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Get Your HVAC System Checked Before Spring

Get Your HVAC System Checked Before Spring

Avoid costly, unpleasant summer breakdowns

Here in the Northeast, the coldest season is finally coming to an end. It’s easy to forget about the importance of air conditioning during a long winter. Nonetheless, hot and humid weather could arrive in two months or less. Last May, the Boston Globe reported on a heat wave with muggy air and temperatures over 90 F.

Get Prepared

Think about scheduling an HVAC inspection before Easter Sunday. Your air conditioner’s moving parts eventually wear out or need lubrication. Grime builds up on components, and drains or filters may become clogged. Such problems could shorten your system’s life span if no one addresses them.

Regular AC maintenance can help you save tremendous amounts of money by preventing breakdowns that call for expensive repairs. A basic tune-up or HVAC inspection costs around $129. The technician will test your system and carefully check it for problems. He or she may also clean various components, lubricate moving parts and make any needed adjustments.

On the other hand, you could spend $150 to $2,500 on a repair. Some parts remain relatively inexpensive to order and install, such as thermostats, capacitors, fuses and condensation pumps. However, compressors and evaporator coils cost far more. It might make more sense to buy a new system rather than fix aging equipment. Homeowners frequently pay around $4,900 to completely replace their central air conditioners.

Efficiency

Cooling equipment doesn’t only work more reliably when professionals thoroughly maintain it; the machines also conserve power by running more efficiently. Lubricated parts, clean coils and new filters reduce the amount of energy needed to produce cool air and circulate it throughout a home. Consequently, AC maintenance cuts your monthly utility bill while reducing air pollution.

Discomfort

An unexpected failure could also prevent HVAC equipment from keeping your home cool during hot weather. Inspections can reveal impending problems and enable technicians to fix them now rather than performing the work in June or July. Some people must go without cooling systems until they save up enough money for new parts.

Even if you have plenty of cash, it may take a long time to revive your air conditioning equipment after a summer breakdown. Technicians often become rather busy during the hottest weeks. This means that most customers wait longer for repairs than they would in the spring. You might need to spend money on fans or a small window unit in the meantime.

To minimize your expenses and ensure that your home remains cool throughout the summer, schedule a Dupuis Energy service call today. Our company inspects, repairs and replaces HVAC systems in southeast Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Since the early days of the 20th century. Contact Dupuis Energy today to schedule a consultation.

Taking Advantage of Propane Delivery

How Liquefied Petroleum Gas Might Improve Your Energy Outlook

The popularity of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), more commonly known as propane, can greatly be attributed to the fact that you can purchase it in handy tanks that make for convenient backyard barbecues or heating. Compared to other fossil fuels, LPG has a number of cost benefits and functional advantages. It even places less of a burden on the natural environment, so signing up for a regular propane delivery could just make your cookouts even more pleasant.

Is Propane Safe?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LPG is known for its reduced carbon content compared to substances like gasoline and diesel. This fundamental chemical characteristic gives LPG the power to minimize greenhouse gas emissions when people use it as an alternative fuel source. Although most automakers haven’t completely caught on, you can already do your part with a propane lawn mower or vehicle conversion kit.

Reducing Your Energy Expenditures
Going green isn’t the only potential advantage of Propane. It’s also possible to save money by making the switch.

Government sources note that other forms of hydrocarbon fuels, such as petroleum, are likely to include massive acquisition surcharges by default. With almost a third of all petroleum used in the U.S. in 2014 originating overseas, your ability to drive your gas or diesel-powered vehicle affordably depends on politics, economics and oil prices on the other side of the globe.

The vast majority of propane that you’ll encounter is produced domestically. There are also preexisting transportation networks that take care of distribution. These factors lead to significant cost reductions.

What Kinds of Propane Accessories Might Improve Your Life?

Although vehicles that burn LPG have higher price tags, reports suggest that their reduced operating costs could make up for the disparity. Fortunately, homeowners who favor propane accessories have a wide selection of household devices and appliances to choose from.

Your propane delivery service can fill up a cylinder that powers your home’s furnace in the winter or keeps your water heater at a comfortable setting year round. Propane ranges, ovens, clothes dryers and space heaters for outdoor and indoor use also employ LPG to create precisely controlled temperatures at a fraction of the cost of their electric equivalents.

One of the smartest uses for LPG is to supply a standby generator that can kick in if there is a power failure to your home. When such a failure may occur, these high-efficiency devices can automatically start up in seconds, providing your home with power without depending on the grid. Depending on your system’s capacity, a propane generator can keep your lights and appliances running for days.

