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R22 phase-out and how it can affect your A/C

future of home cooling pennsylvaniaIt’s that time of year – people all around eastern Pennsylvania are starting to use their air conditioners to cool off and stay comfortable in their homes during the sweltering summer heat. But if your home’s air conditioning system conks out or runs out of refrigerant, you’ll lose your escape from the heat. That’s where Oehlert Bros. comes in. Read on to learn more about how we can give you peace of mind and help you bring your air conditioning system up to speed.

What’s R22 and why’s it so expensive?

R22, often called “freon,” is a type of refrigerant used in older A/C systems. Unfortunately, like a lot of outdated products from generations past, this type of coolant is actually toxic when leaked or released into the environment. Because R22 is not ozone-friendly and newer technologies have produced better, more eco-safe refrigerant capabilities, R22 is no longer manufactured – and that means it’s hard to find and not economical.

Wait, so is R22 illegal?

The answer is yes, and no. Beginning in 2020, the U.S. government prohibited R-22 by law from being produced or imported. After 2020, only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies of R-22 are available, and those are slated to be phased out in the coming years as well. While you’re not going to get hauled off to the slammer for having a decades-old cooling system, this is one reason why it’s wise to consider upgrading your older model A/C system is you are still relying on R22.

How do you know when you’re ready to breakup with R22?

When an older system requires repairs using R22, this outdated style coolant is hard to find. Oehlert Bros. provides repairs completed with “recaptured” R22 – as permitted by law – but it is becoming more and more scarce. In fact, the cost is about three times as much as the new refrigerant! If your A/C system is older and not working well, we encourage you to consider upgrading to new equipment instead of continuing with repairs which could be very costly and will only increase over time.

Join the Oehlert Brothers Family!

A lot of things can go wrong when you’re still using R22 in your A/C system. Help prevent them by working with Oehlert Bros. for repairs and replacement to your outdated A/C. Oehlert Bros. is a family-owned company based right here in Royersford. When you contact us because you need an air conditioning repairman, you’re not going to get some far-away corporate office or overseas call center. You’re going to reach someone who will treat you with all the respect and courtesy a neighbor can give. And you’ll get prompt, professional service from our air conditioning repairman, whose focus is getting the job done right the first time.

You can trust the professionals at Oehlert Bros. with repairing your home’s air conditioning system. Contact us today to find out more about our air conditioning service plans, enroll in an air conditioning service plan, or join the Oehlert Brothers Family!

Great home heating service plans from Oehlert Brothers!

fuel payment options pennsylvaniaThe price of heating oil can be unpredictable – but that doesn’t mean your monthly heating bills have to be. With the Prepay and SmartPay programs from Oehlert Brothers, you’ll be protected from unwanted surprises on your monthly bill – and from rising and falling oil prices. Find out more, below.

Benefits of SmartPay include:

How a Price Cap Program works

Enjoy price protection with our Prepay Program

Did you know that paying for your fuel in advance could potentially save a bundle on your heating bill – with limited risk to you? Each summer, when you purchase your oil from Oehlert Brothers in advance, you lock in a preseason rate that guarantees that your price will not go up during the winter, no matter what happens in world oil markets. Since preseason prices are usually more favorable than in-season prices (when demand is higher and supply is lower), you could save substantial money by paying for your fuel in advance. If prices go up, your price won’t!

How the heating oil Prepay Program works

Choose the program that works best for you

Take control of your home heating oil bills

Oehlert Brothers Inc. proudly serves Limerick, Berks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Eagleville, Pottstown, Phoenixville, Norristown, Oaks, Royersford, Schwenksville and Trappe, PA.

Contact us today to take advantage of our Prepay Program and start saving on your home heating oil bills. We can’t wait for you to join the Oehlert Brothers Family!

Fuel Price Spikes Can Be Alarming, But You Can Count on Oehlert

fuel prices pennsylvaniaIt’s no surprise to most of us that as the price of crude oil spikes, so does gasoline, heating oil and the many other products derived from it. And when global crude oil prices soared to over $100 per barrel for the first time in eight years after Russia invaded Ukraine, that’s exactly what happened. This compounded the already existing price issues stemming from supply shortages and inflation.

