Helpul Hints & Resources

Home Help Helpul Hints & Resources

Here are some resources that will help you understand your oil and service account with us.

What is Degree Day?

Our automatic oil delivery depends on a degree day system that helps us keep track of how cold it is and when you need an oil delivery.

Most homes start using their heating systems when the outside temperature falls below 65 degrees. A degree-day is the average number of degrees below 65 on a given day. For example, if the average temperature on Oct 1st is 55 degrees, we would say that 10 degree-days accumulated on October 1st (65-10). If the average temperature on Oct 2nd is 50 degrees, that would mean that 15 degree-days (65-50=15) accumulated on October 2nd. Add the degree days together (10 +15=25) and we see that 25 degree-days have accumulated since the start of October. If you do this for an entire season you will have a total of degree days. In Connecticut we accumulate close to 4,800 degree-days a year.

Depending on how high you set your thermostat or the size of your home, the house will use a constant amount of oil for every degree day. Again, depending on the size of the home, a large home might use one gallon for every two degree-days, a small house maybe using one gallon for every 10 degree-days. This is called “Consumption Factor”. In this case a small home may have a WKF of ten and the larger home would have a WKF of two.

Once we’ve determined a home’s WKF. This is done after a couple of deliveries or the past history on your account, we project when we need to make a delivery. For example a house with a WKF of five that has a 275-gallon tank we try to deliver a tank when it is 1/3 full. We target a delivery of 180 gallons. Since we know the WKF is five and since we want to make a 180 gallon delivery, we know we should deliver oil to this house every 900 degree-days.

Why Build with Oil?


Research conducted at Brookhaven National Labs shows that Oilheat advances have reduced oil burner emissions to near zero levels. The new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission ratings affirm that oil burners are now one of the cleanest combustion sources in the United States.


One of the main things buyers want in a home-whether new or pre-owned-is comfort. That’s why the choice of heating fuel used in a home is so important. Oil heat is a smart choice. It keeps families snug, cozy and comfortable throughout the entire heating season-and supplies plenty of hot water as well.


The cost of heat is also very important to homebuyers. Today’s Oil heat appliances offer energy efficiencies 83% to 94%. That means from 83 to 94 cents of every dollar spent on fuel goes to heating the house and the hot water used in it. This outstanding efficiency does wonders for the family budget!


With oil heat, homeowners have a secure supply of fuel right on their own property. When additional fuel is needed, it is readily supplied by a dependable local oil dealer. With over 36 oil-producing countries, the U.S. is not dependent on any one region-and total proven reserves are 60% higher then they were in 1985. All this makes oil the dependable heating fuel of choice.


Homeowners will appreciate Oilheat’s safety for a variety of reasons. Home heating oil will not explode and is not even combustible at room temperature. It has to be heated to 140 degrees before it vaporizes. In addition, an Oilheat system will give off smoke and turn itself off before emitting dangerous carbon monoxide.

Environmentally Friendly

Today’s homeowners are aware of the importance of environmental protection. That’s another reason why they like oilheat. Air polluting emissions from Oilheat are insignificant, and oil store tanks offer not threat to the environment. Fuel oil is biodegradable. Oilheat is not only best for homeowners-its best for our planet as well.


Oilheat is versatile. It can be used in forced air, boilers or radiant appliances. Air conditioners, air cleaners and humidification systems can be added, radiant tubing can keep driveways and walkways free of ice and snow. Great for pools and hot tubs. Oil can be stored outdoors above ground or underground-in garages, basements, or utility rooms. Many of today’s tanks are even guaranteed against leaking.

Frozen Pipes

How to prevent them; what to do when they freeze

When temperatures are predicted to fall to 0 to 10 degrees overnight, frozen water pipes will be a concern for some residents.

Here are some preparation tips in advance of frigid weather:

  • Know what areas of your home, such as basements, crawl spaces, unheated rooms and outside walls, are most vulnerable to freezing.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by repairing broken windows, insulating walls, closing off crawl spaces and eliminating drafts near doors.
  • Know the location of your main water shut-off valve. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
  • Protect your pipes and water meter. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation or use electrical heat tracing wire; newspaper or fabric might also work. For outside meters, keep the lid to the meter pit closed tightly and let any snow that falls cover it. Snow acts as insulation, so don’t disturb it.

When temperatures are consistently at or below freezing:

  • If you have pipes that are vulnerable to freezing, allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. The cost of the extra water is low compared to the cost to repair a broken pipe.
  • Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing. If your pipes freeze:
  • Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw frozen pipes unless the water is shut off. Freezing can often cause unseen cracks in pipes or joints.
  • Apply heat to the frozen pipe by warming the air around it, or by applying heat directly to a pipe. You can use a hair dryer, space heater or hot water. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended, and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.
  • Once the pipes have thawed, turn the water back on slowly and check for cracks and leaks.

