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Even with regular heating system maintenance, you may eventually need a boiler repair service or even a boiler replacement in order to maintain indoor comfort in your home. There are certain signs to look out for that indicate it’s time to consider replacing you heating and cooling equipment, or improving the performance of your overall system. If the following indicators are present it may be time to call a professional contractor to help you with your appliance.
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.
Choosing the right boiler for your home is a very important task. There are so many makes and models available, that it makes choosing the right contractor critical. The Energy Experts have extensive experience and the right tools to assist you with making the best choice for your home. A new boiler is a long term investment that you want to make sure keeps your home and budget comfortable.
Here is some helpful information on the different types of boilers available to you.
A domestic boiler is a large home appliance in charge of heating your home. A domestic boiler can be powered by a variety of fuel sources among the most popular is natural gas. Essentially a domestic gas boiler works by heating water and distributing it through a system of pipes that extends into every room to heat your home. If you need to purchase a new domestic gas boiler for your home, here are some points to keep in mind.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Other maintenance should only be done by professionals or homeowners with advanced knowledge. These include:
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.
Fins on the evaporator and condenser bend over time, which blocks air flow. When this occurs, the fins should be straightened.
The blower may wear down over time and need an adjustment to boost air flow.
If your air conditioner has too much or too little refrigerant, an essential chemical component that creates cool air, your system will operate inefficiently.
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.
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.
Other maintenance should only be done by professionals or homeowners with advanced knowledge. These include:
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.
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.
Heat pumps have had a poor reputation for providing optimum comfort in a home due to the low temperature air that they generate at the supply vents. Oil-fired and gas-fired furnaces provide heated are that is 15 to 20 degrees warmer at the supply vents. Often a hybrid heating system can be installed that uses either heating oil or natural gas as a back-up when temperatures are at the coldest during the winter months.
Heat pumps work best in well‐insulated and well‐sealed homes. The ducts must be tactically placed to collect cool air in the winter and hot air in the summer. When you operate a heat pump make sure to find a comfortable setting and leave it alone. It is recommended to place the settings of the heat pump at 68°F in the winter, and 78°F in the summer. If the thermostat is adjusted frequently in the winter, auxiliary electric heat can be activated which can contradict the efficiency of the unit. In addition, change the filters regularly to a MERV rating of 6 or greater. If you preform the basic maintenance procedures it will help your unit to run at its optimum capacity.
Heating an old house is a balancing act often met with trouble. Many early homes were built without any type of central heating system (unless you count the chimney) meanwhile others are faced with aging, and incompetent systems.
Unless you are planning to remodel your house, you probably have no other choice in the matter but to deal with systems such as these: existing steam or hydronic radiators powered by a broiler, or forced air ducts fueled by a furnace. Even if you don’t intend to tear out your floor, there are ways to incorporate new technology that will make your system more competent, and more comfortable to live with.
Landowners have long complemented central heating systems with wood or gas burning fireplaces, stoves and inserts. These often proficient components may boost warmth in a gathering room or even heat a small house at prices that make sense to most homeowners, but there are plenty of other choices that can resolve heating problems or increase comfort in chilly spots like entries, porches, and bathrooms.
Got a steam or hot water system with indisposed radiators?
No need to throw out the boiler with the bath water when you replace the broken one with a new one. Choices can consist of nearly silent baseboard units that melt into the wall, flat-fins units that tuck under windows, or streamlined tubular radiators that look like the originals you may already have.
Want to know more about better heating your home? Get in touch with Oehlert Bros. to find out how!
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:
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