2014-2015 Heating Oil Prices Expected To Be Lower

Posted on: October 10th, 2014 by RF Ohl

Online Heating Oil OrderingIt appears as though the average cost of a gallon of home heating oil will be less this year than last year. While there is certainly a lot of turmoil in the Middle East and the world, it is nice to know that heating oil prices are expected to drop.  The New York Times just ran an article outlining some of the energy pricing forecasts for this winter season, here is a snippet from their article that specifically discusses heating oil:

Homes that rely on heating oil, mostly in the Northeast, can expect to spend 15 percent less this winter because of the recent drop in world oil prices. (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/business/energy-environment/us-consumer-energy-costs-expected-to-decline-this-winter.html?_r=1)

According to this article, the drop in pricing is attributed to a warmer than usual winter. However, we are seeing conflicting weather forecasts, predicting a slightly colder winter, over a ten year average. We think that the decreases in heating oil prices are due to a combination of several factors such as the increased domestic production of oil as well as supply and demand pressures from other energy sectors.

The same NY Times article discusses the increase in domestic oil production in the United States;

The Energy Department noted that daily oil production in September averaged 8.7 million barrels, the highest monthly total since July 1986. Natural gas production is also rising, and there has been a record build in inventories largely because of the “mild summer that resulted in less electricity generation to meet air-conditioning demand,” Mr. Sieminski said in a statement. (source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/08/business/energy-environment/us-consumer-energy-costs-expected-to-decline-this-winter.html?_r=1)

When you order your home heating oil from RF Ohl, rest assured that we have pricing protection plans in place to help you save money. Contact one of our heating specialists to discuss the best plan for your circumstances. We make ordering your home heating oil as easy as 1-2-3!

Call us at (610) 377-1098



Middle East Conflicts And The Impact On US Heating Oil Prices

Posted on: October 9th, 2014 by RF Ohl

It seems like turmoil in the Middle East is not anything new, at least in the last 3-4 decades, or longer. However, recently, it feels like the conflicts are escalating and there are more issues at hand affecting multiple countries. This video interview talks about these conflicts and whether or not it is impacting the price of home heating oil in the United States.

Some of the topics being explored are:

  • Are Middle East conflicts and tensions impacting the price of heating oil in the 2014-2015 winter season?
  • Is the growing threat from ISIS an point of concern as it related to the pricing of oil?
  • Is the border dispute between the Ukraine and Russia having any impact on oil pricing?
  • Are there any other conflicts in that part of the world that may cause heating oil prices to spike?

Call our oil specialists today to get the current price of heating oil for your Northeastern Pennsylvania home or business.

Call (610) 377-1098

Oktoberfest 2014

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by RF Ohl

It’s Fall and what does that mean? It’s Oktoberfest time! Check out these videos talking about this year’s Carbon County Oktoberfest. RF Ohl is one of the organizers of the event and we are so excited for October 4th & 5th. This year’s Oktoberfest is going to knock the socks off of last years. Be sure to come out and join in on the family fun.

Tickets are available online at: www.CarbonCountyOktoberfest.com be sure to use our promo codes to save money on your tickets.

Save $2.50 off the $5 Admission Using Promo Code: rfohl$2.50

Save $5 off the $35 Admission Using Promo Code: rfohl$5

Save $10 off the $85 VIP Admission Using Promo Code: rfohl$10

Heating Service Plans

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 by RF Ohl

Winter time is right around the corner, are you ready?

Is your home’s heating system tuned up and working in tip-top condition? This is the time of year to start thinking about that. Do you want a little bit of peace and mind? If so, then a home heating system service plan may just be what you are looking for.

This video discusses heating service plans and preparing your home for the upcoming winter season.

Video Transcript:

Speakers: Brett Lewis & Christopher Hardy

Brett Lewis: Hey everyone, I’m Brett Lewis with L4 Group, and today we’re going to be talking about heating systems and service plans for heating systems. You know, this is the first week of fall and already the temperatures are starting to drop with some cool mornings, cool evenings, and it’s really time to start thinking about getting your heating system serviced and getting ready for the winter.

And today I have with me Christopher Hardy from RF OHL, and Chris is our heating expert. So, Chris, how are you?

Christopher Hardy: Doing great, Brett. Thank you.

