Higher energy prices are hurting us all, Click here

Oehlert Bros. Inc. has been delivering superior BioHeat to our customers for over 7 years!  BioHeat using ultra low sulfur heating oil will burn cleaner than natural gas.  Ultra low sulfur heating oil will be mandated in PA in July of 2016.  With Low Heating Oil Prices this is a real win for consumers!

“It is a really exciting time for oil heating customers,” said John Huber, president of NORA. “Prices are low and the oilheating industry is transitioning to a superior fuel product. By adding biodiesel, a renewable, carbon-neutral fuel to low-sulfur heating oil, heating oil retailers are actually delivering a better product at a significantly lower price. What could be better?”

Two prime movers forcing the drop in prices, according to NORA, are increased production and full inventory stocks. “With the U.S. now the world’s leading petroleum producer, production in 2014 showed a 34.6 percent increase over 2012 and the first seven month of 2015 show an increase of 11.5 percent over 2014,” the organization stated. “The combination of increased shipments from the Gulf Coast, higher refinery runs and imports have boosted East Coast distillate inventories to 5.4 million barrels above the five-year average for the week ending Sept. 11, the highest since 2011. On Sept. 18, the distillate inventory was at 59 million barrels.”

NORA stated that for the 8 million U.S. households that use heating oil, proper maintenance and tune-ups of their heating system can save from 5 to 10 percent in heating oil costs, while upgrading an older heating system to a new high-efficiency system may save 30 percent or more. Personally, when I reinsulated my house and installed new windows, I saved a ton in heating costs.

Did you know that most new digital thermostats require batteries? If your thermostat’s batteries die, your heater will not run! Take a look at your thermostat screen and if it is blinking or has gone blank, your thermostat likely requires new batteries. Install fresh batteries and save a repair call! Older thermostats used power from the heating appliance and did not have batteries, so be battery aware and keep your home in comfort all winter long.

Most heaters that fail haven’t been seen annually by a qualified HVAC company. It is important to have your heater looked at once per year from an efficiency and safety perspective. All heaters have fail safes to keep them from causing catastrophic failure. Your heater has flame sensors, pressure switches, and other items to keep them running safely. Most service repairs for heaters are needed when they are first turned on at the beginning of the heating season. And of course many homeowners do this the same chilly night. Before that chilly night comes, test your heating system by turning it on and letting it run for thirty minutes. If it doesn’t work, you will have more flexibility scheduling the repair and won’t be left out in the cold! Oehlert Bros. provides heating service plans that provide the annual inspection/tune-up and cover repairs (parts & labor).

Your HVAC system and hot water heating accounts for 60% of your home’s energy usage!

During the cold winter months, to keep warm homeowners turn on their home heaters. You can save energy when heating your home by taking the time to winterize for maximum energy savings. Due to the increasing energy costs, winter heating will consume an increasingly larger portion of a household’s energy budget.

Keep the following tips in mind as you begin to winterize your home.

Check for Leaks

Check Your Home’s Insulation

Check Your Heating System

Making sure your tankless water heater is properly installed and maintained will optimize its energy efficiency, especially since water heaters are one of the many appliances we rely on every day. Whether gas or electric, they are generally very dependable and quiet. A tankless water heater can last for a decade or more, and save you money as long as proper annual maintenance is performed.

Proper installation of your tankless water heater depends on many factors, so it is important to have a qualified and licensed plumbing and heating contractor install your tankless water heater. Before selecting a contractor request estimates in writing, obtain references, check the company with your local Better Business Bureau, and make sure they have a proper permit.

Tankless water heaters are now designed to last 20- 30 years. This is done by owning a high quality water heater, and by preforming a little maintenance on it. Without maintaining your tankless water heater investment you might only get half that time.

Water qualities are different all over the country, and even good water has minerals in it that over time will build up on the interior walls of the tanks heating chambers. The industry standard recommendations are once per year turn the tankless water heater off, and flush out with white vinegar and water using a submersible water pump to remove the calcium deposit buildup. You can find submersible water pumps at most home improvement and hardware stores.

The steps to take to perform your annual tankless water heater maintenance are:

Buderus solar is one of the largest and most reputable manufacturers in the world. They have been manufacturing and designing solar water systems for over 25 years, and continue to invest in research and development to bring innovative, high quality, solar products to the market.

A Buderus solar thermal system for hot water consists of a solar collector, a pump station, and an indirect hot water storage tank. The solar collector, which is located on the roof, collects the sun’s energy and transfers the heat to the storage tank via the tanks internal heat exchanger. The storage tank in turn allows the hot water to be stored until it is used. The controller activates the system’s pump when there is enough solar energy to create hot water. Even on a cloudy day, light penetrates the cloud layer and heats up the solar collectors.

An existing Buderus wall hung or floor standing boiler can be combined into the solar system as a back-up for domestic hot water. The solar system can also complement the boiler for space heating by reducing the number of boiler starts, saving on costly fuel.

