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Tips on Cooling Down a Sun-Facing Room in the Summer

The most effective ways to stay comfortable

Direct sunlight helps warm your New England home in the winter, but it can cause air-conditioning costs to soar during hot weather. Sun exposure increases a room’s cooling needs by 10 percent, according to The Nest. Fortunately, you can cool sun-facing spaces affordably if you make various changes to the windows, walls or HVAC equipment.

 

Adding Wall Insulation

You’ll spend much more money to air-condition a sunny area that lacks adequate insulation. You could reduce its cooling needs by about 25 percent if you thoroughly insulate the walls. Some siding panels and doors come with built-in insulation.

 

Planting More Trees

Although this solution requires patience, a relatively small investment can cut cooling expenses for many years. You should only shade windows with trees if you’re willing to accept somewhat higher lighting and heating costs. Choose deciduous species to minimize shading during the cold months.

 

Upgrading Your Windows

The majority of the sun’s heat enters your home through glass, so it’s wise to concentrate on the windows. Well-sealed units with multiple panes and low-emissivity glass would allow much less summer heat to reach your living quarters. They can also prevent warmth from escaping the house in cold weather.

Think about installing awnings above doors and windows. They stop direct sunlight from reaching window panes and let homeowners benefit from natural light at the same time. Movable awnings come in handy when temperatures drop; you can maximize the sun’s warmth by retracting them. This equipment reduces the risk of water damage as well.

Any curtain or blind will decrease a sun-facing room’s temperature if you close it. For the best results, choose a reflective or white material. Insulated curtains also cut cooling expenses to a greater degree. Don’t forget to open blinds and windows during the nighttime hours.

 

Indoor Heat Sources

The sun doesn’t produce all of the warmth in your home. Keep in mind that light bulbs, computers, TVs, refrigerators and coffee makers can generate considerable amounts of heat. If possible, move these machines to other rooms or acquire more efficient appliances.

Your Cooling Equipment

You might save electricity by installing or making better use of a programmable HVAC thermostat. Set it to increase the temperature during hours when you usually leave the house. Although a sun-facing room may need a few more minutes to cool down, there’s no reason to air-condition unoccupied areas for long periods of time.

Dupuis Energy can help Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents cool their homes more efficiently. Our technicians perform routine maintenance that reduces the power consumption of existing equipment. We also install reliable new air conditioners with highly efficient technology. Please contact Dupuis to arrange a convenient appointment.

The Best AC Temperatures for the Summer

ac temperature

Summer is here, and that means energy bills are going up with the temperature. However, you can keep energy bills lower without breaking a sweat — literally! Maintaining a comfortable temperature at home is easier and more affordable than many people realize.

The Comfort Spectrum


There is no single magic temperature at which everyone feels perfectly comfortable. Even you yourself, thanks to your circadian rhythm, experience metabolic changes throughout the day. When you go to sleep, you likely want it a few degrees cooler than during the day. Have you just eaten a big meal? You probably feel a bit warmer than usual.
Humans, by and large, feel comfortable between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether you keep the thermostat at 72 or 76, your family will feel about the same, but keeping your home at 76 can significantly reduce your utility bills.

Keep Humidity Low

Summer tends to be more humid, which is why we use humidifiers only in the winter. As a rule of thumb, your home’s relative humidity should be around 50 percent. The comfortable range actually extends from about 35 to 60 percent, but 50 percent is ideal. Drying the air has a few substantial benefits. Dry air:
• Costs less to cool
• Cools more quickly
• Feels cooler
• Inhibits mold growth
One of the main ways your body sheds excess heat is through evaporation. When your internal body temperature hits 98.7 degrees, your sweat pores open up. As the sweat evaporates, it carries some of your body’s heat with it. Your sweat can’t evaporate at all at 100 percent relative humidity, but at 0 percent relative humidity, sweat will evaporate nearly instantaneously.
However, keeping the relative humidity too low is inadvisable. All of the problems that come with winter — cracked lips, dry eyes, and all the rest — will make you miserable regardless of how warm or cool you feel.
Dress in Layers
Some of the most effective ways to stay cool this summer don’t involve the thermostat at all. Dressing in layers is always a smart choice. If you feel too warm, take some articles of clothing off, and if you’re too cold, bundle up.

Use a Fan

Using a fan can also work wonders. Whether it’s a ceiling, floor, or tiny tabletop fan, air moving across your body will make you feel several degrees cooler. Fans use a small fraction of the energy that air conditioners require, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your energy bills drop.
Use a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is quickly becoming a must-have feature for any HVAC system. It’s possible to manually adjust the temperature when you wake up, go to work, come home, and go to sleep, but it’s much easier to simply let your thermostat do all the work for you. Even better, programmable thermostats never forget, and newer models will begin adjusting the temperature ahead of schedule so that it reaches your target temperature exactly when you want it.
Want more energy-saving tips to stay comfortable this summer? Please contact us or give us a call today!

