7 Common Questions About Heating Oil Tanks

Average Life Span, When to Replace and More

oil tanks wisconsin Having a heating oil storage tank on your property offers an important advantage for Wisconsinites, providing an ample supply of heating oil ready for immediate use whenever it’s needed. But there are many misconceptions about oil storage tanks that need to be addressed and cleared up. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about heating oil tanks.

1. How Long Do Heating Oil Tanks Last?

Heating oil tanks can last for decades, but like anything else, they eventually need to be replaced. Life spans vary depending on the humidity in the environment, the thickness of the tank’s wall and other factors. When tanks do fail, it’s hard to see it coming, because they generally erode from the inside out.

If your oil tank is more than 30 years old, it’s a good idea to look into your heating oil tank replacement options.

2. How Do I Know When to Replace My Tank?

Besides getting periodic professional tank inspections, you should also do your own visual inspections because some trouble signs can actually be seen, including:

  • dime-sized blisters in the paint, commonly found on the tank’s underside (feel the underside to find them). They can be a sign of pending failure
  • pinhole leaks, which are caused by rusting from corrosion inside the tank
  • condensation on the outside of the tank, long after a heating oil delivery
  • evidence of corrosion on the tank’s exterior
  • sagging tank legs
  • clogs or restrictions in the fill cap or the vent cap
  • signs of spills

3. Why Do Heating Oil Tanks Wear Out?

Besides just wearing out due to age, a heating oil tank can fail because of condensation on the inside. When there is a lot of empty space in an oil tank during the spring and summer, condensation can form along the inside walls. This eventually turns into sediment later, and, if ignored, can result in corrosion.

To avoid condensation from forming, you should keep your oil tank full during the warm-weather months.

4. What Is the Most Common Tank Size?

The most common size for a residential heating oil tank is a 275-gallon aboveground tank. A general industry rule-of-thumb is that one or two-bedroom homes typically require a 275-gallon heating oil tank; three- or four- bedroom homes typically would need to go larger.

5. Where Should I Install My Oil Tank?

Because heating oil is biodegradable and safe to store inside the home, you can put your new leak-proof tank in a basement, closet or garage. You can also put it outside, near your house, garage, or outdoor space.

6. How Do I Read My Oil Tank Gauge?

On top of the heating oil tank is a clear glass or plastic cube that is marked with numbers that resemble the gas gauge of your car: F, ¾, ½, ¼. A red marker or float commonly indicates the amount of fuel left in your tank. If the float is at the bottom of the gauge or not visible at all, your tank is empty or nearly empty.

To make sure the gauge is working, carefully remove the outer case and gently press the float down. If it bobs back up to the original position, the gauge is working. If the gauge is not working, contact your heating oil supplier and let them know. The last thing you want to do is to start guessing how much oil is left in your tank.

7. How Can I Avoid Running Out?

To make winter deliveries easier and stress-free for you, ask your heating oil company if they offer automatic delivery. This allows them to be accurate about your fuel needs so they can make a heating oil delivery and you can continue to feel warm and safe using heating oil at home.

But if you still prefer to call for heating oil, you need to give your supplier extra time when conditions are harsh in order to avoid running out of fuel. It’s best to call for more fuel when your oil tank falls to the one-quarter mark.

If you’re ready to replace your tank, see how you can save money with Wisconsin heating oil equipment rebates.

What are the Benefits of Heating Oil?

Heating Oil Is Safe, Clean, and Efficient

heating oil benefits wisconsin Folks in Wisconsin who live in a home that is kept warm by heating oil appreciate all of the benefits they get. Let’s talk about safety first.

Being safe at home is just one of the reasons many people prefer to heat their homes with oil. With everything that’s happening in the world today, the last thing you want is to feel unsafe at home.

For starters, heating oil cannot explode. The oil in your tank is as likely to explode as the water in your backyard swimming pool. It’s that safe.

Plus, with an oil tank on your property, you can always count on having a secure, on-site supply at your home. Heating oil is easily transported and handled by highly trained professionals, who use equipment and techniques that keep safety at the forefront.

