You may not have noticed, but many of your customers might be looking at several different and more efficient sources of energy to heat their water and their homes and at the same time save money. Many are comparing the prices of the new fuel burning products, such as propane, natural gas, cord wood, pellets, solar and geothermal to name a few.
It seems that many consumers are leaning toward natural gas or propane equipment. The obvious reason for this switch from oil seems to be the rebates, along with additional incentives, that are being offered to the new gas consumer. The rebates for the most part are based on higher efficiencies that can be found in most all new gas equipment.
Up until the end of December, the consumer can get a tax allowance of $1,500 if they install a system that has a 90 percent, or better, efficiency rating. The real problem is that on the oil equipment side there are few manufacturers that offer a unit that will qualify for the same tax credit based on the higher efficiency requirement.
I recently had an opportunity to speak with a person who needed to replace her 20-plus-year-old cast iron oil boiler. I spent time telling her the advantages of the new high efficiency oil equipment and also gave her the websites so she could review the equipment that I thought would be a perfect fit for her needs. The advantage of the Web is that she could review the particulars of the equipment at her leisure and without pressure. I also gave her the names of some very reliable contractors.
One of the units I recommended was a three pass low NOx oil unit that would meet the tax allowance and at the same time save her more than 20 percent in fuel costs. She seemed to be very grateful for the time and information I left her with. Why wouldn’t she be? After all, my time and suggestions were free.
Within a couple of weeks, she knocked on my door and announced that she had made a decision on her new boiler. ‘Great,” I thought, and without any hesitation she said, ‘I have decided to go with a new propane boiler.”
As you can imagine being a seasoned oil guy, I was shocked beyond belief. When I asked why LP gas, she stated that the new boiler was rated at 97 percent and would be wall mounted. She next explained that she would be getting rid of that ugly, black, space consuming oil tank in her basement, and it would remove a potential environmental hazard. She added that this same new unit would also provide all of her hot water.
I recently also attended a meeting where I learned that cast iron oil boiler sales are starting to show a decline and gas units are rapidly becoming the choice of many with sales on the incline.
If you haven’t noticed, take a look around and you may see a competing oil company going into the propane business. If you’re wondering about the switch, it’s ‘ as I’m told ‘ because of the simplicity of the installations, higher efficiency, diversification and, of course, the often asked for rebates or tax incentives available to the consumer. I would suggest these are the reasons why companies may be willing to spend in the area of $2,000,000 to get established in the propane business. I also wonder what Uncle Sam will do after December 31st.