Savvy Strategies for Summer Energy Savings

energy savingSave energy in summer with these cool tips

During the warmest months of the year, you may reach the point where all you want is some cool relief no matter the cost. Before that happens this summer, get prepared with an arsenal of simple strategies to help your air conditioning system work more efficiently so you can keep your cool when the energy bill arrives.

 

Preparation is the Best Defense Against Energy Waste

Early in the spring, schedule a maintenance visit from your HVAC service company. Over the winter, dust and debris can collect on the coils, fins and filter of your AC unit, causing a predictable decline in its efficiency, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency. It is a simple matter to replace the filter yourself, but maintaining the interior parts and checking for potential problems are best left to qualified technicians. As a regular maintenance customer, you may even enjoy such benefits as repair discounts and/or priority emergency services. Just check with your HVAC company.

Besides keeping the cooling system itself in top condition, pay attention to the surrounding environment. Ill-fitting windows and doors work at cross-purposes with your air conditioner. They let cooled air out and warm air in, so be sure to fix any leaks before it’s time to crank up your cooling equipment. Caulk, weather stripping, window replacement and extra insulation go a long way toward significant energy savings.

 

Simple Tricks for Staying Comfortable

Speaking of windows, you can incorporate them into your energy savings strategy too. If you live in a climate that cools off at night, open your windows at bedtime to stay cool and enjoy some fresh air. Be sure to adjust your thermostat to give your cooling system a break at night. Another good energy-saving habit is covering your closed windows during the heat of the day with light-blocking curtains that fend off solar rays.

Managing Your Programmable Thermostat

If you aren’t an expert at programming your thermostat to maximize energy efficiency, ask your HVAC tech to help during your annual a/c maintenance visit. When programming your thermostat for the summer months:

  • Set your thermostat as high as your family can comfortably tolerate.
  • Set it higher during the times when you are normally not at home.
  • Don’t try to cool your home more quickly by setting the thermostat lower because it is inefficient.
  • Make sure your thermostat is located away from direct sunlight, windows, doors and drafts.
  • Move obstructions to natural air flow, such as large furnishings, away from the thermostat.

 

Dupuis Energy of Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts Can Help

Contact us at Dupuis Energy today to get more smart energy savings tips plus HVAC installation, maintenance and repair. We help your family stay comfortable in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts with efficient ideas that keep your energy usage under control.

Benefits of Oil Heating Systems

Winter in Rhode Island and the entire Northeast takes its toll on residences across the area. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to drop into the teens and the single digits overnight as the days grow shorter. When it comes to keeping homes warm and cozy, more people are opting for oil heating over propane and natural gas.

Dupuis Oil Truck

4 Benefits of Oil Heating

  1. It’s safer than traditional fuels – Oil doesn’t explode or burn as a liquid. In fact, it has to reach a temperature above 140 degrees before it can burn. Oil can only ignite with a burner or a furnace as part of a larger system. The system is also safer than propane and natural gas systems as it has a significantly lower risk of leaking carbon monoxide in your home.
  2. It’s an efficient heating option – Oil heating systems are more energy efficient than other systems, providing as much as a 95 percent efficiency rating. Because of today’s efficient oil heating systems, homeowners can save a lot of money. In fact, they don’t have to buy as much oil and can save as many as 50 gallons per year.
  3. It’s not as expensive as you think – When you use natural gas, you don’t really have a choice of providers. Opting for oil heating gives you the option to choose your own provider, so you can select the one that fits your budget. Because oil burns hotter, you won’t have to use as much to heat your home, thereby saving more gallons per year. You won’t have to buy more than you need and can save that money for more important things down the road.
  4. It’s hotter than natural gas – When it comes to hot water and warm rooms, nothing does the job quite like oil. It burns 300 degrees hotter than gas alternatives and recovers quickly to provide hot water for the family. With natural gas, you’d have to wait for the water heater to heat the water for showers, washers and more.

Oil Heating Systems Have Major Advantages

Want to learn more about how oil heating can keep your home warm this winter? Check out our home page for more information regarding oil heating and our delivery and installation services. Oil heating has many advantages over the alternative heating options and saves you money in the long run. It provides abundant warmth during those long New England winters and is safer than natural gas and propane.

