Acme Fuel Heating Oil FAQs

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Acme Fuel Heating Oil

Acme Fuel is a local, 3rd generation, family owned business that’s committed to providing its customers the best products and services, while also being good stewards of our community and the environment.

Heating oil is safe. It takes a high-tech burner to ignite the oil. If you drop a match into heating oil it will go out as if dropping it into water. Heating oil must be vaporized before it will ignite or burn.

Over the last three decades, oil heat equipment has improved its environmental performance. Before the development of the modern oil burners, the emissions of particulate matter from an oil heat system were 10 pounds per 1000 gallons burned, or .1 percent. Today’s oil heat has significantly lowered its emissions. Now, only 7 ounces is released for every thousand gallons burned, or .006 percent.

Cleanliness is an important oil heat improvement. Todays’ oil heat is 95 percent cleaner than it was in 1970. When properly adjusted and maintained, new oil heat systems create absolutely no soot, dirt, or odors in the home. Heating oil delivered by Acme Fuel is an Ultra-Low Sulfur (15 ppm) product. This reduces the sulfur emissions as much as 99 percent from traditional heating oil. This cleaner burning fuel gives us all a chance to breathe easier.

“Automatic” delivery means that Acme Fuel will automatically determine when you need fuel by using degree day monitoring. The customer does not need to place a call to Acme Fuel for a delivery. We will automatically deliver fuel on a regular basis and you are assured of never running out of fuel.

“Will-call” means that you will monitor your own consumption and “will call” Acme Fuel when a delivery is needed.

While this can be a matter of opinion, we encourage auto fill for our customers. This way you always get the best price for fuel, and you get priority service. There is NO extra charge for auto fill.

We use a few methods. Most customers are on a degree day schedule. Degree days are a measure of how cold the weather is. Our computer computes your K factor, which is like miles per gallon on a car; it is the rate at which you burn fuel for heat, which is correlated to the weather. Then we determine whether or not you have non-heat related appliances like water heaters, and we build in a gallon/day formula for that. The computer system takes all these factors and generates a ticket accordingly. We try to make a delivery when your tank is 2/3 empty. While this may sound confusing, and is by no means perfect, it has been around for a very long time and is quite accurate.

The other method is called a Julian method; with this method, we deliver to you every certain number of days. This works well if you have a large mix of non-heat related appliances, or a swimming pool heater. More information can be found by Googling degree day schedules.

The degree day system was developed by heating engineers who wanted a method to relate daily temperature to the demand for fuel to heat buildings. To calculate the heating degree days value for a particular day, Acme Fuel will find the day’s average temperature by adding the day’s high and low temperatures and then divide by two. If the number is above 65, there are no heating degree day value for that day. If the number is less than 65, we will subtract it from 65 to find the number of heating degree days. For example, if the day’s high temperature is 60 and the low is 40, the average temperature is 50 degrees. 65 minus 50 equals 15 heating degree days for that day.

This is by far the most commonly asked question, and by far the most difficult to answer. There are so many factors involved. Mainly the weather, your households habits, the efficiency of your home and equipment, the size of your house, what appliances you have, etc. Literally, you could take 10 identical homes with 10 different families, and while their rate of consumption may go up and down together based on the weather, their individual family consumption will be different due to different habits.

Oil prices fluctuate for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • Commodities Trading – Heating oil is traded on the commodities market just like other home heating fuels. This means heating oil cost is subject to fluctuations, just like the stock market. The price of crude oil has the biggest impact on the price of wholesale heating oil. Due to the variations in crude oil prices, dealers are generally price takers on any given day. Heating oil like any energy product responds to supply and demand fundamentals, such as cold or warm weather or supply issues in foreign countries.
  • Changes in the cost of crude oil – Crude oil is a major price component of heating oil, and changes in the price of crude oil affect the price of heating oil.
  • Regional operating costs – Prices also are impacted by higher costs of transporting the product to remote locations. In addition, the cost of doing business by dealers can vary substantially depending on the area of the country in which the dealer is located. Costs of doing business include wages and salaries, benefits, equipment, lease/rent, insurance, overhead, and state and local fees.

The efficiency levels of oil heat systems can exceed 95 percent. For every gallon of oil burned 138,000 BTU’s of energy are released.

To heat the home a furnace uses air and a boiler uses water. A furnace uses the flame from the oil burner to heat air, which is distributed throughout the house. A boiler uses the flame to heat water that is either sent around the house in pipes to radiators or is sent to a fan coil unit that heats air.

Primary controls have a reset button. This button allows the homeowner to restart the burner should a problem cause the unit to shut down. (For example, burners may need to be restarted after a power outage.) Pushing the reset button should get the burner running, but if the safety switch shuts the burner down again, the homeowner should call for service. Homeowners should NEVER push the reset button more than once because it might cause excess oil to be pumped into the combustion chamber.

Tanks are an effective way to store heating oil, and with proper maintenance can last for several
decades. For qualifying tanks Acme Fuel has a tank replacement program for $99 a year that will replace your heating oil tank should a problem occur.

Acme Fuel highly recommends that you sign up and register your heating oil tank with the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) through the State of Washington. PLIA provides up to $60,000 for cleanup contamination, not covered by other insurance, on your property (and/or a neighboring property).

No, a properly functioning oil tank should not produce odors. If you notice an oil smell in the building it may be a sign that there is a problem with your tank, the piping or your heating appliance. You should contact Acme Fuel or Capital Heating & Cooling about this.

Home heating oil tanks last a long time. They are made of high-grade steel, fiberglass, or sometimes double wall tanks of plastic and steel, and can last for decades. Maintenance of the tanks and inspections prolong the life of the tank. Give Acme Fuel a call to discuss the potential need to replace your tank. We can provide advice on how to evaluate the tank, and replacement options.

After refining, No. 2 heating oil is the color of champagne. For tax purposes, regulations require that heating fuel be dyed red before it is sold. This is so the authorities can tell the difference between heating oil and on-road diesel fuel. The dye has no effect on the fuel and how it burns.

Heating oil is refined from crude oil. The refining process first separates crude oil into different “fractions” by using a distillation process. The middle distillates are then further refined to produce gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel and No. 2 home heating oil.

Heating oil burns 300 degrees hotter than natural gas. This means your heating system is more efficient than alternatives such as natural gas and electricity. This is what makes heating oil so much more effective. 

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Founded in Olympia WA
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Welcome to Acme Fuel, how can we help?

Contact us online or call us during business hours Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm on 360 943 1133.

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