Archive for the ‘Heating Oil ’ Category

2013 Heating Oil Price Outlook

Posted on: November 6th, 2013 by RF Ohl
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2013 Heating Oil Price Outlook

Watch our latest TV interview feature Steve Ohl, President of R.F. Ohl.

 

As temperatures begin to drop to welcome the winter this year keeping your home warm can be costly. Even if there are so many different ways to keep the family protected and safe from the outside weather, those ways will most likely lead to higher energy bills and expenses. Some homeowners are acquiescing to the notion that they all have to spend a bit more for the winter.

winter heatingA report from the Energy Information Administration that was recently released revealed that fuel prices for this year are a mix of good and bad news. Of all the fuel sources intended to heat your home, there is certainty that oil has become the most cost-efficient for the winter. The main reason for that is because only six percent of homeowners actually use it and they mainly reside in the northeastern part of the U.S.

In the northeast, temperatures are expected to be colder than the rest of the country. It is even projected to the colder compared to what it was last year. As a result, homeowners in Lehighton PA and other areas will have to reach deeper into their pockets just to keep themselves warm, comfortable, and sane in the process. But if you are using heating oil to heat your home, then you are in right side of the battle. You actually catch a break by using oil this year. Just like any other fuel source for heating, it is always good news to hear if oil prices go down.

According to Steve Ohl of R.F. Ohl Lehighton PA, the average homeowner will spend a bit over $2000 annually in order to effectively heat their homes using oil. As of the moment, the price of oil is actually holding steadily, specifically at $3.69 per gallon. And what’s even better news is that the prices are actually down significantly compared to what they were a year ago. Steve further said that when a homeowner figures out that they can save anywhere from two to five percent based on the EIA projections for the entire course of the winter season, it always feels like a giveback to the usual amounts homeowners are spending in the previous years. The thing is at least the prices aren’t going up.

heating expensesOnly a small portion of homeowners use heating oil and natural gas accounts for more than half of the rest. According to EIA’s winter fuels outlook, for the first time in two years, consumers will expect a significant rise in natural gas prices. Natural gas prices are in fact expected to rise up to fourteen percent because the levels of supply have reached a historical low. As a result of the pressure in the rise of natural gas prices, heating oil will eventually get lower price projections. It’s more of a direct effect.

Those who use propane on the other hand will see a nine percent increase based on the same report while those who rely on electricity for heating their homes will see about two percent increase in their consumption and expenses. But even if the prices of fuel sources last year were consistent, price spikes and changes can actually happen anytime without warning. For instance, there can be minor issues that will affect the prices but they mostly depend on what happens to the rest of the world, especially oil producing countries.

Meanwhile, experts contend that it is practical to grab plans that will allow the homeowners to pay a monthly fee, which in turns serves as a cap or some form of security. In this instance, if the prices go down, the homeowner gets the reduction, and when it goes up, they only have to pay for the price they were only capped up for. This is basically saying that it is much better to plan and purchase oil well ahead of time, especially with the fact that they are priced lower compared to the period where the demand for it rises considerably.

A Clean Boiler Saves Heating Expenses & Saves Energy

Posted on: September 11th, 2013 by Heating Oil Guru
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boiler systemIt’s an established fact that once you invest in energy-efficient devices and equipment, you are doing yourself, the environment, and your home a favor. Therefore, every homeowner has to understand and value the need of a clean boiler. Yes, a clean boiler means it functions and operates with utmost efficiency, thereby allowing you to save on heating expenses as well as energy bills.

When it comes to your boiling system, it is either making tiny and minor adjustments or perhaps replacing old ones with the new energy efficient varieties, both of which intends to give you that much needed help in saving hundreds of bucks on your energy bills.

What is a Boiler?

Boilers are equipment used to produce hot water or steam. The process itself is something that definitely corresponds to extensive use of energy at home or in a building where you operate a business. The steam or hot water produced is traditionally used to provide heat in a living space or for industrial areas and commercial spaces. Having a boiler system at home means you’ve invested a lot for home improvement and you can’t just allow it to operate inefficiently. Keep in mind that the boiler system, in order to function properly and efficiently, has to be subjected to regular and consistent maintenance. Without the maintenance, it won’t particularly be efficient in doing its thing.