The heating system needs to be tuned-up annually, it is the best thing you can do for your system, your energy bills and your future comfort. Here are the benefits of an annual tune-up.

  • Preventive Maintenance: Checking out minor problems that could eventually result in your system working inefficiently.
  • Savings on fuel usage: When your system is running at its peak efficiency, it uses less fuel. Your heating system will be conserving energy and helping the environment.
  • Replacing an old furnace will save you fuel and pay for itself in a few years, call today for a free quote.

Ensure that your Heating and Air Conditioning Systems are working efficiently…call us today @ 203-453-1200 to schedule your annual tune-up. We are here to make sure your comfort exceeds your expectations.

What is Bioheat?


East River Energy is proud to introduce Bioheat to their residential customers. Bioheat is good for our environment and good for your home heating equipment.

What is Bioheat?

“Bioheat” is a heating oil blend containing biodiesel, a renewable fuel. It helps heating oil burn cleaner, making it better for the environment and home heating systems. The fuel is comprised of East River Energy premium heating oil blended with biodiesel to create “bioheat”. Biodiesel is made from soybean oil and processed from other fats and vegetable oils.

Why use Bioheat?

Bioheat helps heating oil burn cleaner within a boiler or furnace, which is better for the environment and can also help maintain cleaner heat exchangers thus extending the life of a customer’s heating system. Biodiesel is a natural, biodegradable fuel, obtained from recyclable, organic sources such as soybeans produced largely right here on American farms. Biodiesel acts as a solvent that keeps equipment free of sludge and other debris build up as well as a superior lubricant agent extending the life of equipment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that if everyone in the Northeast heating with oil utilized a bioheat with a blend of 5%, 50 million gallons of heating oil would be conserved.

Is Bioheat reliable?

East River Energy’s bioheat with a blend ratio of up to 5% is extremely reliable. Similar products have been extensively utilized in European markets for many years with great success. East River Energy combines our proven premium heating oil with the best biodiesel available in the market to produce our very own bioheat.

Do I need to change my heating equipment?

East River Energy’s bioheat requires no changes to existing equipment or storage tanks.

What Effects Oil Pricing?

Many things can affect the price of home heating oil. OPEC decides to limit production, storms in the Gulf and turbulent times in the Middle East. We at East River Energy purchase oil contracts during the year in an effort to get our customers the best price. Our new BIOHEAT will help conserve energy, and proper maintenance of your home heating equipment will help conserve oil and save money.

Keeping Warm for Less

You can make changes now that will make your home more comfortable and save you money.

Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to preset temperatures for different times of the day because you don’t need to keep your home at 68 degrees around the clock. Although one shouldn’t be used with heat pumps, a programmable thermostat is a real money-saver with air-conditioning as well as with heat. Choose a setting on the low end when you’re sleeping or are away and go with a higher setting at other times for savings of between 10 and 20 percent of your bill. Some units can store up to four temperature settings each day — e.g., morning, day, evening, night. All have a manual override switch.
It’s Closed-Flue Season, so Minimize Those Romantic Fires
An open fireplace damper lets the same amount of heated air escape up the chimney as a wide-open 48-inch window lets out. Make sure your flu is closed when you don’t have a fire going. In fact, it is a good idea to reduce the number of times you use your fireplace. A roaring fire exhausts over 20,000 cubic feet of heated air per hour to the outside. Sure it feels warm by the fire, but every Btu that goes up the chimney is replaced by cold air pulled into the house elsewhere. And all that cold air has to be heated, a costly prospect. Can’t resist a fire every few nights? Install a set of glass fireplace doors ($400 to $600). Closing these doors when you go to bed prevents large volumes of heated air in the living space from escaping after the fire has gone out.
The Spin on Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are everywhere in warm-weather climates. Spinning counterclockwise, they move air around the room. Not all energy experts feel it’s a good idea to use them in the heating season (doubters says they cool the air too much), but the fans do help bring heated air down to earth in rooms with cathedral or high-sloped ceilings. However, that’s only if you slide the reversing switch on the side of the motor housing to the winter (clockwise) position. Then run the fan at its lowest speed. If you can’t reverse the blade rotation or if you think the fan is cooling off the room too much, leave it off.
Move Furniture Away From Vents, Registers, and Radiators
This sounds like a no-brainer, but many times a couch, chair, or bed moved during the summer stays there in winter, blocking the flow of heat into the room. This wastes money and leads to cold rooms. With a forced-air system, blocking a supply or return vent can cause a house-wide pressure imbalance that disrupts the heat flow in the whole system.
Adjust Your Water Heater
You use more hot water in winter. Lower the water heater temperature from 140 degrees to 120 degrees. And take showers, not baths. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average bath consumes up to 25 gallons of hot water, while a five-minute shower uses up much less — only around 10 gallons. Equipping your showers with low-flow shower heads also dramatically reduces the consumption of water, both hot and cold.
Windows and Doors
  • Keep doors and windows closed as much as possible. That includes overhead doors on attached garages.
  • Install do-it-yourself plastic-film storm windows. Find them at a local hardware store.
  • Seal off unused rooms, as long as the room is less than 100 square feet and isn’t the room where the thermometer is located. Close the floor or wall registers and return air vents, and keep the doors closed.
  • Open south-facing window curtains, drapes and blinds during the day. Close window coverings at night to keep the heat in.
  • Weather-strip and caulk windows. Check window frames for cracks and fill them with caulk that contains silicone.
  • Check all exterior doors for air leaks. Weather-strip and caulk as needed. A one-eighth inch gap around a door is equivalent to a six-inch square hole in the side of your house and causes a lot of energy loss.