Additionally, a heating oil system poses a very low risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If an oil burner malfunctions (most often due to a lack of maintenance), the safety devices in the unit will typically shut the oil furnace or oil boiler off. Read more about safety.

Clean-Burning and Eco-Friendly

Heating oil keeps getting cleaner and greener. The latest heating oil systems are small, smart and super-efficient and can save you, on average, about 30% on your annual heating costs.

What’s more, the heating oil industry remains firmly committed to green energy solutions that not only protect the environment but also enhance comfort, convenience and savings for all heating oil consumers.

That’s why the industry has dedicated itself to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for heating oil by 2050. This means that your oilheat will have a carbon footprint of zero.

How is this possible? It’s largely due to the growth of Bioheat® fuel, which provides a bright future for the millions of oilheat consumers in the United States, including the approximately 190,000 Wisconsinites who live in a home that is warmed by heating oil.

Read more about Bioheat fuel so you can feel good about your next heating oil delivery.

Heating Oil and Energy Efficiency

Heating oil generates nearly 140,000 Btu of heat for every gallon burned and warms a home evenly and efficiently.

This is because the flame in a heating oil system burns much hotter than many other energy systems. This produces more heat and warmer air or water, which leads to evenly distributed heat throughout the house. So, when the outdoor temperatures are in the single digits, that powerful heat output can help keep your home as cozy as ever.

Technology has also brought great improvements in heating oil equipment efficiency that has reduced annual fuel consumption by as much as 40%. This has saved heating oil consumers a lot of money on fuel.

Today’s heating equipment regularly achieves efficiency levels of 85% or better. With the introduction of higher blends of Bioheat fuel, we will start to see super high-efficiency systems available in the U.S. These systems will achieve efficiency levels of 90% or more!

See how much you can save right away with heating oil system rebates.

How Does a Furnace Work?

A Furnace Distributes Warm Air Through Your Home

furnace company wisconsin Today’s energy-efficient oil furnaces provide homeowners in Wisconsin with a great opportunity to increase their comfort while decreasing their energy usage. New furnaces can now heat a home using significantly less energy compared to older-generation equipment.

Knowing more about how your furnace works will help you to make smart choices if you’re considering replacing your old heating system with a new, high-efficiency model. And if you’re having a heating problem, knowing more about how your furnace works will be helpful when you discuss the issue with your heating oil service contractor.

Understanding Your Oil Furnace

Furnaces can be powered by either fuel oil, propane gas, natural gas, or electricity. Also known as warm-air or forced-air systems, furnaces produce heated air in the combustion chamber.

  • Inside an oil-fired furnace, the fuel is mixed with air and burned.
  • The heat exchanger transfers the heat to the air, which is pushed through the heat exchanger by the furnace’s blower fan.
  • The fan blows the heated air through a network of air ducts before the warm air exits through registers or vents throughout your home.
  • Combustion gases are vented out of the building through a flue pipe.

The Advantage of Having a Furnace

Besides heat, the ductwork that connects with your furnace can provide other kinds of conditioned air, including through:

  • a central air conditioning system
  • a whole-house humidifier
  • an air cleaning system or air purifier

Differences Between Old Furnaces and New Furnaces

  • Older furnaces vent exhaust gases directly to the outside, but this wastes about 30% of the heat energy because the exhaust gases need to remain hot enough to rise through the chimney safely.
  • Modern oil furnaces use an insulated flue pipe instead of a barometric damper. This improves venting and reduces heat loss.
  • Modern-day heating oil furnaces can operate at a range of speeds and feature other efficiency-enhancing features including microprocessor-based controls, high-pressure flame-retention oil burners, and durable heat exchangers.

Advanced technology has also brought us the ultra-efficient condensing oil furnace, which recovers and uses some of the lost heat from waste gases, thanks to a secondary heat exchanger.

Replacing Your Old Furnace

As noted, today’s high-efficiency furnaces provide extra heat more efficiently than units made a generation ago. Higher efficiency means more energy savings, which of course translates into lower energy costs. This is why it pays to learn as much as you can about today’s high-tech heating solutions—and your heating oil service contractor is here to help you, with all of the latest information on high-efficiency heating oil furnaces.

