The Basics of Furnace Maintenance

duct cleaning

furnace maintenanceThe ability of your home heating system to function properly depends a lot on the condition of your furnace. Therefore, maintaining it is imperative, regardless of the type of fuel or energy source that powers the entire heating system. For the most part, a furnace will last for several years before you need to do major repairs or replacement. The key is maintenance since no furnace, no matter how expensive or advanced, will be able to do the maintaining on its own.

For a homeowner who could only think about furnace maintenance when winter is approaching, there will come a time when problems happen and there no longer is sufficient time to fix it before the arrival of the cold season. And also, the lack of maintenance will most likely translate into costly repairs.

The Basics

The first and most important factor to consider when doing furnace maintenance is ensuring that you are working under the safest conditions. This means that you must learn what the right safety measures are. For instance, the power system as well as all the electrical components and circuits connected to the furnace need to be turned or shut off, the obvious purpose of which is to avoid getting electrocuted or causing fire.

The filter system on the furnace plays an integral role, which means that it also needs to be cleaned and replaced periodically. This applies to both oil and gas furnaces. The purpose of the filter system is to prevent dirt from entering and collecting at the bottom or any part of the furnace. Therefore, it is common for it to easily get dirty and clogged. The moment the filter becomes completely clogged, it’s time for you to replace it instead of trying to clean it. The good thing is it’s affordable.

Your next concern after the filter is the furnace ducts. These ducts are prone to serious damage because they are made of very light material. This is especially true if they are left with all sorts of debris, including dirt and dust. If you feel like it’s difficult for you to do the cleaning on your own, then you can tap the services of a service technician who, for the most part, will be using a high-powered vacuum cleaner to suck all the dirt in there. After cleaning, they all will be sealed in order to prevent the possibility of air leaks.

In the end, the job of maintaining your furnace should be considered as an essential part of keeping your home heating system working properly. It isn’t something that you only look at as an optional thing. The fact is it may require some effort, but it isn’t really as difficult as it seems once you finally make a habit out of it. Also, you need to realize that it won’t cost you anything, too, which means there really is no reason why you shouldn’t do it. Without regular maintenance, don’t expect your heating system to last that long or the way it is supposed to.

 

How To Choose an HVAC Contractor

hvac repair

(photo credit: HVAC.com)

Hiring an HVAC contractor isn’t a popularity contest. It means you can’t just choose the one who has the most colorful name or reputation in town. There are so many different factors involved in order to guarantee that the one you eventually choose is the best one. Because there are so many of them out there, you need to double the effort in scrutinizing your prospects.

Doing your homework is the trick, but how you should be doing it is something you still don’t know, which is why you’re reading this article. Anyhow, we have all the things you need, so just sit back and read all our tips, courtesy of a couple of good sources from the web.

According to Buildings.com, in the article called “6 Tips on Choosing a HVAC Contractor,” a homeowner who needs a contractor for the repair, installation, or maintenance of an HVAC system first needs to figure out where to look for them.

Where Can I Find an HVAC Contractor?

Check the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). This non-profit organization is comprised of more than 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the indoor environment field and energy services. ACCA helps customers who are looking for quality contractors find reputable businesses amid their members. These businesses are sure to be in good standing and able to provide a number of referrals for previous jobs.

Another option is Angie’s List, a consumer review and rating website, where anyone can check whether the company or contractor they are about to hire is trustworthy and performs high-quality work. Services and companies are graded on a scale from A to F, and the reviews go into many details such as cost, professionalism, meeting contract agreements and deadlines, and more.

A third option that often seems to work better than any official review platform is asking around for recommendations and referrals. Ask your friends, neighbors, and colleagues who work in the same field as yours, even ask family members. Those who are usually within your circle of trust won’t mislead you.

The Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a very helpful if you want to double check the consumer ratings of an HVAC contractor. The website shows whether there have been any customer complaints against the specified company. Contact your local BBB office with any inquiries you may have.

Read the original article through this link.

The biggest luxury for a homeowner like you who resides in the U.S. is the presence of the BBB, which really is very helpful when it comes to confirming the identity, reputation, and history of all kinds of home improvement and building contractors. So if you are looking for someone who will handle your HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance needs, never forget to check with BBB.

Moreover, ASM-Air.com has more specific tips along with some warning signs, in the article called “How to Choose an HVAC Contractor – 7 HVAC Tips You Must Know.

Be wary of an HVAC contractor that gives you a bid or an estimate over the phone.

Just as no two automobiles are the same, no two air conditioning units are the same. Be wary of any HVAC contractor that tries to give you an estimate or a bid over the phone. There are far too many factors to take into account that a technician cannot see over the phone: How is your ducting? Are there the proper amount of registers per room? What type of insulation do you have? What type of windows do you have?…and a dozen other factors…and after all of that, a trained HVAC contractor will then do a Manual-J calculation for your air conditioning system. None of this can be done over the phone, so again, if someone gives you a bid over the phone, they are either inexperienced, or are trying to gain your business without using the time and gas required for a visit. When they get there, also be wary of anyone who gives you a bid without properly surveying your house. A real contractor will crawl in your attic, crawl spaces and walk around the entire house. If they don’t do this, then they aren’t properly inspecting your house for their Manual J calculation.

Be careful of any HVAC contractor that replaces your old air conditioner with the same type of unit as before.

The average air conditioning unit lasts 10-15 years. Is a 1990 Toyota Tacoma the same as a 2005 Toyota Tacoma? It is the same with your air conditioner. A properly trained HVAC contractor will recommend several options to bring your home up to date, and increase the efficiency of your home. If they try and sell you an older model, they are likely trying to unload some of their own inventory. It is pretty rare to have the exact system you need for your home just lying an a warehouse, and no not all AC units are the same. In fact, choosing the proper size is far more important than the make and model.

Read more by clicking this link.

We believe that you shouldn’t even consider someone who hands you out the estimate over the phone. It is impossible for them to give you an accurate quotation without first taking an actual look at your home and how everything is set up. So the best thing to do is ask them to come to you and do the estimate.

Forced Air Heating: What is it and How Does it Work?

forced air

Forced air heating may not be familiar to a lot of people, but for homeowners who have a heating system installed at home, it is something that they need to learn and understand. Now if you happen to be one of those who are contemplating on buying a new home heating system, there is a need to do some reading about forced heating. What is it really and how does it work? Do you even look at it as something to consider in your search? These are just some of the few questions you will want to ask yourself.

First of all, know that there are several types of heating systems, but forced air is arguably the most common and preferred. By definition, a forced air heating system is a type of heating system that works by distributing heat all throughout the home by using air as carrier. In this type, the heated air is designed to travel through a complex system of ducts and will then exit through the vents that are situated in all the areas and rooms inside your home. The purpose is the same with all other heating system types, which is to produce an ideal temperature inside.

Meanwhile, the temperature is of course controlled by the thermostat. In most cases, the heat will automatically shut off when the ideal temperature is attained. It then re-ignites when the temperature starts dropping.