 

7 Signs You Need a Heating System Tune-Up

Home heating system

Prepare Your Furnace for Winter Now And Prevent Heater Breakdowns Later

Fall furnace maintenance has a high return on investment. It keeps equipment warranties in effect and optimizes system performance for energy efficiency and maximum indoor comfort. It prolongs the life of your HVAC, prevents up to 95 percent of unexpected breakdowns and can reduce operating costs by up to 40 percent. Here are seven warning signs that you need furnace service:

  1. Energy bills are on the upswing: Are your fall and winter utility bills creeping higher by the month? This can be a red flag that your furnace is losing efficiency and is working twice as hard to keep your home comfortable.
  2. You’re not comfortable: Does your heater take forever to warm up the house when it cycles on? Do you feel cold no matter how high you set the thermostat? Is the air from your vents only lukewarm, or do you have hot spots, cold spots or drafts? This indicates that the system isn’t functioning optimally. It might be coated with grunge that limits its power to deliver sufficient warmth, or there might be a problem with your thermostat.
  3. Your furnace makes weird noises: Odd noises can mean broken or loose parts. Continuing to operate the unit can cause enough damage to bring the system down.
  4. The burner flame is yellow: The burner flame on your furnace should be blue. If it’s flickering or another color, it might be burning inefficiently or have a carbon monoxide leak.
  5. There are foul smells coming from the vents and puddles around the heater: This usually means that the condensate drain is clogged and the condensate drain pan is polluted with mold or bacterial slime. Ignoring the problem could result in ceiling leaks, drywall damage, indoor air contamination or system breakdown.
  6. You have weak airflow: There might be leaks in your ductwork, or your air filter might be clogged. Leaky ducts can increase energy costs by up to 30 percent while a clogged filter can damage the motor so severely that you need furnace replacement.
  7. Your home is excessively dusty: This usually means that the furnace is dirty and needs a good cleaning.

What’s Included in Furnace Maintenance?

typical maintenance visit will include the following services:

  • Overall safety inspection
  • Checkup and calibration of controls
  • Thorough equipment cleaning
  • Checkup of gas or oil connections, burner combustion, heat exchanger and gas pressure functions
  • Condensate drain line and drain pan cleaning
  • Tightening of all electrical connections
  • Checking and cleaning the pilot light
  • Changing the air filter
  • Inspection of motors, belts and blowers
  • Flue pipe and chimney draft inspection
  • Lubrication of all moving parts

If you live in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, Dupuis Energy can prepare your gas or oil furnace for cold weather. Our heating system maintenance plans can keep your HVAC healthy, save you 25 percent on any repair costs and save money on utility bills too.

 

Which Natural Gas Heating System is Best For You?

Dupuis Oil Truck

Four major options to consider and compare

Many New England residents choose natural gas because it provides a convenient, economical heating solution. Around 50 percent of Rhode Island homes use this fuel, according to federal data. If you decide to install gas equipment, you’ll need to compare several different types of heating systems. The most appealing option differs depending on your personal priorities and the design of your home.

Gas Boilers

A boiler heats water rather than air. Most systems use baseboard heating units to distribute warmth. Installers put copper pipes with fins in low-profile metal housings that run along walls. These systems have somewhat higher minimum efficiency ratings than furnaces or steam-based equipment. They also help to conserve space. Unlike furnaces, boilers can efficiently heat water for sinks and showers.

Some systems supply steam for traditional radiators. They tend to deliver greater comfort than the alternatives. Many units feature attractive, old-fashioned styling. You might choose a radiator-based system if you want your equipment to complement the interior of an older home. On the other hand, these heating units may occupy too much space in small rooms.

Radiant Heat

Some buildings contain tubes that carry hot water through their floors. It’s easier to install the equipment when constructing a home, but you can also add it to your current house. This relatively expensive option might prove desirable if you favor complete silence, need to conserve space and don’t want to cover the floor with thick rugs.

Gas Furnaces

Numerous systems burn natural gas in an effort to directly heat indoor air. Ducts and a powerful fan distribute warm air throughout the building. Consider installing a furnace if you also want to add a central air conditioner, dehumidifier or humidifier. It can share the ductwork with this equipment. A downside is that air ducts take up a lot of room. It’s best to install them when building a new home.

Manufacturers offer standard, two-stage and modulating systems. To maximize comfort and efficiency, select a modulating furnace. It can regulate natural gas consumption with great precision. A standard unit costs the least but operates much less efficiently; consider buying one for a seasonal home. Two-stage models provide an appealing compromise for residents of moderately cold places like Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Contact Natural Gas Heating Professionals

The professionals at Dupuis Energy can help you pick the most suitable equipment for your home. We install, maintain and repair many different systems. Our company has met the heating needs of New England residents for 119 years. To learn more about natural gas heating equipment or services, please call Dupuis Oil or contact us.

