Homebuyer Beware: How to spot a funky furnace

Posted on March 25 2019

Buying your first home can be both a terrifying and exciting experience. Gone are the days of smelling everything the odd people down the hall of your apartment are cooking for dinner, having to share laundry machines with strangers of questionable hygiene (ew!) and stressing over finding that someone else has parked in your spot.

On the other hand, gone too are the days of not worrying about paying for heating oil (time to make friends with a heating oil company), or being able to just call ‘Maintenance’ whenever your heat suddenly stops working. Many homes in New England are heated by heating oil, so it's important to know what red flags you should keep an eye out for while house shopping.

After the second paragraph, create a separate line that reads: “Want to learn more about heating oil basics? Check out Heating Oil 101.

Ah... The joys of home ownership

One thing for sure, when you find a house that you like, get a qualified home inspector to poke around the place and have them give you thorough, unbiased checklist about the good, the bad and the ugly things they found in your dream-home-to-be.

One of the most important things – because it is very expensive to replace – is for an inspector to check out is the home’s heating and ventilation (HVAC) system. 

In fact, it might even be a good idea to have an HVAC service technician come and take a look at your oil burning furnace and heating oil tank in addition to the general home inspector. Think of it this way, all these HVAC guys do is work on furnaces. Chances are, if they’ve been doing this type of work for any length of time, they’ve probably seen a lot of things go wrong with just about every make, model and brand of furnace out there.

Heck, they may have even worked on the furnace that’s in the house you’re looking to buy!

Hey Sherlock, nice pipes!

If your home inspector doesn’t call your attention to anything related to the heating and cooling equipment of the home – and you don’t want to bring in an HVAC specialist – there are a few things you can check on your own.

Take a close look around the furnace and try to see if there are any signs of rust, crust or (white) staining on any of the pipes going in and out of it. This is often a sign that water has leaked out of the system at some point. This is bad. Not terrible. But something that should be fixed.

Obviously, if you actually SEE any water on the pipes or on the floor below, it’s a much more serious problem. Grab your galoshes and run.

The tell-tale service log tells all

Another key piece of information to be on the lookout for is a service log that furnace technicians leave behind after completing whatever work they were called in to do. Oftentimes, it’s a piece paper enclosed in a plastic sleeve and either hanging off a pipe near the furnace or stuck in a rafter overhead.

If you find one, you’ll be able to see a list of times that someone has come to work on the heating system. The plastic sleeve may also have print outs of the diagnostic tests the oil technicians did before and after they completed whatever service was needed.

One important measurement is the AFUE or efficiency rating – which indicates how well the furnace burns oil to create heat for the home. The Department of Energy refers to furnaces with higher than 90% efficiency rating as “high efficiency” and models with 80% efficiency as “mid-efficiency”.  If you find the efficiency rating lower than 80% your potential new furnace will need to burn more heating oil to heat your home and may be in need of repair or replacement.

If you can’t find any information about the furnace in the home, it could mean that it’s been a very LONG time since it’s been serviced. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a clunker, but it should be a red flag that says that you should have someone take a closer look.

Most high efficiency oil burning furnaces are designed to last for decades. That said, nothing lasts forever, but with some careful observation and maybe a little detective work during the home inspection process, homebuyers can get a pretty good idea of how much life the heating system still has in it. 

Once you have purchased the house, how do you save on heating oil?

Simply enter your zip in the Orange Check Price box on this page or go to Heatable.com. After you enter your zip, you’ll find out instantly what the price per gallon and you’ll also see our deliver by date – the latest date we promise to get you your heating oil.

Heatable offers super low heating oil prices to New Englanders with a couple taps on a smartphone

Heatable is bringing New England home heating oil delivery service into the smartphone age with our easy to use App and smooth and simple website, Heatable.com. 

Built exclusively to make the process of delivering home heating oil faster, cheaper and easier for customers throughout New England, Heatable is a local New England heating oil company made up of industry veterans who were convinced they could bring New England heating oil delivery into the digital age.

What services does Heatable offer?

We focus solely on the delivery of home heating oil to homes in New England. By focusing just on heating oil delivery, we can give you the cheapest price, provide super speedy home heating oil deliveries and save you some money in the process.

Oh, and don’t forget that Heatable customers can do all this directly from their cell phone in [literally] just a few seconds!

Where in New England does Heatable deliver home heating oil?

Heatable currently delivers home heating oil to towns in Maine and New Hampshire.

Currently we deliver to many towns in New Hampshire and Maine. You can view a full list of our delivery areas here. If you don’t see your town listed, just drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll let you know when we’re in your neighborhood.

Keep in mind that we are also in the process of expanding our delivery area. Our vision is to expand throughout New England. Please feel free to drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know what town you live in. We’ll make sure that you’ll be the first to know when we start bringing the heat to your town.

Learn more about Heating Oil

Visit our Ultimate Consumer’s Guide to Heating Oil for everything you need to know about heating your home with #2 heating oil.

Stay cozy out there!
The Heatable Crew