Whether you already have propane-ready devices in your home, or you’re looking to invest in some new and efficient tools for leisure or emergencies; propane and propane accessories can not only be highly useful, but also save you money over traditional electric devices.

 

Ready to take advantage of everything propane has to offer? Contact Dupuis Energy today to set up a delivery schedule or get a consultation!

 

Why You Need a Free Home Energy Audit

Improving your home’s energy efficiency will reduce your energy bill

Is your heating bill too high? Are you concerned about cold drafts in your home during the winter months? Before you invest in new appliances or insulation, you should get a free home energy audit, and maximize your savings through thrifty improvements to your home.

What are Energy Audits?

Energy audits, sometimes called energy assessments, determine how buildings consume and use energy. By identifying inefficiencies, an energy audit can give you guidance in making your home better for you and the environment. The EPA claims that homeowners can save between 5-30 percent on their energy bills every month by making their property more energy efficient.

What Happens During Energy Audits?

A professional energy auditor will begin by looking at your energy bills. Next they will use tools such as infrared cameras to conduct health and safety inspections to pinpoint areas where energy is being wasted. After the assessment, the auditor will give you a comprehensive energy report with suggestions for improvements. Such suggestions may include replacing your water heater, investing in ENERGY STAR products or switching to natural gas. If you get an energy audit from a full service company, they can immediately start making the upgrades you need.

Where Can I Learn More About Energy Audits?

The EPA has more information about energy audits and how they can improve your home. The Propane Gas Association of New England, the State of RI Energy ResourcesOil Heat America and the American Energy Coalition are also tremendous resources for homeowners looking to improve their home’s energy efficiency. The best time to get an audit is before temperatures drop below freezing so that you can make the necessary preparations for winter, however even a mid-winter audit is valuable as it can outline issues that warmer weather may not highlight.

Capitalizing Your Audit

When you’re ready to lower your bills and make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit will point you in the direction of needed improvements. Dupuis Energy can help you make any of the adjustments to your systems that the audit uncovers. As a full-service company, we deliver propane and natural gas to customers and take care of all their heating and HVAC needs. Our focus on energy conservation and customer service has made Dupuis Oil the premier supplier of energy products and services to homeowners in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts for over a century. Visit the Dupuis Oil website or call us now to start making your home more comfortable all year long.

Preparing Your Furnace for Winter

Three Important Maintenance Tips for the Heating Season

Very few things are worse than a furnace breakdown in the middle of winter. Heating problems leave you shivering in your own home, and long furnace downtime can lead to frozen and broken pipes; a big issue for any functional household. Avoid the stress and inconvenience of a broken furnace by following these simple tips.

1. Changing Air Filters

Inspect your filters every month, and change them after three months or as needed to keep them free of thick dust. If you have pets, you might need to replace the filters more often. Clogged filters block airflow, which will affect the output of your furnace. Clogged HVAC filters can also cause the unit to overheat. Most new systems will shut off automatically to prevent mechanical damage. If you’re having trouble with your furnace, check the air filter first.

2. Scheduling Tune-ups

Investing in a professional tune-up is the best way to prepare your furnace for the long heating season in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. Your Dupuis Energy technician will inspect each part of the system to ensure its safe operation. Combustion components require special attention. The gas or oil line and valves need to be inspected. Fuel filters should be replaced. The burner, nozzles and heat exchanger should be cleaned. The exhaust vent must be checked to make sure that carbon monoxide isn’t released into your home. Your Dupuis Oil service person can help you get everything sorted out with your HVAC system.

3. Thermostats, Deadly Gases, & Batteries

If your thermostat uses batteries, fall is a good time to replace them. Low batteries are a common and avoidable cause of service calls. Remember to also test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the autumn; carbon dioxide can build up in a space more than normal in the winter and you want to always have an active warning system. Although HVAC tune-ups reduce the risk of deadly gases entering your living space, you should have a carbon monoxide detector in your basement and on every level of your home to protect your family.

It’s the perfect time to schedule a furnace tune-up. Combining your fuel delivery and furnace tune-ups is a great way to save money and ensure that your furnace is properly maintained. Contact us to learn more, and check our service pages for practical information.

