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Preventive Maintenance Helps to Avoid Major Breakdowns

furnace insurance manchester, vt As some of us are all too familiar with, heating equipment repairs, especially untimely ones, can be expensive. If your furnace is damaged because of a flood or a fire, your homeowner’s policy may cover the replacement. But if your system breaks down because of normal wear and tear, it’s increasingly likely that you will have to foot the bill for repairs.

The thing is, those unexpected equipment repairs can take a bite out of your budget, especially if you need to replace a major part or system component. The average cost of a furnace or boiler repair can be between $300 and $400—and even that can be for only modest repairs.

The key to protecting your equipment and your wallet is good maintenance, and good coverage. With a service plan from Dorr Oil and Propane, we can help you avoid breakdowns, plus provide peace of mind that unexpected repair costs don’t bust your budget.

What’s Included in Service Plan Coverage?

It doesn’t matter if you heat your home with propane or heating oil, Dorr Oil and Propane offers two service plan options to help you protect your equipment and save money no matter what winter brings.

Firstly, each plan includes an annual heating system tune up. In addition to helping prevent breakdowns, regular maintenance by a trained professional helps ensure your system is running at peak efficiency. That means you’ll burn fuel more efficiently and keep heating costs down, too. Regular maintenance also extends the life of your equipment—an investment you don’t want to have to make again too soon.

Our Basic Service Plan covers the essentials including:

Our Premium Plan offers additional coverage for added peace of mind:

Annual tune-ups also protect your warranty. Most heating equipment warranties require routine professional service as a precondition; skip your tune-up and your manufacturer’s warranty could be voided, leaving you to pay out of pocket for expenses that would have been otherwise covered.

Service Plans Keep Your Monthly Bills Lower

Sure, a good service plan like ours can help protect you from unexpected repair costs. But a service plan can help you save money every day!

Regular maintenance keeps your system running at peak efficiency. That means you’ll burn fuel more efficiently and keep heating costs down. In dollars, that can add up to an average of 10% savings on your annual heating costs. Regular maintenance also extends the life of your equipment—an investment you don’t want to have to make again too soon.

Protect Your Heating Equipment with Dorr Oil and Propane

The bottom line is that a service plan including regular maintenance is the best way to keep your heating equipment running better for longer. Enrolling in a plan is simple and easy—all you need to do is give us a call!

Contact us to schedule a your spring heating system tune-up and ask about enrolling in one of our service plans today.

A Short Guide to Preventing Propane Problems

propane freeze point manchester, vt Winter temperatures in our area can easily dip below 16°F—that’s cold enough for heating oil to gel. If you have had this happen, you know it makes it hard to heat your home. And if you have an aboveground propane tank, you might be wondering if your propane supply can freeze or gel in the same way when temperatures plummet.

The good news is that the freezing point for propane is -306.4°F—which is, needless to say, well below our average low here in northern Vermont, which tends to be around 9°F in January. Suffice it to say, you don’t need to worry about your propane freezing. Nevertheless, cold weather can still cause problems for the propane in your aboveground tank.

How Cold Weather Affects Propane?

If your propane tank is buried, you don’t need to worry quite as much. Temperatures need to get extremely cold for a very extended period to affect the propane in an underground tank, which is better insulated.

It’s a different situation with an aboveground propane tank, though. Like most substances, propane contracts in cold temperatures. When it’s extremely cold outside, the volume of propane inside your aboveground propane tank will shrink, resulting in a loss of pressure. The problem is, if the pressure becomes too low, the propane inside your tank will not be able to reach your gas burner.

That means you may not be able to run your propane appliances, including your furnace or boiler. In addition to no heat, there may be concern towards pipes freezing.

Ways to Avoid Low Pressure Problems

  1. Fill Your Tank. The best way to prevent pressure problems in your propane tank is to keep your tank at least 30% full. The more propane is in your tank, the more positive pressure there will be. When the forecast is predicting a stretch of low temps, check the gauge on your tank, and call us for a propane delivery.

    Or you could simply sign up for our convenient automatic delivery service! We factor the weather conditions and your average usage patterns into our delivery schedules, so we’ll make sure you never run low.

