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A Useful Checklist

central air service massachusettsThis summer has brought record-breaking heat throughout America and even here in Boston’s South Shore. That means you’ve been relying on your AC a lot—probably more than you have in the past. When your AC has to keep up with the type of heat and humidity we’ve had this summer, it can lead to wear and tear that may cause problems for you in the future. Now is a good time to identify and address any such problems.

Your End of Summer AC Checklist

We see it all the time, periods of high heat and humidity put a big strain on cooling systems (especially if they’re older). Make sure your AC is still up to the job. Here are five things to do before the summer ends:

  1. Replace the air filter. Hopefully, you made a habit of regularly changing the air filter throughout the summer. Changing your air filters on a regular basis is a simple and cost-effective way to help your air conditioner perform better. Change them again before the start of the heating season. This is especially important if you have a combined heating/cooling HVAC system.
  2. Clean around the outdoor unit. Check for and remove anything that may block airflow, e.g., bushes, grass, nests, and leaves.
  3. Clean and clear the coils and condensate line. This is best done by a professional as part of a maintenance visit. Scott Williams provides thorough AC maintenance. We’ll make sure that your AC is in good working order so that there are no unpleasant surprises in the future. Regular professional maintenance is the best way to prevent breakdowns and keep your AC running as efficiently as possible—which will lower your cooling costs.
  4. Inspect your AC. Look and listen. Look for any obvious frayed wires or rust. Listen for unusual sounds. If you hear anything out of the ordinary, contact Scott Williams to request a service visit. Other things to look out for at the end of the summer are refrigerant leaks and frozen coils.
  5. Schedule a tune-up. Especially if you didn’t get maintenance for your AC during the spring or early summer, do it now. The end of summer or early autumn is actually a great time to schedule your AC maintenance. Tune-ups don’t wear off, so doing it now will give you one less thing to worry about next spring/summer. And if we discover your AC requires a significant repair, there will be plenty of time to order replacement parts or upgrade your system. Given the supply chain issues of late, there’s no harm it getting a jump start on being ready for next summer now.

Maintenance Matters

Whether you’re AC needs to be replaced, repaired, or just maintained, Scott Williams can do it for you. Our tune-up will ensure that your system runs as efficiently as possible, and efficiency saves you money—up to 30%. It’s also better for the environment. We can also handle any necessary repairs. Scott Williams also installs new AC systems. So if it is time for an upgrade, we can help with that as well.

Leave It to Scott Williams

Scott Williams is here to keep you warm all winter and cool all summer. From heating oil delivery to the installation, maintenance, and repair of furnaces, boilers, and air conditioning systems, we do it all for our customers in Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth County. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Contact Scott Williams today to learn more about how we can keep you comfortable.

Reasons to Avoid an Electric-Powered House

oilheat efficiency massachusettsIf you’re looking to buy a home in Boston’s South Shore, you may be weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a home that uses heating oil versus electricity. Before you jump on the electrification bandwagon, let’s take a look at some of the ways electricity falls short—especially in our region.

Heating Oil vs Electricity

There are a few reasons to choose a home powered by heating oil, especially in the South Shore. As you search for your next home, consider the following:

  1. Power outages are happening with increasing regularity. The US electric grid is imperfect and vulnerable, especially with extreme weather events becoming more commonplace. It might be hard to imagine winter weather right now, but consider what would happen if a massive winter storm left your new South Shore neighborhood in the dark. Given what winters in New England are like, you wouldn’t want to be dependent on electricity to warm your home. You’d want to have a source of heat that you can depend on every day of the year—no matter what. Heating oil gives you that assures dependability. And you can count on Scott Williams to be there with the heating oil you need. The electric company may let you down, but we won’t. We’ll deliver.
  2. A boiler or furnace powered by heating oil is more practical than an electric heat pump in places like Boston’s South Shore. Electric heat pumps become significantly less effective when the temperature approaches zero degrees. Compared to a system powered by heating oil, an electric heat pump simply won’t warm your home as effectively during the harsh New England winters.
  3. If the home you decide to purchase may need a new heating system soon, consider this: Installing a heat pump is extremely expensive. On average, a new heat pump costs $20,000. On the other hand, you can purchase a new, highly efficient boiler or furnace for less than half that amount and still reduce your carbon footprint. Scott Williams provides expert boiler and furnace installation.