Generally speaking, the biggest difference between the several types of forced air heating systems available today is the kind of equipment that heats the air.

Therefore, you can choose from several sources, including a gas-fired furnace, heat pump, electric furnace, or oil-fired. All these examples are designed to heat the air with the help of a blower, air handler, or a fan for the distribution of the heated air inside the living space.

The thing with the modern versions of the forced air heating systems today is that they’ve become every efficient in terms of energy consumption. As a result, they are able to provide homeowners utmost comfort in the entirety of the winter season without hurting their pockets. For the most part, they are integrated with center AC systems so that they can be used all year long.

And since we’re talking about systems for temperature control, perhaps the most ideal, at least in this respect, is the heat pump since it is built to be able to produce heat and cold based on the current season.

Well, if you’re either building a new home or you already have a home with an existing ductwork, you should be considering forced air heating systems since it is the most practical thing to do. But if there is no ductwork installed, you may be thinking about other options available that don’t cost that much in terms of installation.

Top Reasons Why Your Heating System Needs a Tuneup

heating system maintenance

Even the most advanced heating equipment needs a tuneup. That’s because your heating system, regardless of the type of fuel source you’re using, is and will always be described as a mechanical system. And you probably already know that a mechanical system needs to get tuned up from time to time in order to make sure it operates efficiently. The heating equipment is no exception to that.

Maintenance is done annually and there are those tasks that you can do on your own while there are also others that need to be performed by a qualified heating system technician. But if you feel like you don’t need a maintenance check simply because you haven’t encountered any problem with your system just yet, then here are some very convincing reasons that might change your mind.

(photo credit: AJPerri.com)

For furnaces, CoolRay.com has several very good reasons to tell you, in the article “6 Reasons You Need an Annual Furnace Tune-up.”

Ensures proper airflow
During the furnace tune-up, the heating technician should check your heating system to ensure it is receiving the proper airflow. Restricted or limited airflow places an unnecessary strain on your furnace that can lead to increased repairs and a shortened lifespan.

Keeps you safe
Furnaces burn fuel to produce heat. This combustion process must be precise to maintain efficiency and safety. Even a small problem can lead to gas leaking into your home or dangerous carbon monoxide levels. Don’t take a chance with the health and safety of you and your family.

Reduces repairs
Every winter, we receive calls from Atlanta-area residents with heating problems that could have been easily prevented with regular maintenance. A furnace tune-up not only includes cleaning that keeps your furnace running efficiently, but it also catches small problems before they turn into major repairs.

Saves Time
Getting a furnace tune-up now, before the weather is cold, is much more convenient than waiting for a repairman during the winter in a cold home without heat. It is also much cheaper.

Improves energy efficiency
A furnace tune-up should include the cleaning and inspection of the furnace burner and heat exchanger. In addition to ensuring safe operation, this will keep your furnace running efficiently all winter.

Maintains manufacturer’s warranty
If your heater is under a manufacturer’s warranty, it is especially important for you to get an annual furnace tune-up. Most manufacturer’s stipulate that their warranty becomes void if the heater is not regularly maintained. A furnace tune-up can satisfy that requirement and maintain your warranty.

You can read the rest of this post here.

A furnace tune-up is something you should have been doing from the very first year you purchased that new heating equipment. But don’t worry since you still can make it up by ensuring that you’re doing it starting today. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a complex or long process. The key to tune-ups is consistency.

(image credit: CasselHomeComfort.com)

Next, the blog post called Time to “Tune Up Your Heating System” courtesy of Green Building Advisor talks about those maintenance tasks on your heating system that you can do without the help of a professional. See them below:

Check and adjust your thermostats. If you have programmable thermostats in your house, take advantage of their convenience and savings potential by properly setting them. Most provide multiple time-periods during weekdays, with potential for separate settings on weekends. For more on programmable thermostats, see my prior column, “Using Thermostats.”

Replace air filters. If you have a forced-air distribution system with a furnace or heat pump, replace the primary air filter at the start of the heating season and then every month or two throughout the heating season, depending on how dirty it gets. Replacement filters cost a few dollars apiece and help your system operate efficiently.

Inspect and clean air registers or baseboard radiators. Efficient heating depends on warm air rising into your rooms from hot-air registers or baseboard radiators (convectors). Make sure these aren’t blocked by carpets or furniture, and vacuum them at the start of the heating season to improve heat transfer.

Want some more from this article? You can go ahead and read the whole version by clicking the link.

Learning how to control your thermostat at home, replacing the dirty air filters, and cleaning the registers and radiators are quite easy to learn even if you haven’t tried doing a single one of them before. It really isn’t something that you cannot learn in one or two tries.

Lastly, take time to watch this video about the basics of heating system troubleshooting.

Signs That You Need a New Furnace or Boiler

Your furnace or boiler is an essential equipment in your home. It is literally impossible to live a comfortable life without either of those two. You use them for the simple purpose of creating an ideal temperature and environment inside your home. So if they cease to exist or no longer work, it means you’re sacrificing a lot. But you don’t have to do that, we mean sacrifice. To avoid trouble or risk yourself and everyone you live with from the cold, you need to know the signs that your equipment is already due for replacement.

Now that’s a very old furnace! (photo credit: ResHeatandAir.com)

Yes, to make sure the environment in your home is comfortable and healthy, you need a furnace or boiler that’s efficient, safe, and operating at the optimum level. The equipment has to be good enough to heat the home without the need to use up a lot of energy and fuel source.

So without further ado, here are the signs and the questions to ask about furnace or boiler replacement.

From LefflerEnergy.com, the key is knowing the warning signs of a heating equipment that is already due for replacement. The factors to consider are age and the energy bills you’re paying.

It is important to be aware of some warning signs from your oil or natural gas furnace that indicate it may need replacing. A cold, snowy winter night with a failing or faltering furnace is not the time to assess your heating system.

It pays to be prepared and information is the key to making a wise decision. Below are some “warning signs” that you should be looking for. Of course, not all of them may apply to your particular equipment but you may use them as a general rule of thumb to gauge just how much life you have left in your furnace:

1. How old is your furnace?

A good place to start is to compare your oil or natural gas furnace age to the national average. The average life expectancy of furnaces in homes today is between 16 and 20 years. If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping. Shopping for a replacement furnace in an emergency does not allow time for you to make your best decision. Most people prefer to replace their furnace as a planned home improvement rather than a panic replacement when your furnace is faltering or has already failed. The typical lifespan of a warm air furnace will vary based on its operating environment, that’s why it’s important to have the system serviced regularly by a qualified technician. They will be able to properly assess the condition of the furnace and make any recommendations.

2. Are your energy bills going up?

Rising energy costs are not the only reason for high bills. Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they age, especially if they have not been properly maintained. As a result your oil or natural gas furnace may run longer to provide the same amount of heat. This will cause your energy bills to go up. And, all of the money you pay your energy utility companies every month could be used to help you pay for a new, much more energy-efficient and energy saving furnace.

