas, and you don’t need to modify any of your equipment. You’ll receive the same robust heat as traditional heating oil, plus Bioheat fuel leaves fewer deposits in your system. This means you’ll need fewer cleanings and less maintenance!

Before you file your income tax returns, be sure to confirm your New York clean fuel credit.

hvac tune up new yorkAs Suffolk County’s most trusted HVAC service provider, Burt’s Reliable knows the heating and cooling systems of eastern Long Island. Homeowners often ask us how necessary regular maintenance is for their heating and cooling equipment.

Let’s discuss the importance of regular HVAC service and what can happen if you skip it.

How often do I need to service my HVAC equipment?

In general, you should schedule heating and cooling tune-ups once a year. However, there are some instances where this may not be necessary. For example, if you have a vacation home that sits empty for half the year, you may get by with less frequent service for the off-season system.

We recommend that you arrange HVAC service when you aren’t using your equipment. The winter is an excellent time to schedule an air conditioning tune-up. Similarly, heating equipment tune-ups in summer are a good idea. That way, you don’t need to shut down your heating or cooling when you need it most, and it will be ready to turn on well before you need it. You don’t need to worry about maintenance “wearing off.”

However, if you haven’t had maintenance on your heating equipment in a while, don’t put off a tune-up until summer. It’s better to arrange service now so you don’t find yourself needing a sudden HVAC repair.

What happens if I skip HVAC service?

Heating and cooling system tune-ups are like annual physicals. They allow skilled and experienced professionals an opportunity to look at the system’s overall health, fix any minor or lingering issues and do the necessary work to keep things working efficiently.

Just like with an annual physical, you skip your yearly HVAC service at your own peril. Here’s what can happen if your maintenance lapses.

Less comfort and higher fuel bills

HVAC systems become less effective over time. Heating equipment that’s over 10 years old might be functioning with less than 60 percent efficiency. You’ll use more oil to keep your home warm (and more electricity to stay cool in the summer). But regular maintenance helps your equipment perform better and use less energy overall. The result is better heating and cooling — and lower bills!

More frequent breakdowns and repairs

Did you know that four out of five heating system breakdowns could have been prevented with proper maintenance? When performing a tune-up on your HVAC system, our technician can fix small problems that could lead to repairs down the line. This will also slow the decline of your system’s effectiveness and prolong its lifespan.

A voided manufacturer’s warranty

Even if your equipment is covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, you need regular HVAC maintenance. Most warranties require an annual tune-up. If you skip it and need an HVAC repair, you could end up paying out of pocket for something the manufacturer would typically cover.

Burt’s Reliable is here to service your HVAC system

To ensure regular maintenance from a top-notch team of technicians, enroll in an affordable Burt’s Reliable service plan. With it, you’re guaranteed an annual tune-up, priority service and discounts on repairs.

Don’t put off your heating tune-up one more minute. Contact us today to request service!

Get those clogged drains flowing yourself or with a professional plumber

plumbing service Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing services the Burt’s Reliable team handles. Bathroom sinks, showers, garbage disposals and utility rooms —drains constantly need to be cleaned somewhere.

There’s something incredibly frustrating about dealing with a stopped drain. Many homeowners want to try to clear it themselves, and there are instances where you can clean a drain on your own. However, many drain blockages are stubborn. You could seriously damage your home’s plumbing if you aren’t careful.

So, before you start jamming tools or pouring chemicals into your drains, allow us to answer some frequent drain cleaning questions.

Why do drains become clogged?

For the most part, when a sink or other receptacle starts draining slowly — or stops draining altogether — it’s because of the normal accumulation of substances in your drainpipes. In bathrooms, this could be because of hair, dirt, soap or other hygiene products. In the kitchen, it’s usually an accumulation of food and grease. For utility sinks, there are any number of potential culprits.

If you have a little one at home, the clog might also involve an object that shouldn’t have gone down the drain, like a toy or pull-up.

How do I know if I need to clean my drain?

A slow or standing drain typically requires cleaning. The same is true of a drain that emits strong odors or has drain flies. If multiple drains in your home drain slowly, the issue could be a main sewer clog. These are often caused by tree roots, wet wipes or other dense objects.

Can I clean a clogged drain myself?

Generally speaking, you can clean lightly clogged drains with simple, at-home methods. These include the following:

  1. Straighten a wire coat hanger and make a half-inch hook at the end. Push it to the bottom of the drain and twist it to remove hair or other obstructions.
  2. You can pour in a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to dissolve the obstruction.
  3. Pouring boiling water into the drain can loosen the obstruction, but only do this once. Boiling water can damage joints in PVC piping.

