Energy Tips

3 Signs That Your Hot Water Heater Is Failing

Every day we rely on our hot water heater.  When we turn on the hot water spigot, we expect hot water to flow generously from the tap.  However, one day, you could find yourself without any hot water because your hot water tank failed. Thankfully, there are signs that you could be facing a problem.  You can avoid the disruption and damage that this could bring. Here are three signs that your hot water heater is failing: Age of the water heater It’s important to know the age of your water tank. You can find the age by looking for the serial number on the manufacturer’s stick which is on the upper portion of the water heater. It contains the date that your system was manufactured. The date is not a traditional date but are normally written like this: FO5102638. In this example, F is for the month and F is the sixth letter in the alphabet, so it represents the sixth month, June. Next, the first two digits of the serial number are 05, which represents the year, 2005. This water heater was made in June 2005. Each manufacturer has a similar date code but they do vary. You can check the manufacturer’s web site for more information. We recommend replacing hot water heaters that are more than 10 years old. If yours is in a location that will not cause damage if there’s a leak, you can wait until one develops. However, if it could cause damage, you should consider replacing it after 10 years. Rumbling sounds and other noises As a water heater ages, sediment will build up on the bottom of the tank.  As the sediment is heated and reheated, it eventually will harden. When this happens, you can often hear [...]

By |2019-05-16T12:43:06-04:00May 16th, 2019|Energy Tips, Water Heater|Comments Off on 3 Signs That Your Hot Water Heater Is Failing

Calculating The Cost Of Heating Oil

As we head in to spring your heating bill will begin to go down. This winter was harder than some, and colder than others. With that, the cost to heat your home was more than likely higher, as your fuel usage was greater. Did you know that before next years’ winter weather hits, you can actually calculate how much heating oil you will use? Anyone that uses a fuel oil system for their home faces the challenge of ensuring there is always enough fuel in the tank no matter what the weather has in store for us. Along with the uncertainty of odd storms, unexpected freezes, comes the fact that prices fluctuate with supply and demand. It’s common to become frustrated when trying to determine how much you’ll use, and how calculating the cost of heating oil is figured. The more you learn about fuel oil, the utilities that burn it, and how to estimate usage, the more accurately you will be able to estimate your heating oil needs. We have three tips for you: How do you calculate your heating oil costs per month? Look for the manufacturer’s plate on the burner: This number give capacity specifications in gallons per hour. The information could also be on the burner nozzle. Gather the heating oil bills that you have: Look at the quantities used. You can easily find your average if you have a full years’ worth of bills. Total your cost and divide by twelve. That’s your average cost. You can do the same to factor the number of gallons of heating oil used. An average oil-burning furnace uses approximately 0.8-1.7 gal per hour: Find out where yours stands, and if it is performing up [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:23:11-04:00April 9th, 2019|Energy Tips, Oil Service|Comments Off on Calculating The Cost Of Heating Oil

Choosing A Fuel Oil Company

When it comes to choosing a fuel oil company it can be a daunting task. On the surface, all propane and oil suppliers seem relatively similar. All claim good things, but how do you know for sure which ones are better than others? What makes one good, and what are the things you should be looking for in an oil company, anyway? Deciding between one heating oil supplier and another is something that takes a little bit of knowledge and practice. In theory, any company will get the job done however some companies will provide you with a better experience than others. The trick is in learning how to recognize them. At Home Energy LI, we know that you want a company that is trustworthy, has fair prices, and deals with its customers honestly and with integrity. Just like with any other type of company with whom you might do business, there are a number of things that are important. You want a company that provides high-quality products and has excellent customer service. Ideally, you want a company whose patrons and customers can’t stop talking about and recommending it. But how do you find a company like that? Here are a few tips to help you get started. When looking for the best heating oil company, you there are a few tips to follow: Payment plan and pricing plans 24/7 customer support and service Technical support Delivery Supply Protection plan and service options Ask existing customers –This is a tried and true method in any industry. One of the reasons asking existing customers can potentially be even more helpful than looking at testimonials from past customers, however, is that present customers will be informed and [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:24:25-04:00March 19th, 2019|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Choosing A Fuel Oil Company