See the rest of this article by visiting the link provided.

For any type of heating equipment, there is no such thing as forever. Even if you count on the fact that you purchased it as the most expensive one, it still needs to be replaced when the time comes. That time is usually 15 years. So if you happen to be shopping for a new one, don’t believe the salesperson who’s trying to convince you that his product can last up to 30 years.

Should You Go For a Repair First?

But in case your heating equipment is relatively new, perhaps under 10 years old, it means that the unit is expected to be energy efficient and completely functioning. When it suddenly breaks down or you feel like consumption of energy is higher than expected, you should call an HVAC professional to have it checked first. There are instances when there’s only a minor issue, which in turn can be solved with repairs instead of replacement. Again, the key factor here is the age of your unit.

Are you spending more money on heating costs? (image credit: NearSay.com)

Finally, the blog called American Air & Heat talked about another sign that your system needs replacement. This time, it is when you feel like the repairs have been so frequent that you lose track of the number of occasions in one year that you needed to have someone visit your home to check the equipment.

Costly, Frequent Repairs

As your heating system reaches that 15-to-20-year mark, it is more likely to break down or experience major issues. In other words, the older it gets, the more likely you’ll have to keep calling a technician to your home or business to repair the system. People often ask—when is a good time to replace my furnace or boiler? A good rule of thumb is that if your repair costs will exceed 50% of the cost of a new system, you might as well replace the unit.

See this article here.

It makes perfect sense that you swallow and accept the upfront costs of having a new system installed instead of settling for constant repairs that will cost you the same amount after some time.

Heating with Propane

(image credit: NorthernTool.com)

Heating your home with propane is the latest alternative to other fuel sources. It is modern, clean, and contrary to what you hear from others, it is perfectly safe. Today, heating with the use of propane can be done through furnaces, boilers, and space heaters, all of which have their own advantages and benefits. The kind of propane heating you install and use at home depends primarily on your needs and the setup of your living space.

In this article, we’ll be looking at the three ways of propane heating and the advantages of switching to propane in general.

It’s Time to Make a Change

All your life you’ve been using heating oil, electricity, or natural gas to heat your home. They’re the three most popular and traditional sources. However, you may not know it yet, but propane is actually something that will change the perception of homeowners that only those three exist. And yes, propane is affordable, it is readily available, versatile, and provides utmost comfort in the form of efficient and effective heating.

Today, different propane heating systems can be configured in distinctive ways – central, radiant, or forced air. In theory, it is able to curb the homeowner’s energy bills by up to 60% if used properly and efficiently.

Propane Furnace

The best thing about propane furnaces is that they have the greatest flexibility both in capacity of equipment and function. Hence, they are a particularly good fit for literally all kinds of home setups. Know that there are those high efficiency propane furnaces that come with almost 90% AFUE, suggesting that they are able to capture and trap heat from combustion gasses, in the process utilizing the same to improve the level of heat transfer of the furnace.

Those highly efficient furnaces come with variable speed units, the purpose of which is for the furnace to heat the home in the most stable state. As a matter of fact, the heated air that is produced by this furnace is a lot warmer compared to that of what is produced by electric heat pumps.

Boilers Powered by Propane

Meanwhile, a propane boiler can work as an effective way to space heat a home or even an office building, while at the same time providing hot water at the most efficient level. Boilers powered by propane can either be condensing or non-condensing, but the former is a lot more efficient compared to the latter.

For its space heating functions, the boiler will technically be working with several heating delivery systems, like for instance a hydronic baseboard system or even the traditional forced-air system, in which the hot water from the boiler will be acting as the source of the heat.

Radiant Floor Heating

In this setup, a propane water heater or a typical boiler will be heating the water, which then is pumped through a floor tubing system. The result is perfect and even heat distribution, which in turn leads to better energy efficiency compared to a conventional means of heating using ducts.

Space Heaters

(image credit: Amazon.com)

Finally, the best and most ideal propane-based heating equipment for small spaces are space heaters. They are either mounted on the wall or free standing and usually come equipped with blowers and thermostats for distributing and managing heat. The best thing about propane-based space heaters is that they emit minimum amounts of greenhouse gases, which is a complete opposite of other space heaters using another type of fuel.

With propane heating, you’re in for a completely different type of heating source that actually has the potential of becoming the main source of heating in the not-so-distant future. In a few decades from now, it may very well become the most sought after fuel for heating.

Top Reasons To Have an Energy Audit at Home

(image credit: BargainBabe.com)

Millions of homeowners don’t realize the importance of energy audit at home simply because they actually don’t have a clue what it is in the first place. This kind of evaluation is particularly important for every homeowner who thinks they’re spending too much on energy costs. Once it is performed and results come in, you’ll know for certain why you’re paying a lot of money for your energy consumption.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the best reasons why you should get up on your comfortable couch right now and ask for a home energy evaluation. Let’s start by grabbing an excerpt from the website MottramArch.com, in a post called “5 Best Reasons Why You Should Have An Energy Audit.

Save Money!

Building improvements are complicated and can cost a lot of money. Most people do not know which improvements will save them the most money. An energy audit will provide you with the information you need to safely update your home and start saving money. Typically an audit will include a prioritized list of improvements so you can pick away at them over time. Rarely do I find a homeowner who is able to address all the energy saving measures for their home all at once.

Be More Comfortable In Your Home!

Occupant comfort level is attributed to several factors: Air Temperature, Relative Humidity, Moving Air, and Radiant Temperature. We expect thermal comfort in our homes. Heating and cooling of our homes requires 30%-70% of our annual energy consumption. Having a qualified professional tell you how to maintain a higher level of comfort in your home could save you tons of money! Replacing those old windows might not make your home less drafty. So let someone tell you where that draft is coming from, or why the floor is so cold.

Read this article here.

Perhaps the most sensible reason of them all is the fact that an energy audit will allow you to save money in the long run. The result of the audit will give you a bird’s eye view of the current state of your energy usage. It is within the data you’ll find that some of the appliances, equipment, and other electronic stuff in your home have been the culprit in the always rising cost of energy consumption.

(photo credit: HeroProgram.com)

But to be more specific, an energy audit is designed to give you the most specific details of your energy consumption, which in turn will let you plan ahead on how to adjust. Take this very informative discussion by SimpeHomeEnergy.com:

Understand the energy efficiency of your home

Due to the complexity of homes, the only real way to understand how it is performing is through an energy audit. A comprehensive energy assessment, which includes a complete inspection of all parts of the home, diagnostic testing, modeling/analysis and detailed report, will unravel the mysteries. The exact energy efficiency of your home can be compared to current standards and best practices.

Learn specific ways to improve energy efficiency and lower your bill

Once the comfort and efficiency details of your home are revealed through an energy assessment, recommendations for improving home performance can be formulated and quantified to help you make decisions about which to pursue.