A typical Buderus residential solar hot water system using 2-4 collectors takes about 1-2 days to install depending on location and roof type. Larger commercial systems take longer because of the scale, equipment, and labor required. The typical life expectancy of a Buderus solar hot water system is 20-30 years. If the system is properly maintained, it can last over 30 years. Every 5 year, the heat transfer fluid should be checked and replaced. The pipe insulation and controller settings should also be checked as part of the annual system check-up.

A residential solar water heater will offset greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. That’s equal to the amount of CO2 released by an average vehicle every 1,700 miles!

You can get your home ready for the winter season by tackling easy and inexpensive projects that will save you money in heating bills in the long run. Here are a few simple winterizing suggestions to help you prepare your home and your wallet for the cold weather months.

Furnace Tune-Up

Contact a local HVAC company to have your HVAC system serviced. Make sure they inspect the duct system for leaks, as this can cause warm air to leak outside instead of being distributed throughout your home.

Some do-it-yourself tune-up improvements include:

Check Your Attic Insulation

Insulating your attic reduces unwanted heat loss out of your home during the winter months and air conditioning in the summer months. A quick way to determine if you need more insulation is by looking at the floor joists. If the joists stick up past the insulation levels, you probably need more. If the joists are hidden under the insulation, your attic is thoroughly insulated.

In addition to checking insulation, weather-strip and insulate your attic hatch or door. Seal up holes in the attic that lead down into the house such as open wall tops and ducts, and plumbing or electrical runs. Any hole that leads from the basement or a crawlspace to the attic is a big energy waster.

Close Off the Chimney

If you wish to close off your chimney, install glass doors or inserts to keep the heat from getting sucked out of the house. If you are going to use your fireplace, hire a chimney sweep to clean it out annually and inspect the damper for proper opening and closing to minimize the chances of heat escaping.

Seal Doors & Windows

Using weather stripping around doors will prevent cold air from entering your home. As you check all of your exterior doors make sure the weather stripping is intact. If the weather stripping has deteriorated or is non-existent, install it on the sides and top of the door. The bottom of every exterior door should have a sweep running along the bottom.

Make sure all double hung windows are pulled up. Sometimes the top half may slip down unknowingly if the catches are not securely locked. If you have a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.

When your central heating and cooling system is in its best condition, it provides a great mix of efficiency and comfort. On the other hand, if it is left without proper maintenance, that efficiency crashes and so does your wallet.

Most maintenance for central heating and cooling systems should be left to the professionals, but some general upkeep can be performed by homeowners of any skill level. Here’s a list of suggested maintenance for central heating and cooling systems to ensure you keep the cost of comfort at its lowest.

Central Cooling

Air filters:

Air filters on central heating and cooling systems block dust, pollen, and other small particles from entering your home. Eventually, these air filters become clogged by these particles, causing a reduction in energy efficiency from 5 to 15 percent. Ignoring air filter maintenance is like throwing away the money you spent on a better unit. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that filters be replaced every one to two months during the season. Some central air conditioner filters are reusable while others are disposable. Before you replace your air filter, check to see which kind you have.

Clogged drains:

Central air conditioners feature drains used to remove condensation and humidity. These can become clogged over time. Unclogging the drains is simple. Just push a wire through the drain channels to knock out the gunk.

Expert Level Central Cooling Maintenance

Other maintenance should only be done by professionals or homeowners with advanced knowledge. These include:

Cleaning coils:

The evaporator and condenser coils collect dirt overtime, limiting air flow and the amount of heat removed by the air conditioner. These should be cleaned, at most, every year.

Coil fins:

Fins on the evaporator and condenser bend over time, which blocks air flow. When this occurs, the fins should be straightened.

Blower adjustment:

The blower may wear down over time and need an adjustment to boost air flow.

Adjust refrigerant:

If your air conditioner has too much or too little refrigerant, an essential chemical component that creates cool air, your system will operate inefficiently.

Central Heating

Air filters:

A furnace relies on a filter to block out dust, mold, and other particles, which collects dirt over time, leading to falling energy efficiency. Your filter should be changed regularly, as much as once a month during seasons when it’s in constant use. A filter change takes just a few minutes.

Pilot light:

If you have natural gas, check whether the pilot light is on and that it’s blue. If you’re trying to heat your home but getting nothing except cold air blowing in, a pilot light that’s gone out is the likely problem. If the pilot light is yellow or orange, there may be a mechanical issue with the system.

Expert Level Central Heating Maintenance

Other maintenance should only be done by professionals or homeowners with advanced knowledge. These include:

Belt adjustment and lubrication:

Belts inside your central heating dry out and become worn over time, this reduces efficiency. These should be adjusted and lubricated, at the most, annually.

Interior cleaning:

Dirt will inevitably end up in your central heating, requiring a professional cleaning. Nearly all elements of the furnace must be wiped down and cleaned out. A dirty furnace can significantly reduce efficiency. Get a contractor to clean your furnace every few years.