Any heating system that is not well maintained will eventually result to serious problems later on. You don’t want to tolerate or allow your boiler to work without any cleaning and maintenance because when something breaks down, you will be burdened by the expenses.

Determining and searching for potential problems in your boiler, and then being able to repair them right before a breakdown happens, is crucial especially when it comes to securing and guaranteeing the heating source in your home. Without the heat, comfort is sacrificed. Also, poorly maintained boilers correspond to inefficient operation, which in turn leads to bigger monthly electricity bills. It has to be emphasized that servicing a boiler in the most appropriate periods will not just extend the life of your equipment you also allow yourself to save heating expenses and guarantee comfort.

Tune-Ups

Since boilers are known to consume a lot of energy and in the process increase your bills, they also waste the energy they consume if some of the components aren’t functioning the way they are supposed to. For instance, problems like dirty burner tips, poor draft and gas controls, or fouled exchanger surfaces will result to having very high energy bills but poor performance from the equipment. By the time you experience these things, it’s time to call in the expert technicians to do either cleaning or repair. Again, always keep in mind that a clean boiler will save you heating expenses and energy.

A Clean HVAC System = Money Savings & Energy Savings

Posted on: June 10th, 2013 by Heating Oil Guru
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hvac system cleaningIf you experience poor indoor air quality, the traditional culprit is the ventilation system. After all, your HVAC system is the one responsible for conditioning the air inside your living space. But what makes your HVAC system function improperly? The answer is that it may be dirty.

Be reminded that if your HVAC has been operating for a long period of time without getting that much attention with respect to cleaning and maintenance, there is a good chance it is already distributing and circulating dirt, bad odor, dust, and other air contaminants. But if you make sure your HVAC system is cleaned and maintained, you don’t only give it an extended life, you are also allowing yourself to save money and reduce electrical bills, not to mention the fact that you will be breathing cleaner air in the process.

But there are times when cleaning are not always a DIY. There are several instances when your HVAC is in need of services from professionals, the purpose of which is to repair any problem, restore peak energy efficiency, get rid of offensive odors, and reduce the likelihood of mold growth inside the system.

With a clean HVAC system though, you will save money because you don’t get to experience break or damage due to the lack of attention. When the cleaning is done consistently, there is lesser possibility of repairs, which in turn means you don’t have to call in the experts as often as you need. Obviously, you will need to pay them if you need servicing.

Aside from money savings, you also get to ensure you have good indoor air quality. Keep in mind that in a typical home, there are about forty pounds of dust that is created in one year. And since your HVAC system is the lungs of your living space, it is the one responsible for taking air in and then breathing it out. If it is dirty, then the air that comes in will become dirty as well, which corresponds to bad indoor air quality. With bad indoor air, it means there are thousands of contaminants, allergens, and bacteria flying around.

Finally, you will get substantial energy savings if you embrace a consistent habit of cleaning your HVAC system. Remember, if you are not a fan of DIY, you can always have it serviced by an HVAC cleaning company. Based on statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, there is about forty percent of energy specifically used for HVAC systems that is wasted. Because of the presence of contaminants, the system will be forced to work harder, which in turn means it has to utilize more energy or power. But with a clean system, the machine doesn’t have to work as hard.

HEPA Filters: Why They Matter

Posted on: May 23rd, 2013 by Heating Oil Guru
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hepa filterOne cannot deny the fact that HEPA filters matter. The acronym stands for high efficiency particulate air filter. The HEPA filter is primarily used for several different reasons like the control of microbes and allergens in laboratories and hospitals, manufacturing and production facilities, and even private homes.

There are filters and there are HEPA filters. In order for one to be classified as HEPA, it has to be able to meet specific guidelines laid out by the United States Department of Energy. Of all the specific guidelines, the most notable or basic one is that the filter should be able to remove ninety nine percent of all contaminants from the air. Those contaminants are at least 0.3 microns in diameter.