Affordable Cold Weather Comfort

Survive the Chill Without the Freezing Your Funds

When winter rolls around, the snowy sights may be picturesque, but nothing is as lovely as a warm and comfortable home. No matter how much of a cold weather enthusiast you are, you can’t deny the importance of being able to retreat to your private heated sanctuary. Proactive home maintenance makes it easy and economical to maintain your paradise. Follow these simple tips from Dupuis to learn how you can save on your energy bills while staying toasty all season long.

Start Weatherproofing Where the Boundaries End

You and your family aren’t the only things that make use of your front door, windows and garage. Heat energy also passes through these portals unless you take steps to halt its progress.

Go on an inspection tour of the outermost edges of your home. Feel in front of and around windows and doors for drafts. Also check the edges where walls, floors and ceilings meet for cracks, and ensure that your weather stripping creates tight seals. Sealing up these points will help the money you pay for heating go much farther.

Get to Know Your Ventilation and Heater Better

Good seals aren’t just important in the spaces that you’re trying to heat. They also play a vital role inside your heating system itself. When your heater has to pump extra air through leaky vents just to warm up your rooms, it uses more energy, and your climate control costs skyrocket.

Of course, nobody’s suggesting that you crawl through your vents action-movie-style in order to hunt for cracks. On top of performing visual inspections in areas that you can readily access, you can simply pay attention to how your system operates. Behaviors like being unable to reach temperatures or cycling on and off repeatedly are usually good indicators of inefficient thermostat or furnace operation. If you notice them, you’re overdue for a maintenance call.

Don’t Take Building Materials for Granted

What’s going on inside your walls? If you’re like most homeowners, these hidden inner volumes contain one of many forms of insulation. The only question is whether it’s actually doing its job properly.

While it’s impossible to gauge the effectiveness of your insulation through simple visual inspections, problems often make themselves evident. For instance, if you observe that a section of wall is notably colder than others nearby, the insulation in that area may have degraded to the point where it no longer functions at peak efficiency.

Booking a professional energy audit is always a solid game plan. In addition to highlighting problems, audits make it easier to capitalize on the benefits of heating your home with cost effective, readily available fuels. To learn more about how the audit process complements maintenance and fuel delivery plans to keep your heating running as cost-effectively as possible, contact Dupuis energy today.

Why Is Water Dripping From a Pipe Near the Outside AC Unit?

Diagnosing Your Drain Line Made Easy

Wondering why your outdoor air conditioning units continually drip? Many homeowners may respond in alarmed to the sight. In reality, however, this drip is a sign of proper function, so don’t worry just yet. The real problem is when you don’t see any flow at all.

What Is That Drip?

AC units involve complex physics, but there are only a few things you need to know. When gases like air are cooled, they lose the ability to hold liquids. The water contained in the gas drops out, or condenses. Instead of holding this liquid, your AC unit simply lets it escape through the pipe you’ve been pondering.

Diagnosing Different Drips

Of course, the liquid dripping from your AC isn’t only water. It also contains whatever kinds of debris, dirt and dust made its way inside your unit. This commonly manifests as brown or blackish streaks and stains near the outlet.

In some cases, however, you’ll also observe greenish spots. These discolorations are usually a sign of algae, microscopic lifeforms that thrive in wet environments. Although many algae are harmless, the fact that enough moisture has built up in your system to allow their proliferation could also mean you have other creatures to worry about. If the water exiting the AC smells sour or musty, you may have a mold infestation that could lead to reduced air quality or health problems.

What About When There’s No Drip?

Dirty, stained or smelly condensate drips often indicate that your AC unit is overdue for a thorough cleaning. If you let things go unresolved for too long, however, the buildup can become so large that the condensate drip line becomes totally blocked. Then the water might back up so much that it impedes the regular operation of your system and prevents you from enjoying the cool air you crave. This could also lead to system failure, and you may need to replace your entire unit.

With some outdoor AC units, homeowners can perform simple maintenance to clean their drain lines. This may involve shutting down the AC system and thermostat from the breaker or flushing out the line using a hose. Other solutions recommend the use of wet/dry vacuums to suck or blow clogs out.

The type of maintenance you’ll need depends on how your system is set up, and it’s important to perform the correct cleaning techniques. If you’ve never tackled this chore before, you may find it difficult to accomplish correctly, and it’s likely to take some time. There’s also the danger that you might hurt yourself or damage your AC unit.

Most homeowners simply find it easier to have their AC units serviced by professionals. Experts complete successful drain-line cleanings quickly and efficiently. You can learn more about your options by visiting Dupuis Oil today.