Be careful not to damage your pipes. Always err on the side of caution. Also, avoid caustic drain cleaners, which can severely corrode your pipes.

When should I call a professional to clean my drain?

You can try the at-home fixes listed above, but if they don’t resolve the issue, you should call a licensed plumber to clean your drain. In the case of a clog in your main line (causing multiple drains to be clogged), you should always call a professional. Luckily, cleaning drains is a quick and relatively inexpensive procedure that yields immediate benefits.

Households on Long Island’s North Fork and East End trust the Burt’s Reliable team for large and small plumbing jobs. We are a certified plumbing contractor and stand behind our work.

Need a drain cleaning? Request our services today!

Don’t get confused about which fuel heats your home

Going all the way back to 1917, Burt’s Reliable has provided heating oil to homes throughout the North Fork and East End of Long Island. In fact, we provide many types of fuel, from home heating oil to on-road diesel.

You might hear the expression fuel oil from time to time, perhaps even in reference to the heating oil that powers your boiler or furnace. But are fuel oil and heating oil the same thing?

How are heating oil and fuel oil different?

Heating oil is fuel oil, but not all fuel oil is heating oil. Did we confuse you there?
Fuel oil is any petroleum product that can power a home heating system or an engine. A stricter definition of it refers to heavier fuels created from crude oil — heavier than gasoline, for example.
So, what products fall into this fuel oil category?

  1. Kerosene — This fuel has been around for a long time. It’s made by distilling crude oil at extremely high temperatures. Kerosene has a low “gel point.” This means it can continue to work well in sustained freezing temperatures. We often deliver it to customers with mobile homes or outdoor fuel tanks.
  2. Diesel — You might be most familiar with the diesel sold at your neighborhood gas station. Diesel is used both on the road and off. Some off-road uses include farm equipment and power generators. There’s no chemical difference between on-road and off-road diesel. They just taxed differently.
  3. Heating oil — Petroleum-based home heating oil, also called no 2 fuel oil, is essentially the same as off-road diesel. However, our heating oil delivery customers receive an eco-friendlier product.

What’s special about Burt’s Reliable heating oil?

While petroleum heating oil is similar to diesel, Burt’s Reliable delivers a product called Bioheat® fuel. This is a blend of ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and biofuel. Biofuel is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum. It’s made with organic and recycled ingredients. These include the following:

  • soybean oil
  • used cooking oils
  • inedible corn oil
  • canola
  • tallow
  • algae

What makes our Bioheat fuel so special? To begin with, we use a blend containing 20 percent biofuel (called B20). This blend has a lower carbon intensity than natural gas. It reduces sulfur oxide emissions by as much as 80 percent and nitrogen oxide by roughly 20 percent. B20 Bioheat fuel also significantly reduces mercury and particulate matter emissions.

Additionally, our heating oil is much cleaner-burning and reduces the deposits left in your heating equipment. This will reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do and prolong the life of your system.

And if that’s not enough to get you excited, Bioheat fuel can also lower your New York state tax bill. Empire State residents qualify for a 20¢-per-gallon income tax credit for using B20 Bioheat fuel. Our average customer saves $150 per year.

For friendly, dependable heating oil delivery in Suffolk County, get in touch with Burt’s Reliable today.

5 key facts to understanding what diesel is and how it’s used

Unless you manage a fleet of large vehicles or run a farm or construction site, you might only think about diesel when you notice it listed at the gas pump.

In the U.S., pretty much all private passenger vehicles run on unleaded gasoline. Even so, diesel is the fuel of choice for most commercial ventures. It powers many buses, trucks and forklifts. It’s used for power generators and farm equipment. It fuels sea vessels, too.

Here are some key facts you should know about diesel fuel.

1. Diesel is not the same as gasoline.

Both gasoline and diesel are derived from crude oil (although some diesel comes from biomass too). However, these fuels come from different hydrocarbons separated from crude oil when it’s refined. Diesel is denser than gasoline. It won’t evaporate into the air the way that gas will. It’s also more energy-rich than gasoline, producing 10 to 20 percent more energy in combustion.

2. Diesel engines function differently than gasoline engines.

Gasoline is flammable, so all it needs is air and a spark to ignite. Applying a spark to gas is what makes a gasoline engine run. On the other hand, diesel is combustible but not flammable. If you dropped a lit match into a bucket of diesel, it would go out like the diesel was water. Diesel engines are combustion engines. They apply heat and pressure to cause diesel to explode.