What do I do if my oil burner isn’t operating?

Oil burners are generally trouble-free and reliable devices. But, like all precision machinery, your home’s heating system can require attention. There are some things you can do before calling East River Energy that may restore burner operations and save you a service call.
• Be sure that the oil burner switch (looks like a light switch but usually has a red cover plate) is in the on position.

• Make sure there is oil in the tank-look at the gauge or for buried tanks use a wooden dip stick to check the oil level.
• Set your thermostat above room temperature to be sure it is demanding heat and telling the furnace to come on.

• Press the reset button on the relay located on the top of the burner (once only). If burner does not run at all, check for blown fuse or tripped breaker at your electrical service box.

If your burner still fails to operate or runs briefly and shuts off, call East River Energy for service. For your convenience our service technicians are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

What do I do if my air conditioning isn’t operating?

If the unit is frozen, it will not operate until the ice on the coil melts, which will take approximately 12 to 24 hours. We cannot work on a unit while it is frozen but we will be happy to get a technician there when it is thawed out.
On the very hot days, it will take several hours to cool a house. Some people have a tendency to leave the A/C off all day, return home and expect the house to cool in a few minutes. This is not the case. On very hot days, it is beneficial to start the unit in the morning to help keep up with the heat of the day.

What is the difference between a furnace and a boiler?

A furnace uses forced hot air to produce heat in your home. A boiler uses hot water.

While I’m on winter vacation, what temperature should I leave my house?

You should keep your heat set between 60-65 degrees to keep the pipes from possible freezing.

Do my radiators need to be bled during the heating season?

That is not normally necessary unless you are having a specific problem.

My heating equipment is very old. How do I know if it is time to replace it?

Although there is no exact age when equipment must be replaced, many consider replacement within a 20- to 25 – year time frame. If your equipment has been properly maintained and continues to run efficiently, it could have a longer life span.

Why does my house only heat up to 68 degrees when I put my thermostat at 70 degrees?

Thermostats are not always 100% accurate and there will often be a small difference.

Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors

East River Energy would like to remind residents of the importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in the home.

While there are many different brands of smoke alarms for sale, they are of two basic types: ionization or photoelectric. Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast-moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. Some units on the market combine both technologies and are called dual sensor smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms can be purchased locally at a variety of stores. Some are intended to be "hard wired" into the electrical system in the house (a qualified electrician should do this work). Some units are battery powered, requiring only a screwdriver for installation. The manufacturer's instructions for installation should be followed carefully. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and if they have batteries, those should be replaced annually.

Smoke alarms should be located on every level of your home, including the basement. For extra safety you may want to install alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and tasteless toxic gas that comes from gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, space heaters and cars.

The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the "flu" but without the usual fever. They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. A victim's skin may appear red in color. Because it cannot be smelled, seen or tasted, it can kill people before they know it is present in their dwelling.

It is recommended that a CO alarm with an audible warning signal be installed near the sleeping areas of your home and outside of individual bedrooms. Buy an alarm that has been tested by a nationally recognized testing lab such as Underwriters' Laboratories (UL). Follow the manufactures instructions for installation and testing.

A few simple precautions can also reduce the chance of accidental exposure to CO:

  • Have a qualified professional check all fuel-burning appliances, furnaces, chimneys and venting systems in your home at least once a year.
  • Never use your oven or range to heat you home, and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi inside your house or garage.
  • Never keep a car running in your garage, even with the garage doors open.
  • If your running a portable generator it should be OUTSIDE away from the house to prevent CO from entering your residence.
emergency response

East River Energy is available and at your service around the clock during any emergency situation (super storms, power outages, and other natural disasters)