Brett Lewis: Wonderful. Wonderful. So, Christ, to start off, can you give our viewers a little bit of background of the services that RF OHL provides and what role you play with the company?

Christopher Hardy: Certainly. We are a home comfort, liquid fuel provider that is serving a five-county area. Our primary focus is full VHCA services, so installation, plus full service for any type of heating system. We also are a home fuel provider, both fuel oil and propane, and we do also offer hearth and patio services as well.

My particular role in the company is that I do help all of our residential customers, you know, make buying decisions and help in keeping them comfortable.

Brett Lewis: Perfect. Perfect. So, let’s jump right into heating service plans. Can you talk a little bit about what a service plan is?

Christopher Hardy: Absolutely. A service plan works in a fashion which is annual, so what we offer to the customer is a full 12-month coverage regarding their home heating system. There are certain levels that are available, but an annual service plan is not only applicable for just an annual tuneup, but it also grants you priority service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. So, look at it as an insurance for your comfort to protect you and your family.

Brett Lewis: Great. And just to clarify, people do not need to have a service plan in order to have you guys come out to fix their heating, but if they do have a service plan, they get priority-level support. Is that accurate?

Christopher Hardy: Yes, that’s absolutely correct. Anybody is welcome to have service from RF OHL, and we invite customers to try us out if they’re not familiar with RF OHL, and of course our existing customers as well. When you have a service plan in place and you have an emergency, which is after-hours, the priority service is key because we come out to you same-day service and you would go first. So, it gives you an extra leg up, you know, knowing that your comfort issues will be addressed sooner.

Brett Lewis: Perfect. And I also want to touch on this point that RF OHL has operators on standby 24/7. Correct?

Christopher Hardy: That is correct. When you call here, you speak to a live person. There is no machine. There’s no automated system for you to dial through or to wait an extended period of time. So, we like to address the calls as they come in right away. That’s one of the things we take great pride in here.

Brett Lewis: Awesome, because there’s nothing worse than coming home from work after a long week. It’s a Friday. It’s, you know, eight ‘o clock at night. You realize your heating system is not working. You know, you want to be able to talk to somebody and not be faced with a weekend of being out of heat.

Christopher Hardy: Absolutely. And with extended periods of time in the bitterly cold temperatures that we experienced last season, we know that all customers would like to have that priority service in place, and the service plan is an excellent vehicle to do so.

Brett Lewis: Great. Now, can you talk a little bit about what a service plan includes or doesn’t include?

Christopher Hardy: Certainly. The service plans themselves, what we like to do here is we include a full precision tuneup, so a 30-point inspection, plus a full cleaning and test of the actual heating system itself. Now, outside of it, if you find that your heating system needs repairs, we would grant you 15 percent off both the parts and the labor on that repair itself, so you get the discount on both sides. Not just parts only, which is commonly found in the marketplace.

The other nice advantage to that is having the overtime and weekend rate reduced to regular rate time. So, rather than you paying the overtime rate, which is more expensive, we do grant you the regular rate cost regardless of the hour of your phone call.

Brett Lewis: That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s definitely a very nice perk to have. And you know, like you said in the beginning of the interview, it’s like an insurance plan.

Christopher Hardy: Absolutely.

Brett Lewis: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. So, if someone is interested in getting started up with this plan, how would they go about doing it? How would they sign up?

Christopher Hardy: Really they can contact us here at RF OHL, which is direct telephone number. They can ask for myself. I’d be more than happy to help, or we do have a form on our website, which you can fill out and submit, and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions that you have there. I take great pride in providing personal service to our customers, so when there are questions or concerns regarding a service plan or any service from RF OHL for that matter, it would be me that they’re talking to. So, I’d be here for anybody if there’s questions.

Brett Lewis: Great. And another point of clarification just popped in my mind. As far as the service plan goes, you offer service plans regardless of the fuel source for the heat system. Correct? I mean because you’ve got oil, propane, natural gas. I mean you guys handle all of it, right?

Christopher Hardy: That is correct. Any form of liquid fuel, we would offer you a service plan on that home heating system. There’s only two forms that we don’t, which would be solid fuels and that’s coal and wood. So, anything outside of that absolutely available to the customer. All the same stipulations for every person. There is no differences in the service plan regardless of your fuel source, so that way everybody reaches the same benefit.

Brett Lewis: Awesome. All right, anything else you want to add. Anything that I didn’t touch on that you get customers asking frequently.