Diesel engines have a longer lifespan and get better mileage for their fuel.

3. There is both off-road and on-road diesel.

On-road and off-road diesel are sold separately, but there’s no chemical difference between them. The only difference is their appearance, intended usage and price.

  • On-road diesel is clear and sold at gas pumps. It’s subject to taxes that can often be quite high.
  • Off-road diesel is dyed red and used for farming, construction, power generation and other non-road purposes. It isn’t subject to taxes and cannot be sold in gas stations. You can face a fine if you’re found using off-road diesel in a road vehicle.

4. Diesel is much cleaner than it used to be.

Diesel fuel used to have a very high sulfur content, which was harmful to the environment and exacerbated breathing illnesses. In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a fuel standard that reduced diesel’s sulfur content to 15 parts per million or less. Ultra-low sulfur diesel is the norm in the U.S. now.

5. Burt’s Reliable has the best diesel delivery in Suffolk County.

For businesses, farms, worksites and public buildings in the East End and North Fork of Long Island, we are the go-to company for premium diesel delivery. Our on-site delivery reduces your lost working hours — no more sending vehicles to a gas station, no more collecting and reconciling receipts and no more running out unexpectedly. We’ll work closely with you to create a customized delivery plan.

Ready to get started receiving top-quality diesel fuel? Get in touch with Burt’s Reliable today!

Plumbing costs can vary depending on the job and the worker

plumber cost You might not think about your home’s plumbing every day. After all, most of your pipes are hidden behind walls and ceilings. But that can change quickly when you notice an unexpected drip from above or water stars pooling around your water heater.

When that happens, you’ll want a plumber in your home as fast as possible. But how much should you expect to pay?

Average cost for common plumbing jobs

Probably the most significant variable in the cost of your plumbing is the work being done. Plumbing encompasses a lot of different jobs. Here are some national averages for common plumbing repairs, installations and maintenance:

Leaking pipes $150-$350
Drain clogs $100-$275
Gas pipe repair $250-$750
Sump pump repairs $300-$700
New faucets $150-$350
Toilet Installation $200-$525
Shower or bath installation $1,000-$5,500
Main shutoff valve repair $375-$600
Rerouting pipes $650-$1,500

This is not a comprehensive list, and since these are national averages, the price might be higher or lower in your region of the country.

As with any housework, some factors add costs to a plumbing job. Older homes may require the replacement of outdated piping or valves. Accessing a leak in the wall or ceiling may reveal water damage, mold or other issues. It’s essential to have a trustworthy and transparent plumber who takes the time to explain everything that needs to be done and how much it will cost.

Tips for controlling your plumbing expenses

Every homeowner has had a sinking feeling when a simple repair starts to balloon into a significant expense. A lot of the anxiety comes from uncertainty. Here are a few simple ways to assert some control over your plumbing expenses:

  • Familiarize yourself with your home’s plumbing. This can be as simple as knowing where your main shutoff valve is or having a general idea of how old the pipes in each room are. This familiarity will help you speak to your plumber about what needs to be fixed.
  • Make sure you’re using a licensed plumber. Nothing is as expensive as cheap labor. Going with an unlicensed contractor often means lots of fixes in the future. Burt’s Reliable only works with licensed and insured plumbers who get the job done right the first time.
  • Get a written estimate. Because jobs can balloon, it’s crucial to have a detailed written estimate to refer to.
  • Get multiple jobs done on the same day. While your plumber is dealing with a leaky pipe, have them look at the toilet that’s giving you trouble or the clogged drain in the utility sink. Consolidating jobs can help you save money spent on multiple house calls.

Burt’s Reliable — the North Fork’s trusted plumbing partner

In addition to offering dependable heating oil delivery and equipment services, Burt’s Reliable is a certified plumbing contractor. We handle all sizes of jobs, from clearing plugged drains to installing new water lines. Homeowners in Suffolk County know they can count on us. It’s no wonder that many customers actually leave their house keys with us!

To request plumbing service, drop us a line. We always have staff ready!

Three steps for determining the right tank for your house

oil tank installation new york When was your home’s heating oil tank installed?

Since oil tanks can serve a home for over 30 years, there’s a decent chance that your tank was put in long before you bought your home. Many of our North Fork customers don’t know how old their tanks are.

