See below for answers to frequently asked questions and contact NYC Clean Heat to find out more.
There are three grades of heating oil burned in New York City, No.’s 6, 4, and ultra-low sulfur 2 (ULS 2). ULS 2 is sometimes referred to as "Clean 2". The heaviest grade, No. 6 oil, resembles tar or asphalt. It is often referred to as residual oil because it literally comes from “the bottom of the barrel” of the petroleum refinement process. For more information, see The Problem.
It protects your health. Because of its high sulfur content, burning No. 6 and No. 4 oil releases significant quantities of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in chimney exhaust, which is harmful to our health. NYC Clean Heat’s goal is to achieve a 50 percent reduction in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions from buildings burning heavy oil by the end of 2013. Achieving this goal will result in 120 lives saved each year and prevent hundreds of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
It can save you money. Converting to cleaner fuels and increasing heating system efficiency can help buildings save money. The more efficiently the heating system is running, the less fuel a building needs. For more information, see The Problem.
Check out our Spot the Soot tool. Enter your address to see if your building burns heavy heating oil.
If your building currently uses No. 6 oil it will need to convert to a cleaner fuel before its current certificate of operation expires and no later than June 30, 2015. Buildings that burn No. 4 oil have more time to convert, but why wait? For more information, see Regulations.
There are several fuel options, and NYC Clean Heat can help you navigate the choices. Cleaner fuel choices include:
See our page on Financing for information about the resources available to your building.
Many buildings will be able to switch to one of the cleanest fuels using their existing equipment. Others may need to replace or upgrade components of their systems. Contact NYC Clean Heat to answer any questions.
For more detail, see the Steps to Conversion.
Firm gas rates apply when a building burns natural gas only. Firm gas service will not be interrupted because of weather or other conditions. Rates are established by the New York Public Service Commission and tend to be slightly higher than interruptible gas rates. Firm gas customers are entitled to 100 feet of free gas main and 100 feet of free service to their building from their natural gas utility.
Interruptible gas rates are for customers who can burn either natural gas or oil. When required by the gas utility, interruptible customers agree to switch to oil or another energy source based on the gas utilities’ pre-established criteria. The interruptible gas rate may change from month to month, and may be lower than the firm rate. The upcoming month’s interruptible rate is published on the company website at the end of each month. Interruptible customers need to maintain 10 days of supply of ULS 2 oil.
Buildings that currently burn at least 70,000 gallons of oil annually can inquire with their gas utility about dual fuel firm gas. Buildings that maintain a dual fuel system pay the firm gas rate. They are also required to burn a minimum amount of gas each year with that amount set by the utility. The construction costs for bringing the gas main and service to the building are rendered through a “Revenue Test” which determines if the anticipated revenues from the building can offset the cost to bring service to the building. For more information, see our page on converting to Natural Gas.
As of May 2012, the difference renders a value of approximately 30%. This number will fluctuate based on the rise and/or fall of both fuels.
The NYS Department of Buildings considers a tank to be a buried tank if the bottom of the vessel is beneath or in contact with the ground. Having the vessel in contact with the ground can lead to advanced corrosion and potential leaks that could remain undetected.
Most NYC buildings already have gas for cooking and dryers and use it without event. Risk of explosion due to natural gas is very small. Gas that is piped to buildings is also injected with an odorant so it can be easily detected. Notify your gas utility if odors are evident.
Masonry chimneys typically need to be lined with a stainless steel liner (10 or 20 gauge) as a result of the exhaust products generated from the burning of natural gas containing moisture which can destroy the mortar between the bricks. Buildings should work with a qualified professional to see if a chimney liner is needed. Chimney liners can cost in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 per floor.
Replacement of the existing boiler will most likely not be required unless a licensed professional determines that the boiler needs to be replaced. Single fuel burners will need to be replaced, but very few buildings have them. Dual fuel burners are capable of burning both gas and oil. For more information, see our page on converting to Natural Gas.