Reader Recommendation Request: The heat is on

WSB reader Natalie is looking for reader recommendations on “a good, local heating oil company with reasonable prices.” The most recent quote she got was $3.29, and she’s wondering if that is par for the course. We are suggestionless since our house was converted from oil to gas years before we bought it; who’s got ideas for Natalie?

24 Replies to "Reader Recommendation Request: The heat is on"

  • flipjack October 13, 2007 (11:02 am)

    That sounds like it’s in the ballpark. The price fluctuates with the market prices ya know. We have a contract with Rosso. They are pretty good with the customer service and seem knowledgeable and fair.

    Whatever you do don’t make the mistake we did and call Southwest Plumbing and Heating to service your furnace. They were a COMPLETE nightmare. I repeat NEVER CALL SOUTHWEST PLUMBING AND HEATING!
    anyway hope that helps.

  • Erik October 13, 2007 (12:08 pm)

    Heating Oil is basically diesel with red dye in it. So given the current diesel prices that seems about right. I use Cascade Oil, they seem reasonable.

  • jissy October 13, 2007 (12:11 pm)

    HIGHLY recommend Seelig Fuel– family owned/serviced by Russ and run by his wife Kay. Personally I had a terrible experience with Rosso — they had an auto-fill contract with the previous owners of a house I bought in W.S. that was never communicated to me — just filled me up one day and sent me an outrageous bill 30 days later.
    I’m more the bundle up type and would fill maybe once/year when pricing was real good. Couldn’t tell you a price today though b/c converted to gas about 2 years ago but Seelig serviced my family home for 20+ years.

  • k October 13, 2007 (12:29 pm)

    there are some great people at sound oil. super friendly and easy to use.

  • Katherine October 13, 2007 (1:01 pm)

    I don’t know about heating oil, but I can underline flipjack’s warning. Never call Southwest Plumbing and Heating. For anything.

  • Keith October 13, 2007 (2:06 pm)

    Pacific Heating Oil Co
    (206) 632-1966

    Family run business, nice people. And I third the motion to never call Southwest Plumbing.

  • Joe October 13, 2007 (3:29 pm)

    Check here for diesel prices:

    Shouldn’t be far off from heating oil delivery prices. Heating oil that is red is the same thing, just no road taxes. All that money you save in tax usually goes to the oil company to cover their delivery/overhead. The used to give 50-100 gallons for new customers, so its worth calling around. Then just switch the next year.

    I’ve been screwed in the past, as these guys don’t normally tell you what the price is before they come deliver. Sometimes is 15-30 cents above diesel.

    I’ve used Cascade Oil, they seem OK, but might switch to gas or electric soon if prices keep going up. Spent almost $1000 last year on fuel. Not reasonable at all.

  • flipjack October 13, 2007 (6:00 pm)

    I actually just use the oil filled electric radiators now and am more comfortable without forced air and it’s way easier to regulate thus cheaper.

  • JD October 13, 2007 (7:30 pm)

    We’ve used Pacific Oil too. They even delivered to us the day after the bad wind storm last year.

  • MargL October 13, 2007 (9:06 pm)

    We use Rossoe mostly because they’re who had the contract when we moved into the house. Never had a problem, except for the cost of fuel which I think is more the Government’s fault than Rossoe’s… We also have them service the furnace and have had good experiences with that, too.

    Funny about Southwest Plumbing. I recently got a mailing from them with a fridge magnet and a letter saying “We want to make sure we’re the first ones you call!” So I called them to find out if I could get an estimate for some plumbing work I’d like to have done – turns out it’d be $60 just to send someone out for an estimate. Hate to think what they’d charge if I -really- needed work done!

  • Jim October 14, 2007 (7:24 am)

    Ballard Oil. Call for delivery and pay cash. When things were tight a few years back I kept a clean barrel in my truck and would pick up 55 gallons as I had the money. a piece of small steel tube for the barrel, 30 feet of clear vinyl tube and some suction for the siphon (hence the clear tub), the barrel would pump itself down in 15 minutes. I was saving $25 every barrel I brought home.

  • Kathy October 14, 2007 (9:44 am)

    We’ve used Olson Energy for years and have had good service in oil delivery and in our annual furnace service.

  • m October 15, 2007 (7:57 am)

    Anderson Heating always had the lowest prices for oil when I would call around; typically several cents lower per gallon. They could almost always deliver within 24 hours too.