Get connected with valuable resources, home performance contractors and attractive rebates

Understanding your home’s unique characteristics, and which steps to take, enables you to focus your research and discussions with home performance industry services and products professionals. You will specifically be able to ensure that the improvements you target will have the desired outcome. Additionally, you will be able to take advantage of available rebate programs.

Want more from this source? Just hit the link.

In its most generic sense, an energy audit is all about encouraging and embracing efficiency. Some people think of it as a waste of time, but rest assured, it’ll help you save money and get to spend it somewhere else that you want, instead of spending it on energy consumption alone.

Oil Heat and Heating Oil Facts You Still May Not Be Aware Of

Oil is now environment-friendly.

There is so much to learn about heating oil than just the fact that it is the most reliable source of warmth and comfort in a home. For a lot of homeowners, there really is no reason to switch to newer and probably more sophisticated sources like natural gas, propane, or electricity. That’s because they haven’t really been disappointed by the service oil heat has afforded them.

If you’re a homeowner who’s been recently struggling when it comes to weighing your options when it comes to home heating, take a moment to read this post about the pertinent facts with regards to heating oil. Be reminded though that this article is not intended to convince you that heating oil is the best. It’s up to to you to figure that out for yourself. What we are providing you instead is a great bunch of information to help you decide.

Let’s begin with this very interesting post from a website called Energy Communications Council. We’re particularly intrigued by six facts about heating oil and the industry of producing it.

  1. The heating oil industry is working to cut the sulfur content of heating oil from 1,500 parts per million to 15 parts per million by 2018.
  2. In addition to its sulfur reductions, the heating oil industry is moving toward zero emissions with new fuel blends, called Bioheat®, which contain between 2 and 20 percent renewable fuel.
  3. Since 1980, the price of heating oil has increased about half as much as prices for other consumer products, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
  4. Since 1970, the heating oil industry has cut its total greenhouse gas emissions by approximately one third.
  5. Innovations in heating equipment and conservation means that an average consumer using 1,200 gallons of heating oil in 1989 now uses only 800 gallons, or 25% less.
  6. Heating oil burns almost 95% cleaner than it did in 1970. Today, residential oil burners produce less than one-third of one percent of total U.S. particulate emissions.

Know the other wonderful facts about heating oil from this article through this link.

This is an example of how abundant oil is in the United States. (Image credit: energy.gov)

It’s really kind of silly when we recall the argument of gas and electricity heating proponents that oil is never a practical choice for heating because it is dirty and that it harms the environment. But by learning all those facts above, you have to realize on your own that such an argument is no longer with merit. With modern technology and improvements in production, oil has become as clean as other modern fuel sources.

Another argument for those who oppose the use of oil in heating is that the commodity is running low and that the prices become unstable because of the lack of supply. But then again, it’s another ploy to discredit and deny consumers like you the facts. We found this website, InvestingAnswers.com, where there’s an article titled “50 Surprising Facts You Never Knew About Oil.” We found a couple of those facts listed as very enlightening. See for yourself below:

  • The U.S. has over 200,000 miles of oil pipelines within its borders.
  • The U.S. has the 11th largest national oil reserves in the world at 21 billion barrels.
  • The U.S. is the biggest consumer of oil at over 19.5 million barrels a day.

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.investinganswers.com/investment-ideas/commodities-precious-metals/50-surprising-facts-you-never-knew-about-oil-2692

If you don’t get the point, what we’re trying to imply here is that if it true that oil is running out, why does the US have that kind of oil reserves? Where does it come from? If there is not enough supply of it, then why are we the biggest consumers of it? Aren’t we supposed to save and not use it because it is already depleting? The thing is our country may not have natural reserves but we have enough of oil to provide our homes for the next century. And with oil pipelines across the nation, oil delivery has become the most reliable of all fuel sources.

We hope all of that makes sense.

How Do You Know That It’s Time to Replace Your Heating and Cooling Equipment?

Not enough heat?

Your heating and cooling system is vital component of your home that needs to be taken care of in order for it to work the way it is supposed to and to provide it the long life it deserves. Learning how to monitor your oil or gas furnace or your heat pump separates you from many other homeowners because with it, you’ll be able to save not just annual expenses but also your equipment in general.

However, there will always come a time when you no longer can give it simple fixes and repairs. The heating and cooling equipment will eventually cease to function efficiently and even reach a point where it no longer is safe to use.

In this post, I will share to you a great set of information I collected online about how to determine if your system already needs replacement.

There’s no better way to start than get something valuable from the number one authority site for any information about energy use, Energy Star. In the article called “When Is It Time to Replace?“, there are several telltale signs provided for you, the homeowner, to figure out that your system is already due for replacement.

Your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 10 years old.
Consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR label. Installed correctly, these high-efficiency units can save up to 20 percent on heating and cooling costs.

Your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.
Consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified furnace, which is 15% more efficient than a conventional furnace. If you have a boiler, consider replacing with an ENERGY STAR qualified boiler that is 5% more efficient than a new, standard model.

Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up.
Your cooling or heating equipment my have become less efficient.

Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.
Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.

No one is home for long periods of the day and you do not have a programmable thermostat.
Install a programmable thermostat or have a good contractor install one and instruct you on its use — to start saving energy and money while they’re away or sleeping.

Your home has humidity problems.
Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.

Your home has excessive dust.
Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.

Your heating or cooling system is noisy.
You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.

Your score on the Home Energy Yardstick is below five.
That means your energy use at home is above average and you’re probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.

Read the rest of the post here.

You can get your energy score from the Home Energy Yardstick by clicking the link.

Every homeowner, including you, must recognize that a boiler or furnace that’s already more than 15 years old must be replaced. It is not something that you can use forever, especially considering the fact that there have been so many modern technologies and improvements integrated in heating and cooling systems for the past ten years.

Furthermore, I found another good article from Sila Heating and Air Conditioning, this time it talks about the factors you should be considering when figuring out if your system already needs replacement.

Age
Furnaces generally have a lifespan of 16 to 20 years. If your system is less than 12 years old, and you have maintained it properly, you can rest easy. If your system is over 16 years old, or if it has not been regularly inspected and maintained, it may be time to start shopping.

Repair Frequency
Just like a car, heating systems will need repairs more often as they get older. If you have had a repair in the past couple of years, did you need to wait for parts? The older a system gets, the more difficult it is to get the parts to fix it. Waiting for that part during a cold snap could feel like a very long time.

Unusual Noises
If your system is making unusual noises, banging sounds, rattling or squealing, it can signal that the end is near. If you hear the blower running excessively or it is sometimes blowing cold air, this is another sign that the furnace could be nearing a breakdown.

Higher Utility Bills
If your gas or electric bills are showing higher usage, or have suddenly spiked, it could be that your older furnace is working overtime to maintain the temperature in your home. Working harder often means that the system will run longer, costing more for energy bills.