  2. Keep the Snow Off Your Tank. If you notice snow accumulating on your propane tank, brush it off as soon as able—especially before it has the chance to become icy or freze. When sunlight can reach your tank, it keeps the propane inside warmer and slows contraction.
  3. Turn Down the Heat. It may seem counterintuitive, but another way to reduce pressure problems is to turn down your thermostat. Your propane-fueled furnace or boiler won’t run as often, so it won’t try to draw propane from the tank, allowing the pressure inside your propane tank to rebuild.

There’s a reason folks in southern Vermont and Western New York trust Dorr Oil and Propane for dependable propane deliveries, as well as tank installations, maintenance and more! We’ve got the knowledge, skills and resources and can answer all your questions about the benefits of propane for your home. Contact us today to learn more.

Is Your Fireplace Ready for an Upgrade?

fireplaces vermont Some people feel that a hearth makes a house a home. But if your house doesn’t have a chimney, there’s still a way to enjoy the warmth and charm that a fireplace brings. The answer could be a ventless gas fireplace!

What’s a ventless gas fireplace? A ventless gas fireplace is an appliance—mimicking a true, masonry fireplace—that, instead, uses a regulator to produce a fine mixture of gas and air that allows the gas to burn cleanly. This eliminates the need for a chimney and provides a near-identical fireplace experience.

All that’s needed is access to propane gas and an expert in gas fireplace installation! What’s better? If you live in, or near, Manchester, Vermont, Dorr Oil and Propane has you covered on both! We offer reliable delivery services and a great selection of vent-free fireplace inserts, backed up by experienced pros to handle the job.

What are the Benefits of Ventless Gas Fireplaces?

Truth be told, there’s a lot to like about ventless propane fireplaces.

For starters, they are versatile. Because there’s no need for exterior venting, they can be installed almost anywhere, and can even be free-standing.

That means you can incorporate the ambiance and warmth into just about any room, including living rooms and family rooms, but also kitchens and dining rooms. Create your dream master suite or a spa-like bathroom escape, just by adding a gas fireplace. You can also convert traditional fireplaces to a maintenance-free propane hearth with a gas log insert.

They also provide efficient supplemental heat without the mess, smoke, and ash of a wood-burning fireplace. In fact, they are more efficient at heating than a vented gas fireplace, because none of the heat escapes through venting.

Did you know as much as 90% of the heat from a wood-burning fireplace goes up the chimney? They’re also much more attractive than a space heater, delivering cozy charm as well as real warmth.

A propane fireplace is also much safer. No more playing with matches and waiting for tricky kindling to catch. You can turn on and adjust the flame with a wall switch or even a remote control and turn it off when you are done instead of waiting for embers to burn out.

Additionally, ventless fireplaces are rigorously tested and come with built-in carbon-monoxide detectors. They’ll shut off automatically if CO is detected, or if oxygen levels in the room fall below safe levels.

Endless Style and Design Options

There are a wide range of design options to choose from! Go with the traditional look of a mantle and hearth, including realistic logs, or choose a more contemporary style; express your design vision with a long, linear model with stones or glass instead of logs, or turn an odd corner into a striking focal point.

Want to Upgrade Your Fireplace? Give Dorr Oil and Propane a Call Today!

Whether you’re looking to make upgrades for yourself or to add value for a potential sale of your southwestern Vermont home, adding a ventless propane-fueled fireplace is an easy and affordable option.

Let our team show you how easy and affordable installing a ventless gas fireplace can be. We service and install everything we sell, and we stand by our work. Contact us for more information today.

Our offices will be closed on Monday, 12/26 and Monday, 1/2. Thank you and happy holidays!

Everything You Need to Know About the Fuel That Keeps You Warm!

heating oil vermont If you’re new to Vermont winters, or maybe making that big step and purchasing your first home in the immediate Manchester area, you probably are looking for information about the best ways to keep your home warm and comfortable all season long. The good news is you have a few options including propane, natural gas, and electricity. However, the best option for our long, cold winters is undoubtedly oil heat. Those other fuels simply cannot provide the same heating energy!

