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Feel Safer at home

A word on power outages, DIY, and generator safety

Power outage = no heat

During power outages, even though customers have fuel, they can’t get heat. Unfortunately, your heating system will not run without electricity — regardless of whether your fuel is heating oil, natural gas, propane or, obviously, electricity. (Only some very old heating systems can operate without power.)

If your home is without power for an extended period of time, unplug appliances and turn off circuit breakers. This will prevent surges when the electricity returns. Before restarting your system, check that the system’s power switch and circuit breakers are back on. Do not press your unit’s reset button more than once.

Once you have power restored, make sure that there is no standing water in your basement. If your system requires service to get it started again, for safety reasons it cannot be worked on when water is pooling around it.

If flood water has reached your heating system, call your equipment service provider for an inspection before you restart it. The valves and controls are vulnerable to water damage — even if it cannot be seen. Corrosion begins inside the valves, and damage may not be apparent when the outside is clean and dry.

Don’t DIY

In this digital age, the initial response to solving a problem is often to go online and do research. That’s why do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are such a big trend these days. It seems as though people of all ages and skill levels are checking out YouTube videos for a quick-fix way to heal whatever ails their home.

But what those videos usually don’t show is what happens when that amateur repair doesn’t go as planned. Over the years, we’ve seen some costly — and even dangerous — consequences. That’s especially true when someone starts fiddling around with complicated heating systems. Repairing a heating system presents unique challenges that more often than not require extensive training and expensive diagnostic equipment to assess and fix.

The bottom line: If you need a heating system repair, don’t attempt to do it yourself — call your equipment service provider. Their technicians have the training, experience, and tools to find and fix your problem quickly, correctly and safely so you can focus on the things that matter in your life — like having fun with your family.

Generator Safety

With more people relying on both portable and permanent generators than ever before, it’s important to share the following emergency generator safety tips:

✔️Installed whole-house generators should have a transfer switch to ensure a smooth transition when the lights go out. A transfer switch cuts electricity flow to the grid while the generator is on. This prevents the power in the generator from “back-feeding” into outside power lines and potentially injuring utility crews.

✔️Never operate a portable generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space; keep it outside, at least 10 feet from your home and away from windows and doors.

✔️If your generator is not connected to a fuel tank, be sure to store its fuel in a properly labeled container.

✔️Always use a grounded extension cord with the proper power rating.

✔️Have your generator checked and adjusted annually for safety and efficiency.

Oil Heat Specialist

Ask Heather: What is a heating degree day?

Oil Heat Specialist

Q: What is a heating degree-day?

A: Heating degree-days help us to calculate when you need a fuel delivery. For every degree that the average daily tempera‑ ture is below 65°, we count one degree-day. So, if the average temperature on any given day is 25°, that’s equivalent to 40 degree-days.

The heating season runs from October 1 to April 1, and Pennsylvania usually records an average of 5,000 heating degree days each year. By looking at degree-days and combining that data with other factors, we can create a highly reliable delivery schedule, ensuring that automatic delivery customers have a very low risk of running out, compared with folks who call for their fuel.

If you’re interested in getting automatic deliveries, please contact us and we’ll get you set up.

The future of heating oil

Dear Friends,

Many of our longtime heating oil customers are surprised to learn how their fuel of choice has evolved in recent years. As a result of greater environmental consciousness, much of the sulfur has been removed from heating oil. The low‑sulfur heating oil we deliver produces nearly zero particulates. It also burns more efficiently, which means your heating costs stay down.

Efficiency is important, and that’s a big reason that heating with oil makes a lot of sense in Pennsylvania during our cold winters. Oil delivers more Btu’s than natural gas — so you need to burn less oil to generate the same amount of heat.

As our state strengthens its commitment to cleaner-burning fuels, the heating oil industry continues to move forward too. The goal is to deliver an equal blend of advanced biodiesel fuel and ultra-low-sulfur oil within the next 25 years. According to the National Oilheat Research Alliance, the resulting fuel would yield carbon-free heating. Now that’s really great news.