Five Myths About Oil Heat

It’s possible that you’ve heard that heating your home with heating oil is old-fashioned, or unsafe. Or, you’ve received information about converting to another source of fuel. It’s a lot to absorb and we certainly understand if all of it is confusing. At Home Energy LI, we want our customers to understand everything they can about their heating system. We offer a variety of services related to oil heat including delivery, maintenance and furnace installation. We know there’s a lot of talk out there about oil heat and we want to help you sort fact from fiction. We are here to bust the five myths about oil heat. Myth #1: Heating with oil is inefficient. Fact: Furnace efficiency is more a result of your furnace than the fuel. Heating oil furnaces can run for more than 50 years, but 50 years ago furnaces were not as efficient. A 50-year-old home might also have old windows and insulation that also contribute to inefficiency. Today’s heating oil furnaces run with up to 95% efficiency and heating oil actually puts out more heat per unit than natural gas, about 137,000 BTUs vs. 95,000 BTU for propane, for example. Myth #2: Heating oil is dangerous. Fact: Heating oil is non-explosive. If one were to put a lit match into a container of heating oil, the flame would extinguish, just as if it were put into a container of water. That’s because heating oil must first be heated to 140 degrees and then vaporized in order to burn it – unlike natural gas or gasoline, which can be volatile even at room temperature. Myth 3: Heating with oil is expensive. Fact: Adjusting for inflation, home heating oil is cheaper now than it was in 1980. Although the oil market [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:25:57-04:00March 5th, 2019|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Five Myths About Oil Heat

How To Recognize Gas Leaks

Natural gas is a popular fuel for heating a home, water tank, and for cooking. However, when you have natural gas appliances there’s always a small risk of a gas leak.  A gas leak can cause a fire or an explosion if it comes in contact with a spark. Breathing air with high concentrations of natural gas can also cause asphyxia, and possibly death. That is why it’s important to take potential gas leaks seriously. Learn the warning signs, and how to recognize gas leaks. Natural gas is odorless. Utility companies add a substance so that it smells like rotten eggs. However, don’t depend on smell alone to alert you to gas leaks. You may have a gas leak if you notice: A roaring or hissing sound inside the house or garage (or outside it) Long-lasting bubbling in standing water near the pipeline area Dead grass or other dried-up vegetation in the pipeline area Earth moving or dirt blowing in the air near the pipeline area A damaged connection to a gas pipeline An exposed gas pipeline after a natural disaster If you do smell gas, and especially if coupled with a hissing sound, get out immediately. Make sure everyone is out of the home or building. Leave the door open, so the gas can dissipate. In addition: Don’t do anything that could cause a spark. This includes flipping a light switch, unplugging electrical devices or using a phone (landline or cell). Put out anything currently burning. This includes snuffing out cigarettes and blowing out candles. Don’t light a match, stove, or cigarette lighter if you suspect a gas leak. Open windows and doors to let fresh air inside. Turn off the gas supply at the meter [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:27:54-04:00February 19th, 2019|Energy Tips|Comments Off on How To Recognize Gas Leaks

Five Steps To Extend The Life Of An Oil Furnace

An oil furnace heats by burning oil that’s stored in a tank located outside a home or building. An oil furnace is safe, efficient and long lasting. However, with any type of appliance, they don’t last forever.  With a warranty from a manufacturer, parts and service are covered for only a specific time frame, but an oil furnace often lasts much longer. Most warranties cover a 10-year period, but this doesn’t indicate the actual lifespan of the furnace. When properly maintained, it can last 15-20 years, or more. The key to efficient operation, is proper maintenance. What is the expected longevity of an oil furnace? That depends on the steps taken to extend the years of use.  Home Energy LI has five steps to extend the life of an oil furnace. To keep a furnace in the best shape possible, it is crucial to have it serviced each fall, in advance of the peak usage season. All manufacturers recommend you have the unit serviced annually. There are various things that can go wrong with aging, or a furnace that isn’t working properly. Wear and tear on a unit each winter takes a toll, especially when dirt accumulates inside. As the unit ages, it is forced to work harder to perform basic functions.  When an oil furnace is older, the thermostat needs to be turned up to provide the same level of heat year after year. Clean the air ducts every two years. The air filter is not the only part of the furnace that can be hampered by the buildup of dirt and airborne particles.  Before the air even passes through the filter, it travels through the air ducts, which can also become dirty, albeit at [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:19:51-04:00February 5th, 2019|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Five Steps To Extend The Life Of An Oil Furnace

Carbon Monoxide, The Silent Killer

The reason carbon monoxide is considered a silent killer is because it’s odorless and colorless. Many people have no idea that it is present in the air, however, it’s lethal. How do you know if you have a carbon monoxide issue? It’s hard to tell without proper testing equipment. Too often the problem isn’t determined until it’s too late. Even the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are easily misinterpreted. Here are two very important tips to follow when it comes to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. A malfunctioning or inappropriately used heating system, cooking, or ventilation system in the home can allow leakage of carbon monoxide gas into the air, leaving you, your family, and pets breathing toxic gas without knowing it. Sources of carbon monoxide are: Furnace systems and chimneys with leaks Kerosene heaters Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces Gas ranges Generators Appliances fueled by gasoline Gas-fueled space heaters Fireplaces that aren't vented Cigarette and pipe smoke  Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Unfortunately, symptoms of carbon-monoxide poisoning are like those of the flu. Many people who are suffering from accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning don’t act because they assume they are fighting off a virus. Symptoms include: Dizziness Vomiting Chest pain Muscle weakness Headache Upset stomach Confusion Lethargy Those who are either sleeping or under the influence of alcohol may suffer a fatal poisoning before they notice any symptoms. You should never rely on medical diagnosis as a means of testing for carbon monoxide. Many who suffer a fatal poisoning never experience symptoms before passing away. Employ Carbon-Monoxide Detectors The only reliable way to test for carbon-monoxide build-up in your home is to install a carbon-monoxide detector. Like a smoke detector, this device will sound [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:34:41-04:00January 29th, 2019|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Carbon Monoxide, The Silent Killer

