Winter weather conditions are approaching, and heating your home is a top priority for many before the first snowfall. While many turn on the heat without a second thought, people should be aware of the safety concerns that come with staying warm this winter. “Heating is the second leading cause of home fires in the U.S.,” said Susan McKelvey, communications manager for the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). “December, January and February are the leading months for home fires, nearly half of reported home fires happen in those months.” In-home units, whether portable or stationary, pose risks for a multitude of reasons. Some include overheating, faulty equipment, or not properly using the equipment. All of these possibilities can be virtually avoided with some preparation and monitoring, starting with basic maintenance. “Have your heating systems inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional each year,” said McKelvey. “That includes water heaters and central heating equipment. Make sure they’re following local codes and manufacturer's instructions.” This should be the first step before the heat source is needed. Inspection of the unit can point out early indicators of malfunctions or long-term safety risks. It will also indicate if a new unit is needed before the coldest months hit. McKelvey said that the NFPA typically recommends that portable and stationary units be at least 3 feet away from anything flammable. If the unit is too close, a fire can spark. The NFPA also warns users with fuel-powered units should always double check that the proper fuel source is being used in their unit. Wrong fuel can lead to major safety concerns. Units are not the only heat source, but it does not mean that other sources can be left to [...]
As summer comes to a close, many homeowners will begin to get ready for the cooler weather. One thing you can do as the weather gets cooler is to begin winterizing your air conditioner unit to protect it against cold weather, snow and ice. Winterizing the unit also protects it against rust damage. A few protective measures can keep the air conditioning unit in your real estate investment in top working condition. Here are some tips to help you with winterizing your unit: Find the air conditioning circuit near your unit. Usually, it has a plastic or metal lid that covers the electrical circuit. Then, open the lid and flip the switch to turn the unit off. This prevents the unit from turning on during an unusually warm winter day, keeping water out of the unit that could potentially freeze. Wash the air conditioning unit with a hose to remove bird droppings, dead bugs, dirt and dust. Remove leaves, small branches and grass clippings from the unit. Then allow the unit to dry completely. Install foam pipe covers around exterior exposed pipes. Cut the foam to fit the length and diameter of the pipe. The foam covers insulate the pipes and protect them against freezing temperatures. Wrap duct tape around the foam covers to hold them in place. Cover the HVAC unit with a plastic or vinyl cover. Choose a cover that is waterproof. Some manufacturers make covers that are specifically designed for air conditioners, but you can use any plastic or vinyl covering that fits over the unit. Wrap vinyl ropes or bungee cords around the air conditioning cover to keep it secure. Make sure the cover is wrapped tightly so it doesn't blow away [...]
Gas pool heaters are a very common way to heat your pool water and are much more efficient today than in the past. While the initial cost of set up and installation may seem expensive, there are considerable long-term savings that come with installing a gas pool heater. Here are some benefits to installing a gas pool heater for your pool. Gas pool heaters are extremely efficient at warming a pool quickly. High heat created by burning natural gas in a furnace creates high heat levels that quickly bring the water in a swimming pool to the desired temperature, reducing the amount of time the heater is running. These pool heaters usually experience fewer problems with wear and tear than electric heaters. They do not need to run as much as electric heaters do to keep your water heated, resulting in less need for costly repair services. When gas and oil prices are relatively low, gas pool heaters can be a lot less expensive to operate than electric pool heat pumps. While you may need to turn on an electric heater or heat pump a couple of hours before entering the swimming pool, the gas heater can usually be turned on within 30 minutes of using the pool. This can result in considerable energy bill savings. Although gas pool heaters don't experience as many problems as electric heaters, you should still always call for annual maintenance and check ups on your pool! To read some more pool heater tips, you can go to our Energy Saving Tips & Links page. To request pool heater service, you can click here. Article Source: doityourself.com
Earlier this month, PSEG published an article entitled "66 Ways to Save Energy and Lower your Electric Bill." In the article, there are subsections defining each section of the house and how you can save energy in those specific areas. Here are some points from each of the sections. You can visit PSEG's website, or click here to view the entire article! Purchasing three-way lamps makes it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not needed. Dimmers can vary the level of illumination according to how much light you may need. Make sure you purchase efficient lightbulbs specifically made for either technology. Be sure to place your refrigerator away from any appliances that generate heat (such as ovens and dishwashers.) Your refrigerator will have to work much harder to cool and its efficiency will decrease. Ninety percent of the energy your washing machine uses, goes towards heating the water. You can save by using hot water for only heavily soiled laundry. Today's laundry detergents are formulated to work just as well in cold water, so why not switch? When you're in the market for a new dishwasher, look for models that require less hot water. Many washers differ in the amount of gallons needed during the wash cycle. By using an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher instead of hand washing your dishes, you can save nearly 5,000 gallons of water per year. This information is listed on the Energy Guide Label. When cooking, use pots and pans that properly fit your stove-top burners. Using a small pan on a large burner wastes energy (plus it is a major safety hazard.) Are you aware of the 'phantom load'? If not, this phenomenon is the [...]