And yes, while it is a fossil fuel, it’s a far cry from the dirty-burning product that was used just a few decades ago. Here are the answers to all your questions about heating oil to get you more familiar.

What Is Home Heating Oil?

Heating oil is a refined form of crude oil that comes from deep wells both on land and offshore. Most heating oil today is referred to as “#2 heating oil”. Further, all the heating oil used in Vermont and throughout New England is ultra-low sulfur heating oil. Ultra-low sulfur heating oil is cleaner—and cleaner-burning—than “regular” heating oil.

What are the Main Benefits of Oil Heat?

What makes heating oil a better way to heat your home? Heating oil has a higher BTU output per gallon. That means it will warm up your home faster than other types of fuels.

Higher BTUs also mean you’ll use your heating oil supply more slowly than, say, propane. That means that even if the per-gallon cost of propane is less than heating oil, you can pay less to heat your house with heating oil.

Heating systems and equipment that run on oil are generally less expensive to purchase and tend to last longer on average, too.

For instance, a heating oil-fired furnace can last nearly 30 years, and a heating oil-fired boiler can last 25 years. New heating oil systems also now burn fuel 99.9% cleanly, according to studies conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven Laboratory. That means heating oil is exponentially better for the environment than it used to be—even as recently as twenty years ago!

Is Heating Oil a Safe Choice for My Home?

Most people are surprised to learn that heating oil doesn’t ignite at room temperature and is nonflammable in liquid form. Heating oil must be heated to 114° and vaporized via the combustion process to burn.

If it’s stored properly, in a well-maintained storage tank, heating oil is safe for the environment, too.

Is Heating Oil Clean?

As we’ve mentioned prior, the oil used in homes today is dramatically different than the oil burned in the past. Thanks in part to the transition to ultra-low sulfur heating oil, particulate emissions have been reduced significantly from the already low levels of the past few decades. So how much cleaner is it? Traditional heating oil has a sulfur content of up to 4,000 parts per million. In contrast, ultra-low sulfur heating oil has a sulfur content of just 15 parts per million.

Because it’s so clean-burning, ultra-low sulfur heating oil improves the efficiency of your heating system—saving you money as it operates. It also helps your system last longer and reduces breakdowns.

How Is Heating Oil Stored?

Heating oil is stored in a tank right on your property—either in your basement or outdoors, above, or underground. Tank size depends on the size of your home and can range from 275 gallons for a small one- or two-bedroom home up to 500 gallons or more.

While you don’t want a tank that’s too small—you’ll need to get frequent deliveries, there isn’t really a benefit to having a tank that’s bigger than you need, either—if you use your home seasonally or only part-time, you may need less oil than if you live there full time. The professionals at Dorr Oil and Propane are always happy to answer all your questions and help make sure you have a tank that’s the right size for your home and your usage.

Who Should I Choose for My Next Heating Oil Delivery?

If you heat your home with oil, you need a heating oil company you can count on for reliable delivery service. Dorr Oil & Propane has been providing reliable heating oil delivery to customers in southwestern Vermont for more than 20 years. We provide convenient delivery service as well as price protection plans, equipment installation and service and so much more!

Contact us today to learn more and get started on becoming a customer.

Taxes, Production, and Demand All Play Roles in Higher Prices

diesel fuel delivery vermont If the only motorized vehicle in your life is a standard passenger car, then you are likely only paying attention to the cost of unleaded gasoline. But, as pricy as gasoline is today, diesel fuel is even more expensive.

For large vehicle fleets, farms and other commercial ventures, the high price of diesel is an aggravating reality of life. Diesel has on-road and off-road uses that make it indispensable for many businesses.

But why is diesel generally priced higher than gasoline? To answer this, we first need to understand how the two fuels are different.

The Differences Between Diesel & Gasoline

Both gasoline and diesel are products derived from crude oil. The distillation process separates the different hydrocarbons that compose either gasoline or diesel. Here are some essential differences:

Functionally, diesel produces 10 to 20 percent more energy in combustion than gasoline. So, diesel engines get more mileage per gallon of diesel than gas engines.

