With another summer flying by, this is the time of year when we suggest you get a jump start on preparing for the heating season. The most important thing you can do is to schedule a tune-up on your heating oil furnace or heating oil boiler.
Why now? The service schedule for your New Jersey heating oil dealer fills up fast in the fall, when everyone starts paying attention to their heating system. Fall storms and early cold snaps cause further complications because sometimes scheduled tune-up appointments have to be cancelled so that your heating oil full-service company can respond to no-heat emergencies.
Regular maintenance is a vital money-saving investment for heating systems– not just because it can keep your equipment running safely and at peak efficiency, but also because four out of five heating system breakdowns are preventable if you follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. A tune-up also allows your heating oil technician to fix minor issues before they become big problems (worn parts, a burner that needs adjustment, etc.). Regular tune-ups can also help you conserve on fuel over the winter.
Here more cost-effective ways to help you conserve energy and save money.
When used correctly, a smart programmable thermostat will pay for itself in just a short time. If you choose a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can control your home’s temperature from your smartphone. In the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. Don’t go too low or you risk frozen pipes. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.
This is also a good time to caulk any air leaks around exterior doors and windows. While you’re at it, replace door weatherstripping that might have worn away.
In terms of insulation, most homes are under-insulated. Adding enough to meet recommended R-values is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s overall efficiency and comfort. Read the Energy Department’s Guide to Home Insulation.
If you have a forced-air system (one with vents rather than radiators or baseboards), the most important self- maintenance task you have is to check your air filters regularly, cleaning or changing them when needed. Check the manufacturer’s guidelines. Clogged filters rob your furnace of efficiency by making it overwork to keep you warm; that means higher heating bills and more wear and tear on your equipment. Note: the same principle about air cleaners applies if you have a central air conditioning system in your home.
If you have an older steam boiler, check the water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause for boiler shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the gauge looks rusty. If you have a modern hot water boiler, the boiler’s automatic filling system should maintain the proper water level.
During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and energy during the day, then close them at night to keep it in at night. Do the reverse in the summer by closing curtains and shades during the day to block solar heat. Smart window treatments can help manage solar energy throughout the year.
An open fireplace damper is like an open window; close it when you are not using your wood-burning hearth. You should also move any furniture, drapery or rugs away from air vents, baseboards or radiators. This helps improve air flow and keeps heat circulating into rooms.
To learn about how you can positively impact your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to systems like high-efficiency heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please visit our website.