Having a pool during the hot summer months is a treat unlike any other. But when the cold weather starts setting in, do you know how to properly prepare your pool for the winter? Here is a list on how to help you get ready to close the pool for the cold weather, without damaging it. First you want to get in contact with a pool professional, they will help you get started. This contractor will remove all the water sitting in the plumbing lines so it doesn't freeze and risk damage. You can always drain the lines yourself, but if you have any doubt- hire a professional. In above ground pools, the lines can be disconnected and will drain on their own. For other pools you may need to buy a commercial grade vacuum to suck out any water. You never want to completely drain your pool then leave it out in the cold during the winter. You risk the hydrostatic pressure popping it out of the ground or floating your liner; both leading to a complete remodel. You want to leave the same amount of water that you swim in- this fives the pool cover something to sit on. Don't be afraid of your pool freezing, its not going to hurt your pool and most likely wont freeze all the way down. A good idea is to install a winter pill, this is a floating ball that releases chemicals to prevent any scaling or algae buildup. As a pool owner, you should be carefully aware of the amount of percentages of your pool chemicals. A proper pool chemistry makes for a better winterization. You want to close your pool no later than the [...]
Around 18 million households in the United States use heating oil during the winter. The majority of these homes can be found in the Northeast. With heating oil being such a prevalent source of heat for many homes in the U.S., people still are unsure about it and have questions. Here is a list of facts you may not know about heating oil. Heating oil is created from the refinement of crude oil; Gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel and jet fuel are also created from this process. It is a very safe oil. If you were to drop a lit match into a pool of heating oil, you would expect it to combust- that is not the case. The match would extinguish as if dropped into water. In the liquid form, heating oil is non-explosive (due to its high vaporization temperature.) There is a low possibility of carbon monoxide entering your home from using heating oil. Accidental inhalation of oil fumes is not fatal. There is 35% more BTU's per gallon of heating oil than natural gas. Heating oil is the hottest burning oil. It will heat your home faster than any other fuel type. It is 90-95% more clean than it was during the 1970's. It's suffer content has also been reduced 93% since the 80's. If properly maintained, new heating oil systems create no soot, dirt or odors. An oil burning heating unit runs at 83-95% efficiency. On average, households use 25% less heating oil than in 1989. Thank you to Shipley Energy for the original information. You can read more here.
Choosing oil to heat your home is a far better decision than using another fuel source. However, there are two choices when it comes to choosing oil for your heating- natural gas vs. heating oil. Before making a final choice, here is a list separating fact from fiction about both fuels. Heating Oil Supplies are Bountiful Fact: Across the world, oil and petroleum reserves are higher than ever. The United States is not dependent on imports or any one supply source, the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve has about 2 million barrels alone (not to mention the 727 million barrels in the Strategies Petroleum Reserve.) Natural gas consumption is on the rise, and there are worries that domestic production (within the United States) will not be able to keep up with the demand. Natural gas is not renewable, and most of the world's natural gas reserves are outside the US, meaning relying on imports is a real possibility in the future. Heating Oil is More Expensive than Natural Gas False: Within the last 22 years statistics show that, depending where you live, heating oil was less expensive than natural gas. Heating oil is a renewable fossil fuel, unlike its counterpart natural gas. With supply and demand making prices fluctuate, plus the drainage of natural gas reserves- the price of natural gas is bound to rise since we will have to rely on imports. Heating Oil is Clean Fact: Heating oil produces little to no emissions; new system technologies have also created a way to 're-burn' fuel, lowering emissions even lower. A heating oil system that is properly taken care of, burns cleanly. Any soot that may form remains inside the tank. Heating Oil is Easily Combustable [...]
