Green Technology

Under a new Massachusetts oil heating law which went into effect on September 30, 2011, every homeowner with an oil heating system is required to install an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve in their system. The cost is approximately $150 to $350 depending on the system. The required upgrade is to prevent leaks from tanks and pipes that connect to your furnace. The upgrade will reduce the risk of an oil leak so by making a relatively small expenditure now, you can prevent a much greater expense in the future.

Who Must Upgrade?

Owners of 1- to 4-unit residences that are heated with oil must already have or install an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with a protective sleeve. Installation of these devices must be performed by a licensed oil burner technician. Technicians are employed by companies that deliver home heating oil or are self-employed. It is important to note that heating oil systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 most likely are already in compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.

Who Is Exempt?

Homeowners are exempt from taking these leak prevention steps if:

  • the oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank OR
  • an oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 1, 1990, AND
  • those changes are in compliance with the oil burning equipment regulations; a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance.

Why Comply?

Not only is complying with the new law required, it makes good financial and environmental sense. Homeowners who take these preventive measures can avoid the disruption and expense that can be caused by heating oil leaks. A leak may result in exposure to petroleum vapors in your home. If the leak reaches the soil or groundwater beneath your house, then a cleanup must be performed to restore your property to state environmental standards. Such a leak can cost many thousands to clean up. Leaks that affect another property or impact drinking water supply wells can complicate the cleanup and increase the expense. Each year, several hundred Massachusetts families experience some kind of leak.

What will an upgrade cost?

The typical cost of installing either an oil safety valve or oil supply line with a protective sleeve ranges from $150 – $350 (including labor, parts, and local permit fees).

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Richard D. Vetstein, Esq. is an experienced Massachusetts real estate attorney. Please contact him if you need assistance with a home purchase or sale.

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I’m pleased to welcome guest blogger, Leslie Mann, a Realtor with Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty who specializes in the Dover-Sherborn area of Massachusetts. Leslie is here to talk about geothermal technology, which is growing in popularity in Massachusetts.

Geothermal technology is a great way to heat and cool your home. It costs far less to run and maintain than conventional heating/cooling systems—and reduces your carbon footprint!

According to the EPA, geothermal heat pumps can save homeowners more than 70 percent over conventional air conditioners and up to 44 percent over traditional heating systems. Plus you can take advantage of federal tax credits for new and existing homes using geothermal heat pumps.

Instead of using fossil fuels like oil or gas, geothermal systems use the earth’s natural warmth to heat your home. In the winter, geothermal systems use the earth’s natural heat to heat your house, and in the summer they draw excess heat out of your home and allow it to be absorbed into the earth. A geothermal heat pump doesn’t create heat by burning fuel, like a furnace does. Instead, it collects the earth’s natural heat through a series of pipes, installed below the surface of the ground. Fluid circulates through the loop and carries the heat to the house.

Here are some additional homes for sale in Greater Boston’s Metrowest area that feature geothermal technology:

527 Bedford Rd Carlisle

9-room contemporary home for sale in Carlisle on 4+ acres with in-law suite featuring geothermal heating and cooling $1,055,000.

12 woodstock dr framingham

Five-bedroom Doeskin Hill estates contemporary home for sale in Framingham features four-zone FHA heating/geothermal cooling $1,099,000.

23 boulder brook wellesley

Described as “eco-chic” this new 4800 square foot center entrance colonial for sale in Wellesley featuring geothermal heating and cooling.  $1,950,000.

190 beacon st newton

These stylish contemporary townhomes for sale in Newton feature solar panels and geothermal
heating and cooling. $1,789,000

Thanks Leslie for the informative post! Check out Leslie’s great blog, Real Estate In Metrowest for more good tips.

By my own research, a 3 ton geothermal system costs about $7,500. But with the tax credits and energy savings, homeowners will quickly recover the added cost compared with a conventional fossil fuel system. It will be interesting to see whether Massachusetts homeowners, many of whom are environmentally conscious, will consider the benefits of geothermal heating and cooling systems. If I had the extra cash or was building a new home, I certainly would!

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