This scary spike in fuel prices is hard on all of us, but with Oehlert Bros., you don’t have to worry about fuel run-outs and delays, and we may be able to help you with our SmartPay program if you have trouble paying your bill. Read on to learn more about heating oil price fluctuations. Please reach out to us with any questions, or if we can help you navigate this challenging time and help you find solutions.

Factors Causing Oil Supply to Lag

A simplified and misinformed solution to the production shortfall that’s regularly offered up by some pundits and politicians in the U.S. is that “we just have to drill for more oil at home.” But that’s ignoring the tea leaves being read by investors, who realize that a zero-carbon emissions world is not too far off in our future. Big money is holding back on fossil fuel investments as legislators try to move the country toward more renewable energy.

Save Big by Going Greener

Investors are drawn to long-term, profitable opportunities in the rapidly growing green energy field. By the way, the heating oil industry and local heating oil dealers like us are making excellent progress with making our fuel more dependent on renewable energy, too. Read about our Bioheat Plus® heating oil, which is cleaner-burning than traditional heating oil, resulting in reduced greenhouse-gas emissions. The use of Bioheat Plus heating oil is an important step in heating oil’s evolution toward achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2050.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, Bioheat Plus heating oil leaves fewer deposits on your heating system’s parts. This means that your heating-oil boiler or furnace will last longer and is less likely to break down. It will also work more efficiently with the help of Bioheat Plus heating oil, which you’ll see reflected in your lower bill. Plus, Bioheat Plus works on regular heating systems—no change is needed!

The Market Remembers

Saying that we are currently in the midst of an extremely volatile energy market could be viewed as an understatement. Another factor influencing oil companies is the memory of the breathtaking fall of crude oil prices during the early days of the pandemic. In the Spring of 2020, crude oil prices fell all the way to negative $30 per barrel! Traders had to pay buyers to take oil! Since then, however, prices have been steadily rising before they exploded in late February after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But as quickly as mid-March, crude oil prices had dropped under $100 per barrel again. This was caused by a variety of factors, including the surprise COVID-19 lockdowns in China, small signs of a possible diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict, and the biggest drop in four years of “bullish bets” on the market by hedgers.

Russia’ Impact

Russia’s influence on the market stems from its role as the third-largest petroleum and liquid fuels producer in the world, behind only the United States and Saudi Arabia. For that reason, energy prices had been rising in anticipation of the potential sanctions that could be levied on the Russian energy sector if the country invaded Ukraine. Even the hint of a possible disruption in energy supply – the fear factor – can heavily influence the buying and selling done by commodities traders.

When Russia DID invade Ukraine, the U.S. was the first country to place a ban on Russian imported oil and petroleum products, which amounted to about 7% of U.S. imports in 2020. In comparison, Canada ranked number one with 52% of petroleum imports, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). But here’s where the fear factor rears its head again: While Russian oil imported into the US amounts to only a few drops in the barrel, 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 uncertainty.

What Comes Next?

It’s impossible to say exactly where things will go from here, but we hope this spike is only temporary. Nothing will make us happier than when prices return to normal in Pennsylvania, and throughout the country.

Until then, trust Oehlert Bros. to look out for you when you become a customer. Together, let’s hope that—regardless of what happens with energy prices—we will be soon living in a more peaceful world, where families can be warm, safe, and together.

Don’t close out winter with your heater needing attention

common hvac problems pennsylvaniaAs winter finally winds down in Pennsylvania, you may be thinking you’re home free on heater maintenance this year. It’s not a great plan to drop it like it’s hot, though – your heater, that is – just because you’ll soon be powering up your air conditioner instead, and here’s why. A little attention paid to any potential end-of-season heater issues can make a big difference for the overall health of your heater and its lifespan. Read on to learn more about why protecting your heater, even as you’re not using it much, matters.

Your heater and you will both be better off if your equipment is in prime shape moving into spring and summer for several reasons.

Don’t set your heater up for failure next fall

Putting off winter heater maintenance – especially if you didn’t have a beginning-of-season maintenance appointment – is only going to exacerbate any issues, big or small. Even minor problems can get worse if your equipment just sits there unattended all spring and summer. It’s much easier – and less costly – to have your heating system assessed and maintained now, when technicians are experiencing their slower season and have more time to spend troubleshooting in-depth if needed.

Heater troubles can bring on air conditioner woes

We realize it’s hard to think about the importance of heating system health right as your air conditioner is about to kick on, but believe it or not, some heater problems can actually affect your air conditioner as well!