So your thinking about getting heating oil for your home, but did you do any research besides how much it cost? Here are some interesting facts about home heating oil, and the benefits your it can provide for your home. If you thought oil looked like a black swirly liquid, you would be wrong. Oil in its original form looks like a thick muck, it can be black, red, green or even brown. Almost all forms of oil is trapped inside of rocks. These rocks need to be broken in order to retrieve the oil. People have been gathering oil since the Roman times. Prior to the systematic oil extraction that began during the 20th century, finding oil was a game of chance. More than 100 countries around the world produce oil. 90% of the world's oil is produced in the Middle East. The continents sit on large pieces of rock called 'tectonic plates.' These plates shift and move all the time, therefore oil that is formed in one location can be found millions of yeas later in a completely different spot. When extracting oil, it is common to find gas at the same time. When oil and natural gas mix, they create petroleum. In order to extract oil, you need to drill a hole. The deeper the hole, the older the oil. Home heating oil has ver few emissions, making it a cleaner fuel to use for heating. Home heating oil has the hottest flame of any home fuel source, making it the most efficient method to heat your house quickly. You cannot set home heating oil on fire with a match. If you drop a lit match into a pool of heating oil, [...]
Currently, we are in the middle of the winter season. By now you have winterized your home and are living in the warmth whilst saving money and energy- or are you? Maybe you found an area that loses heat in your home more quickly than others, don't panic- you can fix this. It is never too late to start winterizing your home, even if that means doing it in the middle of the season. Some of the main causes of heat loss are easily fixed. Here are some of the problem areas that should be monitored all season long to prevent unwelcome drafts and heat loss. Windows - Drafty windows are a major cause of heat and energy loss. Making sure that your windows are sealed tightly is a major step in winterizing your home. If you are looking for a quick fix, the easiest way to get rid of drafts is by re-caulking. Strip the already existing caulk around the window pane, and refinish the seals around each window. Another quick fix, is lowering the blinds. Before you go to bed, don't forget to close all blinds, drapes and curtains. Cold can permeate through the glass of windows into your home. By lowering any blinds, drapes or curtains you are creating a barrier to block out the cold. A long term fix to solve any drafts you have, is to check what type of window you have. Older homes tend to have single pane windows, replacing your windows to Energy Star rated ones or purchasing storm windows for an extra barrier should do the trick. Doors - While you can't control the cold winter air that comes into your home when you open the [...]
Using heating oil this winter to heat your home is the most cost efficient and effective. If you are in the market to upgrade your home's heating system, it may be in your best interest to consider purchasing an oil-fueled furnace. Here is a list of facts about heating oil and the benefits it provides if you need convincing. Approximately 18 million American households rely on oil to provide their homes with heat each winter. Home heating oil is mostly used in the Northeast of the country. Heating oil is a clean source of fuel, nearing zero emissions. Oil Burners produce about .003% of total emissions in the United States. Houses warm faster with home heating oil due to the hottest flame of any heating fuel. There are 35% more BTUs per gallon of heating oil rather than natural gas. The average consumer of heating oil uses 25% less heating oil each winter than in 1989, due to increased heating equipment efficiency. Heating oil is also cheaper today than it was 20 years ago. Home heating oil is very safe. It is a non-explosive liquid and cannot mix with air to become explosive. A lit match would go out if dropped into a pool of heating oil. Thank you to Santa Energy for the original information. You can read more facts here.