So Why is Diesel More Expensive Per Gallon Than Gasoline?

There are three factors that contribute to diesel’s higher price point compared to gasoline:

  1. Increasing production costs originating from a 2014 Environmental Protection Agency standard. This regulation requires all diesel to limit its sulfur to 15 parts per million. This lowered diesel emissions significantly, but it also raised the expense of refining it.
  2. Higher taxes. The federal motor fuel excise tax is 18.4 cents per gallon for gasoline by 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. States also impose higher taxes on diesel.
  3. Demand is always higher for diesel. Freighters, tractors, trains, forklifts, construction equipment — they all need diesel to run, and that demand does not wain. But one barrel of crude oil only produces about 11-12 gallons of diesel, compared to 19-20 for gasoline.

Dorr Oil and Propane Offers Local, Reliable Diesel Delivery Solutions

While there’s little that one individual fuel company can do to reverse the high taxes, refining costs, and demand driving up diesel prices (not to mention global conflicts, market speculation and OPEC cutting production) we CAN help make your diesel fueling easier!

Rather than losing work hours driving to the pump to pick up fuel, arrange on-site diesel delivery with Dorr Oil and Propane. In Barrington, Manchester, Stratton, and other communities in Southwestern Vermont, our diesel delivery team is trusted by companies, work sites, and farms alike. We also proudly provide diesel for generators at schools, hospitals, assisted living facilities, and other vital organizations.

Are you ready to arrange your next diesel delivery with the help of the Dorr team? Drop us a line today! We’ll give you a no-hassle quote to best fit your business’s distinct needs for this winter season and in the years still to come.

14 Ways to Prepare for the Winter Season Ahead

hvac ready for winter vermont Don’t wait until the first frost to get a jump on your seasonal to-do’s! Here are a few easy preparations you can take care of now to pave the way for a warm and comfortable winter:

  1. Schedule a heating system tune-up. It ensures your system is running at peak efficiency—which can lower heating costs by as much as 10%. It also helps prevent breakdowns. Have a service contract with us? A tune-up is included in your plan!
  2. Don’t have a service contract? In addition to seasonal maintenance, you’ll enjoy priority service, plus 20% off repairs and diagnostics, no overtime fees, and more.
  3. Schedule fuel deliveries. Make sure you have a full supply of heating oil or propane, so you aren’t caught short—or left in the cold—when there’s an early cold snap.
  4. Sign up for automatic deliveries. This free service eliminates the need to call for deliveries and makes runouts a thing of the past.
  5. Keep fuel bills manageable. Call us for information on our monthly budget plan and other program options. Also, adding a wireless tank monitor to your home’s fuel tank can even better prevent a costly runout that could add to your monthly expenses.
  6. Check your oil-tank inspection records. If it’s been more than three years since your last inspection, give us a call. Our certified team of service technicians can assure your tank is in good health and ready for the seasons ahead.
  7. Get ready for the holidays. We make it easy for you to add cozy charm and ambiance with a propane-powered gas log set or fireplace insert. Enjoy all the benefits of a wood fire with none of the hassle or mess.
  8. Eliminate drafts. Unless you live in a brand-new home, it’s likely that as much as a third of the air in your home escapes via drafts around windows and doors. That’s like throwing money right out the window. A weekend of DIY projects such as sealing up drafts with caulking, weatherstripping, and expanding foam, can help save you 20% or more on home heating costs during the winter season.
  9. Test your carbon monoxide detectors. With windows shut tight and the heat on, winter is the most dangerous time when it comes to carbon monoxide poisoning. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and change batteries if needed. Smoke detector batteries too!
  10. Is your tank aboveground? Be sure the path to your fill pipe is free of debris and branches and remember to always clear a path (about a foot wide) after a snowfall so our team can access your tank(s) safely.
  11. Is your tank underground? Marking its location with a pole topped with a bright-colored flag or wide ribbon makes it visible over snowbanks and drifts.
  12. Master your programable thermostat. When used correctly, a programmable thermostat can help you lower your heating costs by 10% or more. To maximize your savings, follow these easy steps: When you’re at home and awake, set the thermostat to 68°. Lower temperature setting by 10° for the hours you’re asleep or out of the house.
  13. Turn down your water heater. Most water heaters have a default setting of 140° which is not only dangerous, it’s also inefficient. Reducing the temperature setting to 120° will meet all your hot water needs and save as much as 10% in heating costs. When you consider that heating water—for bathing, dishwashing, laundry, and more—accounts for close to 20% of your heating costs, you may want to talk to us about upgrading your water heater to a high-efficiency model that can help you save even more.
  14. Take advantage of solar power. We’re not talking about expensive solar panels. We’re talking about the free heat from the sun. Leaving curtains and blinds open during the day lets the sun warm your rooms. Closing them at night helps keep the heat in. It can warm your rooms enough that you can lower your thermostat and use your boiler or furnace less.