After all, your heating and cooling systems likely share a thermostat and ductwork, at a minimum. Air filters, dampers, and electrical wiring can also be overlapping. The takeaway here: if your heater is working up a sweat – or, in the alternative, not working at all – the problem may spell trouble for your central air conditioning system, too. Having your heater evaluated by a professional energy expert now can help you make sure your air conditioner is raring to go when you need it in a few weeks or months.

Join the Oehlert family

No matter what type of issues you’re encountering with your heater, reach out to us so we can look it over – we’d love to hear from you! From strange noises to ballooning fuel costs, we can help. If you use heating oil, perhaps the quality of fuel is the culprit. When you use Oehlert Bros., you get much more than run-of-the-mill heating oil. Since 2007, we’ve been creating our own Bioheat Plus® heating oil blend on-site, using refined soybean oil, which is cleaner for the environment, AND your equipment.

Whatever the issue turns out to be, it’s best to address things head-on, now—plus, you’ll come out on top next fall when it’s time to put your heating system back into full use. Whether your heater needs some simple maintenance, a minor service job or a complex repair, we get the job done right, so become a customer today.

Why Your Bills Are Going Up

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. a 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 rises. 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 supplies. 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.

Choosing the best tank for your family

which oil tank pennsylvaniaDeciding what size heating oil tank you need for your home can be intimidating since there are lots of options. The good news is that your knowledgeable Oehlert Bros. energy expert can help you weigh your options and decide what is best for your household.

Factors to consider for the perfect fuel tank

Most residential customers choose 275-gallon tanks, but every family is different and you know your needs best. Several factors come into play when considering tank size:

Besides the 275-gallon tanks we install for most residential customers, we also offer 500- and 1,000-gallon double wall storage tanks for commercial applications.

The right size tank is only the first step

It’s crucial to choose the right size heating oil tank for your family so that you’ll always have the fuel you need, when you need it, without having to store too much excess heating oil. But there are also several other factors to weigh – and it all boils down to quality.

Every oil tank Oehlert Brothers sells is thoroughly quality tested to our exacting standards and installed by a team of technicians with decades of experience. You can trust us to get the job done quickly, professionally and safely.

The new-generation of Granby aboveground tanks we install are virtually leak-proof, featuring double-wall construction and leak-detection features. Granby tank features include:

Oehlert Brothers has you covered, no matter what size tank you need

If it’s time to replace your underground or aboveground oil tank, Oehlert Brothers has great options for you. Contact Oehlert Brothers today to get a FREE estimate for a new aboveground oil tank! Become a customer today, and we’ll even remove your old indoor or aboveground tank – cleanly and free of charge!

Top factors that cause variation in your fuel usage

heating oil changes pennsylvaniaAuto delivery is such a benefit for fuel customers, since it prevents ever having an unexpected fuel runout, and can allow homeowners to see the patterns in their usage and how that impacts their fuel efficiency and costs. But did you know that it’s important to keep your Pennsylvania fuel provider in the loop at all times, if your energy usage changes for some reason, or is expected to change? Read on to learn more about what factors influence fuel usage and why making sure you and your fuel provider are on the same page about your fuel usage can make a big difference.

Many factors impact your fuel usage. Some of the most common reasons homes may begin using more or less fuel than usual include:

A change in the number of household members

How many people are included in your household? It makes a difference when it comes to how much energy is required for your home to produce enough hot water, heat, and power. It may not seem like one additional person – or one less person – would make that much of a difference in energy usage, but this is common misconception. One person’s loads of laundry put extra strain on the washer and dryer usage. One person’s regular bathing or showering requires a noticeable difference in the amount of hot water needed. Notifying your fuel provider if the number of people living in your home changes may not be at the top of your to-do list, but it needs to be, especially if the change comes at an emotionally fraught time, such as:

Getting the most for your money by keeping in touch with your fuel provider can relieve some stress during challenging times. If circumstances change again, you can always update your fuel provider.

The amount of time your family is spending at home changes

The more time you spend at home, the more energy you will use, and vice versa. With many folks working from home these days, there may be a significant increase in daytime energy usage. The same is true for retirement, unemployment, or underemployment.

