Dear Heloise: I am a manager of a branch of a heating-oil corporation in Maine, and I have a few tips for saving your money:
U First and fore most, check the gauge on your tank. Call your company when you get to half a tank. If you do not have a gauge, get one -- they are not expensive.
UMost companies require 24 hours' notice to come out. Not only that, most have certain routes that they do on specific days. Find out when your route is run and call well in advance.
UIf you are on a limited budget, check with your heating-oil (propane, natural-gas, etc.) company about various programs that are offered.
UThis is a big one: If you are on automatic delivery and change your usage, inform your heating-oil company immediately. We don't know unless you tell us.
UPlease keep your driveway clear. The delivery drivers work hard. The reels that hold the hoses are not automatic. The drivers have to pull these hoses anywhere from 5 to 125 feet. Please make sure there is a clear path to your fill pipe or tank. If we can't get to it, we can't deliver.
UIf you are new to the area and are unsure of the state and federal codes, call a burner tech to make sure your tank is up to code. If it is not, we cannot deliver. V.J. in Maine
V.J., thanks so much for the great hints. These are good for all year long, since some people use heating oil for their hot-water heaters, stoves, etc. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have seen the suggestion in your column to pack each day's underwear in a plastic zipper bag when traveling -- I go one step further. When I take clean clothes out of the bag at night, I put the dirty clothes in the bag, along with socks. If you look at the bag and see socks, you know the clothes are dirty. Sunny, via e-mail
Love those clear bags for travel. If you forget some, most hotels/motels have plastic dry-cleaning bags in the closet that are great to tote all kinds of stuff! Heloise
Dear Heloise: I enjoyed the suggestion to run water into a container when waiting for hot water and then use it for watering plants. The first time I did it was when I mixed dry dog food with hot water to soften it for mixing with canned dog food. I was amazed to find that I filled a gallon container while waiting. Thank you. Jo-Anne Collins, Fountain Valley, Calif.
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