Christopher Hardy: Yes, most definitely. Our service plans do extend out to smaller appliances as well. So, we have a primary plan for your home heating system, which does your whole house, but say, for instance, you have a gas fireplace inside the home, we do offer annual protection programs for those as well. Our technicians are trained to tuneup any type of fireplace that’s out there, or gas space heater – anything to that effect, so there is another level available. It is at a different cost from a primary heat source.

So, if customers are wondering where to get their appliance serviced, their gas appliance or oil-fed appliance, we’d be more than happy to assist them with that and I invite them to please give me a call and I’ll go through all the details.

Brett Lewis: That’s a great point because I know I just did a video not too long ago with (Unclear 7:31), talking about gas fireplaces and there’s a perception on gas in the marketplace, where you maybe install the gas fireplace a couple years ago or five or ten years ago, or whatever, and you think you don’t have to have it services. It’s kind of like an isolated unit. You kind of can forget about it, but that’s not the case. Do you want to touch on it a little bit?

Christopher Hardy: Absolutely. With any gas appliance you have to keep in mind that combustion is a sealed combustion. It’s occurring inside your unit, and there are byproducts of combustion, which, if not addressed over a long period of time, will cause corrosion, damage, and of course decrease the shelf life of your unit. So, a lot of home owners don’t know where to turn when it comes to a gas appliance. They’re of the conception that a gas appliance does not need a maintenance.

We always recommend an annual maintenance. Therefore, we know that your unit is going to last longer, it’s going to burn more efficiently, and above all be safe for you to operate for you and your family. So, there are big issues when it comes to a gas appliance that we are prepared to address at any given time. And if there is an emergency, a home owner should feel inclined to give us a call at their convenience so we can address that for them. There is no question mark when it comes to a gas appliance or oil-fed appliance for that matter. We’re happy to help.

Brett Lewis: Awesome. That’s great. So, Chris, I want to say thanks for taking some time out of your busy day today to talk about heating systems, service plans, and other appliances as well as you just touched on. I know I learned a few new things and I’m sure that our viewers did as well.

So, just to recap, if you do need to have your heating system serviced or if you’d like more information about a service plan, you can contact RF OHL at www.RFOhl.com or click on the link in the description below this video, and you can also call them at (610) 377-1098. And also, RF OHL is active on Twitter and Facebook as well, which you can access through their website.

So, Chris, again, thanks for taking your time to talk to me about heating systems.

Christopher Hardy: It was my pleasure, Brett. Thank you.

Brett Lewis: All right, have a great day.

Christopher Hardy: You too.

Brett Lewis: All right, take care.

Gas Fireplaces: Safety Concerns and FAQs

Posted on: September 17th, 2014 by RF Ohl

Many people believe that because they have a gas fireplace in their home, they don’t need to worry about having it serviced. Unfortunately, that thought process is flawed and gas fireplaces that never get serviced can become a hazard in the house. Additionally, the efficiency levels of gas fireplaces over their lifespan can drop when they are not serviced.

This video discusses some of these issues as well as some frequently asked questions pertaining to your home’s fireplace.

Video Transcript:

Brett: Hey everybody this is Brett Lewis from L4 group and today I woke up and it’s cold outside. We’re getting to that time of the year it’s getting cold so we are going to be discussing fireplaces and specifically gas fireplaces. Joining us today is Steve Ohl, from RF Ohl and Steve operates a local company that sells and services fireplaces.

They also happened to service and sell heating and air conditioning equipment, deliver heating oil and propane equipment but we’ll get to that near the end of the video. But to start off hello Steve, how are you today?

Steve:  Good how are you?

Brett:  Awesome. So before we start with the fireplace questions why don’t you give our viewers just a little bit of the background on your hearth show room.

Steve: Sure. Started to hurt and patio show room in 1999.  We started selling things that customers started asking us for because we had been in business since 1984; we started hearing a lot of interesting Hurth and patio products. You know log sets, fireplaces, space heaters, different decorative appliances and even outdoor fireplaces things that were starting to become popular, basically what customers are asking us for. We have that, we have many different brands including Heat and Glow, valor, white mountain hearth, Empire, Rena, I’m sure I missing some there’s just so many more, but you know what the top of my head those that come to my mind and you know we just went with what the customers were asking us for and that’s, that’s how we basically got into selling and servicing hearth and patio products.

