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
Steven Calvaruso, Cohler Fuel Oil Co