For information sake, a micron means a millionth of a meter. To have a clearer look at how small it really is, a human hair is about a hundred microns wide while a tobacco smoke particle is between 0.01 and 1.0 micron. Meanwhile, most bacteria particles are within the 0.35 to 10 micron range. Any substance or particle that is smaller than 10 microns will be invisible to the naked eye. Hence, something that is 0.3 microns is considerable small. But then again, a HEPA filter can still capture bacteria or particle of that specific size. That’s why such kind filter matters.

The usual HEPA filter is made up of mat-like material reinforced with fibers. The fibers have to be arranged in precise order so that the small particles will stick to them in three possible ways namely interception, impaction, and diffusion. Interception is actually the first line of defense that is usually utilized in a heating and cooling system. It is in interception where most particles in the air flow stream commonly stick to the fiber. Impaction on the other hand is the second line of defense where larger particles will be trapped in the curved-designed contours of the fibers. Finally, diffusion is the last line of defense. It works by trapping the molecules that are just too small for both impaction and interception through forcing them to bump with gas molecules.

The use of a HEPA filter nowadays is primarily noticed in situations and scenarios where sufficient and ideal indoor air quality is needed. A sufficient indoor air quality may be needed in manufacturing industries and commercial spaces, but today it is also very much a necessity in private homes and living spaces. It means that the lack of good indoor air quality will affect the health of the people living inside the home and will most likely cause or result to allergies, asthma, and other kinds of respiratory illnesses.

In the end, appliances and home equipments that use HEPA filters matter a lot and even play a major role in making sure the indoor air quality is at its best state to ensure the health of everyone living inside. With HEPA filters, there is a greater chance of avoiding and preventing skin and eye irritations, breathing issues, and nasal stuffiness, all caused by contaminants and allergens present in the air.

Allentown Heat Pump Tip: Outdoor Maintenance

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013 by Heating Oil Guru
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heat pump maintenanceA heat pump works by heating your home during the winter. Therefore, during the summer, it works by cooling the living space. You have to understand that it doesn’t need to burn fuel in order to produce heat. Likewise, it doesn’t use the electricity it consumes to pass through another element. Essentially, the heat pump operates on the same concept to that of a refrigerator or an air conditioner. Hence, the liquid absorbs the heat and turns into gas. As the gas transforms back into a liquid state, heat is eventually released.

And just like any other appliance or machine you have at home, the heat pump also needs maintenance. Keep in mind that even the smallest problems and issues that are left unattended and unnoticed will result to more serious problems with respect to the compressor. Surely you don’t want to end up paying for a replacement or a major compressor repair. But because the maintenance of a heat pump is a lot more complicated and technical compared to taking care of a typical heating system, it is therefore sensible to call in a professional service contractor or company to deal with any heat pump repair. But it doesn’t mean you just sit there and do nothing. Your responsibility is primarily on heat pump outdoor maintenance, which is primarily composed of keeping the filter clean and the removing and getting rid of any obstacles or hindrances to sufficient air flow.

Yes, proper outdoor maintenance is vital in your hope of keeping your heat pump alive for more years to come. Since heat pumps are pretty much like central ACs where there is an outdoor unit with a compressor, coil, and fan, there is a serious need to maintain them in order for the entire system to work properly. For one, the unit outside has to be kept from any debris that can disrupt its function. Debris can include leaves, dust, and dirt. Also, make sure the unit outside must be put on the leveled concrete pad.

Outdoor heat pump maintenance also means you need to clean pine needles, leaves, as well as dirt from the updraft fans. In order to do this, you need to remove the grille which is protected and held by the frame with retaining crews. But do make sure the power is turned off before you start the cleaning. As for the means of cleaning, you can actually use a vacuum cleaner with a fine hose that can fit in between the fan blades. With it, it is easier to remove the debris from the sides and bottom of the unit.

Also, outdoor maintenance of your heat pump should likewise include checking and inspecting the piping insulation for any signs of deterioration. If insulation is faulty, replacement is the only option.