While oil tanks can last a long time, they eventually need to be replaced. It’s a good idea to have them checked periodically by a professional since cleaning up a tank leak can be incredibly pricy.
Also, if you’re considering upgrading your home’s heating, that might affect your oil storage needs.

Today’s heating oil tanks come in a range of sizes and shapes. The home comfort pros at Burt’s Reliable can help you find the perfect tank and get it installed quickly and correctly. Here are three steps you should take when assessing your oil storage needs.

1. Assess your living space

The first factor you should consider when selecting a heating oil tank is the size of your home. Here’s a rundown of standard tank sizes:

Tank Size Living space it’s generally suitable for
 110-gallon  Apartments & houses under 1,000 square feet
 165-gallon  2-bedroom homes
 275-gallon  3-bedroom homes
 400-gallon  3 to 4-bedroom homes

For a larger home, you can multiply these tank volumes to come up with a ballpark estimate of your storage needs.

You also must consider the space restrictions of the room holding your tank. Some homes cannot accommodate certain tank sizes.

2.Think about your heating oil usage

The number of people in your house can significantly affect how much heating oil you use. If you plan on welcoming a child or inviting an elderly relative to live with you, this will increase your fuel usage. The same is true if you have recently started working from home. Working in your home all winter will require you to run the heat much more often.

While determining how much heating oil you’ll use, build in a safety margin. Cold snaps, nor’easters and persistent snow are facts of life in our corner of New York. A heating oil tank with 30 percent extra capacity will make a big difference when inclement weather rolls in. Plus, you won’t need to get a heating oil delivery quite as often!

3. Call in a professional

As a full-service heating oil company, we can assure you that you’ll save a lot of headaches — and avoid equipment issues down the line — if you bring in certified professionals to replace your heating oil tank.

Not only do we have a wide selection of state-of-the-art tanks and the know-how to install them efficiently; our technicians are also experienced in the best ways to transfer your existing fuel and dispose of the old tank. If you have an old underground tank, we’ll fill it with sand or foam to decommission it. We know Suffolk County’s regulations around walling and materials and can ensure you’re in compliance.

We’d love to connect and provide you with an estimate on a new tank. Contact our team today!

On October 5, OPEC announced it was slashing production by two million barrels a day. Within just three days, our suppliers increased the cost of heating oil by 70 cents per gallon. That’s right, 70 cents per gallon.

This is not just impacting heating oil. Expect natural gas, electricity, gasoline and propane to move higher too. Of course, this is not simply about supply and demand. We’ve learned that when prices move this far this fast, you can always see the impact of Wall Street firms that jump to take advantage of the momentum to make a quick buck. (Or should we say millions of bucks?) It frustrates the heck out of us.

Of course, things can turn around just as quickly. We saw prices spike in spring only to drop by over a dollar in summer. There are just too many variables to know where things will go from here.

Here are a few things to bear in mind:

  1. We hate high prices and volatility just as much as you do. It hurts our customers, hurts our company, and makes planning very difficult.
  2. This year, supply issues could become problematic. While we have excellent relationships with our suppliers, it is imperative that you go on (or stay on) automatic delivery. This way, if we go on “allocation” from suppliers, have drivers out sick because of COVID, or face severe weather, we can manage capacity better and keep you warm.
  3. Don’t be surprised by big bills. If you’d like to know how much you used last year so you can project this year’s bills more accurately, call us. This is going to be painful, but it will be helpful to be able to plan for it.
  4. If you are having trouble keeping up with your payments, it is critical that you call us as soon as you realize there’s an issue. We can work with you but only if you communicate with us early.

I will try to keep you informed as events unfold. There are many things we can’t control, but we will always prioritize our existing customers over new ones. We will go the extra mile to keep you safe and warm. And we will be there when you need us.

Everything you need to know about efficient, eco-friendly heating oil

biofuel new york With every passing year, the harmful effects of climate change become more and more apparent. All the concerning news about the health of our planet can feel overwhelming. What can families in Suffolk County do to help the environment?

At Burt’s Reliable, we are as concerned as you are and want to do everything possible to lower the greenhouse gas emissions in our corner of New York. That’s why our heating oil delivery customers receive Bioheat fuel, one of the greenest and most sustainable home fuels on the market today. But what is Bioheat fuel? Here’s a primer on this effective, eco-friendly product.

