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 Forte Express Plumbing leads the way with oil to gas conversions

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Submitted photos
On the top, Brian Ciaurro conducting a combustion analyzing test to determine the efficiency rating and carbon monoxide levels that the boiler is emitting. On the bottom, an actual oil tank is removed from the ground.

WALLINGTON (Nov. 18, 2010) —
As one of northern New Jersey’s most experienced oil to gas conversion and boiler replacement contractors, Forte Express Plumbing and Heating, located in Wallington, is considered a “one-stop” solution for residential customers, who decide to convert to natural gas.

Robert Forte, president and CEO of Forte Plumbing, is proud of his company being the only northern New Jersey plumbing contractor that provides turnkey solution to complete oil to gas conversions and boiler replacements in as little as one day. In addition to its 25 years of extensive knowledge and award-winning service, Forte Express Plumbing and Heating has been recognized as the best plumbing contractor in northern New Jersey for both boiler replacements and oil to gas conversions by an independent survey.

“Our services include a complete home evaluation, explanations of various available equipment options, obtaining all required permits and inspections, removal of the oil tank through installation of the new gas fired equipment. With our broad range of heating experience, products and 24-hour emergency service, we take great pride in being able to provide a level of service and support incomparable to any other contractor throughout northern New Jersey,” Forte said.

Our company is also the certified contractor for the Home Performance with Energy Star program sponsored by the State of New Jersey, the HONYWELL Comfort Partner and the Bergen County Community Action Partnership programs, which offer boiler replacement and plumbing repair options for low-income families. “We are very proud to be a part of these programs and be able to provide the necessary services and replacement options for families who normally could not afford to do so, especially during the cold, winter months,” Forte said.

With our company, the oil to gas conversion process is straightforward and fast. We start with a review of the current equipment and gather the necessary information to properly size the new boiler to the home. “The only way to make sure that the new boiler is the correct size to heat the home properly is to do a heat load calculation,” said Robert Leider, director of operations for Forte Express Plumbing and Heating.

Customers should be careful dealing with contractors who don’t take the necessary time to measure all the radiators and room sizes to come up with the properly sized equipment, Leider said. By skipping this important step, a homeowner can run into costly problems down the road and shorten the life span of a new boiler by nearly half.

Forte Express analyzes the present and future energy requirements of the home and the gas needed for the new equipment to function properly. Forte also discusses boiler manufacture preferences.

“We’ve replaced a lot of old boilers and furnaces over the past few months, sometimes they are 40 to 50 years old. The utility companies are loving customers who have these types of systems. Why? Because, year after year, homeowners continue to waste incredible amounts of money to run these inefficient systems. More importantly, the greenhouse gases emitted each year by these old inefficient systems are doing a lot of damage to the environment. If we take into consideration the amount of money wasted each year to keep these systems running, customers could have purchased new higher efficient equipment years ago. I try to put things into perspective for my customers by explaining to them that the money wasted each year to keep these old dinosaurs running could have been used to purchase a new system many times over. Whether they know it or not, they already purchased a new system ... they just don’t own it yet,” Leider said.

The final step with an oil to gas conversion is to have an open conversation about budgets and payment options. Forte Express Plumbing and Heating is proud to be the first plumbing and heating contractor in northern New Jersey to offer customers a 12-month, zero-percent express payment plan for oil to gas conversions and boiler replacements. Customers can also use our express payment plan for any other plumbing projects that are being considered.

“Times are tough right now, there’s no doubt about it. We want to be in a position to help as many people as we can. Lately, we’ve been seeing so many people who desperately need to replace their old, inefficient and sometimes broken heating systems. Our hope is that by offering alternative payment options, their dreams can become a reality. We also offer our flexible payment plans for any other plumbing or heating problems that need immediate attention,” Leider said.

With regards to pricing and choosing the right contractor, customers are getting more and more confused. One of the main reasons is because people tend to get too many bids, equipment recommendations and advice by inexperienced contractors.

We always tell customers to do their homework before settling on one contractor. Get at least three proposals for any project. That way, customers will have a fair amount of knowledge to make an educated decision to choose a contractor they feel most comfortable with. This generally results in the best return on the investment.

A quality contractor will always take the time to meet with the customer to discuss all available options and review each step of the project. Sitting down with people has tremendous value, Leider said. It allows them the opportunity to ask questions about the project and recommended equipment. More importantly, it allows the customer to start building a level of trust with the contractor. Before moving forward with any project, we want to make sure our customers are absolutely comfortable and completely understand what is being proposed. Research shows that people generally buy from people they like and trust, regardless of the price.

When we start to talk about the overall costs associated with the project, this is when things get challenging, Leider said. I always warn customers to be cautious about going with the lowest price. After all, a low price will never guarantee your getting the best deal.

