Sunday, January 23, 2005

Sub (Zero) Rosa
The recent spell of freezing weather upped our heating oil burn rate. Refill delivery was scheduled for Wednesday, yet as to be expected, we ran out of oil on Tuesday. My oil company said any emergency delivery after-hours would incur a $150 charge on top of the cost of oil. After a fruitless scramble calling competing oil companies to see if they would deliver "fee-free"(they don't), I called back my oil company and reluctantly scheduled an emergency delivery for that night. Our thermostat was plunging towards 50 degrees.

So a half hour later I get a call from the oil delivery driver, and it was pretty obvious that he was not at all thrilled to be doing deliveries that night out in the freezing cold. He informed me that he wasn't going to be able to get to my house until midnight. He said:
"So, how well do you know your home heating system? Because if you want, you can avoid the $150 delivery charge all together and save me the trouble of having to deliver you oil. All you got to do is get your hands on some diesel fuel and pour it down the fill pipe on the side of your house. Put in about 15 gallons worth to get you through the night, bleed the line, restart your furnace, and you're set."

To me, these instructions were the receipt of an arcane and secretly guarded knowledge. This delivery guy had no desire to do deliveries, and I myself had no desire to pay The Man's exorbitant fee. Both self interests could be satisfied through the taking of subversive action on my part. I hung up and immediately leapt into action - a trip to the store for a 5 gallon container and then on to the gas station. 5 gallons of diesel fuel was transferred from gas pump to house by way of automobile. My third refill at the gas station confirmed my membership in The Club - there was a guy at the pump filling several cans of his own.

"Hey, are you filling up your furnace?" I asked.

"definitely. No way am I going to let them take an arm and a leg from me!" he replied.

Awesome! Now it was official. There were others out there creatively attending to the favorable resolution of their home heating emergencies. Needless to say, the outcome was as expected - the exotic fuel burned without a hitch and the resultant heat was welcomed by pipes, home, cat, and wife. And the next day I received my regularly scheduled oil delivery at standard prices sans fee

So the next time there is a home heating emergency, please remember this bit of advice. Screw the fee. Go diesel.

4 Comments:

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Kreblog said...

We learned the hard way but our guy once took the oil filer out to get us through the night. We ran that night on the crud at the bottom of the tank that the filter blocks.

 
At 8:35 PM, Blogger Beastie said...

See I do not get these companies that do the "automatic delivery" thats supposed to be before you would run out cause they "gauge your usage." Bull crap we too ran into the muck at the bottom which clogged the line and caused the furnace to stop. Had to get the furnace guy to come out blow the line, and then get oil.

I hear one company advertising that you will never run out with them or they will give our first 100 gallons free. Its very tempting...

Not to mention the fact that because the oil guy wants to go up the right side of the house instead of the left, I have to shovel a whole path for him instead of him using the driveway and walkway thats already there and shovelled...

 
At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing exotic about it. The only difference is that your #2 fuel oil ("heating oil") isn't sulfur-reduced and contains a dye so that they know if you fill your vehicle with it. Up until about ten years ago there was absolutely zero difference; then over-the-road vehicles switched to low-sulfur.

 
At 3:30 PM, Blogger Granite said...

Yeah, that's what I learned re: differences between diesel and #2. Before, my sense as a new home owner was to approach the furnace with the same trepidation and awe that an island native approaches a volcano. After this event, I have identified the wizard behind the curtain. (I'm feeling metaphoric today)

 

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