Source: http://www.sila.com/blog/signs-time-replace-heating-system/

Aside from those mentioned above, the same post also talked about the level of comfort inside the home. It means that if some rooms have become so cool while the others are warmer than usual, then there should be a problem. Try to figure out how often you adjust the thermostat just to get that ideal temperature. When you’re doing it more frequently, it also means that your system is no longer running efficiently.

In the end, once you see several of these signs, it’s time to call an HVAC technician to do a comprehensive examination and inspection of your system. Remember, you cannot afford to wait it out because sooner or later a broken system can lead to endangering your whole family.

 

Heating Oil Tank Cleaning

There are a few good reasons why you need to have your heating oil tank cleaned once in a while. Obviously, you are necessitated to do it once there is a sludge buildup at the bottom. Also, cleaning is necessary when your tank is showing signs of rust, which means that there already might be water inside.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some valuable tips on how to do the cleaning yourself, although we do recommend hiring a professional to do it to avoid any mistakes. Anyhow, let’s proceed…

First of all, let’s talk about a heating oil tank that’s filled with sludge. Here’s an image of how it looks like:

photo credit: Alberg37.org

The image above shows how sludge looks like after being removed from the fuel oil tank. The presence of it will cause your heating system to work inefficiently. So when you see it at the bottom of your tank, it’s about time to get rid of it.

eHow.com contributor Tammy Quinn Mckillip, in her article titled “How to Clean a Heating Oil Tank,” provides the most comprehensive yet quick way of getting rid of that sludge.

Drain
Place a disposable container, such as a coffee can, under the drain valve of your oil tank, and drain any remaining oil from the tank by opening the valve.

When the tank is empty, put a lid on the filled container, and put it aside.

Place a new empty container under the drain, and spray water into the oil tank with a water hose until the liquids that drain out are clear. Replace the drain cap on the tank.

Fill
Open the fill cap on your oil tank, and pour 1 cup of trisodium phosphate per every 5 gallons of water until the tank is full.

Put an air hose inside the tank, and push it through until it hits the bottom.

Turn on the pump, and allow it to agitate the solution for at least 12 hours.

Place a receptacle under the drain of the tank, open the drain, and drain the solution. Spray the inside of the tank with a hose until the liquids run clear.

Dry
Pour 3 gallons of denatured alcohol inside the tank. Try to get the alcohol to reach as many of the surface walls of the tank as you can by pouring it at different angles.

Insert the air hose into the tank, and turn it on to help dry the alcohol and absorb any remaining moisture inside the tank.

Replace the drain cap, and refuel the oil tank.

Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_5673559_clean-heating-oil-tank.html

You really don’t have to resort to hiring a professional to do it, as you can see on the tips we quoted above. But if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, you might as well go to the pros.

But what if you’re not really interested in doing an actual inspection of your heating oil tank? How would you know that it already needs cleaning? According to an article we found at Maine Energy, there are several reasons why you should have your oil tank cleaned. Here’s what the post has to say:

Reasons to have your fuel oil tank cleaning:
Improve burner efficiency
Lower heating costs
Lower emissions
Remove harmful contaminants that cause premature tank failure
Lower heating system maintenance costs

You oil burner heats your home or business. Your burner unit runs smoothly if serviced regularly and your oil filters are changed with each service. But why are your filters filled with black sludge? What is in that tank? What happens when the oil tank won’t flow oil? Your heat is off and it starts to get cold. Why?

It’s because the sludge buildup is excessive and is clogging the bottom of your tank.

Read the article by clicking this link.

But it’s not just about sludge that’ll give you good reason to have your tank cleaned. You also should watch this video to see another reason to do so:


So aside from sludge, cleaning also guarantees that any sign of rust or corrosion is prevented right before it spreads. It also is quite valuable to learn the different ways on how to prevent water from coming inside the tank and messing up the oil as well as the interior part of the tank.

The Different Ways of Saving on Home Heating During the Winter

The thought of winter fast approaching is never a good one for homeowners. Aside from the fact that we all have to deal with the extreme cold, we also are forced to swallow the fact that heating expenses will substantially rise.

But then again, it does not mean that we just have to let it work that way and just think there’s nothing else we can do about it. If you try to read tips online, you’ll realize that there actually are so many ways to save on home heating during the cold season.

Let’s start with some cool tips from this article titled “14 Sneaky-Smart Ways to Cut Your Home Heating Bills” courtesy of Popular Mechanics. I especially agree with tip about weatherstripping:

Replace Worn Weatherstripping

Worn and torn weatherstripping around doors and windows creates drafts and lets in cold air. Seven to 12 percent of a home’s heat loss occurs around windows and doors, according to Black Hills Energy, and these leaks often prompt homeowners to turn up their furnace to keep comfy. Even if they don’t turn it up, they’re losing warm air, causing the furnace to work harder. “Weatherstripping around doors, and caulking around doors and windows, can cut down on drafts,” says Jeff Rogers, president of the Energy Audit Institute, an energy audit training and certification company in Springfield, N.J.

Some weatherstripping needs to be replaced every few years because of wear. Replacing it is typically as simple as pulling off the old and tacking on the new.

For all the other tips from this article, click this link.

Many homeowners are under the impression that once they’ve done their part in putting up weatherstripping, they’re good to go forever. But that’s not really the case. In fact, they will have to be replaced because eventually they’ll wear out. Anyhow, it’s quite a simple task, really.

Meanwhile, you also will have to think about insulation. If you don’t understand why it matters in terms of cutting your energy expenses in the winter, read this excerpt from an article courtesy of BankRate.com:

Insulation is your home’s all-purpose force field against high energy bills. It minimizes heat transfer in winter and summer, provides ventilation to control moisture and makes your home more livable.

Bringing your attic insulation up to code for your region is one of the most cost-effective ways to winter-proof your bear cave. The Department of Energy can get you started with its ZIP Code Insulation Calculator.

But before you blow insulation, be sure to seal all ductwork, plumbing and cable TV penetrations. Leaky ducts can account for 10 percent to 30 percent of heating and cooling costs.

Cost: $500 to $1,000 to bring a typical attic up to code. Lindstrom recommends earth-friendly chopped cellulose, which is chemically treated to repel fire and insects and retains its loft better than fiberglass.

Savings: 20 percent to 30 percent off your monthly bill, with return on investment in as little as one year.

Full article : http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/6-ways-to-save-on-home-heating-2.aspx

Furthermore, adjusting your home’s temperature with the help of a programmable thermostat could also mean big savings in the long run. So if you still don’t have a programmable thermostat installed, then you should take time to have one. Here are the great benefits you get from using one. This is from a House Logic article called “No Sweat: Programmable Thermostats Reduce Your Energy Costs.”

It’s no secret that heating and cooling account for the bulk of a home’s energy usage — an average of over $1,000 annually. Switching from a manual to a programmable thermostat is one simple way to save as much as $180 a year.

The most basic programmable thermostat can be self-installed in an hour, and comes with preset temperature settings for different times of the day.

