Heating and cooling FAQs

Solutions to our most commonly asked questions about home heating, cooling, and indoor air quality.
Click a question to view the answer. Click again to hide it.


Bioheat® fuel is a blend of renewable biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur heating oil. It is a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional heating fuel and natural gas. Blends of 2% to 5% biodiesel (B2-B5) are called Bioheat. Blends of 6% to 20% biodiesel (B6-B20) are called Bioheat Plus®. Blends of greater than 20% biodiesel (B21-B100) are called Bioheat SuperPlus®. Bioheat fuel is a simple choice and smart solution that results in a better heating fuel option that helps reduce carbon emissions to protect the environment.
The United States and other countries throughout the world are working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050. Providing cleaner, renewable Bioheat fuel options contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Blending biodiesel in heating oil has not resulted in significant increases in fuel costs. The cost of a gallon of heating oil that is blended with biodiesel is comparable to a gallon of regular heating oil. Just like regular heating oil, Bioheat fuel pricing can fluctuate daily.
Bioheat fuel can be used in any oil-fired boiler or furnace, and it produces the same heat as any system using heating oil. There is no need for new equipment, system modifications or costly replacements when using Bioheat fuel.

Heating oil

To heat the home a furnace uses air and a boiler uses water. A furnace uses the flame from the oil burner to heat air, which is distributed throughout the house. A boiler uses the flame to heat water that is either sent around the house in pipes to radiators, or is sent to a fan coil unit that heats air which is distributed via ductwork.
Will-call delivery means that you need to monitor your own consumption of heating oil (level of heating oil in your tank) and call us to place an order when you need more fuel. Automatic delivery is easy, convenient, and you never have to worry about running out of fuel. Automatic delivery means that John Ray & Sons will automatically determine when you need heating oil by using degree day monitoring. You should never need to call us to order or schedule a delivery. We will automatically deliver fuel on a regular basis and you can rest assured you will never be without heat.
No, a properly functioning oil tank should not produce odors. If you notice an oil smell in the building it may be a sign that there is a problem with your tank, the piping or your heating appliance. Please contact John Ray & Sons for diagnosis.
Today's versatile oil heat systems can heat with water, steam or warm air. Additionally, a boiler can dispense hot air through the home by using hydro-air. Thus, any oil heating system is compatible with air conditioning. Oil heat is also a terrific option if you are interested in radiant heat.
You can feel the difference with oil heat. There are many technological reasons that contribute to oil heat's legendary warmth. A high percentage of oil-heated systems are hydronic rather than warm air. Hydronic systems provide a more steady heat. Oil-heat systems are sized to provide very fast recovery times for both space and water heating. Oil-heat systems suffer very low infiltration losses; that is they draw relatively little air out of the building that must be replaced by cold outside air.
The degree day system was developed by heating engineers who wanted a method to relate each day's temperatures to the demand for fuel to heat and cool buildings. To calculate the heating degree days for a particular day, find the day's average temperature by adding that day's high and low temperatures and then dividing by two. If the number is above 65, there is no heating degree days that day. If the number is less than 65, dealers subtract it from 65 to find the number of heating degree days. For example, if the day's high temperature is 60 and the low is 40, the average temperature is 50 degrees. 65 minus 50 equals 15 heating degree days. Cooling degree days are also based on the day's average minus 65. They relate the day's temperature to the energy demands of air conditioning. For example, if the day's high is 90 and the day's low is 70, the day's average is 80. 80 minus 65 is 15 cooling degree days.


Leak tests are required any time there is an interruption of service meaning the flow of gas was stopped for any reason. During normal usage, a propane plumbing system is at a constant pressure. This means that as long as the tank has gas and is supplying the system with propane, a constant pressure is exerted on the piping and pipe joint compound. Any loss of gas pressure may cause leaks to form because of the expansion and retraction of the piping compound within the propane plumbing system. The leak test will indicate any leaks within the propane piping system due to interruption of service or out-of-gas situation. The leakage test is simply testing the integrity of the system plumbing joints and the seal of the pipe joint compound. If you have shut off your propane supply valves or run out of propane, please call us so we can perform a leak check and re-light your pilot.
Propane, one of the cleanest burning fuels available, is the clear choice for our environment. It emits lower levels of carbon dioxide and particulates and doesn't produce sulfur dioxide, a primary cause of the greenhouse effect. Propane is non-toxic and vaporizes quickly, so it won't contaminate soil or groundwater. Propane is also a natural by-product of the gas refining process and in plentiful supply - there's enough propane to meet America's needs in the 21st century. Most of the propane used in the US is produced right here. All these factors make propane one of the most versatile fuels you can find.
Propane is a safe fuel to use in your home and business. Propane has a narrow range of flammability and cannot be ingested like gasoline or alcohol fuels because it is released as a vapor from a pressured container. In addition, award-winning preventive maintenance programs like GAS Check (Gas Appliance System Check) ensure that homeowners understand how to properly maintain their propane appliances and enjoy a healthy, safe environment.
According to the US Dept. of Energy, it could cost up to twice as much to operate your range, water heater, dryer or furnace with electricity than with propane gas. Propane gas furnaces and heaters provide more consistent warm air throughout your home at a lower cost than electric heat pumps and have a longer average life span of 20 years, compared with electric heat pumps' 12-year average life span.
Propane tanks should be stored outside. Do not store any propane tanks in the garage or any other indoor areas at any time, even during the winter months. As for excessive heat, propane tanks should only be filled to 80% of the tank's capacity. This is to allow for some liquid propane expansion that might occur during hot days.
Propane is a trusted and reliable energy source that is used by millions of Americans each day. It fulfills energy needs by burning cleanly and efficiently, giving consumers more value for their energy dollar. People use propane in or outside their homes for furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills and appliances; on farms; for industrial uses such as forklifts and fleet vehicles; and in millions of commercial establishments, including restaurants and hotels that depend on propane for heating, cooking and other uses.
Natural propane is odorless so an odorant is added to the fuel to allow for early detection of gas leaks.
If you suspect any of your propane appliances or equipment have been under water or damaged, or you have turned off your gas supply: 1. Call us and one of our in-house service technicians will be dispatched to perform a complete inspection of your propane system. We will also perform a leak test and re-light your pilot lights. 2. DO NOT use or operate the appliances or equipment or turn the gas supply back on until your system has been inspected by a qualified service technician.


According to the EPA, heating equipment that is maintained annually uses 13% less fuel than units that are not. Maintenance extends the life of your heating equipment by as much as 20-30% which can translate into 5 to 10 years of additional usage for a furnace or boiler. Approximately 75% of all emergency repairs can be avoided with regular maintenance. A complete professional tune-up generally takes from one to two hours. It typically includes a series of safety and operating tests and any needed adjustments. These include, among many others, testing the draft, the stack temperature, burner operation and system efficiency.
Automatic delivery means that an oil heat dealer will automatically determine when a customer needs fuel by using degree day monitoring. The customer does not need to place a call to the dealer for a delivery. The dealer will automatically deliver fuel on a regular basis and the customer is assured of never running out of fuel. Will-call means that a customer will monitor their own consumption and will call the dealer when a delivery is needed.
You should not smell heating oil if your heating system is working properly. An oil smell could come from a leak, combustion or burner troubles, heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. Call us to make arrangements to correct the situation. If you have a leak, we'll remove the oil and get the smell out of your home.

Request HVAC service

Schedule your annual safety check and tune-up or request repair service online.

We sell and service all makes and models of propane, oil, or natural gas systems.

Schedule service