We’ll also talk in great detail about oil tank removal options. The major advantage of Forte Express Plumbing over the competition is how closely they work with clients to guide them throughout the entire process, from obtaining the necessary funds, removal of the tank to assisting homeowners in determining insurance coverage and rebates they may be entitled to. Once the tank is removed, Forte Express assists in applying for grants from the state to offset the costs. Residents with oil tanks in the ground are entitled to the following state grants: $1,500 for 550-gallon oil tanks and $2,100 for 1,000-gallon tanks. Every once in a while, we do find a leaking oil tank, Leider said. This may sound a lot worse than it is. If a customer has a leaking tank, they qualify for an additional state rebate program that not only helps in deferring the costs to safely remove the tank but takes care of nearly 80 percent of the fees to clean up any soil contamination.

Forte is different than any other contractor because of its long-standing philosophy. “Educate everyone on the values of replacing their old, inefficient systems, exceed our customer’s expectations and provide a level of support not commonly found in the plumbing and heating industry.”

Finally, we’ll discuss venting options, chimney analysis and more. With Forte Express, safety is paramount. So, each customer is entitled to a free chimney analysis to ensure the safety of his or her family.

As a full service plumbing and heat contractor, we take care of all the details for our customers. This includes filing the required paperwork and permits, chimney certification, cleaning and relining, applying for the state grant money and all the approvals/inspections from the town. At completion, our certified technicians will fully test the new gas heating equipment to ensure its optimum efficiency and safe operation. With Forte Plumbing and Heating, customers can be assured of the highest quality installation, which will bring the fullest advantage and cost savings of gas heat, at the most competitive price found anywhere in the market.

For customers that have hot water boilers, the utility savings, incentives and rebates are good enough to consider switching to a high efficient gas fired system. A high-efficient system is any equipment with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) of 90 percent or better. The AFUE is a rating that denotes the efficiency of gas heating equipment. It is the amount of heating your equipment delivers for every dollar spent to heat the home. A higher rating indicates more efficient equipment. Any system with a 90 percent or better AFUE qualifies for a federal tax credit equal to 30 percent of the costs that include installation, equipment and labor costs, or up to $1,500 max. Customers will also receive a $300 incentive from New Jersey through the WARM Advantage Program. High-efficient systems are known for their quiet operation, increased comfort levels, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a substantial savings in monthly heating bills. For even greater energy savings, incentives and rebates, customers are urged to contact our sister company, EcoSmart Environmental Solutions at 201-221-6297.

What are the advantages of switching to natural gas? Here are some key reasons.

• Switching to natural gas eliminates the need for an underground storage tank — eliminating the threat of oil spills, soil contamination and costly environmental cleanup. Or, if the oil tank is above ground, switching to natural gas eliminates worry about spills or corrosion of the tank. And there’s no unsightly storage tank to clutter the appearance of the property.

• Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Because the combustion process for natural gas is almost perfect, few byproducts are emitted into the atmosphere as pollutants. Thus, every conversion to gas heat is a small victory in the fight against global warming.

• Natural gas is a U.S. product and using it is an investment in our economy. Fortunately, there is an abundant supply of domestic natural gas and, unlike oil, foreign events do not affect its availability.

• Natural gas is reliable. In contrast, oil must be trucked to the customer’s location, and deliveries are susceptible to weather conditions and other events.

• Natural gas is economical and efficient so you can save over oil heat.

• Natural gas has an enviable safety record.

Another question that needs to be answered is, how do you know you’re picking the right contractor to do the work? When choosing a contractor to do your boiler replacement or oil to gas conversion, it is important that you ask your plumbing contractor a series of questions to ensure he or she can provide you with the necessary services at a reasonable cost.

• Are you licensed? Before a plumbing contractor begins work on your home, you should always make sure he or she is a licensed plumber, as this licensing guarantees the plumber has experience in the field and has the experience and expertise to install your new boiler. Ask to see the Master Plumbers and Home Improvement Contractors licenses before you sign any contract. When looking at the licenses, make sure the dates are valid. A lot of customers overlook this small, but very important detail.

• Are you insured? In addition to licensing, a plumber should also be insured, which protects both you and the plumber from any future disputes if anything goes wrong with the plumber’s work. They should have a Certificate of Liability Insurance document and provide you a copy before the work starts.

• How long have you been in business? The longer a plumbing contractor has been in business, the more likely he or she is to have the specific experience and expertise necessary to fix any issues you may have. Forte Express Plumbing and Heating has been in business for more than 25 years.

• References are one of the most important aspects of selecting the best plumbing contractor.

• What warranties do you offer? Most plumbing contractors offer some type of warranty with their work, which means if there are any problems with the work, the contractor agrees to fix it free.

• Can you provide a written and detailed estimate? It is always a good practice to obtain a detailed written estimate from any plumbing contractor you consider hiring, as this enables you to compare contractors and determine the best investment for your family.

It’s easy to see that when you deal with a qualified contractor, you can be assured of a quality installation that will result in trouble free operation for years. Consider the great advantages of an oil to gas conversion and call Forte Express Plumbing and Heating. Our experts are ready to help with options and solutions to quickly replace your old, inefficient, oil-burning equipment with higher-efficient gas-fired heating systems ... today.

For more information on boiler replacements or oil to gas conversions, contact Leider at 201-933-0642. Customers can also submit questions and quote requests to

— Submitted by Robert Leider, Director of Operations

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