Martin Romanelli

Dear Friends,

For a lot of folks, when something goes wrong, there’s often a mad scramble to get ahold of a repairman. But as a Burt’s Reliable customer, you know that you only need one number to call, whether you have a problem with your heating, your plumbing or your air conditioning.

We understand that people basically want to keep things simple. As our customer, you know that you can trust the person we send to make a repair. Many of our customers trust us so much that they actually give us the keys to their home!

It means a lot that you place your trust in us in this way, but we know you wouldn’t do it if we hadn’t come through for you in the past. Nothing gives us greater pride or pleasure than to make our customers happy, because we know that they won’t go anywhere as long as we keep up the good work.

Winter is the time when you really depend on us, and you can count on us to be there for you all through the cold weather — and beyond.

Martin Romanelli

Shoveling snow

Don’t let a snowy or icy driveway prevent us from making a delivery to you this season. Navigating fuel trucks on steep driveways is one of our biggest obstacles in the winter. Safety codes prohibit us from parking on an incline unless it is clear of snow and ice.

Please also remember to keep a clear path to your oil fill pipe after a snowfall. This makes it easier for our drivers to get fuel to you when you need it the most.

If you have an underground tank, please “flag” the fill pipe so our driver can locate it quickly. On behalf of our drivers, thank you for your help!

Granby oil tank

They say that you get better with age, but this does not apply to oil tanks. If your tank is more than 30 years old, we strongly recommend that you replace it. If you’re replacing an underground tank, we partner with trustworthy companies that can do a foam abatement — there is no major digging involved.

If you think it’s time to replace your tank, you’ll be happy to know that today’s tanks are lightyears ahead of the old models in quality. We highly recommend the Granby Ecogard aboveground tank, which is virtually leak proof, with warranties of up to 25 years.

When we replace your tank, we will also bring your fuel lines up to code to provide even more insurance against leaks. Please contact us today to learn more.

This is the time of year when you want to stay comfortable, avoid problems and save money on heat. To help you keep from getting lost, we offer a few tips.

Curved road

Smooth Road Ahead for Heating Oil

Oil heat continues to keep millions of homes warm and safe no matter the weather. What’s more, recent declines in heating oil prices and positive forecasts for stable prices in the foreseeable future have made oil heat an even more appealing option.


Additionally, the oil heat industry continues to undergo a revolution that is significantly improving oil heat’s efficiency and cleanliness, thanks to vast reductions of sulfur levels.

As a result, heating oil burns more cleanly, with lower emissions. You also benefit from better heating efficiency and easier maintenance, since low-sulfur oil creates fewer deposits on heat exchangers.

This is only the beginning. The quality of heating oil will get even better in the years ahead. And that’s good news for the environment — and for your pocketbook.

“Continued improvements in the quality of heating oil will help it burn more cleanly, with lower emissions, than natural gas.”

Tips to Avoid a Bumpy Ride

We want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your heating system. Here are a few tips on how to keep it running safely and efficiently.

  • 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 air flow.
  • If you have a steam boiler, check the 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.
  • If you have an oil furnace, change or clean the filters about once a month. Dust and dirt are the natural enemies of your furnace; a dirty filter compromises efficiency and can even result in a shutdown.
  • Never set your thermostat below 60°. When your thermostat setting is too low, you risk 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 your home.


Install carbon monoxide detectors near all your bedrooms.
Note: In the unlikely event that an oil heating system is emitting carbon monoxide, you’ll usually see smoke as a clue that something is wrong. A gas heating system does not issue a visual warning sign. Most leaks can be prevented through regular equipment maintenance.

Your Destination: Comfort and Savings

With all that you have to deal with during the winter, the last thing you want is to lose sleep over concerns that your old furnace or boiler is going to conk out and leave you cold.

When you purchase a new high-efficiency oil heating system, you’ll immediately eliminate those worries.

You’ll save a lot of money down the road too. A new system should help you save up to 20% on your annual heating costs. If you significantly improve system efficiency by upgrading from a really old system to a high-efficiency unit, your savings could be 40% or more! You’ll feel the difference in comfort. And you’ll also save on repairs, because you’ll minimize the potential of a breakdown, which is a common problem with older systems.

Continuing to heat your home with oil just makes sense. Today’s oil heat is cleaner, greener and more economical than ever. The latest oil heating systems are small, smart and super-efficient. And there are many different equipment options out there that can fit your budget.

Up Ahead: Endless Hot Water

Indirect-fired water heater

Many of our customers now use their boilers not only to heat their homes, but to produce hot water for showers, hot tubs, washing machines, dishwashers — you name it. And they get it virtually free in the winter.

It’s called an indirect-fired water heater, and if you have a boiler, it can be a phenomenal option.

Anytime your boiler is heating your home, your indirect water heater works for free. It’s like having your cake and eating it too. A traditional stand-alone water heater has to use gas or electricity to keep that water hot. And that’s a huge waste of money.

If you have a gas or electric water heater that is 10 years old or older, check out an indirect — and less expensive approach — to heating your water.

Horacio Alvarez

As one of our trusted certified plumbers, Horacio Alvarez is on the front lines, helping our customers every day. Horacio says he likes his work because he can never predict his next challenge.

“One day it could be a leaky toilet or a clogged sink,” he says. “The next day, I might have to deal with a major water line leak.”

Horacio, who grew up in Greenpoint, started out with us more than 15 years ago as a plumber’s helper. From there, he began taking plumbing classes to become certified.

Away from work, he likes to spend time outdoors with his two sons, aged 15 and 9.

Billy Yantsos

Q: What plumbing jobs are best left to a professional?

A: Generally speaking, plumbing is a job for an expert, chiefly because of the risk of water damage if a job is not done right. At Burt’s, we can handle everything from repairing a leaky toilet to installing new plumbing lines, so if you are ever in doubt, please give us a call.

Q: My water heater is about 15 years old — should it be replaced?

A: Yes, you should consider replacing your water heater, because it has reached the end of its typical life span. Besides age, warning signs that your tank may be wearing out include dampness around the bottom of the tank, a pilot light going out, or popping sounds. Call us today and we can evaluate your tank and explain your replacement options.

Water faucet

A problem with your plumbing can lead to expensive property damage, so we asked our plumbing team to share some tips.

  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is located in case you need to turn off your water supply.
  • If a water heater ruptures, it could flood the basement. If this happens, do not enter the basement; it could be dangerous. Call us first to evaluate the situation.
  • Older shut-off valves have washers that can wear out, making it difficult to turn them off completely. We recommend replacing an older valve with a ball valve.
  • If the pressure-release valve on your boiler keeps tripping, call us to inspect it, because you may need a new expansion device or a pressure-relief valve.
  • Make sure you have shut off the water supply to all outdoor valves and drained all the water from the pipes to prevent freeze-ups. You may want to disconnect outside valves — or upgrade to frost-free spigots.