Martin Romanelli

Dear Friends,

Hundreds of records were broken when an epic cold spell gripped us right after Christmas and wouldn’t let go. Then, a few days into the new year, we got slammed by what meteorologists called “a bomb cyclone.” If you ask me, it was just an old-fashioned blizzard. Call it what you will, it brought us a foot or more of snow, coupled with howling winds and followed by further bitter cold.

The more temperatures plunged, the higher the number of calls that came in to our offices. But as our valued customers discovered, it pays to be with Burt’s. We worked around the clock to make sure we answered every call and helped each customer as quickly as possible.

While it might have taken us a little longer than normal, we took care of every one — and once we did that, we even helped a few people who couldn’t get their regular fuel dealer on the phone.

We want to thank our customers for their patience and understanding during possibly the coldest two-week period we’ve ever experienced. While we hope the worst of winter is behind us, remember that you can continue to rely on us for responsive service when you need us the most.

Martin Romanelli

Online bill pay

Want to make paying your fuel bills easier? Sign up for e-billing and eliminate paper clutter. Invoices are sent by email, helping us keep postage and paper costs down.

Combine e-billing with Auto Pay and you can pay online with your MasterCard, Visa Debit or Discover Card — that means less paperwork and postage for you too!

It’s easy to enroll. For more information, call us. Please note: Part of our website is under construction, but our pay-online feature will be available soon.

Garrett Montrowl

Garrett Montrowl joined Burt’s in August as a dispatcher. His job is to get technicians and fuel deliveries to your home quickly and efficiently. More often than not, it’s like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle that’s always adding more pieces.

“When the temperatures fall, call volume goes up, and it can get really hectic,” Garrett says. “It seems like you’re getting 90 calls at once. But you move things around and make it work so you can get to everyone.”

The extreme cold at the start of the year kept the Burt’s team working around the clock, but Garrett was busy with another important duty.

“My wife gave birth to our son that week, so I missed the worst of it,” he says. “I know everyone here is a real team player. I come from a corporate atmosphere, and being at a family company where people care about the work they do is really refreshing to me.”

Shamus the dog

Every problem has a symptom, and frequently it is accompanied by something you see, hear, smell or even feel. Follow along as Shamus, the dogged detective, uses his enhanced senses to uncover common problems you might encounter at your oil-heated home.

Feeling a chill in your shower?

Does it takes longer to heat water than it used to, or does it feel as if the water doesn’t get as hot? These are strong signs that you are ready for a new unit. Other trouble signs include a slow leak from your tank or rust on the tank or in your tap water. (A water tank rusts from the inside out.)

If you think your water heater is failing — the average water heater lasts anywhere from 7 to 13 years — then please speak with us about your options in oil-fired water heaters.

Oil-fired water heating systems mean low-cost access to virtually unlimited amounts of hot water. That’s because their “recovery rate” is as high as 120 gallons per hour, versus a rate of about 40 gallons per hour for a standard electric water heater. (Recovery rate measures how many gallons of water can be heated in an hour.)

This means plenty of hot water for the whole family — something that less efficient gas and electric water heaters cannot provide.

Shamus the dog

Take the indirect approach

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 really be a phenomenal option.

Any time your boiler is heating your home, your indirect water heater works for free. 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, start checking out an indirect — and less expensive — approach to heating your water.

Seeing icicles?

Shamus the dog

If there are icicles hanging from your roof, then you could be facing a double whammy. First, there’s the safety risk of their falling. Second, icicles usually mean that you’re losing heat through your attic. Icicles form when a roof has “hot spots” (caused by escaping heat), that melt snow. The water trickles to colder spots on the roof and freezes. The water that drips over the eaves turns into icicles.

Eventually, mounds of ice can form and water trapped behind these ice dams can seep into your home, resulting in costly repairs.

The solution for heat loss and potential water damage is to seal air leaks in your attic and then improve the insulation. These steps will lower your heating costs — and reduce cooling bills in the summer because your attic will retain less heat.

What’s that noise?

Shamus the dog

Here are a few sounds and their possible causes. (Note: A correct diagnosis can only be made with an on-site visit by a service technician.)

Banging, whistling, howling or the sound of rushing water in your pipes. These are common symptoms of air in the pipes, insufficient water flow or a buildup of sludge.

Booming or rumbling burner. It’s normal to hear a burner “kick on,” but if it makes a loud boom, also known as a “hard start,” the burner is not igniting properly. It needs to be serviced as soon as possible.

Straining sound from fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system— for instance, in a filter or a supply line.

What’s that funky smell?

Shamus the dog

Well, it could be the dog, but it’s probably caused by stagnant water — the most common source of bad odors because it often turns to mold. Look for water leaks in the roof, the foundation, or around sinks and other piping. Besides correcting water leaks promptly, you can keep indoor air virtually odor-free with correctly sized equipment, constant airflow and air purification systems.

Other problems to sniff out

Oil odors. If your system is working properly, you should never smell fuel oil. An oil smell could be caused by a leak, burner troubles, a heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. You should schedule service as soon as possible to correct this situation.

Smoky odors when your burner is operating. If a fireplace or exhaust fan is running at the same time as your oil burner, a smoky odor can result because a backdraft is pulling flue gases through the exhaust system and into your home.

Alicia Walker

Q: I purchased heating oil from you in 2017; do I qualify for a state tax credit?

A: Yes. The New York State Clean Heating Fuel Tax Credit has been extended through 2020. With this tax credit, you can take 1¢ for each percent of biodiesel that’s blended with your conventional heating oil.

Because Burt’s Reliable blends its heating oil with 20% biofuel (the cleanest burning fuel available), our customers qualify for the maximum tax credit — 20¢ per gallon. Thanks to this tax credit (and our commitment to offering clean-burning, efficient fuel), a typical Burt’s customer can save about $150 each year.

You can download and print the tax-credit claim form and instructions on our page here.

Snow shovel

To help our drivers fill your tank safely and quickly, please be sure that the way to your fill pipe is free of debris and branches, and clear a path (about a foot wide) after a snowfall. If your tank is underground, please flag it so drivers can find it easily.

If we regularly need to use your driveway to deliver, please bear in mind when clearing your driveway after snow or ice, our trucks need a 9- to 10-foot-wide path to maneuver safely. We cannot deliver your fuel if your driveway isn’t clear.

If you are away during the winter, or if you need help clearing snow, please let us know. Give us a call and we will come up with a solution.

The question comes up often when customers get an estimate for yet another repair job on their heating equipment. Most well-maintained systems can last for 20 years, but even with regular maintenance, efficiency declines over time. New equipment is more efficient than ever, but a new heating system is an investment, so it’s important to consider both the up-front and long-term costs.

Maintenance repairing

The up-front cost is what you pay for your system, minus rebates or discounts. Higher energy-efficiency ratings come at a higher cost.

But a low price doesn’t necessarily indicate a good buy. Consider the costs incurred over the system’s life span, which correlate to the equipment’s quality and durability, its maintenance, its energy efficiency and the quality of the installation.

Our home-comfort pros will take the time to listen to what you want, then help you evaluate your options and get the best system for your home — and your budget.

Save $200 on a new Peerless boiler or be an early bird and take $200 off a new a/c system.

Save $200 on a Peerless high-efficiency boiler through 4/30/18.

Early birds: Save $200 when you install a new a/c system by 4/30/18.