Brett: That’s awesome. So let’s jump into some of the frequently asked questions on fireplaces. I’m sure you got this one pretty frequently can I keep my entire home with a gas fireplace?

Steve: You know the short and simple answer is you probably could, depending on the size of the house, the layout and how the air flows. The reality is though is that you shouldn’t really try to heat your entire home with essentially what is sometimes a decorative piece or a space heater, you’re much better off with having a professional come in. Us we offer free estimates on heating systems and actually look at the lay out of the entire house and see what the best source to heat for your home because trying to push heat from one source out into the rest of the home if everybody’s ever had a wooden stove or a coal stove it’s so unbearably hot in just one room and they’re like yeah I heat my entire house with this but. The reason is it’s probably 100° in one house and 65 and the other, yet you can probably do it and keep your house from freezing but there will definitely be issues with hot and cold spots so we don’t recommend it but do people do it? Yes. But it’s up to everybody choice but my recommendation would be to get a free estimate from somebody to come take a look at it or hire a professional to come in and assess the situation.

Brett: That’s good advice I had a flashback while you were talking as a kid I grew up in a home that my dad had that great idea to heat the house with a wood fireplace, a wood-burning stove. I spent my summers chopping10 cords of wood every summer, chopping, stacking, letting it dry and then carrying it in during the winter time and you’re right that stove right smack in the middle of the home, really hot in that spot and but then in the out laying rooms really cold.

Steve:  I think every child in the 70s, I think that’s what we did to in the summers chopping wood and cutting wood and the woodstove just ate it. It’s crazy you put so much wood in that thing the modern days ones are so much more efficient still yeah you’d be sitting there in a T-shirt you to have to walk together in the room to get your jacket in the bedroom it was icicles in there.

Brett:  Now here’s another question I have for you. With gas fireplaces do you need a chimney?

Steve:  Do not need a chimney with a lot of the gas fireplaces, some you still can use through the chimney but many of the fireplaces today or what you call direct vent technology or even vent free, need any vent a couple different options and you can still use what they call a bend vent. The old-style venting. Not many companies make those anymore where they actually run a pipe up through the chimney don’t bring in fresh air. The new technology uses fresh air intake that’s a direct vent.

Brett: Installing a gas fireplace today has got to be a lot easier I assume?

Steve:  Yes definitely.

Brett: Cool. So what about the difference between a gas fireplace and a pellet stove?

Steve: Well a gas fireplace is pretty much what it says; it’s using some type of the gas whether it be natural or propane to burn as the main source. Where as a wood pallet is using a solid fuel like the wood pallet and even make corn stoves and you know different cherry pits and all different things that people run through as a solid fuel. A solid fuel could be wood or coal but that’s the main difference between a gas stove and a pellet stove just the source of the fuel. Is what it says it’s a wood pellet it looks like rabbit pellets if anybody has had it that’s what it looks like something like that.

Brett: So back to my earlier question about having a chimney pellet stove I’m assuming need some kind of chimney at that point?

Steve: Definitely, they can be as simple as out the wall style, it can be up above the roofline, but a lot of different variations for the venting for pallet wood stoves as well; they definitely have to be vented.

Brett: What about electricity? Do you need to have electrical power to either a gas stove or pellet stove?

Steve: Gas stoves do not always have to have power, unless you have a fan then you have to power the fan but many times the heating appliance will run without it now on the pellet stove you need to have power because they have to have a blower on there that helps the pallets burn igniting the igniter so you definitely need power with the pellet stove.

Brett: So if someone is looking at potentially heating their home, in a power outage situation it would be possible with the gas depending on the type of fireplace that you have but with the pellet stove you’d have to have another source of electricity.

Steve: With a gas or propane stove they have many different styles some do need electricity but you can get ones with battery backups there’s different things. On the pallet side pretty much it would have to be like a standby generator type to power that so many customers have installed that. If you look right over my shoulder here you’ll see vent free heaters on the wall many customers have installed that as a backup, they’re only a couple hundred dollars so when the powers out they just go use those instead of the pellet stove.

Brett: Okay what about some safety issues, can you discuss whether it’s gas or pallet source propane or whatever. You talk about some safety tips and what homeowners should be considering when they’re operating the fireplace or stove.

