Tips for Buying Heating Oil or Propane

It’s important to prepare for winter, and part of that is ensuring that you have your heating oil contract in place on time. Contracts for home heating oil must be negotiated and signed by October 31.

In order to assure a warm and safe winter:

  • Consider an energy audit to identify where you need to make your home more energy efficient.Things like proper insulation, energy efficient windows (installed by a registered home improvement contractor), and programmable thermostats may make a difference in your energy consumption.
  • Schedule an annual your furnace or boiler now. A dirty or poorly adjusted unit may waste oil.
  • Do some research before committing to one company or contract:
    • Know your tank capacity and what you use on average per year so that you don’t over-buy or contract for way more oil than you’ll need.
    • Check this webpage for wholesale and retail oil prices. These prices are posted on a regular basis during the heating season and can give you an idea of the going rate for oil in your area. Remember, cheaper isn't always best.
    • Make sure the dealer you buy from is registered with the State Department of Consumer Protection, as required by law. Visit to learn how to verify the license of any heating fuel dealer in the state, or call 860-713-6160. Also consult the List of Propane Dealers in Connecticut.
  • Decide which type of contact you need:
    • Pre-buy contracts can be risky as you don’t know if the price will drop in the near future. If you do sign a pre-buy contract, use a credit card that has purchase protection and buy only from a dealer with whom you have done business in the past.
    • Cap price plans, which set a maximum per-gallon price for the season, may be less risky than pre-buys.
    • Any contract that you sign must meet requirements under Connecticut law.  Any contract for the retail sale of home heating oil (or propane gas) that offers  a guaranteed price plan, including a fixed price contract, must be in writing and all terms and conditions must be disclosed in plain language. 


Ask for a signed, dated copy of any contract that you sign, and hold on to all your oil delivery receipts for a least a year, in case there is a dispute.
Contact DCP with any questions by emailing