On the other hand, if you are spending more time away from home, that can affect your energy usage as well. Some of the most common reason for decreased energy usage include:

Whatever your fuel usage needs, Oehlert can help keep costs down

Keep us in the loop if your heating patterns have changed. Oehlert serves a wide variety of Pennsylvania families and businesses, and we understand that energy needs evolve for many reasons. Whatever your circumstances include, we’ll be there for you to work out a delivery schedule that meets your needs so that you never have to worry about a runout – and the need for emergency services – but also won’t be saddled with excess fuel and the costs that accompany that dilemma.

Home heating programs like SmartPay from Oehlert Brothers can also protect you from unwanted surprises on your monthly bill – and from rising and falling oil prices. Join the Oehlert Brothers family, so we can look out for you!

oil price changes pennsylvaniaYou may have noticed that heating oil prices can sometimes be all over the place in Eastern Pennsylvania, and fuel prices seem to be increasing across all industries lately. That’s due in large part to the global factors that influence crude oil prices, since heating oil stems in part from crude oil.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, supply and demand for oil can be impacted by weather events, natural disasters, and political upheaval in parts of the world that the components of heating oil hail from. This can create a drop is storage and supply, and the ensuing buyer anxiety can increase demand in response. To further compound the situation, demand may rise in the U.S. when winters are expected to be especially cold, or people are spending more time at home. But how does this impact your hometown heating oil providers, and by extension, you – the customer? Read on to learn more.

Do oil providers profit from rising prices?

Despite an increased demand for energy, local heating oil providers don’t see any benefit as prices increase, and they don’t have any influence over the pricing structure, either. Buyers may conflate large wholesale suppliers with the local heating oil professionals, but they are not interchangeable.

In fact, Oehlert Bros. Inc., and many other heating oil experts in Pennsylvania, prefer reasonable prices they can pass along to their customers. Things work out better for everyone when customers can get the most for their money, while feeling comfortable and confident in their energy usage. Price hikes brought on by the big wholesalers, on the other hand, contribute to shortages, scrambles, panic buying and ultimately cause folks to cut back on their energy expenditure out of fear.

Oehlert Bros. is here when you need us

At the opposite extreme of the spectrum from hefty price increases, are the questionable “discount” heating oil providers that always seem to be coming and going out of business.

Perhaps you’ve gotten a flyer or seen an ad for some new heating oil discounter. They bait you with a low price, but are they set up to supply heating oil in case of emergency? Probably not. Do they offer equipment service? If they do, it’s through some subcontractor you don’t know. Will they even still be in business in a few months? Maybe, maybe not.

While fly-by-night heating oil “discounters” come and go, Oehlert Bros. remains a heating oil and service provider you can count on to be there for you.

We are on your side when it comes to price fluctuations

The good news is that Oehlert Bros. has a solid plan for combating price increases. We are fortunate to have invested in growing strong partnerships over the years with our heating oil suppliers. These connections allow us to continue to extend the most affordable rates to our customers and neighbors.

From Knauertown to Norristown, Phoenixville to Pottsgrove, Oehlert Bros. provides reliable, safe and courteous delivery of clean, green B20 Bioheat Plus® heating oil. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services. We’ve been keeping our Pennsylvania neighbors warm for over 70 years, and we’d love for you to join the Oehlert Brothers Family!

Top Clues That Your Water Heater Needs Attention

water heater repair pennsylvaniaWater heaters are one of the most important appliances in your home. We use water heaters daily, year-round. Regardless of how hot or cold it is outside, we all need to shower, wash clothing, wash our hands, cook, and more – every day. All of this means that water heaters get put through a lot of wear and tear. Although most newer water heaters are built to last, the more energy the appliance expends, the greater chance that it will experience a failure of one of its parts or components. Fortunately, you’re in good hands with the Pennsylvania energy experts at Oehlert Bros.

Hot Water, What Hot Water?

No hot water at all, anywhere in your home? If you have an electric water heater, you’ll want to check your power source to make sure it’s receiving power. You may need to replace or a reset a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse. Double-check the high temperature limit. Sometimes, your water heater may need to be reset if the temperature has reached its cut-off.

Water is Lukewarm or Gets Cold Quickly

A faulty heating element could be the culprit. A clue that the heating element may be going bad is if your water heater previously provided ample hot water at the desired temperature, but seems to have lost potency, producing either water that is not hot enough, or doesn’t last as long. If you are looking for an economical way to produce more hot water in your home, a super-efficient indirect hot water maker may be just the right solution for you.

