Home Owners Report Remarkable OIL BURNER Results
Nation-Wide Survey by Popular Science Institute of Standards Shows None Willing to Go Back to Coal
IN LINE with its aim to give the readers of POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY maximum service, the Popular Science Institute of Standards recently undertook the most comprehensive investigation of oil burners that has yet been made. Investigators have gone into nearly 1500 homes in widely scattered sections, where oil burners are actually in operation, to determine the comparative value of various makes of oil burners in relation to each other and to the coal-fired furnace.
As this is being written, preliminary reports covering a large part of the East, Middle West and Pacific coast sections of the country have been tabulated. Both large and small towns in representative communities of home owners have been studied. Amazing facts already have been brought out in this country-wide investigation.
The Institute's investigators gathered information without prejudice or bias. They were after the cold, hard facts of oil burner operation from the viewpoint of the owner; consequently, it is possible to draw definite conclusions from their reports as to what you may expect from an oil burner installed in your own home. The table on this page shows what the investigators have found out so far.
Undoubtedly the most astounding feature of the investigation is that up to date the men who are making it have been unable to find a single owner of an oil burner who could be induced to go back to a coal fire to heat his home. Out of 1247 home owners, not one would go back to coal—and this despite the fact that many of the owners have had trouble with their oil burners at some time or other, as indicated by the number of service calls tabulated in the list. Evidently the most unsatisfactory oil burner gives more uniform heat and less trouble than a coal fire when it is working at its best!
THE tabulation shows 161 dissatisfied oil burner owners. This amounts, roughly, to one out of eight of thé people investigated.
In all cases, however, it must be remembered, “satisfaction” depended on the viewpoint of the individual owner. One owner, for instance, might say that he was perfectly satisfied with his oil burlier although he may have had occasion to call for service several times during the winter. Others were dissatisfied when by their own admission they had had only one service call in more than a year. And al-
though it is generally agreed that atmospheric oil burners cannot give the highly perfected heating service obtainable from the more expensive mechanical draft types, it is interesting to note that a normal percentage of atmospheric burner owners reported complete satisfaction. They had not expected too much!
What the Survey Shows
The heating comfort that any oil burner can give depends first on the ability of the burner to operate perfectly over long periods of time without attention; and, second, on how quickly the local representative of the oil burner manufacturer gets on thé job and fixes things when a breakdown does occur.
The investigation is bringing out some startling facts along these lines. The 1247 burners examined so far have been in use a total of 3055 years. This is equivalent to the continuous operation of one oil burner since before King Solomon built the Temple of Jerusalem! And in that vast total of years of heating comfort there have been only 2212 calls for service. This approximates only one call for each sixteen and one half months of operation; not a bad record, especially when we consider that it includes large numbers of trouble calls that were caused by oil tanks unexpectedly running dry and similar difficulties for which the oil burning equipment certainly was not to blame.
Only ninety-seven owners reported unsatisfactory service. This speaks well for the care with which the manufacturers of oil burners have built up their organizations of representatives, and it emphasizes the importance of buying your oil burner from a reliable dealer who is competent to give you quick and satisfactory service if anything should go wrong.
In fact, the experiences of users of one particular make of oil burner show what superlatively fine service can do to keep customers satisfied. Although this burner heads the list for number of service calls required and trouble from unreliable operation, each owner reported that the service organization seemed to be prepared to go to almost any lengths to keep the burners in constant operation. Trouble calls at any hour of the day or night have been taken care of immediately. Consequently, a far larger percentage of these owners are satisfied than would have been the case if the service had been below average.
A GREAT many readers have written in to POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY for information about the noise produced by the mechanical draft type of oil burner. They have heard, or are under the impression, that oil burners are noisy. That idea is not substantiated by the results of the investigation. Less than eight percent of the owners of oil burners reported that the noise is objectionable. This small percentage included a number of installations, so the investigators report, which had been made under conditions where the slight noise produced by the burner was magnified by the peculiar construction or arrangement of the house.
The majority of oil burner owners reported that the cost of operation was equal to or less than when coal had been used. A fair number reported an increase in cost compared with coal, but in nearly every case where an increase was reported, the owner agreed that the increase was more than made up for by the additional heating comfort that the oil burner gave him. In many instances it was found that the extra cost was because the house was now kept at a comfortable temperature all day long, whereas when coal had been used the house was cold much of the time because of the attention required by a coal fire.
The Popular Science Institute of Standards is at your service to help you solve your heating problems. For information and advice about oil-burning equipment for your home, write to the Popular Science Institute of Standards, 250 Fourth Avenue, New York City.