Dell M. Cromie

Pipeline explosion update

After the natural gas explosions that occurred in Massachusetts last summer, there was a great deal of speculation as to the cause. Now, federal investigators have identified the reason for this disaster, an event that killed one person, injured 20, destroyed five homes, and damaged more than 100 more. According to the results of the investigation, a natural gas company field engineer made a mistake in the plans he developed for construction work to upgrade a natural gas distribution main. The investigators concluded that the explosions could have been avoided if all involved departments had inspected the plans and a registered professional engineer had approved them.

This is yet another demonstration of the risks faced by homeowners who heat with natural gas. Heating oil is a much safer option than natural gas — oil cannot explode, even if you drop a lit match into a bucket full of it. We take no chances in the handling and delivery of your fuel, and we devote a considerable amount of time to ongoing safety training.

Get a jump on spring – schedule a tank cleaning

Since the year flipped to 2019, the weather has been all over the place. In the wake of a very wet 2018, we’re having an up and down start to the year with heavy bouts of snow, rain, and sunshine. While you’re out shoveling another 3-4 inches of snow, the official start to spring is just weeks away.

With that in mind, we suggest you get ahead of the spring cleaning crowd and schedule a tank cleaning. Over time, your tank goes through the works, building up sediment inside its walls, clogging filters and valves. This can lead to frozen pipe lines and other issues.

Glassmere Fuel Service offers tank cleaning from qualified professionals that get your tank in tip-top shape and ready for the next heating season. A well-maintained tank leads to a more efficient heating system and less cause for concern during the most volatile season of the year.

To to schedule a tank cleaning, give us a call at (800) 235-9054 or visit us online to learn more about fuel tank cleaning and maintenance.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

We’re positive you didn’t ask for the severe weather arriving this week, but mother nature plays no favorites. But here we are, faced with reports that the polar vortex originating in the Midwest will move on to Pennsylvania this week, eventually hitting the entirety of the Northeast. It’s about to get very, very cold.

For many of us, we prepare by examining our food supplies, sources of power and heat, clothing options, and transportation. We go into full preparation mode. If you are a home or business owner, this sense of preparation is heightened. In doing our part to help you prepare, we have a few thoughts on preventing frozen pipes.

Your Indoor Plumbing is at Risk

In areas of the country where servere drops in temperature is expected, and even in regions not known for severe lows, the “temperature alert threshold”, a measure of when indoor plumbing is at risk, sits at around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. This week, and frequently in our region of the country, we drop into the single digits. With risks of temperatures dipping into the negatives this week, it’s time to take notice.

Your piping most at risk is located in spaces where heating doesn’t easily access such as basements, attics, crawl spaces, and garages. Even heated areas like your kitchen and bathroom sinks are at risk. Freezing temperatures rushing past pipes in these areas can quickly freeze and burst, causing thousands in damage, loss of keepsakes, and an insurance nightmare.

None of us want the headache. Here’s what you can do to prepare.

Install Pipe Insulation

When wall insulation isn’t enough, pipe insulation generally does the job. For relatively low cost, pipe insulation or pipe sleeves can be installed by you or a contractor for added plumbing protection. In tandem with adequate water flow and warm air, it’s a very effective way to mitigate the potential for frozen pipes.

Pipe insulation is available at thicknesses ranging from 2 to 4 inches. We recommend spending a little more for the thicker option. The total cost to install is likely much less than the cost to repair severe home damage.

Now let’s look at what to do during a severe cold spell.

Waiting Out the Freeze

If you are able to install pipe sleeves or insulation, you are well on your way to having peace of mind. There are, however, a few extra measures you can take to better prepare.

Leave your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets open. Doing so allows warm air to enter the space and prevent freezing. If there is minor freezing, this may help the pipes thaw as well.

Maintain a slight drip or trickle of cool water from all sinks. The continual flow of water will generally prevent pipes from freezing in the first place.

Use a space heater. While it’s not necessarily recommended to use a space heating the bathroom, employing them in other areas and rooms in your home for a little added heat is a safe idea. Make sure they are plugged into outlets with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (common wall outlet), and do not use with extension cords.