Some of the latest models offer greater control, easy programming, sophisticated displays, and even communication with you via the Internet.

Get to know more about programmable thermostats here.

Can’t get enough of home heating saving tips? We’re not done yet. Take a look at this very informative video detailing other means of saving winter costs from The Home Depot:

At this point, you already should have realized that there are so many things you can do to save on heating costs, regardless of whether you have a system that is run by gas, heating oil, propane, electric at home. It is really just a matter of being committed to be able to save thousands of dollars each year.

Why Is Propane Better than Electric Heat?

propane vs electric

You can’t argue with the fact that propane is a lot more economical and even more efficient when compared to electric-based heating. And what’s even better is to know that practically anything inside your home that runs on electricity can also run using propane. While they’re quite similar in a lot of ways, a home that is fueled by propane will actually be less costly compared to a home powered by electric. The costs of both propane and electricity are possible to compare using the British Thermal Unit (BTU), which will be measuring the heating value of each fuel source. Based on the figures coming from the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost of electricity will be double to that of the cost of propane.

Here are more reasons that show why propane is much better than electric in terms of heating your home:

propane tanks1 – Propane is actually cheaper than electric.

Heating a home in the United States using propane has been more convenient cost-wise. This is true when compared to heating with the use of electricity. Also, water heaters powered by propane are likely to cost one-third less to fun and they also can recover water twice as fast as electric water heaters.

2 – Heat from propane is warmer than heat from electric.

You might not believe it but heat produced by propane is actually warmer than electric. Therefore, it also means it is more comfortable for you to get heat from it. To attest to that, a propane gas furnace is able to heat the air to about 140 degrees F and will only need to operate in short intervals, the purpose of which is to minimize operating costs. On the other hand, the traditional electric heat pump will only be producing heat around 98 degrees F. So what really happens with it is that the air will feel cool when you try to place your hand in front of the vent.

3 – Furnaces that use propane will last longer than electric heat pumps.

Based on consumer experience and manufacturer warranties, propane-powered furnaces are designed to last about five to ten years longer to that of electric heat pumps.

4 – Propane is known to be more reliable than electric.

How do we measure reliability? For instance, propane can be stored safely in a tank situated outside your property. Electricity on the other hand can be problematic if you’re an area where power outages are common. In general, propane will work in times and in areas where other energy sources cannot, including electricity.

propane5 – Propane is as clean as you want it.

Propane, when first discovered, was immediately considered as the “green” form of energy source, and that’s actually for good reason. If you use this kind of energy source, you will not just save money based on its efficiency, you’re also lending a hand in protecting the environment by reducing your emissions. To prove that it is clean, propane is officially an approved alternative fuel that’s listed in the Clean Air Act of 1990 and the National Energy Policy Act of 1992. And since propane is released as a form of gas, you won’t be experiencing problems related to residues, spills, and pools.

6 – Last, but certainly not the least, propane is totally safe.

The safety record of this heating source is simply amazing. There exists a set of very strict codes and regulations followed by companies in the propane industry. There are built-in safety properties in propane, making sure there won’t ignite. It also is nontoxic and will produce the least levels of emissions.

The Truth about Propane Heating Efficiency

propane heating delivery

When it comes to home heating, a lot of people know nothing about propane. That’s because they’re used to hearing about two major fuel sources, namely natural gas and oil. Also, electric heating is getting its fair share of fans, too. But what you don’t know is that heating a home using propane is actually one of the most efficient, and we are talking about both costs and the maintenance of a warm and comfortable environment.

Propane today is being used in different capacities and functions. There are portable space heaters that use it and there are also some new and modern built-in propane heating systems. The former is commonly found in many small living spaces like apartments, rooms, and condos. A built-in propane heating system on the other hand is actually a type of gas heating that is rapidly increasing in popularity because of its sophistication and amazing level of efficiency.

propane space heatingSpace Heaters

Perhaps the most common and widely used propane heating is the space heater. It is either recessed in the wall or placed into an existing fireplace. This type is operated by way of accessing a source of natural gas at home. The source in this case can either be a utility company network or a gas line that runs to the home and coming from a propane storage tank stored outside. But the same principle works in both cases. It means that heating with propane space heater allows you to warm specific sections of your home. It is actually a very convenient advantage because you only have to heat a room or space that needs it. This also is handy in times when people from the other room don’t really want theirs to be heated. If you want to feel a bit cooler, you can easily control the unit’s temperature so that it can be lowered.

Space Heating with Thermostats

Good thing is majority of propane powered heating units and equipment these days are already equipped with thermostats. The thermostat is intended to automatically lower the flame once the room being heated has reached a certain temperature that you determined previously. As a result, you’ll be saving a lot of energy money on your annual heating bills.

With space heaters that use propane, there’s a higher efficiency rate when compared to that of using wood fire. But then again, why do you really need to give up on using the traditional coziness of a real fire when you can have both of them? The thing is gas logs may be mounted in a fireplace and then connected to a gas jet. The flames produced from the gas source will then flicker and lick around the logs, working similarly to that of burning wood logs in the fireplace. But the difference is that there will be no burden of cleaning up the ashes since there will be any ashes left. Also, you get to lower or increase the flame based on your preference so as to keep the room utterly comfortable.

propane fireplaceCentral Heating

For large propane heating equipment meanwhile, you get to choose a central heating system that provides a larger heating coverage. Working like electric pumps, this type of equipment will be pushing warm air through the ducts that run to every room at home. And the reality about a propane-based heating system is that it can generate or produce the same amount of heat to that of any type of electric system, but this time at a significantly lower cost. With a higher BTU than electric, you have with you very energy efficient heating equipment.

Finally, one of the best things about propane heating is that it gets very handy when you’re in an emergency. In times when bad weather causes power outage, propane heating can be used while waiting for power to get back on.

How to do a Best Buy with Heating Oil

oil industry

High heating costs seem to be typical for every home these days. When the cold season starts, you have to brace yourself for another run at increased energy spending. Every heating system, regardless of what fuel or energy source is used, will be experiencing some significant wear and tear during the winter season, and that’s because the need for warmth and heat will increase. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that everyone will expect to spend more during the winter months.

Homes Using Oil Heat

families rely on oil heatAs for homes that use oil to heat their homes, high heating costs are a normal scenario. This is especially true when it comes to those living in the northeastern part of the U.S. As a matter of fact, the cost of heating oil will make a huge impact on the budget. For a lot of homeowners, higher oil prices correspond to less discretionary income while for some, the increase in oil prices will draw a fine line between getting by and living in poverty.

While it is unfortunate to know that there is no way for us to control or dictate the forces that affect the price of oil, at least in the outside, there actually are ways for homeowners like you to be able to pay heating oil at a significantly lowered price. The key is learning the best payment plans that will suit your current need and situation.