Consider the Environment

In addition to the advantages to choosing a home powered by heating oil, electricity has its drawbacks. Because most of our country’s electricity is generated by coal-burning power plants, electricity is actually America’s second-largest source of greenhouse gases. It’s not the perfect green option some would like you to believe it is.

A Provider You Can Trust

Wherever you end up living in Boston’s South Shore, Scott Williams is a heating oil provider you can trust. We’re committed to delivering for our customers and selling our heating oil at a fair price. Whether you live in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can trust us to deliver for you. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Contact us today to learn more about how Scott Williams can keep you comfortable and save you money.

Enroll & Take Control of Your Heating Oil Costs

heating oil payment options massachusettsIf you manage the budget for your family, then you know it’s harder than ever to predict how much things will cost. It seems like everything from groceries, to gas, to airfare is getting more expensive by the minute. That can make it really difficult to budget and stay on top of your household’s bottom line.

Scott Williams can’t save you money at the grocery store or the gas pump, but we can make one part of your budget predictable—your heating oil bill.

The EZ Pay Program

By enrolling in the Scott Williams EZ Pay Program, heating your home will become a lot less stressful. Here’s how it works: We review your fuel usage over the past few winters and calculate a monthly payment amount. Then, from July to June, you’ll pay 12 equal and completely predictable payments. If your actual fuel costs are more or less than we predicted, we’ll make any necessary adjustments (which are usually minor) during the winter.

So why not take the worry out of one part of your budget? Get the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what to expect. It couldn’t be easier. And there is no cost to enroll.

EZ Pay Program Benefits

There’s nothing to lose and lots to gain with EZ Pay Program. Consider the following:

  1. You won’t use more heating oil than you normally would. We’ll still deliver heating oil only when you need it.
  2. You won’t end up paying more per gallon.
  3. Your heating oil bills will be predictable and more manageable. That’s especially comforting given how much heating fuel prices have been fluctuating lately.
  4. You’ll have more cash on hand during the winter months because the cost of high usage months will be evenly spread out over the whole year.
  5. Even if you get multiple deliveries in a month, you’ll still pay just your one monthly payment.

Scott Williams is committed to delivering for our customers and selling our heating oil at a fair price. Whether you live in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can trust us to deliver for you. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Scott Williams offers our customers reliable heating oil deliveries and flexible payment options. Contact us today to learn more about the payment options we offer.

Maintenance Tips for the Season

home cooling service massachusettsHere in New England, the AC season is comparatively short. However, we still get our fair share of scorchers during the summer, and you don’t want to find out your AC isn’t up to the task of keeping you and your family comfortable and cool when the temps and humidity start to rise. Spring is the ideal time to check on your AC and make sure it’s in good working order. A bit of maintenance now will save you money over time and make it less likely that your AC will conk out when you need it most.

AC Prep Checklist

Here are some things to do and consider this spring to make sure your AC is ready for the hot months ahead:

  1. Age. If your AC system is over 15 years old, now is the time to look into upgrading to a new and more efficient system. A new high-efficiency air conditioning system from Scott Williams could cut your cooling costs in half!
  2. Check your thermostat. This is the brain of your HVAC system. Make sure it’s working properly and replace the batteries.
  3. Check your vents. Move all obstructions away from your vents so cool air can enter unobstructed (e.g., drapes, curtains, furniture, etc.).
  4. Check your ductwork. Seal up any obvious leaks and fix out-of-place duct joints in exposed ductwork areas. Leaks lead to unnecessarily higher energy bills.
  5. Clear the drain line. This will prevent water from being diverted back into your home or toward your foundation and causing problems.
  6. Check your AC filter for blockages. Be sure to check your air filter monthly and replace or clean it as needed. A blocked filter will reduce your system’s efficiency. A chronically blocked AC filter could cause your cooling system to fail.
  7. Check your electrical lines. Check all electrical connections and circuit breakers. Make sure there are no wiring problems that could cause you to lose power to your AC.
  8. Clean the outdoor condenser unit. Check for and remove any debris like leaves, twigs, and nests to make sure your system has adequate airflow.

Maintenance Matters

You shouldn’t skip on the maintenance of your AC system, but you don’t have to do it yourself. Scott Williams can do it for you. Our tune-up will ensure that your system runs as efficiently as possible, and efficiency saves you money—up to 30%. It’s also better for the environment. And if any repairs are needed, we can handle that for you.