 

10 Ways to Keep Your Home Warm During a New England Winter on a Budget

Easy, economical tips on warmth maximization.

If you live in New England, heating expenses probably have a major impact on your budget. Many people pay around $700 to $2,200 for fuel each year, according to the state of Massachusetts. Luckily, you can find simple, affordable ways to stay warm while cutting costs.

Cost-Effective Ways to Keep Your Home Warm

1. Remember to open your curtains or Venetian blinds during sunny days. Close them at night to prevent heat from easily escaping the room. Insulated curtains will maximize the benefits.

2. When you sleep or relax, use a hot water bottle. This simple tool warms up beds and sofas at very little expense. You can also insulate your bed with the help of flannel sheets.

3. Brew a pot of coffee. It will create warmth in multiple ways. The mug warms your hands and the beverage heats up your entire body. At the same time, a coffee maker produces enough heat and humidity to make a room feel noticeably warmer.

4. Put carpets or rugs on your floors. People lose up to one-tenth of their heat to uncovered wooden flooring. A carpet both insulates the floor and feels warmer to the touch.

5. If you have a fireplace, never keep the damper open after a fire stops producing smoke. It has the same effect as leaving a window open! Consider spending $45 on a “chimney balloon” for even greater energy savings.

6. Attach heavy-duty aluminum foil to the walls behind radiators. It will stop heat from passing through building materials and escaping the house. Foil can reflect warmth toward your living area.

7. Arrange furnishings so that they don’t block radiators or air vents. Poor placement can prevent air from circulating properly and cause some parts of a room to remain cool. If possible, keep any legless furniture away from walls with baseboard heating units.

8. Keep in mind that warm air often rises straight up if a heating device doesn’t have a fan. Think about mounting a shelf on the wall above a radiator. You could also put a small fan nearby and set it at a low speed.

9. Place clear plastic over the inside of your windows. This technique reduces heating expenses by around one-tenth to one-seventh. You can use bubble wrap for even better results, but it will prevent you from seeing outdoors.

10. Insulate the door to your attic. If it lacks insulation, significant amounts of heat will quickly rise into this unoccupied area. Make sure that the door closes tightly, and repair or replace it if necessary.

Contact Heating Oil Professionals

Dupuis Oil can help you keep costs low while remaining comfortable. We offer competitive fuel rates, a price-capping program and various discounts. Our friendly, experienced staff also maintains most types of heating equipment. Please contact Dupuis to learn more.

Tips That Will Come in Handy If Your AC Breaks Down This Summer

Why Wait for the Worst to Occur When You Can Be Prepared?

Among all of humankind’s great inventions, air conditioning is by far one of the most pleasant. No more must you dread the coming of summer. Instead, you can simply relax in total comfort. When your AC fails, however, it doesn’t take long before you begin to wonder why your primitive ancestors ever left the shady forests of their origins.

Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer just because your wonky air conditioning is making you feel like you’re living in the Stone Age. Use these basic pointers to keep cool until you can get help from an expert.

 

Keep Some Fans Around
Your body deals with excess heat in various ways. For instance, your skin undergoes energy transfer processes like radiation, conduction and evaporation to reduce its temperature so that you feel cooler. Fans aid this process by bombarding you with air molecules that act as outlets for all of the heat energy that your skin is trying to shed.

Fans are also a cheap standby alternative to portable air conditioner units. Of course, if your electricity is out, you can always buy a hand fan for some on-the-spot relief. This solution works especially well if you have kids with extra energy to burn.

 

Check the Simple Things
Climate control hardware is a complex system of components that all perform specific functions. Although some parts, like motors and electronics, are too dangerous for homeowners to mess with, others are basic enough that you can try some quick maintenance.

For instance, the refrigeration process that lets your AC cool the air around you produces condensed moisture that typically drips from a pipe leaving your air handler unit. Take a look to see if dirt or vegetation might be blocking this outlet.

Another straightforward remedy involves changing your air filters. As filters become clogged with debris, AC fans have to work harder to draw air through them, which can strain these appliances. For this reason, it’s usually wise to have extra clean filters on hand before you start relying on your cooling system to deal with summer heatwaves.

 

Tweak Your Surroundings
If none of the previous solutions work, then what should you do? Helping your home keep the heat out is a good start. For instance, covering windows during the day is a smart way to stop the sun from transforming your surroundings into an oven. This strategy is even more effective if you use mylar emergency blankets or regular thick quilts.