Keep the garage door closed. This is especially critical in garages with water supply lines.

Maintain the temperature on your thermostat all day and night. A consistent temperature, in particular one set to above 60 degrees, will prevent frozen plumbing.

Away during the freeze? Keep your heat on, and maintain a temperature of 60 degrees or higher.

Glassmere Fuel Service

Glassmere Fuel Service is a major supplier and transporter of commercial fuels to Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Additionally, We offer residential heating oil delivery, including automatic delivery, to our customers. To learn more, visit us online at or call our office at 800.235.9054.

Dell M. Cromie

A closer look at oil prices

Dell M. CromieDear Friends,

As you know, the price you pay for heating oil can vary quite a bit from year to year. That’s because the market price of oil is tied to factors that are always changing.

Of these factors, the price of crude oil is the most important. Heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel are among the many products refined from crude oil. The problem is that crude oil is a globally traded commodity, which means it’s subject to many forces that drive its value up or down.

Unrest in oil-exporting countries, new U.S. sanctions against Iran that will hamper exports, and other perceived shortages, often related to the weather, all contribute to the “fear factor” for commodities traders.

Their actions cause world oil-market prices to rise and fall on a daily basis.Locally, seasonal demand, operational costs (including overtime) and even competition between dealers can result in price variation.

All of this is beyond our control, but, as our customer, you can always count on a fair rate from us. Plus, we have ways of helping you control your heating costs. Please take a look in this newsletter: You’ll find helpful suggestions that can make your life much easier this winter.

Dell M. Cromie

Oil Heat Specialist

Ask Heather: Does it cost extra for automatic deliveries?

Oil Heat SpecialistQ: Does it cost extra for automatic deliveries?

A: No. We provide this as a free service so customers don’t have to worry about running out of fuel. We use a computer program that estimates your usage based on the weather. When your
tank is about a quarter full, we’ll deliver fuel. No worries, no run-outs and no cost to you.

Q: What should I do if I lose my heat?

A: Usually, there’s a simple solution to the problem. Try these easy troubleshooting steps first before calling your service provider:

  • See if you have a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse.
  • Check that the power switch for your furnace or boiler wasn’t accidentally shut off.
  • Press the “reset” button on the electrical box mounted on the furnace.
  • Check the setting and the batteries on your thermostat.
  • Make sure you have fuel in your tank; if you are out of oil, call us and we’ll get you filled up promptly, either the same day or the next business day!

Get the Most from Your Heating System

To get the most out of your oil heat system, check out these tips on how to keep it running safely and efficiently.

  1. Keep the area around your system as clean and clutter free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system!
  2. Keep registers, baseboards and radiators clean and unobstructed to ensure maximum airflow.
  3. If you have a steam boiler, check the water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause for shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the gauge looks rusty.
  4. If you have an oil furnace, change or clean the filter on a regular basis during the heating season. Dust, dirt, pet hair and other debris all get trapped by your filter. A dirty filter compromises efficiency and can even result in a shutdown.
  5. Never set your thermostat below 60 degrees. 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.

Comfort and Savings: Stay with Heating Oil

We have seen significant improvements in oil heat’s efficiency and cleanliness, thanks in large part to vast reductions in the sulfur content of heating oil.

Every gallon of oil we deliver is low-sulfur fuel, which means it burns more cleanly, with lower
emissions, for improved heating efficiency and easier maintenance.

Plus, we only deliver Ultra Heat Premium Oil, which includes an additive that helps prevent the formation of sludge and algae in your tank. This means that fuel lines won’t become clogged, a common cause for system shutdowns.

Heating oil with a low sulfur content opens the door to super-efficient heating systems, which can increase the advantages of heating oil over natural gas even more.

Heating oil is already more efficient than natural gas. You need to burn about 40% more natural gas to receive the heating equivalent of oil. That’s another reason more people are sticking with oil and not switching over to gas.

So don’t miss out by converting to another fuel that is less efficient and less safe than oil heat, which keeps getting better with every passing year.

To sign up for oil heat delivery, give us a call, or contact us online.