Consumer Tips

  •   Benefits of oil from Cernak Fuel (versus gas, electricity, and other forms of heat)
  • Familiar Faces.  Unlike the natural gas and electric companies, Cernak Fuel is local.   The owners and employees are local.  You will see familiar faces when the oil truck drivers and technicians visit.
  • No Phone Menus.  The office staff is prompt, personal, and professional...and best of all, you won't have to wade through phone carousels.
  • Local Donations.  Donations and team sponsorships from Cernak Fuel are made to local organizations.
  • Small Business.  As a customer, you would be supporting a small, local business.
  • Service.  24 Hour emergency oil burner service is available to our customers in Hampshire and Hampden Counties in the event of a problem.  For our customers in Franklin County, we have networked with independent service companies to provide 24 Hour Emergency Service with local, cost effective, service technicians.
  • Comfortable.  Unlike other forms of heat, oil is versatile and comfortable.
  • Safe.  While all the major sources of heat generation have excellent safety records, equipment malfunctions can occur.   With oil, a leak in the supply line will not generate an explosion source.  Heating oil is non-explosive.   A match dropped into a pool of oil will simply go out.  The same cannot be said of propane or natural gas.¹
  • Carbon Monoxide.  "Oil is also safer when it comes to carbon monoxide emissions. When an oil burner malfunctions, it usually creates a great deal of smoke before it creates carbon monoxide. The smoke serves as a warning signal. On the other hand, natural gas and propane create carbon monoxide first, smoke second. There is no warning."²
  •   The importance of a full service oil company
  • Reliable automatic delivery service.
  • Burner service!!!  Discount oil companies generally do not have service departments.
  • Emergency burner service!!!  When it is cold in the middle of the night, or on a holiday, full service oil companies are on call 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
  • Consistency and service history records are important.
  • Burner Maintenance Contracts.
  •   The importance of automatic delivery service
  • We watch the tank so that you don't have to.
  • A "Will Call" customer who runs out of oil can pay significant service charges to have oil delivered and the oil burner primed.
  • Too many "Will Call" customers run out of oil during a holiday, a vacation, or an emergency.   It stands to reason; there is more to life than remembering to call for oil.
  • If you are not already on automatic, "keep full" delivery, now is the time.
  • There is no extra charge for the service.
  •   Payment assistance and options
  • The cost of heating has become a major portion of most people's budget.
  • Cernak Fuel has created several payment options to match the busy needs of different households.   Click on Make a Payment to find different payment options.
  • Have you considered a budget or prepayment plan?  Click on Heating Oil Contracts for more information.
  • Low income households may be eligible for state or federal funded fuel assistance.  Cernak Fuel accepts fuel assistance for its customers.  In Hampshire County, customers should call Franklin Community Action Commission (F.C.A.C.) at 1-800-370-0940.  In Franklin County, customers should call Franklin Community Action Commission (F.C.A.C) at 1-413-774-2310.  And , in Hampden County, customers should call Valley Opportunity Council Inc. at 1-413-552-1548.
  • Cernak Fuel accepts Citizens Energy vouchers for its customers.  Call Citizens Energy at 1-877-JOE-4OIL (1-877-563-4645).
  • Cernak Fuel accepts First Call for Help for its customers.  Call First Call at 413-582-4237.
  •   "Oil Heat Language-101"
  • A boiler heats water to heat your house.
  • A furnace heats air to heat your house.
  • An oil burner atomizes oil, provides air (oxygen) and a spark, to ignite the fuel and provide heat.
  •   If the oil burner fails to operate
  • Be sure that the burner emergency and service switches are on.
  • Thermostat should be above room temperature.
  • If you have a steam boiler, make sure there is water in the boiler.
  • Make sure there is oil in the tank.
  • Press reset button ONCE ONLY!!
  • Listen to hear if flame has comes on.
  • If burner does not run at all, check for a blown or loose fuse (or tripped circuit breaker).
  • If the oil burner still fails to operate, call for 24 hour emergency burner service.
  •   The boiler/furnace clean and tune service
  • Your boiler or furnace should be cleaned and tuned every year.
  • The soot which builds up on the system flue passages will actually insulate against the transfer of heat, causing the heat to go right out the chimney.
  • Customers who have a furnace, or boiler which does not heat the domestic hot water, should have their systems serviced at the end of that heating season (in the spring).  Any soot which has accumulated during the heating season will absorb moisture from the basement, and can create "mud" in the boiler.  This "mud" is difficult to clean and is acidic in composition; therefore, it is healthier for the system to have it cleaned early...don't wait for fall!
  • During the annual service, some emerging problems can get revealed before they become bigger problems.
  •   Your oil tank
  • Steel corrodes.
  • Because of condensate and bacteria build-up, oil tanks generally corrode from the inside out.
  • It is not possible to determine by visual inspection when and where the tank is corroding.
  • A leak or "blow-out" of the oil tank can be very costly to clean-up.
  • If your oil tank is more than 20 years old, it is time to consider replacement.
  • Never, ever, allow a used oil tank to be re-installed.
  • Never, ever, allow discontinued oil fill and vent pipes to remain in place.  This is especially true if the oil tank has been removed!!!  Removing, or filling discontinued pipes with cement, can prevent a tragedy before it happens.
  •   Unprotected fuel lines
  • Copper corrodes.  Concrete will accelerate the corrosion of copper.
  • Many fuel supply lines are buried underground or in concrete.  For this reason, they can go unnoticed.
  • Leaking oil lines will result in loss of fuel oil and contamination of the environment.
  • Contamination can be very costly to clean-up.
  • If your oil lines are not protected with a non metalic sheathing (or oil safety valve), be proactive and have the line(s) replaced.
  • Current Massachusetts fire code requires that oil lines be protected.  If the oil lines are not already protected, this work is mandated when an oil tank or oil burner gets replaced.
  • Effective September 30, 2011, residential property owners in Massachusetts are required to have their oil supply and return lines inspected, upgraded if necessary, and certified by a licensed oil burner technician.
  •   If you are starting to use an alternative heating source (e.g. woodstove or pellet stove)
  • Be cautious of the plumbing and heating pipes freezing during the very cold winter months.  Heat from stoves is centralized and quite often will not heat outer walls.
  • Make sure to call and update your oil company if they make automatic "keep full" deliveries to you.   The oil company does not want to "overfill" your tank if you are not using the oil.  Conversely, let them know when you stop using your stove, so you don't run out of oil.
  •   If you are going on vacation during the winter
  • It is always a good idea to have someone check your house regularly for problems.
  • There are devices, available for purchase, which would alert someone if the temperature in the house gets too cold.
  •   If you are planning on moving
  • If you are selling your house, one of the items you get reimbursed for at the closing is the remaining oil in the oil tank.
  • If you rent, check your lease agreement to see if you get reimbursed for the remaining oil in the tank; or, perhaps you are required to have the tank filled before you leave.
  • Don't forget to cancel the automatic delivery service with your oil company!!
  •   "Rapping..."
  • Rapping on the oil tank to determine the level of oil in the tank is NOT reliable