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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.

BALTIMORE – In an atmosphere that some said felt like the original Continental Congress of 1776, Oilheat leadership from Maine to South Carolina stood one at a time to set the industry on a new cleaner, greener and more sustainable course. The historic collaboration assembled oilheat associations and stakeholders to formally adopt long-term goals, including expanding Bioheat®.

“It is an exciting time for the industry,” said Peter Carini of Champion Energy of New York. “As an industry, we face many challenges, but most of them can be met if we embrace this exciting opportunity to create a new product that will be environmentally responsible and competitive, ensuring that our industry will be a part of the solution to the energy security and climate change challenges that face our Nation.”

Primarily used as a transportation fuel, biodiesel, which is already ultra low sulfur, can be blended with regular No. 2 heating oil or low sulfur heating oil. Blends of biodiesel and heating oil are called Bioheat. Bioheat offers a seamless way to reduce emissions and move to a cleaner burning home heating option.

At the national oilheat industry policy summit, oilheat leadership including National Oil Heat Research Alliance, the New England Fuel Institute, and Petroleum Marketers Association of America approved a statement formally embracing cleaner burning fuels, like Bioheat, as well as endorsing an ultra low sulfur standard and solar technology. The resolution calls for changes to heating oil, including that by July 2010, all heating oil will be mixed with a bio component to ensure that at least 2 percent of the fuel is renewable, with goals to increase levels over time.

“Bioheat is another way biodiesel is working to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, to seamlessly introduce cleaner fuel alternatives and to implement sustainable energy solutions,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe. “We applaud the oilheat industry for formally recognizing the outstanding potential for Bioheat and biodiesel as an important part of our country’s energy future.”

The Bioheat market, at a 5 percent blend, has the potential to increase demand for biodiesel by 450 million gallons annually. Nationally recognized institutions such as the Brookhaven National Laboratory, US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, Massachusetts Oil Heat Council, Abbott & Mills Oil Company, NOCO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, (NYSERDA) and NORA have thoroughly tested Bioheat.

Results have demonstrated blending home heating fuel with biodiesel, Bioheat fuel, is seamless and transparent to the heating oil network and works in home and commercial heating systems with no adverse operational characteristics. Some of Bioheat’s benefits include:

Sincerely,
Steve Oehlert
Customer Services
Oehlert Bros., Inc.
610-948-3712 press 1 then ext.227

Ask about our America-Friendly and Environment-Friendly AgriFuels – BioHeat & BioDiesel!