Five Easy Ways to Save on Summer Energy Costs

Summer air conditioning bills can take a big bite out of your budget. If your HVAC system isn’t delivering its best performance, those bills can get even higher. When faced with poor energy efficiency, many people assume that they need to upgrade or replace their equipment, and sometimes this is the case. However, some older systems are still viable; they just need a little help to stay on track. Fortunately, there are simple, inexpensive ways to lower your cooling costs that don’t require you to invest in a high-profile Energy Star product. In fact, they don’t even involve sacrificing your personal comfort. Try the following five tips before giving up on your old AC.

Keep Your System Clean

Debris, dust and dirt have more of an effect on energy efficiency than you may realize. Keep your system well-maintained by replacing your air filters regularly, vacuuming your indoor vents and removing dirt and leaves from your outdoor components.

Stay in the Zone

If you have a zoned air conditioning system, take advantage of it. When temperatures soar, cool only the parts of the house that you use most often.

Watch Your Numbers

If you don’t have a zoned system, keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees when you’re home and 80 degrees when you’re away. It doesn’t take long to cool down your house by two degrees, and this simple habit can help you save up to 20 percent on your energy bill. If you tend to be forgetful, a programmable thermostat can fully automate the task.

Skip the Natural Light

Although leaving your drapes and blinds open helps reduce the amount of energy you expend on lighting, allowing the sun’s heat to enter your home can more than make up the difference in additional HVAC energy requirements. Instead of welcoming the summer sun into your living room, use light-blocking window treatments to keep it outside. To reduce indoor lighting costs during the summer months, install energy-saving light bulbs instead.

Let Dupuis Oil Check Your Progress

At Dupuis Oil, we understand that monitoring energy efficiency is critical for managing household bills, especially when outdoor temperatures are at their highest. As a family owned and operated company since 1898, we provide professional heating and cooling services that help our community stay comfortable and save money year-round. Visit us online to learn more about our products and services.

Buying or Selling an Oil-Heated Home

Make Sure Your System is Dependable and Safe

Oil is one of the most dependable residential heating fuels. In fact, almost one third of homes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island use it. Homeowners benefit from oil heat’s efficiency, safety and reliability. Nonetheless, equipment failures and fuel leaks can result in major expenses. It’s crucial to take precautions when you purchase or sell a house that features this type of heating system.

Check the Equipment

You can avoid buying a faulty furnace or boiler by having an oil heating specialist inspect the furnace system. Home sellers can reassure potential buyers by having their oil heating system inspected and serviced prior to putting the house on the market. Although furnaces sometimes need new burners and other costly components, technicians can correct many problems by simply cleaning the equipment or replacing fuses.
Homebuyers beware: a heating system may be in good working order, yet still be inefficient by design. This can translate a high recurring cost of operation. Check the annual fuel utilization efficiency score when you look at a furnace or boiler. A high AFUE rating means that the system generates more heat efficiently as it burns a gallon of fuel.

Efficient furnaces don’t have wasteful pilot lights, and they feature dual heat exchangers. However, high AFUE scores don’t guarantee affordable heating. The equipment may burn too much oil if it has leaky or uninsulated ducts. This can also occur when homeowners install unnecessarily powerful systems. So, it’s essential to have the system evaluated by an experienced professional.

Oil Tank Maintenance

Most heating oil tanks may never develop a leak. Nevertheless, it’s vital to exercise caution. A leaky unit could necessitate a costly and disruptive cleanup project. To reassure possible buyers, test the soil under a tank before selling your house. If you plan to buy a home, ask for recent proof that no leaks exist.

Buyers and sellers may accurately evaluate a tank’s condition with ultrasonic testing. This technology uses audio waves to thoroughly examine interior surfaces. Unlike a soil test, ultrasonic testing reveals problems that could cause leaks in the near future. It identifies internal corrosion, cracks and metal separation.

Use caution when buying a house with an underground fuel tank. Many units consist of metals that don’t resist moisture well enough to prevent leakage. At the same time, an underground location makes it hard to detect minor leaks or rust. Home insurance companies often refuse to pay for the cleanup. It becomes easier to sell a house if you remove or decommission the tank and install an aboveground unit.

Contact the Experts

Dupuis Oil offers valuable services for homebuyers and sellers. Our skillful technicians inspect, upgrade, repair and tune up heating systems. We also maintain fuel tanks and perform ultrasonic testing. Dupuis has reliably served Massachusetts and Rhode Island homeowners since 1898. Visit us online to learn more and to schedule an appointment today.