Steve:  The number one thing is definitely have a professional look at it once a year because years ago, I’m going back a few years but people would install these things and have a general contractor come in and install it and they were just in their infancy many of the people who installed these things didn’t understand that they needed to be tuned up and checked out on a periodic basis or they just thought maybe I’ll just installed this and they don’t bother with the service call. That’s what happened for so many years everyone was told just put a gas appliance and you don’t have to check you don’t have to do anything it will be okay well, the reality is you do have to check it many of them have pallets on them they have igniters, things that can get dust and lint, pet hair or clog them up and make them burn inconsistently and setting those are all things you don’t want in your house.

So we would definitely recommend an annual tune-up done by a professional, the other thing is like a CO detector you want to make sure that you have a source for when you have an internal combustion inside your home you have a carbon monoxide detector just in case there is an issue, they also make propane and natural gas detectors if you would have a leak or anything like that they go off and there’s even combination units that you can get for carbon monoxide to and natural gas or propane. So those are some of the things, the other thing is if they are vented you might want to have somebody inspect the venting to make sure no birds build nests in the outside or a kid hit with a baseball bat never told his parents and they never noticed it, know we’ve had things like that. Check out on a vending products that would be the main thing.

You want to make sure that you’re not smoking in the house, you’re not burning candles, incense, heavy perfumes, could cleaning products while you’re operating the heaters because vent frees are basically taking the indoor Air and cycling through to burn so if you have particles in the air that’s how we smell the particles hit the flame they burn up and they create setting. Don’t want to operate that stove if you smoke or like candles like I mentioned all those kind of things. And vent free stoves are even more important to have serviced annually just because there is no event to dispel any of the stuff that it’s not burning properly there you can definitely have an issue, but you know they are perfectly safe both kinds, it’s just using them and respecting them for the way they were intended to be used.

Brett: That makes a lot of sense. I think about the particles in the air having basically sucked back in and burning up, that’s interesting.

Steve: Many people don’t understand that if there’s a smell that means there’s a small amount of particles in the air and that you are smelling, going into your nose that means it can be burned up. That’s usually the issue when people say they smell that something is happening with their fireplace we usually run down a list and one of them is usually candles or incense or perfumes. And 99% it’s like oh yeah I was burning some kind of plug-in candle or incense of some kind or perfume that’s usually the issue.

Brett:   Interesting. And so that wraps up the questions I had on the fireplaces and I’m glad that you expended on the safety because I think that’s really important. In addition to fireplaces now RF Ohl is involved in a lot of things, can you give us a rundown on what else you provide as far as products and services.

Steve:  Sure. We are a heating oil and propane delivery company, also on road diesel fuel and off-road diesel fuel, and kerosene. We have a full heating and air conditioning system repair and installation, The vision that does all the HVAC related items we install keep bumps, boilers, furnaces, for propane or natural gas and electric and we also have like I mentioned the earth and patio show room, where we sell fireplaces, space heaters, retractable awnings, barbecue grills, all kind of barbecue grill accessories, charcoal grills, outdoor fire pits, space heating for outdoors, so we have many different things that we do and that we service and we service about the 50 mile radius.

Brett:  That’s awesome. For people that want to get more information or contact you the web address is www.rfohl.com why don’t you give everybody your address and your phone number and any other contact info.

Steve: Sure. The address is 400 Interchange Rd. Lehighton, PA. That’s route 209 right next to Wen’s auto body you can’t miss us we’re right along the road. Our phone number is 610-377-1098 and you know go on our website we have Facebook and Twitter email if you’d like to email us is info@rfohl.com.

Brett:  Awesome. And one less thing to wrap up is just touch on your services area whether it’s someone who wants to buy a fireplace and have it installed or a heating system that needs to be serviced or oil delivery just touch on the mile radius or the counties that you service.

Steve:   We operate in a 50 mile radius of Lehighton PA approximately we cover 5 counties which is Northampton County, Lehigh County, Schuylkill County, Monroe County, Carbon county. We also touch on parts of Luzerne County and Berks County.  We cover 82 ZIP Codes so if you’re not sure where our location is you can always call us and will tell you if we service that area or not we cover the Lehigh Valley the Pocono’s pretty much north eastern PA.

Brett:  Awesome. Well Steve I want to say thanks for taking time out of your day today to talk about fireplaces and answering some questions just cussing some safety issues so thanks again.