Need Heating Oil, Propane, or Heating System Services? Call Dorr!

The professionals at Dorr Oil & Propane have the knowledge, experience, and resources to answer all your questions about keeping your family warm while managing heating costs.

Get in touch with us today to learn more.

Prevent Unnecessary Runouts

propane tank monitor vermontOur customers in Manchester, Stratton, Sunderland, and nearby Southern Vermont communities love our easy automatic propane delivery service. It can be a great way to prevent running out of propane or heating oil! But automatic deliveries aren’t the best solution for everyone.

When your fuel patterns are inconsistent—whether it’s because you only use your house on weekends, or you run a rental property—you may use a lot of fuel one month and less at other times. That makes it hard to use our algorithm to best predict your needs. Even things like using a propane fireplace often can have an impact on your scheduling. That’s why the real-time accuracy of our wireless tank monitoring service is so great!

How Does a Tank Monitor Work?

Wireless tank monitors track the level of propane or heating oil in your tank in real-time and transmit your usage via wireless cellular technology. When the tank gauge reaches a pre-set level, the monitor alerts us—and you—directly via a wireless mobile app.

In addition to timely alerts, the app gives you even more control and insight. You can use it to easily track and adjust your monthly energy consumption which can help you save on energy costs.

Even if you don’t use it to improve energy efficiency, a tank monitor can save you the expense and hassle of fuel runouts and take the guesswork out of knowing when to order fuel—especially if you’re ordering propane for a second home.

What Happens When I Run Out of Propane or Heating Oil?

If you’ve never run out of propane, you don’t know what a hassle it can be. There’s the inconvenience, of course. There’s the cost of an emergency fill-up, plus a leak test for safety.

And, if you rely on propane for heat, you can add the potential for frozen pipes and the expense of that repair. If you lose heat and it’s cold enough, water in your pipes will start to freeze and expand, resulting in cracks or breaks. A tiny crack of just an eighth of an inch will leak more than 250 gallons of water a day and a burst pipe will release a real flood.

Even if your tank doesn’t hit completely empty, you’ll have problems. When propane levels get too low, air can get into your system, which can lead to expensive damage. In general, you shouldn’t let your tank’s propane level go below 20%.

And if you use heating oil, letting your tank run completely empty may result in emergency delivery fees!

Better Manage Your Fuel Usage with a Tank Monitor from Dorr!

A wireless tank monitor is easy to install, and we can have you ready to go in a matter of minutes!

Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of wireless tank monitoring and how we can get you set up—100% hassle-free.

Download Dorr Oil and Propane’s New Mobile App Today!

fuel app vermontOur commitment to providing great service never stops. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the new Fuel Genie mobile app! You’re going to love how it makes all kinds of tasks and requests easier, from ordering heating oil and propane to checking and paying account balances—even reviewing past service records!

The best part is that it’s super easy to get started—all you need is your Dorr Oil and Propane account number and an email address. Just search for Fuel Genie in the Apple App Store or Google Play and download the easy-to-use app.

When you’re ready, click on “Account Login” and follow the prompts to set up your account. P.S. Don’t forget to save your password!