Wonky Gas Valves, Pilot Lights and Burners

Electric and gas-powered water heaters work differently and can experience unique problems. A gas-powered water heater may have a problem with it gas valve, pilot light or burner, for a number of reasons. Some are simple fixes and others require more expertise. Whether a tube or vent is dirty or blocked, a thermocouple or gas valve is going bad, or you have air in your gas line, we can help.

Consistently Too Hot or Too Cold

Check your thermostat settings. Your thermostat may need to be adjusted when it’s cold outside, send the water being heated will be starting from a colder temperature. It’s also possible the thermostat sensor is broken and needs to be replaced. Faulty thermostats can cause water to take too long to heat. Less commonly, a faulty thermostat pressure valve could allow water to get too hot, which can be dangerous, especially for children.

A Suspicious Puddle Near your Water Heater

A suspicious puddle is never a good sign, in any context, is it? Leaks can occur if the valves or connectors need to be tightened or replaced, or if the tank itself is corroded.

A Corroded Tank. Yuck!

Corrosion typically happens in older model water heaters. Rusty or discolored water Is the telltale sign that your tank needs to be upgraded. Get in touch with the water heating professionals at Oehlert Bros. and we’ll tell you all about tankless water heaters and how they’ll make the quality of life in your home so much better!

If Your Water Heater Hasn’t Had a Checkup Recently, Call Oehlert Bros.!

Without regular maintenance, the chances of having a water heater problem increase further. Fortunately, there are many water heater issues that have a relatively simple fix. An experienced Oehlert Bros. energy expert can diagnose your water heater problem and help you decide how to move forward. Making sure you have the hot water you need this Pennsylvania winter is our number one priority, so become a customer today!

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Products: Which One is Right for You?

clean home air pennsylvaniaIndoor air quality is so important to health and wellness, especially in the winter months, when we all spend more time indoors and windows are closed, putting the onus for air circulation on your home’s heating system. There are several options to choose from when it comes to giving your indoor air quality a boost in Pennsylvania! Our Oehlert Bros. energy experts can help you weigh the options and decide what works best for your family’s circumstances.

Humidifiers

Most of us are familiar with humidifiers to some degree, but the picture in your mind may be of a noisy and cumbersome machine your moms put in your bedroom when you were sick as a child. Today’s humidifiers are much more efficient and discreet, though the principle is the same: adding moisture to the air we breathe can stave off the effects of over-dry air.

Harsh, dry air can cause irritation of the mucous membranes in our mouth, throat, nasal passages and sinuses. When these mucus linings become inflamed from irritation, they are more likely to trap germs, causing illness. Likewise, dander and debris circulating in the air can cause asthma and allergy flares. Humidifiers can keep the proper amount of moisture in your air, allowing your immune system to more easily clear irritants by lubricating the passageways in your head and neck.

Having the right amount of moisture in the air can also:

Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers can treat the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to too much moisture in your home’s air. Elevated humidity can encourage mold and mildew growth, and can also cause your home to feel muggy and too warm. Many people respond by turning down their thermostat, but while that may make a home cooler, it does nothing to address the excess moisture.

A whole-home dehumidifier works differently than portable models you may have seen available for rent or used by contractors:

Air cleaners

A whole-house air cleaner can reduce your energy costs all year long, since it works through your entire home heating and cooling system by reducing and removing dirt, mold, pet dander, pollen, viruses, dust and other contaminants. This process also reduces buildup of static electricity, which can protect your electronics. A whole house air cleaner can really benefit families looking to save on their energy costs while purifying the air they breathe.

Ultraviolet air purifiers

An air purifier can improve your homes air quality by “washing“ the air in ultraviolet light, neutralizing contaminants. This type of air purifier can prevent airborne pollutants circulating in your home, since it continually treats the air that passes through the system. Like other IAQ equipment, it can also increase your home’s energy efficiency by allowing the air to flow more freely, once blockages are removed.

Contact Oehlert Bros. for a free estimate

Whatever type of IAQ systems you prefer, our Installation Manager can help you weigh the pros and cons. All of our indoor air quality equipment comes from top-quality Aprilaire, and is expertly installed by Oehlert Bros. Inc.