Warranties Today

Warranties today are very difficult to understand. Back in the day a boiler, furnace or water tank company took pride in their product and stood behind it. Not today, so much.

Companies still offer warranties but you really need to trust someone to help you through the process or read very carefully. I install quality equipment because Churchill Oil started as a company by believing in efficient, quality installs. Also, because we are small, cal backs are handled directly by me. Call backs are a waste of everyone’s time!

Weil McLain, Williamson, Amtrol and Energy Kinetics still offer good warranties but due diligence is still required. Energy Kinetics still offers a transferable warranty. Almost unheard of!

Better than that is to install a product that doesn’t fail or break! Good luck with that. Actually though, I do install a stainless steel indirect water tank that has never needed to be replaced in over sixty installs. Don’t want to say the name for fear of jinxing myself-but if you need a new water tank give me a call and I will quote one for you.

We Do It All

We do everything energy efficiency and conservation. Too many customers call us last. Somehow I need to let people know there are no limits to our ability! Have tried many ways of communicating this and will continue to do so. Just sayin’

Campanelli installation

For years Campanelli neighborhoods had a bad reputation but fifty or so years later many people want to live in these same neighborhoods. I am fortunate to have lived in one on and off for forty years. I know all the heating and cooling issues that come with these developments and have brought many of these homes into the twenty first century.

One of the best fixes for the failed radiant floors is Unico. High velocity small ducts moved heated or cooled air throughout the home and bring comfort to the pinnacle with today’s technology. There is not much room in these homes and finding the space to put new equipment in properly is difficult. Unico makes all that surprisingly easy and the results are something special. Take a look, you won’t regret it!

Hopefully I can get some good pictures to post with our latest install testimonial!


Dig Up That Street

Recently I made a fuel oil delivery to a customer who heats his pool using his oil boiler (Energy Kinetics EK-1 with a pool kit and plate exchanger). It works great, and is quite efficient, but that’s fodder for another article. While driving down his street I noticed (bouncing along and dodging pot holes) that neighbors had converted to natural gas and the companies doing the work had decimated the street. Seriously, it was a mess but it looked as if they were finished. In the fall they paved the road and again in the spring .  I really feel sorry for the folks that converted because oil prices have come way down so they certainly aren’t saving anything AND their neighbors who didn’t convert must be upset because I don’t see this road getting fixed anytime soon! Just sayin’

Speaking of Perfect Storms

Monday morning I went to warm up my van (it was cooold out) and as I pulled forward I realized my steering and my brakes weren’t working. As I got out to investigate I saw a growing puddle of some type of oil. Not good.

Monday was a holiday but I contacted AAA. The phone line went right to a busy tone and then a disconnect. This was not good, either. I know who the local AAA towing company is so I gave them a call. Jonathan was great! He told me no one was getting through to AAA but if I had not gotten through to them by 9 AM, call him back and he would take care of it. I then sent a text to my mechanic. He sent me a text within a minute and said to get the van to him and he would take care of it.

I called Jonathan back after filling out an online tow report, he said he had it and would arrange for a flat bed to deliver the van to my mechanic. Everything worked out well and I am happy to say I am fortunate to have such great responders that can handle my emergencies when I have them!

I won’t give you my mechanics name and number (he’s busy enough) but he is in Essex. I also won’t give you the AAA towing company name but only because I do not have permission to give it. If you are local though, it is the car repair shop next to old town hall on S Main.

Real service is when everyone is in the weeds and the job still gets done quickly, efficiently and well!


Perfect Storm

Recently the combination of a lot of snow and very cold weather helped create a difficult delivery and service conundrum. We handled it extremely well! Other full service companies didn’t do so well. We received calls from worried customers who said their oil companies were called for a delivery on Tuesday and Friday they still had not shown up. The same company got a call from a customer that had not had heat since Sunday morning and it was now Monday afternoon. We responded to both customers and alleviated their fears by remedying their issues (The “no heat” customer said the other company arrived Monday night at 8 PM to find a satisfied customer thanks to Churchill Oil. The oil delivery customer said they had made fifteen calls to their oil company with no response.

Hardware, software and all other sorts of problems can cause a company to slow to a crawl, and because I do not know the reason for this very large full service company to stop doing what they have been doing for eighty years, I will not comment. Technology does offer us many ways to check, re-check and check again how we do business, so it seems very strange that the “ball was dropped” with such abandon.

