When the weather outside is frightful, a warm home is so delightful! Here are a few ways you can stay comfortable, save money and help the environment. We’ve included some troubleshooting tips too!
Warm Up to a Propane Fireplace
There is absolutely nothing romantic about cuddling in front of a furnace on a stormy night. So it’s a good thing we have fireplaces!
If you’re looking for ambiance, you would probably love a vented gas log set, which allows you to add a free-standing “fireplace” to just about any room in your home.
However, if you want a fireplace that can serve as a heat source too, then a fireplace insert or a free-standing gas fireplace may be the best choice.
Gas fireplaces offer many advantages. They are maintenance free, come in a variety of styles and are easy to install. In addition, they pose a lower risk of a house fire than fireplaces that burn wood.
Propane vs. Wood
If you have an existing wood-burning fireplace, “trade it in” for a propane gas fireplace, which heats a room more evenly and efficiently. As much as 90% of the heat produced by a wood-burning fireplace goes straight up the chimney.
Did you ever notice how cold a room becomes when a wood fire begins to burn out? It’s because all the heat in the room is being drawn out the chimney!
Propane gives you greater control over your fire, thanks to features and accessories like remote control, push-button ignition, variable heat controls and thermostats. Today’s gas fireplaces also feature natural-looking log sets, with glowing crackling embers and high flickering flames.
Clean, Safe and Reliable
With propane, you’ll never have to get up and put another log on the fire or wait to make sure the fire is extinguished before you go to bed. You will help the environment too because propane burns much cleaner than wood. (A wood-burning fireplace produces 4,000% more emissions than a propane unit!) When you have a propane fireplace, there is:
- no fussing with wood or ashes
- no fire starters or kindling
- no worrying about sparks or embers
- no smoke or soot
The residential heating oil industry continues to work with state and federal governments to increase environmental standards associated with heating oil. This includes efforts to vastly reduce the sulfur content of fuel oil. Ultra-low sulfur fuel will reduce emissions to a negligible level, allowing us to utilize new heating system technology (already in use in Europe), for systems with efficiencies that can exceed 95% AFUE.*
*Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
What Icicles are Trying to Tell You
If there are icicles hanging from your roof, you could be facing a double whammy. First, there’s the safety risk of their falling. Second, icicles often mean that you’re losing heat through your attic.
Icicles form when a roof has “hot spots” (caused by escaping heat), which melt snow. The water trickles to colder spots on the roof and freezes; the water that drips over the eaves turns into icicles. Eventually, ice dams can form, and water trapped behind these mounds of ice can seep into the home, resulting in costly repairs.
The solution for heat loss and potential water damage is to seal air leaks in your attic and then improve the insulation. These steps will also lower your heating costs—and reduce cooling bills in the summer, because your attic will retain less heat.
System Problems: Sights, Sounds, and Smells
Every problem has a symptom, and frequently, it is accompanied by something you either see, hear or smell. Here are just a few examples.
Water Leaks or Rust around Your Boiler
Leaks or rust often mean that your boiler is wearing out. You should begin researching your replacement options.
If your system is working properly, you should never smell fuel oil. An oil smell could come from a leak, burner or combustion troubles, heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. Schedule service as soon as possible.
Here are a few sounds and the possible causes. (Note: A correct diagnosis can only be made with an on-site visit by a service technician.)
Banging, whistling, howling or the sound of rushing water in your pipes. These are common symptoms of air in the pipes, insufficient water flow or a buildup of sludge.
Booming or rumbling burner. It’s normal to hear a burner “kick on,” but if it makes a loud boom, which indicates a “hard start,” the burner is not igniting properly. It needs to be serviced as soon as possible.
Straining sound from fuel pump. This means that there is a clog somewhere in the delivery system, for instance, in a filter or supply line.