Picking the Best Payment Plans for Heating Oil

pay for heating oil1 – Locked In, either Fixed or Capped

In locked-in pricing, a specific price per gallon can either be availed fixed or capped for one year. As the term suggests, a fixed rate price will not go up or down. A price cap on the other hand will set the highest price that you are going to pay. Therefore, if the market prices go down, you also are going to pay the lower prices. The fixed rate is usually set at less per gallon compared to a capped price. In essence, locked in pricing is actually a win-win situation for the customer and the heating oil delivery company. This is because the oil dealer gets the guarantee of someone who will be purchasing their oil for one year. The customer on the other hand will get the benefit of a lower price compared to the expected market pricing.

2 – Market Price

The market pricing option is quite simple really. When you pay for the market price, there will be no contract involved. You’re simply making a purchase with a price that’s based on the current market rate for that day when you want oil to be delivered. The consequence for this option is that the pricing will go up or down based on the market price.

3 – Pre-Buying Option

If you want to pre-buy your heating oil, the biggest advantage is that you are to pay preseason for the total estimated oil you’re going to use for the entire winter season. This means that the price you’re paying for it is going to be competitive compared to the expect market pricing in the middle of the winter. Therefore, if winter heating oil prices rise, it shows that you made the right decision to pre-buy. If they go down, you lost on your gamble. But then again, it’s almost impossible to see heating oil prices going down right in the middle of the cold months.

Doing Your Homework

If you want to do a best buy with your heating oil needs, you will want to exert more effort in doing your homework. Call your local consumer affairs office to get more tips and valuable information. You also can go online and read forums and blogs. Try to anticipate the recent trends in heating oil prices. Are they going up and down constantly? Are prices steadily climbing? These are questions you need answers so that you’ll have a better idea on what payment plan to embrace.

Furthermore, you can visit the U.S. Energy Information Administration website. There’s a link on their homepage that allows you to use a feature called Short Term Energy Outlook. It provides information on projected heating costs for the incoming winter season as well as fuel costs by region and type of fuel, including heating oil.

heating oil delivered at homeLocal Heating Oil Delivery

You need to spend some time and lots of effort in calling different prospective heating oil delivery companies. The most important thing to consider during your search of a company to deliver you oil is that they have to be local. Perhaps five or six companies are good enough to start your interview. The main reason why you want a local company is because you want your oil delivered to you the quickest way possible. It really makes no sense at all if you hire a company that’s a city or town away because there is no guarantee that they’ll deliver the oil in a day. Obviously, you can’t afford to wait for it for a couple of days.

In choosing a heating oil company, be sure everyone including its service technicians is fully licensed, insured, and certified. This is to make sure that your property is protected and covered in case there will be accidents. You may want to check with your local consumer affairs office as well as the Better Business Bureau to figure out if the prospective delivery companies are actually reputable.

Very Good Reasons Why Oil Heat is Still the Best Option for Heating Your Home

heating oil at home

Thanks to huge improvements and developments in technology, the way we use appliances and equipment for heating at home has significantly evolved, making us consume energy and fuel sources in a more efficient manner. As a matter of fact, annual fuel consumption in the U.S. has been reduced by as much as forty percent and the main reason for that is because we’ve been using better equipment today.

Of the many different sources of heating for both residential and commercial settings, it is heating oil that has benefited greatly from continuous improvements in heating equipment technology. Greener fuel is the latest trend. For instance, many territories are exploring the sufficiency and capability of ultra-low sulfur heating oil combined with biofuel. One reason why we can attest that oil is still the best option for heating your home is because of this one. It is a clean burning fuel that is capable of producing fewer carbon emissions compared to natural gas. As a matter of fact, natural gas actually has become the fuel that produces more carbon due to the increasing use of liquefied natural gas. Also, the issue of methane leaks from natural gas use in homes is always an environmental issue.

environment friendlyClean Burning Advancements

With modern oil burners, you get something new. This new innovation comes in the form of near zero levels of pollution. Therefore heating with oil nowadays with the help of these modern oil burners corresponds to zero odors, soot, or any kind of harmful residue in your home. If everyone starts to appreciate and embrace the use of ultra-low sulfur diesel and along with the cutting-edge emission control advancements, emissions will eventually cut to their minimum, leading to a safer and cleaner way to burn oil for heating.

Fuel Conservation

Moreover, the modern and highly efficient oil heat systems of today will not only encourage saving money, they also help the environment in the noblest way – by means of using less of oil as fuel. So fuel conservation using heating oil is no longer just about saving money, you also are going to help the environment’s cause.

oil prices going downAlso, you may still don’t know it yet but there are initiatives focused on integrating solar as well as geothermal energies to oil heat using hybrid systems, the purpose of which is to use them for water heating. As a result, there is that intriguing and rather very interesting possibility of heating water at home with little or even zero fuel needed. For instance, a solar water heater has the capability of reducing water heating bills by as much as eighty percent. It also reduces the emissions of carbon dioxide by almost fifty percent.

Oil is in Abundant Supply Today

Experts and companies agree that there are at least five trillion barrels of world petroleum resources today. If you don’t have a clue as to its potential to support the world’s demands for oil, consider this one: to date, the entire oil industry has produced about one trillion barrels of oil since the 1800s. Now that’s a couple of centuries and you should understand that the demand for it wasn’t that high in the 1800s and 1900s. What’s even better news is that aside from the fact that the world won’t be running out of oil anytime soon, the global reserves are actually growing with continued explorations.

Looking For Heating Oil Delivery Services

If you are currently heating your home with oil, you’re one of the millions of homeowners across the U.S. who understands and recognizes its reliability. It has been used in heating for centuries and there is no single doubt as to its dependability and effectiveness in terms of keeping everyone warm and comfortable inside their homes. But if you want to keep your winter the way it is supposed to be, which is warm and comfy, you need to hire a local heating oil delivery company that is as reliable as the product they’re providing you. Don’t count on those who cannot product licenses and permits, and most especially insurance coverage. Go for a company who has long provided quality service in your locality.

Propane Heating Saving Tips

home heating with propane

Propane these days is used not just for cooking. Many American homes actually rely on it to heat their homes. The reason for its resurgence as a source of heating is because of its abundance. As a matter of fact, about forty five percent of propane being used in the U.S. is attributed to both residential and commercial customers. Of this number, about fifty five percent rely on propane for home heating.

propane tankOne particular advantage of propane is that it burns clean. It is actually a byproduct of natural gas and crude oil refining. When propane is refined, it will then be delivered to customers in already compressed liquid form. When released though, the product will be converted to gas. Also, it is odorless and colorless, so manufacturers and refiners will have to add recognizable odor to it in production so that it’ll be possible to detect any leaks.

If you are using some kind of equipment at home that utilizes propane as energy source, here are some tips to be able to save money and energy, especially during the winter and cold seasons.

