Conservation AdviceThe best way to "go green" - and save money - is by maximizing your fuel efficiency. At Taylor & Murphy, we are conservation experts, and we help many customers upgrade their heating systems to maximize efficiency and minimize emissions. When you replace an older heating system with a high-efficiency model, you can reduce consumption by 30% or more. We can also help you with smaller conservation steps like installing a programmable thermostat or a new energy-saving burner control.
One "green" move we recommend to all our customers is to get their heating system tuned before cold weather comes. A well-tuned system uses 5% less fuel and burns cleaner, with reduced emissions. Your Taylor & Murphy service plan may include your annual tune-up.
Follow these warm weather and cold weather energy-saving tips and you'll find a decrease in your annual energy bills.
Cold Weather Conservation Tips
- Correct air leaks around windows, doors and electrical outlets.
- Repair weather stripping and caulking.
- Replace any cracked glass in your windows.
- Make sure your ceiling has at least six inches of insulation.
- Wrap your pipes to guard against heat loss and freezing.
- Have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected regularly.
- Check the threshold for any gaps between it and the door; use a bottom seal that can be attached to the door to stop drafts.
- Get a heating system tune-up before the heating season begins.
- Keep ductwork in good repair with duct insulation.
- Remove air conditioning units from windows.
- Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
Warm Weather Conservation Tips
- Keep the coils of your central or window air conditioner free of dust and dirt.
- Make sure the output of your air conditioner is right for the size of your room or house to ensure optimum efficiency and comfort.
- Change or clean your air conditioning filter monthly during the cooling season to improve efficiency and the life of your air conditioner.
- Look for an air conditioning unit that is ENERGY STAR® approved.
- Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside the home.
- Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
- During the day, block the heat from the sun by closing windows, doors and curtains.
- During the hot summer afternoons, avoid using appliances.
- Open windows on cool summer days and nights. A good rule of thumb is not to open windows when the outside temperature is warmer than the inside of your house.
All Year Long Conservation Tips
- Install a programmable thermostat. When used properly, it can shave $100 off your annual energy bills.
- Use compact fluorescent lights. They last up to 10-13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75% less energy.
- Choose a high-efficiency water heater. An indirect oil-fired water heater produces an almost endless supply of hot water with a very fast recovery time.
- Keep your oven door closed! Every time you open the oven door, the oven temperature can drop 25 degrees. Use the oven light or a timer to avoid wasting energy.
- Wash clothes in the coolest water possible — 80% of the cost to run your washer is used for heating the water.
- Install dimmers and motion sensors wherever possible.
- Take showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water; filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
- Clean refrigerator coils once a year to extend the life of your fridge.
- Choose a high-efficiency dishwasher — they use 25% less energy than conventional models.
- Since your dryer retains heat, dry loads back-to-back.
Fuel Choices - Oil or Gas?If you're thinking of switching to natural gas, you don't have to leave us as a customer. We can continue to provide the same quality service, because we install and service gas heating systems, too. However, before you make the switch, we encourage you to talk to us first. We want you to make the choice that's right for you, your family and your budget.
- In the past, Oilheat has been a better value than gas heat. According to the US Department of Energy, Oilheat has been less expensive than utility gas in Massachusetts, on a BTU-for-BTU basis, for 17 of the past 20 years.
- In the future, Oilheat may remain a better value than gas heat. Right now, natural gas may have the price advantage, but according to industry analysts, not for long. A combination of economic recovery, increased liquefied natural gas exports and more natural gas used in power production could raise natural gas prices by 25 to 50%.
- Converting to natural gas is NOT cost-effective: In fact, it can cost up to $10,000 and maybe more. In addition to installing a new boiler or furnace, you might need to reline your chimney; install a gas line; install an excess flow valve to protect against fire or explosion; plumb and wire the new system; and remove or abandon your oil tank.
- Upgrading your Oilheat equipment can cost half as much as converting to gas heat. Upgrading your oil-fired boiler or furnace can save you as much as 40% off your home heating costs. (For less money, you can install a fuel-economizing control or a programmable thermostat and save about 10%.) Money Magazine put it best when it reported that upgrading an Oilheat system could "save you more money than any other home improvement project" and concluded that "the cost of converting would probably be higher than the savings."
- Oilheat is getting cleaner all the time. The gas utilities call their fuel "clean," but the truth is, Oilheat is getting cleaner while natural gas stays the same. Why? Because traditional Oilheat is being replaced by a blend of ultra-low sulfur petroleum and renewable biofuel. Once the biofuel component exceeds 10%, the new Oilheat burns more cleanly than natural gas (which cannot be blended with renewable resources).
For more eye-opening information about natural gas, please visit the American Energy Coalition's website.
Fuel Assistance Information
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)Known commonly as Fuel Assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides eligible households with help in paying a portion of winter heating bills. Homeowners and renters, including households whose cost of heat is included in the rent, can apply at the agency in their area. Eligibility is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member, 18 years of age or older. Household income cannot exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
First-time applicants in Massachusetts must apply in person at the fuel assistance agency in their area.
For more information on LIHEAP in Massachusetts, visit MassResources.org.
Mass SaveThe HEAT Loan Program provides customers the opportunity to apply for a 0% loan from participating lenders to assist with the installation of qualified energy efficient improvements in their homes. The loans are available up to $25,000 (depending on utility) with terms up to 7 years. To qualify for the loan, the customer must own a one-to-four-family residence, obtain a Mass Save Home Energy Assessment, and install qualified energy efficiency measures recommended by a Mass Save representative.
For more information, call 1-866-527-SAVE, or visit www.masssave.com.