If you are new to the Mid-Atlantic area or are a current area resident moving to a new home or office, you may be considering which heating fuel is best. Availability, ease of ordering fuel, delivery options, safety and price may affect your choice.
Electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene and biofuel are available throughout most of the Mid-Atlantic region. Electricity and natural gas are delivered through centralized distribution networks maintained by a utility company or municipal supplier. Rural areas may not be included in centralized networks, and residents may depend on on-site delivery and storage for heating fuel. Heating oil, biofuel, kerosene and propane can be delivered to your home by a local supplier and stored on site for use.
About half of all homes in the United States are heated with natural gas, which generally costs less per BTU than other heating fuels. Fuel oil provides more heat per BTU but often at higher prices, particularly in winter months when demand is greater. Propane is more expensive than natural gas, but less expensive than heating oil. Propane generates approximately one-third less heat per BTU than oil.
Fuel oil and propane are delivered to the property by a local supplier and stored in tanks installed on the site. Oil tanks can be placed inside or outside, above ground or in the ground, depending on the size of the lot and convenience of installation. Propane tanks must be placed outside, either above ground or underground, for safety reasons. Tank sizes for both oil and propane vary, depending on fuel use and storage needs. Owners must make arrangements for delivery and monitor use to avoid having an empty tank at an inconvenient time. Fuel oil and propane prices often fluctuate based on market prices and demand.
Oil is one of the safest fuels. It does not ignite easily or explode from sparks as natural gas and propane can. Malfunctioning oil furnaces produce warning signals to indicate there is a problem before excessive carbon monoxide is produced. Oil is much cleaner than it was 30 years ago, but still contains impurities that can corrode tanks, produce sludge and cause clogs in fuel lines. Gas is a clean fuel, with almost no residues after burning.
Many consumers worry about the possibility of leaks or spills from oil tanks. Both propane and oil tanks are required to have safety valves to prevent overfilling and spills. Although residential leaks can occur, they are rare. Maintaining tanks helps keep sludge and particulates from forming in steel tanks. Newer tanks made of polypropylene or fiberglass do not have seams and do not corrode. Many tank suppliers offer steel outer shells that protect the inner tank and can contain leakage.
Delivery and Payment Options
Griffith Energy Services offers two methods of delivery. For automatic delivery, we keep track of your fuel usage and adjust the time of delivery to make sure that you never run out by using the degree day system. We also track weather changes to make sure that your tanks are full before a storm or cold spell hits the area. If you prefer to monitor usage yourself, we also offer will-call service.
We work with you and your financial situation by offering several ways to make payments.
- The SmartPay program spreads out fuel costs over a 12-month period.
- Automatic payment programs debit your bank account or credit card electronically with your authorization.
- The 30-day credit program provides approved customers a 30-day grace period after the billing date.
- You may pay for fuel at the time of delivery.
Specials and Discounts
You can save by taking advantage of our specials on repairs, new installations and maintenance. We also offer discounts on fuel for senior citizens, active and retired members of the U.S. military and Delaware and Maryland farm bureau members.
About Griffith Energy Services
Griffith Energy Services has provided heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) services in the greater Baltimore area since 1898. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week from offices in 12 locations in the Mid-Atlantic area including Dover, Del., Baltimore, Md. and Charles Town WV. Our services include:
- Repair of all makes and models of furnaces, boilers, heat pumps and air conditioners
- New installations of residential and commercial HVAC equipment
- Fuel delivery, including motor fuel for commercial customers
- Preventive maintenance and tune-ups
- Maintenance and service agreements
- Technicians certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE)
- Licensed, insured and bonded
Our technicians undergo regular factory training to ensure that they are up to date with the newest technology. We offer several maintenance plans that include seasonal tune-ups to keep your equipment in good working order. Feel free to call one of our offices and speak with a representative about ordering fuel that suits your heating needs.
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Written by Kevin Spain