In addition to repairs and maintenance, Scott Williams also installs new AC systems. So if it is time for an upgrade, we can help. A Scott Williams professional can perform a complete comfort analysis of your home and help you make the best decision based on your needs and budget. Then we’ll make sure it’s properly installed so that you’re comfortable no matter how hot it gets.

Leave It to Scott Williams

Just as you can trust Scott Williams to keep you warm all winter, you can trust us to help you stay cool all summer. We serve Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth County. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Contact Scott Williams today to learn more about how we can keep you comfortable.

Understanding the Energy Markets & Price Fluctuations

oil prices massachusettsAs the past two years have taught us, our planet is extremely interconnected. What happens in one part of the world usually has a ripple effect that’s felt elsewhere. Fortunately, spring is here and your need for heating oil will be decreasing as the weather warms up, but if you’ve recently paid for heating oil for your South Shore home, you’ve probably noticed an increase in the price.

Why the increase? Global crude oil prices soared to over $100 per barrel for the first time in eight years after Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. As you probably know all too well by now, as the price of crude oil goes, so goes the many other products derived from it. And heating oil is no exception.

Even before the war in Ukraine further accelerated price increases, consumer spending trends—combined with persistent supply shortages—had already sent inflation rates in the U.S. to their highest levels in 40 years. 

Russia’s Role

Russia is impossible to ignore because it is the third-largest petroleum and liquid fuels producer in the world behind the United States and Saudi Arabia. It’s a major exporter of both crude oil and natural gas.

For weeks, energy prices had been rising in anticipation of the potential sanctions that could be levied on the Russian energy sector if the country went ahead and invaded Ukraine. In the frenzied world of investment, this is known as the “fear factor.” Even the hint of a possible disruption in energy supply will heavily influence the actions of commodities traders.

Once Russia invaded, the U.S. was the first country to place a ban on Russian oil and petroleum products, which accounted for about 7% of U.S. imports in 2020.

And here’s where the fear factor played an additional role. While Russian oil imported into the U.S. isn’t a significant percentage, the prospect of Europe eventually joining the U.S. in banning Russian energy imports would leave a big void to fill, and those who make their living in the oil markets don’t like that level uncertainty. This includes the speculators (who are betting on price moves) and the hedgers (who are limiting risk for their clients).

Now What?

We don’t know where things will go from here, but just like you, we hope this spike is only temporary. When the price of heating oil goes up, it hurts your budget and digs into our profits.

Even though the market is experiencing a lot of volatility right now, Scott Williams remains committed to delivering for our customers and selling our heating oil at a fair price. So whether you’re in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can trust us to deliver for you—no matter what’s happening in the world. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Scott Williams offers our customers reliable heating oil deliveries and flexible payment options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep you comfortable and save you money.

Benefits for You, Your Family, and the Environment

heating oil benefits massachusettsNow that the weather is warming up, heating oil might be the last thing on your mind. Then again, with fuel prices on the rise, it may be very much on your mind. Rest assured, Scott Williams is here for our customers. We will not let you run out, and if you’re having trouble paying your bill, just let us know as soon as possible, and we will work with you.

Advantages of Heating Oil

Even with the volatility affecting fuel prices, there are still a lot of good reasons to choose heating oil. Here are a few of them:

  1. Heating oil is safe: In its liquid form, home heating oil doesn’t ignite. It must be vaporized to burn. That means that heating oil can be stored safely in your South Shore home. It represents a very low risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Additionally, modern oil storage tanks are virtually leakproof.
  2. Heating oil is efficient: Modern oil-fired heating systems can be as much as 95% efficient. That means you’re getting a lot of energy for every dollar you spend on fuel—which matters even more now that fuel prices have increased so sharply.
  3. Heating oil works quickly: Of all the heating fuels, heating oil can get your home warm in the shortest amount of time. That’s because heating oil can generate approximately 125,000 BTUs per gallon. That’s a lot of heat!
  4. Heating oil is getting greener: Heating oil has seen significant improvements over the last few decades. Modern heating oil systems burn nearly 93% cleaner than their predecessors. Modern furnaces and boilers also use roughly 700 fewer gallons of heating oil each year than their predecessors did.
  5. Heating oil promotes longevity: If you use heating oil, you’ll get great longevity from your boiler or furnace. With proper maintenance, your oil-fired heating system could last 30 years (or even longer).