Heating Your Home For A More Restful Night of Sleep

If you suffer from insomnia, the bedroom temperature may be too hot or too cold. Both can affect your sleep.  Experts agree that the temperature of your bedroom, and how comfortable you feel in it, affect how well and how long you sleep. The temperature in your home and quality sleep go together. Your comfort level is affected as is your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep quality.  REM is the stage of sleep where you dream, and is an important stage to allow a restful, deep, sleep.  When the room is too hot, it can interrupt the body’s natural dip in temperature, which causes you to toss and turn throughout the night feeling restless. In a cooler room, it’s easier to fall asleep. At Home Energy LI, we believe sleeping in a cooler bedroom can benefit you for many reasons, including the following: The Internal Clock The body’s internal clock, also known as circadian rhythm, regulates many of your body functions, including: Blood pressure Heart rate Body temperature Hormone release These all act together, providing a better nights’ sleep and being more alert in the daytime. Your body temperature slightly rises and falls during a regular day. It's all tied to your sleep cycle. Studies have shown some types of insomnia link to improper body temperature regulation. Fall Asleep More Quickly It’s simple math, really. Provide an environment for your body to fall asleep more comfortably, and it will. If it’s too hot or too cold, your body will waste energy trying to regulate, and leave you tossing and turning all night. Get A Better Night’s Sleep When your body isn’t trying to regulate itself, you’ll fall into a deeper, more restorative sleep. Research in Australia has also proven [...]

By |2019-04-18T13:30:19-04:00January 16th, 2019|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Heating Your Home For A More Restful Night of Sleep

Seven Costly Energy Habits

The cold, winter months are settling in across Long Island. With the cold comes a change in your energy bills. Did you know that there are ways your habits can be costing you money? While not all related to the winter months, here’s seven costly energy habits that are rather typical, but they are ones that can change easily. Shorten your winter showers Winter delivers a double whammy to your energy costs because hot water heating elements and gas burners work harder to heat the water in your hot water tank. Along with that, in the winter time, many people just stay in the shower to feel warm. Not programming your programmable thermostat The U.S. Department of Energy states that you could save 10% a year on heating and cooling if you adjust your thermostat 7-8 degrees for 8 hours a day. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, make it a habit to turn it down before going to bed. Washing partial loads of laundry or dishes It costs about $180.00 per year to run your dishwasher every day. Running it every other day will effectively cut that in half. The cost of doing laundry 3 times a week is about $105.00 a year. This includes both washing and drying. Making sure your loads are full, and doing laundry once a week, can save you about $35 a year though, you want to avoid overloading them. Both of these figures are based on average sized homes. If you have a larger family, your costs are higher, however, by making sure that you are doing full loads, you can still reap energy savings. Shut the light off Though it may not seem like it, leaving [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:36:02-04:00December 18th, 2018|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Seven Costly Energy Habits

Home Energy Hacks

Thanks to advances in technology over the past 150 years, it is now possible to heat the house, light the room when the sun goes down, cook food with a turn of a knob, and enjoy the warmth of the shower all because of the natural resources we’ve tapped into that are delivered right to our homes. Throughout the industrialized world, people take for granted just how lucky they are in terms of energy. In the United States, 903 kilowatts of electricity are used annually in the average household.  Though Americans enjoy the convenience of having many electrical functions a switch away, it doesn’t come without a cost. In an effort to help consumers become more efficient, The U.S. Department of Energy compiled the following stats on how energy is used in the average household: Cooling, Refrigeration, and lighting: 5% Water Heating: 18% Home electronics: 25% Heating 42% While some of these seem high, they can be reduced with just a few simple adjustments made throughout the home. Seal off leaks Homes have a number of leaks that are hardly noticed. If a home is more than three decades old, there’s a great possibility that the living areas are not equipped with the level of air tightness that was intended at the time of construction. These leaks can be very taxing on energy efficiency and heating costs, because the heating system is forced to exert more energy just to keep the rooms sufficiently warm. Refrigeration costs In many homes, refrigeration temperatures are set at very cold levels. This can be a needless drain on the energy bill. Even though refrigerators with ENERGY STAR ratings are more efficient than older models, it’s still wise to manually [...]

By |2019-04-18T14:36:40-04:00December 14th, 2018|Energy Tips|Comments Off on Home Energy Hacks