  • Calvin October 17, 2007 (3:00 pm)

    The important thing to look for in a heating oil company is what YOU want. A lot of ‘discount companies’ make up for lower price by asking for payment all at once at the time of delivery (ok when fuel is $1.50 a gallon, not so much when it is over $3) or by providing service on a ‘flat rate’ basis, i.e. diagnostic fee + a standard repair price that is usually 3-4 times more than it ought to be: the same reason no one likes the plumbing co. above. That is, if they offer repair service at all. Some companies reel you in with a good price while charging your neighbor 25 cents more, and then hope you won’t notice either on your next deliveries. i am the owner of Pacific Heating Oil, my family has owned it for 80 years. We have ONE price for our customers, budget payment plans, an in-house service department, 24 hour answering service, and NO CLUE why heating oil is so expensive–but we ARE nice, and I used to love to go to the Admiral Benbow back when.

  • Marion October 17, 2007 (3:15 pm)

    Pacific Heating Oil is a family company with nice folks. 206-632-1966 (I have thier sticker right here!) :)

  • Bill October 19, 2007 (9:18 pm)

    I am the owner of South West Plumbing I just want to let everyone know our doors are always open to hear any concerns anyone has about South West Plumbing. We take what our customers say very seriously and try to improve. I know plumbing work is expensive but it is untrue that we charge 3 to 4 times more than we should. We have thousands of happy customers most of which are repeat customers. One thing I want to say is that if there are other contractors that say they will work for 1/4 the cost of some other company you may not get what you think you are paying for. Thank You

    This blog started with oil fuel, we always used West Fuel and now Genesee Fuel, local Companies that have contributed to our West Seattle community

  • meg October 27, 2007 (1:30 pm)

    We use Laurelhurst Oil and get biofuel. I don’t know how they compare this year, but last year when I called around they were the most reasonable for biofuel. And they are very nice and easy to work with.
    Re: Southwest Plumbing–they are horrible and resort to scare tactics when you are in a vulnerable time. They charged me about $200 or so to “find the location” of our sewerlines…only for us to find out later that this information is available free online. (Same map found online that we paid for). We were given a bid of $17,0000+ to complete work, they were forceful, snippy, and (like i said) using scare tactics. Luckily, we have a spare bathroom so could send them away so we could figure out other options and get 2nd opinion. In the end we had the same work done for $1,500.
    I have since heard from others that they are known to be crooks and also you should check out them out on the better business bureau as they have many complaints on them.

  • John October 30, 2007 (11:00 am)

    We have been with Sound Oil Co. for years. We moved in on Christmas day with out any oil, and they got us heat that day at no additional charge! We have been loyal ever since. They seem to have good prices too. Thier number is 206.725.6300.

  • Pete June 2, 2008 (1:41 pm)

    I too had a bad experience with Southwest Plumbing. I had 2 electric water heaters that were suffering from only giving 1/2 tanks of hot water. Without asking me to turn them off for proper testing, they declared them to be in need of immediate replacement (they were only 5 years old). Replacement cost was quoted at over $1,900, plus tax.

    Went to Home Depot, and bought repair kits to replace elements and thermostats. Total cost for repair (plus a couple of hours of my time) $80.00.

  • Sarah Miller June 13, 2008 (10:28 pm)

    Ballard Oil is the greatest heating oil distributor ever. They have been providing us with fuel for almost three decades and we have never had a complaint.
    I would recommend giving Ballard oil a call if you’re in the North Seattle area.

  • Patricia August 19, 2008 (10:49 am)


    I am moving to an old house in West Seattle that heats with fuel-oil. I am shocked by the high prices and had no idea. Can any one help me with ideas on how to off-set these prices? Do others use electric heaters? What about oil filled heaters? Are there safety issues with these? This is an older home, windows not so good-insulation not so good. Any energy tips would be most appreciated.

    Thank you,

  • K August 21, 2008 (9:57 am)

    I am searching for a good recommendation on just having our gas furnace serviced as we haven’t had it done in over 3 years. Looks like Rossoe and Pacific are both good choices? What kind of price is good for this type of service?

  • WSB August 21, 2008 (10:02 am)

    Hi there – this is an old thread so replies are not likely – please use our forum for your request, there’s a Reader Recommendation Request section which we set up exactly for this purpose. Thanks!

    -Tracy (WSB editor)

  • B Caton December 7, 2008 (6:45 pm)

    Got socked by Sound Oil last summer. Delivered unneeded oil in June with out notice and charged more than $5.00/gallon. $523 for 92 gallons. When I complained they turned it over to collections. May they go belly up asap.

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