It’s Time to Lose the Oil Tank

National network of energy and HVAC providers help Canadians Switch Off Oil with new campaign

June 10 2014 - A network of energy and HVAC providers across the country wants Canadians who still have oil furnaces to be aware of the true costs associated with oil heating. The Switch Off Oil campaign which launched this week is designed to generate awareness about the costs associated with oil heating, and to help families upgrade to a propane furnace as a more affordable and safer alternative.

Not only is oil heat more expensive than alternatives like propane but there are many other costs beyond price.

Home Inspector Derrick Vogel encourages Canadians who still heat with oil to make the switch. “Being a Home Inspector in a rural area, I see and inspect many oil fired systems and believe it’s important that homeowners truly understand the implications of heating with oil. Research shows that there are cleaner, safer and less expensive alternatives available almost everywhere in Canada,” he says.

He points out that “one of the most alarming problems associated with oil heating is the environmental impact due to leaking tanks. Oil tanks in general corrode from the inside out so it is very difficult to determine if or when the lining system may fail. The corrosion in most cases occurs from condensation that builds up inside the tank and since oil is lighter than water, the water sits at the bottom of the tank and causes it to rust or corrode.” Vogel adds, “there are other disadvantages of heating with oil like increased maintenance costs. Oil does not burn as clean as other fuels such as propane or natural gas. Burning oil creates a lot of dirt and soot which requires additional service calls to clean and maintain various furnace and tank components.”

The safety and environmental risks mean that homes heated with oil also cost more to insure. According to a study published by the Insurance Bureau of Canada that looked at insurance claims related to furnace oil in Atlantic Canada between 2008 and 2011, over 50 per cent of spills reported were due to oil tank corrosion and a majority of oil spill insurance claims were on tanks 10 years old or less.(1)

Paul Konig, General Manager, National Services at Superior Propane says “getting off oil and upgrading your home heating system is a big decision to make, but once homeowners realize what sticking with oil is actually costing them when they have more affordable and cleaner options like propane, they see the benefits.” He adds that, “as part of the campaign we want to make it affordable and easy so we’re providing locked- in propane prices at summer rates and a SMART*Tank with volume and delivery notifications free for one year. As well, a network of participating HVAC specialists across the country will make the upgrade easy by looking after all of the installation requirements.”

1. Insurance Bureau of Canada

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