Dupuis Energy
401 Walcott St Pawtucket, RI 02860
(800) 322-5025

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!

Is Your Air Conditioner Ready For Summer?

Keep Up with AC Maintenance and Leave Big Utility Bills Behind
Heating and cooling your home typically accounts for up to one-half of your total energy usage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Therefore, it’s smart to keep your air conditioning system operating efficiently with the following proactive care.

Change the Filters

Your AC filters sift out the dust and particulates as air passes through. When the filters become clogged, your equipment must work harder to circulate the air, so it uses more energy.

Merely replacing clogged filters with clean ones can improve the unit’s efficiency and lower the system’s energy usage up to 15 percent, according to the Department of Energy. If you know where your filters are located, and the correct size and type to buy, you should change them at least every couple of months. See your unit’s instructions for details. If you need assistance, our maintenance pros can help.

Keep the Coils Clean

Air conditioners have two types of coils: the evaporator coil on the indoor unit and the condenser coil on the outside unit. Both collect dust and debris over time, even with spotless filters in place.

A coating of dust impedes the airflow through the system, requiring more energy to cool your home. Dust also acts as an insulating layer, making it more difficult for the evaporator coil to absorb heat from the air. Regular cleaning clears away the problem.

The outdoor condenser coil is even more prone to buildup because it is exposed to the wind and weather. Falling foliage from nearby plants will also clog it up. Heavier fallout can bend the condenser fins, further reducing the efficiency of your AC system.

We can help prevent damage to your coils and straighten out bent fins. Upon request, we will also winterize your outdoor unit each year.

Clear the Drainage System

Warm air contains moisture that your AC deals with effectively when you keep it well maintained. However, when the pan or drain line becomes clogged, the unit doesn’t work right. The cooled air may retain too much moisture, which eventually creates rust and stains. It also promotes the growth of mold and mildew inside the air conditioning system, and spores enter your home with the cooled air. Our maintenance pros routinely check your drainage system to keep it open and operational.

Schedule a Tune Up Today

Your air conditioner is designed for years of use but it will last longer and work more efficiently with regular maintenance. For the best possible performance, opt for our AC maintenance program. Save on energy bills and keep cool in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts by scheduling a 16-point System Tune-Up with Dupuis Oil today.

Why Is My Energy Bill So High?

Don’t Let High Energy Bills Bring You Down

Do you dread sending significant chunks of your paycheck to your local energy company every month? You may be surprised by the large number of household energy drains that contribute to this problem. Here are the top household energy drains that occur in many homes.

Appliances – A big energy drain comes from all those convenient appliances. While dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers may be hard to give up, you can make a few changes that will reduce your electric bill. First of all, try washing your dishes and clothes in the evening instead of the peak day hours. Also, turn off the heated drying cycle on your dishwasher and let your dishes air dry. In the summer, try cooking out on the grill more than turning on the oven. In the long run, every small step to save energy will lower your bill.

Lighting –Leaving lights on around your house is like tossing money out the window, especially if you’re using inefficient incandescent bulbs. Instead, replace old bulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent or LED bulbs and only turn on the lights that you need.

Air and Duct Sealing – Air leaks have a sneaky way of letting the temperate air out of your home and the outside air in. That means the cold air infiltrates your home in the winter and the hot air leaks through in the summer. By checking for cracks and sealing the leaks around doors, windows, vents and ducts, you can significantly reduce your energy bill.

Ventilation and Air Filtration – If you have an attic, you may be losing energy through the ventilation system. A professional service can evaluate your home for energy-stealing thermal leaks. You should also replace your air filters regularly. Dirty filters will restrict the air flowing through your home and cause your heater or AC to run longer and harder.

Heating Systems – If your heating system is over fifteen years old or your water heater is over ten years old, you could be wasting a lot of energy. In fact, about 30 percent of your energy bill comes from simply heating your home every year. According to Consumer Reports, updating your heating appliances can save you a lot of money in the long run. Not only will your heating bills be lower, you’ll be eligible for federal tax credits the year you get the energy-saving heater installed.

To truly evaluate your home’s energy performance, you should ask for an in-home energy audit from a qualified oil company. By having an energy specialist evaluate your house and give you specific recommendations, you’ll know for sure how to make your home more energy efficient. For a free home energy audit, contact us at Dupuis Oil or visit our website today.