It’s difficult to know if your furnace should be replaced. There usually aren’t a lot of external signs; however there are some basic considerations to help you make an informed decision.
Based on industry averages, a 20-year-old furnace could be nearing the end of its life expectancy and investing in a new heating system may be a better option than dealing with costly repairs on an aging unit.
Efficiency and Savings
Furnaces have become more efficient as a result of new technology. Newer heating oil furnaces have efficiencies above 80%, and propane furnaces can have efficiency ratings as high as 94%.
It is important for your furnace to be properly sized for your home to run at peak efficiency during the winter, especially if you have recently taken steps to make your home more energy efficient. An oversized furnace can be less efficient than a properly sized one, potentially costing more money to heat your home.
No matter how old your furnace is, we suggest an annual cleaning and inspection to make sure your furnace is working properly and to help identify issues. A proactive decision puts you in charge of the timeline, and can help avoid an unexpected break down in the middle of winter.
If you have any questions about when to replace your heating equipment, be sure to contact an Irving Energy heating expert, or call us at 1.888.310.1924 – we’re here to help.
The efficiency of your heating system is an important part of how you much money you spend every year on heating oil or propane. An inefficient heating system could cost you hundreds of dollars more a year than necessary.
The simplest way to maintain your heating system’s efficiency is to get your heating system cleaned every year. When a certified heating technician comes to clean your system, he or she will check your system’s efficiency. Newer heating oil systems use about 85% of the oil supplied to heat your home. The remaining 15% is what is called “lost energy”. Propane heating systems use about 94% of the propane supplied to heat your home and the remaining 6% is “lost energy” or potential heat that is “thrown away”.
A dirty furnace will increase the heat you lose – lowering your efficiency. This means you’ll need to buy more heating oil or propane gallons to make up for what it loses.
Be sure to schedule a cleaning with your heating provider. Pick a date on the calendar each year to remind yourself. And, while you’re doing so, ask a certified heating technician about some other efficiency-boosting opportunities:
Install a vent damper – A vent damper improves efficiency by preventing heat from escaping through the chimney by closing off your boiler’s vent when it isn’t firing. Not all boilers require a vent damper, so be sure to ask a certified heating technician what’s right for you.
Replace your heating system – Cleaning your heating system or installing a vent damper might not work if your furnace or boiler is simply too old and inefficient. In this case, you’ll have to seriously consider investing in a new heating system. A new high-efficiency furnace can save you hundreds of dollars on your heating bills over your old furnace. And, a new “low mass” boiler can save 30-40% of the gallons used by an old boiler with a 30 gallon water jacket.
We are proud to provide heating oil, propane, and diesel delivery and service to homes and businesses in New Hampshire. At the heart of our business are the many local heating oil, propane, and diesel delivery drivers and service technicians. I had a chance this morning to learn more about one of our certified local propane service technician’s in Littleton, New Hampshire – Rusty.
Rusty lives 4 miles from our Littleton office with his wife Diane. He has been with Irving Energy since 2003 and in the heating business for over 23 years! He and his wife have 2 sons, Jason and Rob as well as 2 grandchildren.
How did you train to become a service technician?
Rusty: I was hired by Irving Energy in 2003 as a delivery driver, a position opened up shortly after for a propane technician. I took my CETP (Certified Employee Training Program) through the New England Fuel Institute. It is a great program that took over 160 hours. The program ensures that people who work with propane have the knowledge and skills to work safely. I stay up to date by renewing my my license every year with about 8 – 16 hours of training.
What do you think customers should know about Irving Energy?
Rusty: We are a local company that is involved with our customers and communities we serve. I live and work in a small community and my customers are my neighbors and friends and I treat my customers that way.
What is your best piece of advice for a customer?
Rusty:It isimportant for our customers to keep their equipment maintained; preventive maintenance can go a long way to keep energy costs low. I talk to my customers about the great protection plans we offer and how in the long run these will save them money. Having your equipment cleaned once a year is essential.
What do you take the most pride in?
Rusty: I work closely with a good team that works hard to take care of our customers. I am most proud of the training that I have received; our company takes pride in learning. There have been a number of changes in the industry in the last few years and the company has kept up to date with the training. Anyone who has propane at their home or business should ensure that they work with a company that provides proper training to its technicians.
For those who may be new the area what are some of the favorite places to go?
Rusty: There are a lot of reasons to come here. My wife and I like to go to a great restaurant called Bailiwicks and there are remarkable spaces here for skiing or snowmobiling. There are also great hiking trails at a place called The Flume just above the valley on the opposite side of the river.
If your furnace is not running, there are a few simple things you can check before you call your heating service provider. Here are four tips from Doug Venedam, an Irving Energy heating service technician in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
1. A great place to start before you assume that there is a problem with your furnace is to take a moment to check your fuses and circuit breakers. If there are no issues with the fuses you can then work your way through the following items.
2. Many furnaces are equipped with an emergency shut off switch that looks just like an average household light switch. Theses switches are generally installed at the top of your basement stairs. Many times, these switches are turned to the off position accidentally. Some of our customers find it helpful to label the emergency switch or install a colored switch plate so it stands out from your other household light switches.
3. If your furnace has shut off you can try pressing the red reset button located at the front of your furnace by the burner. If the furnace begins to run you will have heat and should have no further problems. If you press the reset button and the furnace does not start or stops again you should call Irving Energy at 1.888.310.1924 and we will send a technician. It is not recommended to press the reset button more than once.
4. Winters can be especially challenging, especially when your furnace is equipped with a side wall vent. If the vent for your furnace is plugged by snow your furnace will not work. Always ensure that the areas around your vent are kept clear of snow.
These quick trouble shooting tips may help you if your furnace is not working. Just remember that our qualified service technicians at Irving Energy are available to help you 24 hours a day for heating emergency service, if you find that you are not able to trouble shoot your furnace let our experts help you.
Valuable information and good conversations – that sums up what we are looking to accomplish on Irving Energy’s Blog.
We wish to provide readers of our blog with relevant and valuable information on topics related to all things heating oil, propane, and diesel. Irving Energy is fortunate to be made up of hundreds of great people with boatloads of knowledge and years of experience about keeping you warm and fueling your business. If you have questions like what’s the trend in heating oil prices, is price protection a good option for me, or how should I keep my furnace running efficiently, then the team here has answers.
Right now we get to share this knowledge with our customers on the phone, via email, or face to face in our customers’ basements, driveways, and front porches – we have thousands of conversations with our customers every day. Our blog gives us another venue for these conversations.
We know how we are going to start and even have our first few posts written, but beyond that we are looking for your feedback and comments to determine where we end up. We can’t have a good conversation without at least two people involved, so we’re looking forward to talking with you.