Scott Williams is a trusted heating oil provider serving Boston’s South Shore. Whether you’re in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can trust us to deliver for you—no matter what’s happening in the world. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Scott Williams offers our customers reliable heating oil deliveries and flexible payment options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep you comfortable and save you money.

Unsurprisingly, we’ve been getting many calls around two connected issues: the surge in fuel prices and supply concerns. People are astounded by how much prices have risen and how fast. So are we. They are also concerned that there will be interruptions in supply that will cause them to run out of fuel.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine shocked energy markets, sending crude oil to record territory.

To give you a sense of how this affects your heating oil price, in early March, we received notice at night from our suppliers that their prices were going up 20 cents per gallon the next day. The next day, prices went up three more times—a total of 60 cents in just 24 hours. Prices continued to surge—a total of $1.25 in one week. Normally, they might change 5 cents in a week.

What’s Coming Next?

We don’t know where things will go from here. One thing we can tell you is that we hate this as much as you do. Some people are under the misconception that when prices rise, we make more money. The opposite is true. People cut back usage. They have trouble paying their bills, and our receivables skyrocket. Meanwhile, we must pay our suppliers in just ten days. We must borrow much more from the bank. It is an awful mess for everyone.

One thing you can count on is that we will not let you run out. We have been in business for many years and have very strong relationships with suppliers and financial institutions. We are already getting calls from customers who are with other companies that can’t say the same. These customers are unable to get deliveries for 20 days out. You don’t have to worry about that with us.

If you are having trouble paying your bill, talk to us before it becomes a problem. Many times, we can work out something to give you more time, especially if you’ve been with us a while. We can also set you up on a monthly payment plan.

Nothing will make us happier than when prices start dropping. Until then, trust us to look out for you, and let’s pray for the people of Ukraine.

Ken Williams, President
Scott Williams, Inc.

Dear Valued Customer,

Once again, we’re seeing energy prices surge across the board. We know how painful that can be for our customers. It’s painful for us as well.

What’s going on?

Gasoline has risen more than a dollar more per gallon vs. year ago. Natural gas prices have skyrocketed more than 150%. Crude oil prices have climbed above $100 per barrel, a level we haven’t seen in seven years.

The cost of electricity has not been spared either. Higher natural gas prices result in price hikes for wholesale electricity because of heavy reliance on natural gas-fired power plants.

What’s more, wholesale propane prices have hit their highest weekly average levels since February 2014. Read more about the factors that are driving today’s energy market.

What We’re Doing

People sometimes misunderstand how negatively all this impacts us as well. We don’t make more money when prices rise like this- we make less. Think of it this way: it’s like when the cost of coffee, milk or oranges rise. It’s not the local grocery that is profiting. (That’s left to the Wall Street investors). Our customers have a harder time paying their bills. They reduce expenditures. We need to tap into our lines of credit more. Our phones light up with questions. So the sooner energy prices drop, the happier we’ll be.

In the meantime, please talk to us about things we can offer to help you reduce your energy costs, or handle payments more easily. And if you are having trouble with your bills, please call us. We can generally work with you if you reach out before you fall behind.

Trust us to come through for you

We’ve been in business for many years and have deep roots in the community. We have secure access to supply. We are doing everything possible to ensure we can deliver—even if other companies cannot—no matter the cost or difficulty we face.

We thank you for your understanding and we appreciate your loyalty. As we’ve done quite a few times in the past, we will get through these tough times by all working together.

Keep your vent pipes clear!

clearing house exhaust massachusettsWinter is a season full of chores. Every time it snows, you’ve got to shovel and clear off your car(s). As someone who owns a furnace, there’s one more thing snowfall should bring to mind—the vents for your furnace. Always clear your vents when it snows.

As a resident of Boston’s South Shore, you’re not afraid of the snow. But you also know how important it is for the safety of your household and anyone visiting that you clear your walkway and driveway so they’re free from snow and ice. It’s also extremely important for the safety of your New England family that you monitor your furnace’s exhaust vents and intake pipes whenever it snows and keep them unobstructed.

Why clear your home’s exhaust pipes?

It’s important to keep your intake pipes and exhaust vents clear for two primary reasons:

  1. They are both critical components of your furnace that allow it to operate properly.
  2. If they get blocked, that can cause serious problems—everything from a system shutdown to a buildup of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that can cause serious medical emergencies and even death.