Common Causes of Air Conditioning System Failure

The summer heat stops for no one, so you need your air conditioner running its best to combat those exhaustive temperatures. Even in the Northeast, the heat and humidity can skyrocket and make anyone avoid spending a day outside. When your air conditioner is out of order, it can spell disaster for your cooling efforts. Though you can tweak and repair some problems on your own, other problems require professional assistance.

5 Common Air Conditioning Problems

1. Frozen Coils

If your air conditioner continues to run but only blows out warm air, ice may have coated the evaporator coils. Ice buildup can happen for reasons such as debris buildup, low refrigerant or a blocked drain. Turning off the thermostat or switching it to the fan setting for a few hours will thaw the ice. If something is blocking the coils, you’ll need a professional to handle the repairs.

2. Leaks and Low Refrigerant

When a leak develops in your air conditioning lines, it causes the refrigerant to run low, reducing the cooling in your home. Unfortunately, you can’t just replace the missing refrigerant. A technician needs to locate and repair the leak, refill the refrigerant and test the lines to ensure everything is in working order.

3. Sensor Connection

A misaligned sensor in the thermostat is one of many common air conditioner problems. This misalignment happens when the sensor is knocked out of position and touches the coil. You can fix the problem by carefully bending the wire that holds the sensor in place, making sure to keep it close to the coil without touching it.

4. Fan Malfunction

Air conditioning units have fans that blow air over the evaporator coil and the condenser. Fans often malfunction due to faulty motors, worn belts and debris buildup. Setting up a maintenance plan with a professional can catch fan problems ahead of time before they lead to compressor failure.

5. Poor Drainage

Your air conditioner removes moisture from the air and sends it out the drain line. A clogged drain line means trouble for your system as it results in leaks and potential water damage, including mold growth. A routine maintenance check will find leaks and blockages and prevent water damage in your home.

Staying Cool in the Summer

You can keep your air conditioner running its best by clearing away blockages, removing dirt buildup and checking the system regularly for signs of wear and tear. If you want to enjoy the cool air without dealing with the upkeep, contact Dupuis Oil to learn more about our air conditioning service plan, which includes a 26-point cooling system tuneup. With routine maintenance, your air conditioner will perform well and keep you and your family cool throughout the summer months.

Comparing Air Conditioning Technology

How To Keep Your Cool in Rhode Island This Summer Without Breaking the Bank
Is your air conditioner is costing you a pretty penny without keeping you cool? If so, it’s time to rethink the possibilities. Replacing that ancient cooling system with a high-efficiency unit will keep your Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts home comfortably cool and save you money on energy costs too.

Window Air Conditioners

A window AC unit is a simple way to cool a room. Just make sure that the unit fits snugly into your window. Window cooling systems are cheaper than other air conditioners, and you can install one yourself with basic tools and know-how. Window units are also portable, so if you move, you can take the system with you.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

Ductless mini split systems can cool one room or a whole house. Going ductless is an excellent way to keep cool if your home has no ductwork. A mini-split air conditioner will cost more to purchase and install than a window unit, but your cooling costs over time will be lower. Ductless air conditioners have an outdoor unit and up to four indoor units. The indoor units are mounted on the wall, and because each unit has its own thermostat, you cool only the rooms you use. Installation requires only a small hole in the wall through which to run a tube that connects the indoor and outdoor units.

Ductless air conditioners do not rely on ductwork, so you won’t be losing cooled air through leaks and cracks in the ducts. This can save a bundle on cooling costs. According to Energy.gov, duct losses can account for more than 30% of energy consumption for air conditioning, especially if the ducts are in an unconditioned location such as an attic.

Central Air Conditioners

central air conditioner works with your heating system to provide year-round indoor comfort. A central AC system has an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. It distributes cooled air throughout your home via a system of ducts that it shares with you heater. Packaged air conditioners are one-piece cooling units that are installed outside on the ground or on the roof. Packaged systems can deliver only cooling or they can provide both cooling and heating. Although both central air conditioning systems are energy-efficient, split systems have higher SEER ratings than packaged units.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are similar to ductless mini split systems, but they provide heating as well as cooling. Heat pumps are very efficient systems, but they only work well in mild climates. However, a geothermal heat pump will effectively heat and cool a home even under conditions of extreme cold. Geothermal heat pumps cost more to purchase and install, but they are also the most efficient heating and cooling systems on the planet.

Want to learn more about keeping your Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts home comfortably cool this summer while saving a bundle on energy costs? The crew at Dupuis Oil has been providing home energy services since 1898!