Check out all the things you can do once you’ve registered for an online account and downloaded the app:

Try it, You’ll Like It!

The Fuel Genie app and our online account portal are just the newest ways we’ve developed to help you streamline your to-do list, eliminate paper clutter, and reduce the stress of ordering fuel and paying bills. It goes together with other great services and benefits we offer, such as our budget friendly payment options, automatic delivery service, wireless tank monitoring, and more!

Of course, we’re always here for you and are happy to take your calls. But using the customer portal or app means you can access your account and request deliveries any time that’s convenient for you.

Login and create your online account today, then, make sure to download the Fuel Genie app to discover all the great benefits for yourself!

Learn the Pros and Cons of Going Tankless

water heater installation vermontWhile fuel and energy costs remain higher than in recent years past, it’s worth looking for ways to better improve your energy efficiency here and now. Adjusting your thermostats and combining errands to save gas are smart ways to lower your everyday costs. Alternatively, you might also think about replacing old, inefficient appliances and systems to achieve savings over the long term. So, if you have a traditional tank-style water heater that’s hitting the ten-year mark, you may be seeing higher energy bills or a lack of performance.

Consider that between bathing and showering, washing dishes, laundry, cleaning, and other tasks, the typical American household uses between 60 and 65 gallons of hot water a day. It makes sense to look for peak efficiency when it comes to heating water, as those costs can add up fast.

Now, any new water heater will likely be more efficient than older technology, but for super efficiency and savings, you should also weigh your options and consider going tankless.

The Benefit of a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless propane water heaters—also known as on-demand water heaters—instantly heat water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. Imagine having virtually unlimited hot water, all while seeing lower fuel bills. With a high-efficiency tankless water heater, it’s possible!

In addition to whole-house models, smaller versions can be installed where they are needed to generate hot water for an addition or for a spa tub, for example.

The Pros of Going Tankless

  1. Unlimited hot water: Traditional tank heaters can run out of hot water if you use a lot at once. Tankless water heaters use an electric pilot and a hot propane flame to heat water instantly on-demand. Since there’s no tank, so it can’t hit empty.
  2. Savings: Tankless water heaters save energy by instantly heating water when you need it, rather than keeping a large tank hot all the time. All that efficiency means you’ll also save money by lowering your energy costs…in some cases by as much as 40%. And we can help you take advantage of generous rebates from Rinnai, too!
  3. Flexibility: With no storage tank component, a tankless water heater is small—even whole-house sizes take considerably less room than a 55-gallon tank. Most are about the size of a suitcase. It can also be wall-mounted, which means a tankless water heater can be placed just about anywhere in the house, including closets and crawl spaces.
  4. Longer equipment life: The primary culprit in the limited lifespan of a conventional water heater is the corrosive water stored in its tank. Because it doesn’t store water, a tankless water heater will typically last 18 to 20 years.

Are There Downsides to Tankless Water Heaters?

Although they save you money in the long run, tankless water heaters are typically a bit more expensive to buy and install. In addition, they require a little maintenance, particularly if you have hard water.

Deposits and minerals can reduce performance and efficiency if you don’t flush the tank at least once a year and clean the filters.

Sticking with a Traditional Tank Water Heater

A traditional tank-style water heater is inexpensive to replace but costs a lot more to run. And it can’t really deliver enough hot water for more than two or three showers in a row, assuming no one is washing dishes or using hot water for anything else.

If your home has a basement, space may not be an issue. But if you don’t have a basement, that big tank uses a lot of valuable real estate in your home.

Whether you decide to stick with a traditional tank-style water heater or update with a highly efficient tankless model, don’t wait for your current water heater to fail to replace it! Like other essential equipment in your home, such as your refrigerator, you don’t want to go long without it—especially in winter.

Ready to explore the benefits of a tankless water heater for your southwestern Vermont home? The pros at Dorr Oil and Propane can help you choose the best option for your needs and install it efficiently. Plus, we offer great service and maintenance plans to protect your investment! Enjoy energy efficiency and all the hot water you need with a new water heater. Contact us today to get started or for a FREE estimate.