Furnace Basics

To understand why it’s so important to keep your furnace’s exhaust vents and intake pipes clear, you first need to know some heating system basics:

  • To operate properly, a furnace needs three things: fuel, a spark, and oxygen. Scott Williams delivers the heating oil your furnace uses. And the furnace itself generates the spark.
  • Especially if it’s a newer home, your heating system may need to get the oxygen it requires to keep the furnace ignited from outside the house. That’s the job of the air-intake pipe. If this pipe gets blocked by snow, your system will probably stall or shut down completely.
  • When your furnace is sufficiently oxygenated, it ignites and produces heat and gases as a product of the combustion. The heat is your furnace’s purpose. It keeps you and your family comfortably warm. The combustion gases are an unavoidable and potentially hazardous byproduct. It’s dangerous if they accumulate. Carbon monoxide is one such gas. And not only is it extremely toxic, it’s also colorless and odorless. That’s why carbon monoxide detectors are an important safety fixture in every home.
  • When your heating system is working as it should, all those combustion gases are sent outside of your home before they can pose a danger to you and your family. That’s the job of the exhaust pipe. And that is why it’s so important that you keep it clear. If that pipe gets blocked (and snow does create a barrier to gases like carbon monoxide), then those gases won’t vent. Instead, they’ll remain in your home and put the health and lives of everyone in the home in danger.

How to clear furnace exhaust pipes

We here at Scott Williams, we want you to be safe and comfortable in your home this winter. And we know more snow is on the way. So, make sure that whenever the next storm hits, you keep your exhaust vents clear. Here’s how to do that in three easy steps:

  1. Find your exhaust pipes: Go to your furnace. If your system vents through the chimney, you’ll notice an aluminum pipe coming out of the back. If your system vents through an exterior wall, you’ll find two PVC pipes coming off the top. Follow those pipes to see where they go, i.e., where the vents end up outside your home.
  2. Mark your vents: When you find your vents, mark their location so that you’ll still be able to find them in a lot of snow.
  3. Clear a space around your exhaust vents: After every snowfall (or whenever wind may have blown snow that has already fallen) use a shovel to clear any snow around your vents. Then use a broom when cleaning off the vent itself. Don’t use a shovel for this part or you’ll risk damaging your equipment.

Scott Williams is a trusted heating oil provider serving Boston’s South Shore. Whether you’re in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can count on us to keep you safe and comfortable in your home. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Scott Williams offers our customers reliable heating oil deliveries, service plans, and flexible payment options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can keep you comfortable and save you money.

A message to our automatic delivery customers

home fuel use massachusettsIt’s a new year and perhaps that means some things have changes in your South Shore household. Just as many are making (or already breaking) their resolutions, now is a good time to take stock of any recent or impending changes in your household that could affect your need for heating oil. Even a seemingly small change in your Boston home and habits could have a noticeable effect on your fuel usage. That’s why we ask that you keep Scott Williams up to date on everything that could affect your heating oil consumption this winter.

The past few years have caused most of us to make a lot of changes. Because of Covid-19, many of us now celebrate, work, study, and consume entertainment differently. You may have barely noticed some of the changes in your household’s habits, but at Scott Williams, we hope you’ll take the time to keep up in the loop when things change so we can adjust your automatic heating oil delivery schedule accordingly.

Here are a few examples of changes that could have an effect on your fuel usage:

  • The quantity of people in the home. Are your college-aged kids home for the winter holiday? Has a friend or family member come to live with you long-term? Maybe you’re expecting or adopting a child. As the number of people in your household changes, so will your need for heating oil.
  • The quantity of time spent at home. In the wake of Covid, more and more people are working from home, attending classes virtually, and going out less. The colder weather also makes homebodies of many of us. Spending more time indoors during the winter requires keeping your home warm for a greater portion of the day and will require more fuel.
  • The quantity of time spent away from home. Maybe you’re living elsewhere or planning to go away on a long vacation, and your home won’t need to be heated nearly as much.

If you’re an automatic delivery customer, please let Scott Williams know whenever there are changes in your household or habits (whether due to the pandemic or something else). Keeping us in the loop will help us to serve you better because we’ll have a more accurate picture of your heating oil needs.

Many things have changed, but Scott Williams remains a trusted heating oil provider serving Boston’s South Shore. Whether you’re in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Plymouth County, you can count on us to keep you comfortable. Click here to see if you live in our service area.

Scott Williams offers our customers reliable heating oil deliveries, service plans, flexible payment options, and tank protection plans. Contact us today to become a customer or learn more.