What I will do though is speak very highly about the excellence my crew carried on with through the storm and the following days. A lot of overtime was doled out and attitudes stayed positive. We worked together, and with aforementioned technology we handled everything that came at us(along with satisfying other companies customers)! It is good for the industry and if those customers consider changing to us-we will accept them with open arms. Also, I hope they tell friends about the little company that came through for them, even when they weren’t customers!




Service and Snow

With the storms happening every three days or so, and getting about a foot every storm, continued excellent service and response time becomes the number one issue. We have been fortunate to have great customers who shovel so that we can make their delivery more easy. Also. even though we are a small company, we are running two trucks to keep customer’s concerns at a minimum. We have even picked up some really good customers from other full service dealers who don’t seem to be able to respond to the customer’s needs.

Our employees seem to be taking all this in stride, maintaining positive attitudes and working a lot of hours. The over time is good, they seem to be getting some rest (even though they have to go home and shovel their drives and walkways), and seem ready to get to the deliveries and service with smiles on their faces. I definitely need to buy a few beers or lunch or something after all this settles down.
I continue to be impressed and very pleased with their attitudes, efficiency and concern for the customer, even with all the hindrances!

Any help you can, to support your oil man, is appreciated! We will get through this-I think?!?


It has always been important to offer good service. That means timely, consistent, and thoroughly solving whatever problem a customer may have. Some issues are easier than others. Some need extra attention, support from manufacturer’s technical support, or just plain diligence to solve the erratic lockout.

Recently during the holidays my family and I were at a local restaurant using a gift certificate for some bar grub and a couple of local brews. A customer approached and I introduced my family.  He told my two daughters how impressed he was that we had replaced his water heater in less than one day. We had the tank in stock and we were in a position to make the repair immediately. Other customers also are impressed that we can offer same day service for no heat and hot water calls. Often when customers allow us to maintain their heating and cooling systems annually, they never experience problematic service calls. I often say, “They are machines and machines break”, but more often than not, if “machines” are maintained, they break much less often.

All these customers that are now converting to gas are about to experience service calls that will not get “live voices” to respond to their no heat and no hot water problems. Granted, these problems won’t happen right away (hopefully these new appliances will last a while before breaking down), but when was the last time you experienced a plugged toilet, leaking faucet, or no hot water call for your hot water heater that could not be attended to expeditiously?

The town I live in has 64 licensed plumbers (and we are a small town). Try calling a few of them on New Year’s Eve with a no heat call. Taking for granted good service is not something you should get used to-unless you keep your oil burner(s) maintained, buy fuel oil from a reputable dealer, and are comfortable with their knowledge of your equipment-whatever type it is. Also, you will find your better oil dealers will also service your propane, electric, and natural gas equipment! That’s something to consider!

Oil Price Slide

I have had friends, associates and customers ask if our business is doing OK with oil prices dropping. The emphatic answer is YES! I am as happy for the prices to drop as my customers. Except for surprise costs and expenses (truck repairs, new taxes, etc.) we have fixed costs like any other business. Our margin stays as reasonable as possible to stay competitive and offer the right value for our customers. Bottom line, when my price goes down-your price goes down!

The past few years have been tough because a lot of people (commodities brokers) are buying and selling oil contracts to make money when the stock market hits a skid. When oil commodities were available to trade like pork bellies and orange juice fifteen or twenty years ago oil no longer became supply and demand. Back then(before oil was on the commodities market) it was easy- fill your tank in the summer when prices are low. That hasn’t been the case for a looong time.

I had a shrewd customer ask me if he should buy oil futures. I replied, not if you want your price per gallon to stay low. Again, this is a simplistic view of oil futures, trading and pricing, but the overall premise stands.

Keep your heating equipment maintained and up to date. Use a reputable dealer and understand the cheapest guy in the phone book may not be the best value when it comes to your efficiency and comfort! Knowledge, training and peace of mind have a cost, and a value! Ten or twenty cents per gallon may save you hundreds of dollars in service calls, no heat calls and wasting a lot of heat up your chimney!

Mini Splits

Mini Splits on this sight are heating and cooling systems not champagne! But they are as good or better than champagne.

As recently as five years ago I wouldn’t hear of installing a mini split heating/cooling system, but technology has changed my mind. I went to a seminar put on by SRGI and Sid Harvey’s on the South Shore that explained the Fujitsu line of mini splits, how to install them correctly, and how to make them work as efficiently as possible. They are quiet, efficient, and a really good value. They also can fill the need where a standard ducted system could or would not fit. They also put most cooling systems to shame when efficiencys are compared. The minimum SEER of 13 is the governments baseline. Fujitsu SEER’s can reach 27!

SEER is seasonal energy efficiency rating. It is kind of like MPG, or miles per gallon for your car.