Only 1% of the buildings in New York City are heated with boilers that burn #4 or #6 heating oil. However, these “dirty boilers” are estimated to cause more air pollution than all the cars and trucks in New York City combined, and the particulate matter that they emit is estimated to be indirectly responsible for approximately 3,000 deaths and 6,000 emergency room visits for asthma each year.
In 2011, the City set a timetable by which boilers that consume #4 or #6 heating oil must be phased out and replaced with those that burn cleaner fuels such as #2 oil or natural gas. The use of #6 oil will be banned as of July 1, 2015, and #4 oil will be banned as of July 1, 2030.
Depending on a building’s particular circumstances, the cost of phasing out one of these boilers may represent a significant upcoming expense for the owners. And given the relative cheapness of #6 and #4 oil, switching to a new fuel may also lead to higher heating bills.