At night, crank open all of the windows. Turn on the fans to draw in as much cold air as possible, and arrange them in a way that lets air circulate throughout your entire residence.

 

Call for Help
If there’s one vital survival tool that you can’t afford to go without this summer, it’s a repair service’s contact information. Calling in the professionals as early as possible is the easiest way to minimize your suffering. To learn more about staying prepared, visit Dupuis online.

3 Big Tips for Saving Money on A/C This Summer

Affordable Cooling Remains Within Reach

Air conditioning makes hot summer weather seem far more pleasant. However, higher electric bills may put a big dent in your bank account during July and August. American homeowners spend almost $30 billion per year on A/C, according to the Department of Energy. Luckily, you can cut this cost by changing how you use the equipment and upgrading your home in certain ways. Follow these three tips to enjoy a summer without financial headaches.
1. Don’t overcool your home

If you wear light clothing, you’ll probably feel comfortable when you adjust the thermostat to 78 degrees. Don’t set it to the lowest temperature in an effort to cool your home more quickly. This technique squanders energy and doesn’t actually work. Remember not to place anything warm or hot next to a thermostat. For instance, the heat from a nearby computer could affect its readings.

2. Always adjust the thermostat before you depart

Don’t waste power by maintaining a low temperature while you work, shop or attend classes. If you often forget to follow this tip, consider installing an automated thermostat. Programmable units adjust the temperature according to your daily schedule. You might prefer a smart thermostat if your work hours frequently change. These devices allow people to control A/C systems with smartphone apps. Some models can use sensors to detect your presence.

3. Add insulation to walls and ceilings

Insulation doesn’t just keep homes warm in the winter. It can also shield your house from hot summer temperatures. Consider installing it in the attic or a garage below your living quarters. Remember to conduct thorough research; excessive insulation could create moisture problems. Injection foam products generally yield the best results. Be sure to seal any cracks or holes in the exterior of the home, as well, to eliminate any thermal losses.

The heating and cooling professionals at Dupuis Energy offer a number of services that reduce A/C expenses. Our air conditioner tune-ups enhance efficiency and reliability. We install modern ductless systems that greatly decrease power consumption. Our technicians can also perform a free home energy audit and determine if your house needs better windows or insulation. We serve customers across southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Please contact Dupuis to learn more.

The Differences and Benefits of Natural Gas and Propane

Great choices for home heating and cooking

Natural gas and propane have many of the same purposes. You may use them to run heating systems, water heaters or kitchen appliances. These fuels can help you accomplish tasks that range from cooking dinner to drying clothes. Both options are relatively eco-friendly and provide people with a variety of important benefits.

Natural Gas

Climate Central reports that approximately half of American homes contain gas heating systems. This fuel serves different purposes depending on whether a supplier liquefies or compresses it. Gas primarily comes from domestic sources, according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center.

Most people obtain this fuel via underground lines. These pipes can automatically supply it to your home as needed. This is convenient because you’ll never have to arrange deliveries or worry about running out. Customers only pay for as much energy as they consume, so there’s no need to order a minimum quantity. Some consumers will have a tank installed at their residence if they are not already on a gas line, which will require fuel delivery periodically.

This fuel generally provides a more affordable heat source than the alternatives. Suppliers keep costs low because they don’t have to transport it across the ocean or deliver it to individual homes in trucks. Another advantage is that many stoves and fireplaces continue to work during power outages.

Numerous chefs prefer to cook with gas rather than electricity. Gas stoves offer greater versatility and allow people to control burner temperatures with more precision. Unlike electric units, they instantly adjust the heat level when desired. Propane stoves work somewhat differently but provide similar benefits.

Propane

Domestic producers deliver nine-tenths of America’s LP (liquid propane) supply. This substance also yields few or no greenhouse gas emissions. Energy companies always supply it as a fluid. Although it seldom represents the least expensive option, LP costs less than electric or oil heat in many regions.

Customers must purchase this liquid in small cylinders or pay a supplier to deliver larger quantities. This makes it easy to control how much you spend and compare different companies’ prices. You can also buy extra fuel if the cost drops. Unlike gas, LP is available in rural areas that lack underground utility lines.

Large tanks prove useful for people who primarily heat their homes with this fuel. On the other hand, compact cylinders come in handy when you need a portable source of energy. You may use them to operate outdoor grills or kitchen stoves in travel trailers.

If gas or Liquid Propane appeals to you, Dupuis Energy can help you get started. We install both types of heating equipment and only sell efficient, long-lasting units. Our experienced staff services these systems as well. We also deliver LP at competitive rates. Please contact our Pawtucket, R.I. office for all of your heating & cooling needs.