“OK, the price of oil has dropped, so I don’t need that new equipment after all.” Have you heard that yet? Well, you may soon. From what I have heard the customers are going back to their old tricks. Now is the time to go on the offensive! Don’t let them fall back into the “old unit is good enough, the prices are down” syndrome. If anything, the volatility of the fuel prices could work to your benefit. I don’t know when the prices will spike again, do you? Does your customer?
Question: What is one way that generating heat causes the heating plant to run more? Answer: when using a fireplace and not lowering the system thermostat. Many customers will return to heating their homes using their fireplace. If they can get wood to burn, it’s cheaper than burning oil, right? The feeling of warmth coming from a fireplace and its aroma may provide a very cozy and romantic atmosphere in the home, but it is an extremely inefficient way to heat your home.
The design of most traditional masonry fireplaces creates a draft so the smoke goes up the chimney. That also pulls air out of the room to fuel the fire and causes the majority of the heat generated by the fire to go up the chimney. This, in turn, can draw cold air in through other leaks in your home, making it colder rather than warmer. If the thermostat feels the drop in temperature and has not been lowered, guess what? It is going to signal the heating plant to come on and heat up the cold air, so it can be drawn into the fireplace and up the chimney! Remind them of this and they will thank you.
You, the technician, need to be on the forefront of energy conservation. The customers trust you. This is the biggest advantage we have over other fuels. Let’s not let the customers down. We have earned their respect; let’s continue the tradition, and we will prevent them from jumping over to the other side.
The OSV Stir
The OSV article in the December issue created so much e-mail I thought it would be good to go over it again. The statement “It is in your customer’s best interest to provide you with a safety net…” seems to be the source of the big question I am getting. So let me explain my thought.
The equipment in your customer’s home is theirs not yours, correct? They trust you with servicing their equipment to keep it in the best possible working condition, right? In my opinion, they also expect you to advise them on ways to keep their equipment running safely. If there happens to be an oil leak, you know you will be held accountable for it, correct? If not, I could use some customers like you think you have. It has been my experience that you will be held responsible.
Since this is the case, why not be ahead of the curve (or should I say lawsuit) and when installing new equipment – be it an oil line, a new heating plant or an oil tank –include the cost of an OSV valve and fuel strainer to the price. If questioned by your customer the need for the small extra charge, simply state that this, in your opinion, is a safety item that is needed to keep their property safe. I have never had a customer refuse to pay the additional charge if they understand that they are the one who will benefit. You will benefit from the installation, too, from the extra income and, more importantly, if the oil line were to leak, there would be a minimum of leakage. Good for the customer and good for you. That’s your safety net, and it is in their best interest.
Some of the best e-mails I get are the ones that ask questions or suggest corrections. This is one of those times. I wrote “While an OSV valve is designed to open under vacuum, it will not open under pressure. This makes it perfect for use on a loop system since the OSV will not open unless there is vacuum from the fuel unit.” The spec sheet from Suntec states that the max inlet pressure to the OSV is 40psi. It needs to be mentioned that the PRV-38PF (combo OSV and Oil Filter) has a maximum inlet pressure of 15psi. George Lanthier, also a writer in this magazine sent me a note on this. Check his Web site for many items of interest www.firedragonent.com. Thanks for the correction, George.
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