Monday, January 28, 2013

Comparing the numbers

Image: http://jonudell.net/img/nora1043_homepg.jpg
I was contacted by the oil company to arrange for yet another (sigh) oil delivery. I replied and asked if the secretary could forward some information to me. Specifically, I want to know (if possible) what the oil volume has been for this home. I also inquired as to what the annual service contract includes, and asked if it includes replacing a pea sized piece of redish putty that was used to fill a screw hole in the flue pipe from the main box of the furnace that has fallen off, if it includes lowering the temperature of the hot water (it's scalding-something seems off or perhaps a valve needs replacement?), if it includes bleeding of the radiators. I also asked when the last annual service was performed. Is this something I have to initiate or does the landlord? I am unaware of protocol. Her answers will also indicate to me which level of service plan the landlord has selected.

I did receive an initial reply, with the oil delivery volume since Jan 2011. Nov thru March, as anticipated, are the high delivery volume months.

I compared use from last year (Nov thru Jan) as I had similar months to compare to. The former tenanat was a single man, who lived alone. Remember that I supplement with wood heat usually from 3 pm-9 p.m daily with wood being used from 6 a.m.-9 p.m on Sat and Sun as well as any day's off. We had an early closing today due to snow and ice, so the wood stove has been on since approx. 11 a.m. I also have been trying my best to Winterize this home,  we are a family of 3 (with occassional visits from college kids who may/not stay over). I have no way of knowing if the former tenant used the previously open fire place or supplemented with a space heater. I also have no way of knowing if he hunkered down in one zone as we do, to save costs. Did he also physically move the thermostat dials down at night? to what degrees?

During Nov-Jan of 2011-2012 heating season, the former tenant used 685.5 gallons of heating oil.
During Nov-Jan of 2012-2013 heating season, I have used 665.1 gallons of heating oil. A difference of 20.4 gallons. At the present cost of $3.99/gallon, that's a saving of just over $81. Not great but it's something and this reflects hot water use for 3 vs one, including one teen who still takes somewhat longer than necessary showers.

I am hoping that a service cleaning, bleeding of the registrars, lowering of the water temperature will also make a difference. I am all about investing in routine maintenance. Additionally, I will once again follow up on the status of my home energy audit report, which I desperately need to present to the landlord (it will include photos of the under the floor over the crawlspace area where the fiberglass batting is literally falling away from the building. My goals are to have her insulate the attic and reinsulate the crawlspace under the bathroom and bedrooms.

5 comments:

j udy said...

I hope the owners have a maintenance agreement on it or at least are willing to make the repairs. After all you are taking great care of their home and they also need to have an efficient home in case you dont stay.

CTMOM said...

Judy
Supposedly the LL does have a service ocntract with this very expensive oil company (reputation for being pricey). I am required as a result, to purchase my oil thru this same, pricey company. I need to know what the service contract covers. I expect that the LL would cover any additional repairs to the heating system, as required by CT tenant law. It would make plain, solid business sense also as the furnace is only 8 years old!
Ideally, we'll stay here until i have the funds needed for my next home. Energy costs and comfort level in the cold are concerns. I understand the LL's situation: she inherited this place from her parents, and she has her own life in a state far away from here. She is holding onto this place (supposedly, according to the realtor who showed me this rental) until the market improves. I get it. She doesn't want to put a ton of $ into this place. Understood. However, based on the amount of turnover (which can happen for a variety of reasons), she needs to maintain this place. I can't find anything on line with an insulation requirement for the state of CT. I can see where she can't be required to put insulation where there isn't already some in place. I perceive, however, that maintenance would include replacing/repairing insulation that is no longer attatched to the house, damaged as a result. I can also see where it may* behoove her to upgrade the attic insulation if she wants to keep a tenant more long term. I really don't relish the idea of moving, I am getting this place to be a home for us, making it much more practical, useful for us, outside of the insulation issue. I am not foolish, however, and I continue to check rentals in this town as well as the next (they share the same high school, which would be a major issue persuant to our divorce agreement). If an insulated 3 br, 2 bath opened up in my price range, I just may be moving this Summer.

Nancy said...

I'm curious. Here in OH we don't heat our homes with oil, we have natural gas or electric furnaces or way out in the rural areas they heat with propane. What is the cost of a gallon of home heating oil?

CTMOM said...

Nancy,
Currently $3.99/gallon. : (

mikemax said...

I will be VERY surprised if the landlord does much, if anything, with the insulation...especially since she would have to hire it done. (We do somewhat unexpected things for our rentals, but we can do them ourselves). The money isn't in it for her, and not many tenants care much about the insulation, let alone know its condition. But it never hurts to ask.

Before you move anywhere, anytime, always call the utility companies to find out about energy use. You might find a sticker on the furnace or oil tank that tells you which supplier they have been using. My DS was all set to rent a place, but it fell through when he got laid off. That very same day he discovered that the electric bill the year before had been $200 in the cold months. He kind of feels like he dodged a bullet.

As expensive as heating oil is, when you do the math you generally find that it is cheaper than other forms of energy. There are comparison formulas on the net. Liquid propane is usually the priciest. I just paid $1.70 gallon for LP for the cabin, but it doesn't put out nearly as much heat as oil.