  1. Learn how to take advantage of the equal payment plans usually offered by most gas utilities. The purpose of these plans is to average the heating bills of your home for the entire year. It will then enable the utility company to charge a consistent amount every month. That amount will likewise be covering the cold months, when your bills are definitely higher. Go to your local gas provider to ask for more information.
  2. Be sure that you have both your gas appliances and furnace maintained and serviced annually. Hire a qualified and professional service technician to do the inspection to make sure you’re using your propane heating equipment at the maximum energy efficiency level. You also would welcome a home energy audit from a qualified professional to figure out your home’s energy efficiency.
  3. Because you are using a combustion-burning appliance powered by gas like propane, it means that you have to install a carbon monoxide detector. This one right here is non-negotiable. The carbon monoxide detector has nothing to do with saving energy. However, it is essential for saving lives and property in case of events when carbon monoxide levels at home reach dangerous and deadly levels.
  4. air sealingCall a trained and experienced professional if you need to do air sealing at home. Air sealing methods like caulking and weather stripping at extremely important if you want to save on your purchase of propane to heat your home. With improper air sealing, there will be a possibility of back drafting in combustion appliances, which then can lead to very serious safety and health hazards. With a trained professional, all the air leaks will be sealed properly.
  5. All your filters must be clean. If they’re not, you should clean or even change them based on the particular manufacturer’s recommendations. Also, don’t forget to clean the areas surrounding your warm-air registers. Do this on an “as needed” basis.
  6. To save on heating costs, you should invest in a programmable thermostat to manage your space temperature. Set it as low as is comfortable to you.
  7. You should place your furniture against inside walls. It means that you also will less likely feel the effects of cool drafts if you aren’t sitting next to the outside walls.
  8. Both bathroom and kitchen ventilation are key to saving energy. It is recommended that you only use fans if you need them. It isn’t really a good habit to have them turned on all days. The fans will be providing necessary ventilation as well as removal of excess moisture. However, they too can pull warm air out of your home during cold nights.
  9. Be certain that your attic, crawlspace, and basement come with the right levels of insulation. You need to add insulation if it is lacking. You can go ahead and contact a service technician to help you identify and figure out how much insulation you need.


Whether you’re using propane or any other type of fuel source for heating your home, you should understand how important it is to do the small things that help in conserving energy and saving money from annual heating bills.

Fuel Oil Safety at Home

heating oil delivery

If you’re using heating oil to heat your home and make it comfortable during the cold months, it means you have a storage tank inside or under your living space. And just like any other fuel source for heating, there will always be risks involved, especially the possibility of starting a fire. As a homeowner who uses oil for heating, it is imperative that you have someone to call to in times of emergency, whether it is to repair your heating system or keep it properly working through maintenance. And this is where professional service technicians come in. If you’ve been paying a heating oil delivery company to provide you with heating oil, it means you can also tap their services for heating system and storage tank maintenance, the main purpose of which is to make sure the equipment is running smooth, for it not to become a cause for fires or other accidents.

storage tankA good and reliable heating equipment technician knows how important it is to emphasize safety in heating at home. They will be performing a comprehensive inspection of the oil tanks prior to making the delivery of oil. The company will be sending in the best people for the job, ensuring that every homeowner, including you will always be confident that your storage tank and the heating equipment as a whole are in the safest conditions.

As a homeowner, it is your job to periodically check your own oil storage tank for any signs of deterioration, defects, or damage. All of those signs will lead to one thing and one thing only – leaks. When heating oil starts to leak, there is a possibility that it will contaminate the soil and water in your property. Likewise, it can lead to accidents, cause damage to property, and affect the quality of indoor air. If you don’t know how to do the inspection on your own, it is best to call a service technician.

heating oil spillHow to Deal with a Leak or an Oil Spill

Once fuel oil starts leaking from your storage tank or any of the pipes, the first thing you need to do is contact your service technician. It is recommended that you only talk to a qualified oil technician. In case there is a possibility of starting a fire, you need to also call your local fire department immediately. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to make sure that leaking oil is contained within your property. As much as possible you will need to keep oil from entering the floor drains or the sump pump areas. But don’t try to fix or address the problem on your own. Keeping the spill or leak contained is never a do-it-yourself type of job. You should call the experts for professional help.

Burner Safety Controls for Appliances

You already know by now that your oil burning appliances come with safety controls, the purpose of which is to give you more protection. These controls are usually designed to shut off the burner once it detects that there is something wrong, like a leak. Furthermore, the controls are equipped with a reset button used for resetting the appliance when the burner has shut off.

Cleaning and Maintenance of your Appliance


Both your appliance manufacturer and your service technician will recommend that you have your oil burning appliances and your storage tank maintained at least once every year. The annual cleaning as well as tune-up of your system must also include figuring out that all safety controls are actually working. Always put in mind that regular maintenance of your system is a huge investment that will eventually save you money and ensure your safety in the long run.

Oil Heating Maintenance Tips

oil heating maintenanceThe winter is that time of the year that all of us cannot really avoid. It is the time when you are expected to go to your heat dial to turn it up a notch higher. Obviously, those areas where winter cold is harsh will have homes that use oil heating systems and equipment, the purpose of which is to control and offset the extreme cold and be able to maintain a comfortable environment inside. But the sad fact is during winter, there’s also a good chance that oil prices Allentown PA will go up without warning.

In a home run by oil heating systems, heated air will normally flow through a “forced warm air system,” wherein a blower fan is responsible for pulling the air into the cold air return ducts situated all throughout the living space. Keep in mind that you need to know where your cold air return ducts are located. It’s important because you will have to keep them clear and free from obstacles and hindrances like furniture. With obstacles, they may be rendered inefficient and will correspond to back drafting.

Anyway, the air will then pass through the filter and reaches the furnaces eventually. This is where it is heated. The resulting warm air will then be forced back into the rooms through the heating ducts. Now if you happen to see soot near these ducts, you need to call in the experts since that usually mean there is a damaged or cracked heat exchanger, which needs to be replaced, not repaired. Remember, this is a very important aspect of oil heating maintenance.

oil heatingYou have to realize that the furnace is generally referred to as the heart of the entire oil heating system. The nice thing about the modern oil heating systems is that they are a lot more efficient while maintaining maximum heating performance. It means that the flames are a lot hotter and more uniform. With a heat exchanger, the harmful products that are produced from heating oil will be prevented from entering the air stream, hence, giving you a comfortable and safe breathing space.

Oil heating is preferred by majority of homeowners because they are more durable. Oil furnaces will be able to provide services for years without major problems or issues. But then again, the homeowner has to make sure he’s purchasing the right system and guarantee a maintenance contract with the oil supplier. This ensures there is inspection or service done annually.

Here are some basic but crucial furnace maintenance tips:

1 – Inspect and clear the blades found on the blower of the burner.
2 – Clean the oil pump strainer and get rid of any debris standing.
3 – Clean the oil filter thoroughly.
4 – Inspect the tank as well as the piping, part of which is to look for any signs of leaks or corrosion.
5 – Clean the exhaust stack or the draft tube, depending on the kind of oil heating unit you have at home.
6 – The blower’s air-intake ports have to be cleaned and vacuumed.