Gaining an Edge with Bioheat® Blended Fuel

Hart Home Comfort has evolved many times over its history. One of its more recent changes is blending heating oil with biodiesel to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits. 

The Biodiesel Difference

Hart Home Comfort has come a long way from operating a fledgling company in the back of a gas station. Through a blend of patience and industry expertise, Ray Hart Sr. has evolved his business into a leading heating oil company in the country’s largest metropolis — New York City.

Hart was introduced to the heating oil business through part-time COD deliveries. Purchasing a terminal on Long Island then provided an avenue for him into the transportation market.

In 2006, an employee recommended that Hart Home Comfort explore biodiesel. Capitalizing on his existing infrastructure, Hart moved ahead and has never looked back. For heating oil customers, the company began by offering Bioheat® blended fuel, which is a blend of heating oil and biodiesel. Hart Home Comfort started with a B2 blend before quickly moving up to B20. 

“When we started, we were attracted by biodiesel being an American-made fuel. We also felt we had a responsibility to future generations to be proactive in delivering a cleaner fuel for the environment,” Hart says. “Now, Bioheat® also gives us an economic advantage.” 

It also gives their customers an economic advantage in the form of a New York state tax credit. That credit returns to the customer 1 cent for every 1 percent of biodiesel per gallon blended into traditional heating oil. 

“Claiming the tax credit is a very easy process for our customers, and it gives them another reason to embrace Bioheat® blended fuel in addition to the environmental and performance benefits,” Hart says.

Hart Home Comfort only offers Bioheat® blended fuel. From April 2017 to April 2018, the company sold over 8 million gallons, with more than 2 million gallons of that being biodiesel. Its New Hyde Park terminal thru-puts approximately 13 million to 15 million gallons of heating oil annually and another 4 million to 5 million gallons of biodiesel.

“We want to market a good, reliable Bioheat® blended fuel product,” Hart says. “With the introduction of low-sulfur heating oil and the near-zero sulfur content of biodiesel, it gives us a really good marketing edge.”   

The Bottom Line

Economics

Bioheat® blended fuel gives the company a financial advantage

Business

Improved customer satisfaction thanks to:

  • The state tax credit, which puts money back in customers' pockets
  • Offering a cleaner burning fuel

Service Tech Sees 'Huge Difference' With Bioheat® Fuel

If Steven Calvaruso hasn’t seen it all in the heating oil industry, then he’s seen darn near all of it.

He’s been a heating system service technician in New York City since 1984. Calvaruso wasn’t expecting much of a change when his employer, Cohler Fuel Oil Co. in Brooklyn, switched a few years ago from traditional heating oil to heating oil with biodiesel blended into it — a product known as Bioheat® blended fuel.

"Bioheat fuel maintains consumer independence from the big utilities, and it has the safety, comfort and service advantages that traditional oil heat has been known for but is so much cleaner and is the gateway to a renewable energy future."
Steven Calvaruso, Cohler Fuel Oil Co.

He was wrong

“As a technician, I noticed a huge difference in the equipment and how it ran,” Calvaruso says. “I explain to customers that it is a wonderful product compared to what they were using.”

Bioheat blended fuel helps fight what Calvaruso considers the No. 1 problem affecting the efficiency of a heating system: carbon accumulation on the surfaces of heat exchangers.

“Since we started using biodiesel, there's been a noticeable drop-off in carbon-related service calls and of carbon on the heat exchanger surfaces,” he says. “They've been much cleaner, and that translates into better efficiency for the system. That makes everybody happy — customers and us.”

The switch to Bioheat blended fuel from traditional heating oil is simple, according to Calvaruso. Heating systems require no equipment modifications. In the first few months, filters need to be changed more frequently, but that’s because the biodiesel is cleaning out the carbon left behind by traditional heating oil. After the first season or so, oil filters are much cleaner for customers who have their burners tuned-up every year.

Residential users also are eligible for a state tax credit for using biodiesel blends. Cohler Fuel Oil delivers a B5 blend to its customers. The results have been so impressive that Cohler Fuel Oil owner Allan Cohn is advocating for a pilot program to encourage Bioheat blended fuel usage and heating oil–compatible systems in new homes and those in need of new heating equipment.

Bioheat fuel is the future

Bioheat blended fuel is a hit with Cohler Fuel Oil customers. And who can blame them? They have cleaner-burning systems that require less service because of an environmentally friendly fuel that also carries a financial incentive.

"I explain to customers the benefits of using biodiesel and how it translates to a more efficient system and how that, in turn, translates to savings for them. That, of course makes them very happy. So the customers have had an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards it."
Steven Calvaruso, Cohler Fuel Oil Co

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