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Energy Answers Today

Heating Equipment Requires Regular Maintenance


Utility gas distributors generally do not offer service for heating equipment. Customers pay the utility for their gas delivery and must make their own arrangements for maintenance and repairs. In fact, some gas utility Web sites recommend finding a service company through the phone book. Most Oilheat dealers offer a full range of services beyond delivery, including routine maintenance, emergency repairs, energy audits, conservation advice and equipment installation. Caring for customers is a high priority for the independent Oilheat dealer.

• Emergency Service. Many full-service Oilheat companies offer 24-hour emergency service, and will dispatch a technician to the customer's home at any time, even in the middle of the night. Gas utilities do not usually service the heating equipment, even in an emergency, and customers must find a service company to get their gas heat system working again. If a homeowner does not have an existing relationship with a gas heat repair company, obtaining assistance after regular work hours can be a very difficult proposition.

• Customer Service. Gas utilities tend to be large, bureaucratic organizations that are insulated from competition. The utilities own the pipe that leads to the customer's home, so they face no real risk of losing customers to a competitor. An Oilheat customer, on the other hand, has a choice of fuel providers, so the dealers work hard to earn customer loyalty with an emphasis on professionalism and exceptional service - and often, discounts, and referral and loyalty bonuses.

• The annual tune-up. All heating systems require annual tuning to
run at peak efficiency and conserve fuel. Full-service Oilheat dealers
regularly perform annual tune-ups, and the cost is usually in
low-cost annual service plans.
Gas utilities do not perform service.
Customers must make their own
arrangements if they want to get
the most out of their system and
detect problems before they get
serious.

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