What Bioheat fuel is

Bioheat fuel is a heating oil product composed of ultra-low sulfur heating fuel and biofuel. Biofuel functions the same as petroleum-based diesel, but it’s produced using organic and recycled feedstocks. These can include:

  • used cooking oil
  • animal fats
  • inedible corn oil
  • soybean oil
  • algae

Bioheat fuel can be used in all oil-fired home heating systems without modifications. It is a more environmentally friendly fuel than either traditional heating oil or natural gas.

Bioheat fuel is great for the environment — and your home budget

Because it incorporates biofuel as a gallon-for-gallon replacement for petroleum, Bioheat fuel significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, including:

  • carbon dioxide
  • mercury
  • particulate matter
  • sulfur and nitrogen oxides

At Burt’s Reliable, we proudly deliver a B20 Bioheat blend, meaning that the heating oil you receive from us contains 20 percent biofuel. At this percentage blend, Bioheat fuel’s greenhouse gas performance is better than that of natural gas.

Right now, there’s a lot of talk about electrification — or converting all the state’s home heating to electric heat pumps. This will be a disruptive process and will cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars to install new electric heating equipment and rewire homes to accommodate it. And today’s heat pumps struggle to keep homes warm in the coldest months of the year.

By contrast, Bioheat fuel is already in use throughout New York and doesn’t require expensive equipment conversions. Advances in higher biofuel blends are putting us on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050!

And there’s no loss of heating capacity with Bioheat fuel. It has the highest Btu content of any alternative fuel. Even better, it burns so efficiently and cleanly that it leaves fewer deposits in your heating system, reducing wear and tear and extending its lifespan!

New York rewards the use of Bioheat fuel

If you receive B20 Bioheat fuel from Burt’s Reliable, you’re eligible for a significant tax incentive.

New York State’s Clean Fuel Credit gives Empire State residents a $.01 per gallon income tax credit for every percentage point of biofuel in their heating oil blend. Our B20 blend entitles you to a $0.20/gallon tax credit for each gallon purchased.

Our average customer saves $150 per year!

Do you want to start receiving B20 Bioheat fuel at your Long Island home? The team at Burt’s Reliable can make that happen. Contact us to become a customer today.

You can often wait until you’ve used 1,000 gallons of heating oil

heating system service new yorkWith summer drawing to a close and cold weather on the horizon, we are starting to get more calls about scheduling annual tune-ups. The early fall is an excellent time to schedule yearly service for your boiler or furnace. The colder the weather gets, the faster our time slots fill up. If you schedule your tune-up now, you’ll have the best choice of appointments.

The question remains — do you need to schedule a heating system tune-up every year?

The answer depends on your circumstances.

The benefits of annual maintenance

We always tell customers that their heating system is an investment in their family’s comfort and their home’s value. Additionally, an oil-fired furnace or boiler is a pricey purchase, so you absolutely want to give your heating equipment the best protection possible. An annual tune-up is a great start. For example, regular maintenance can ensure that:

  • Your system is less likely to break down. Four out of five heating problems could have been prevented with routine service. Our technicians identify lingering issues that can lead to breakdowns.
  • You’ll spend less money on fuel. A well-maintained boiler or furnace will run more efficiently, burning less oil.
  • Your equipment lasts longer. Proper maintenance adds years to your system’s life, which pushes off the unpleasant task of replacing it.
  • Your house will be safer. Our tune-ups include safety checks to ensure your system is venting correctly and no dangerous fumes are accumulating. We’ll also check your filters and clean your burners, improving indoor air quality.

When to schedule annual maintenance … and when to hold off

As you can see, your heating system can benefit significantly from a tune-up. Scheduling equipment maintenance every year is often the best course of action, but that’s not always the case.

Here’s a rule of thumb: schedule a tune-up when you’ve burned about 1,000 gallons of heating oil. On average, a 2,500-square-foot home in the Northeast will use just under that amount of oil in a year. So, for many homeowners, it just makes sense to tune up your heating system annually.

But if you have a vacation home in Suffolk County that’s not occupied full-time in the fall and winter, your fuel usage might be low enough that you can hold off. You might also have a little wiggle room because the B20 blend Bioheat® fuel we deliver is so clean burning that it leaves minimal deposits in your equipment.

You should also consider that the manufacturer’s warranty for your furnace or boiler might require you to get a tune-up every year. If that’s the case, you don’t want to skip service, or you could end up paying for a repair your warranty would typically cover.

We also recommend that you sign up for Burt’s Oil Heat Service Plan. This coverage includes a complimentary annual tune-up. It also provides discounts on repairs and guaranteed priority service.

Contact us to schedule your tune-up or learn more about our service plans.