When discussing your heating oil furnace replacement options with your oilheat expert, you’ll most likely learn about the importance of proper sizing.

  • Sizing refers to the heating system’s Btu rating. If your equipment contractor installs something too powerful (oversized), it will give you more heat than you need, wasting energy and money.
  • But if the system doesn’t have enough power (undersized), your home will not feel comfortable, and you will spend more on fuel because the heating oil furnace will switch on and off throughout the day.
  • To determine how much power your home’s heating system needs, an experienced heating-oil-system installer will do tests that show how much heat your home loses in the winter.

Read more about a new furnace installation.

Boiler vs. Furnace

Boiler vs. Furnace

What’s the Difference, Why It Matters

boiler or furnace wisconsin Your heating oil system can either be a furnace or a boiler. Both of these heating units will keep you warm, but there is some information you should know that may come in handy if a problem arises.

If it’s something minor, you may be able to correct it yourself. And if you need to discuss something with a heating oil service technician, you will at least have a working knowledge of how your heating system operates.

How an Oil Furnace Works

Because it generates heated air, a furnace is also known as a forced-air or warm-air system. Here is how it produces heat.

  • the thermostat sends a signal to the controls on the oil burner.
  • the fuel pump then draws oil through a filter to the burner.
  • the burner turns the oil into a fine spray, mixes it with air, and ignites it in the combustion chamber, causing the chamber to become very hot.
  • air absorbs heat in the heat exchanger.
  • a blower sends this air through ducts and exits through vents to heat the home.
  • the air eventually circulates back to the heat exchanger and the cycle continues.
  • combustion emissions are vented out the flue.

How a Boiler Works

Boilers use hot water or steam to heat your home. Another name for a boiler is a hydronic heating system, which is defined as a system that transfers heat via a circulating fluid, such as water, in a closed system of pipes.

Steam boilers can still be found in older homes, usually ones built before the 1950s. If you have this type of system, your boiler stays true to its name because it actually has to boil water to make steam before your heat can be distributed.

In comparison, newer boilers do not need to boil the water to make steam. Instead, they use hot water to distribute heat through a home’s piping. The heat is distributed through your home by either radiators or baseboards.

Because a boiler is a closed-loop system, water does not need to be constantly brought in or replaced, making it more efficient.

Some of the key components of a boiler system include:

  • A burner, where the heating oil is ignited in the combustion chamber.
  • A heat exchanger, which allows heat to be exchanged between two substances (fuel oil and water) while not allowing the two substances to mix together.
  • Circulator pumps, which push the hot water from the boiler into the piping. A steam boiler doesn’t require a circulator pump because it doesn’t need to be pushed into the piping. It rises up the pipes naturally.
  • Piping, which includes supply lines to deliver the heated water (or steam) to the radiators or baseboards. When the water cools or the steam turns back into the water, return lines bring the water back to the boiler for re-heating.

Tip for Your Oil Furnace: Check the Air Filter

All warm air systems have air filters to screen out dust and other impurities. In general, you should check the filter’s condition about once a month during the heating season and change/clean it when necessary. Contact your heating oil service company if you’re not familiar with this procedure.

Tips for Your Oil Boiler

  • If you’re not getting heat from a baseboard, check to see if the damper is open. Make sure the bottom of the unit isn’t blocked by heavy carpeting.
  • A radiator valve has only two positions, on and off. Keeping the valve’s handle in between does not regulate the temperature but can strain the pipes and produce a hammering sound.
  • For steam systems, check the boiler’s water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause of shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the gauge looks rusty. Ask your heating oil service contractor if you’re not familiar with this procedure.

General Heating System Tips

  • Keep the area around your system as clean and clutter-free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system.
  • Keep registers, baseboards, or radiators clean and unobstructed to ensure maximum airflow.

New Boiler Installation or New Furnace Installation

If you think it’s time to replace your old furnace or boiler, please contact your heating oil service company about your options in a boiler installation or furnace installation. Today’s oil boilers and oil furnaces offer homeowners a great opportunity to increase their comfort while decreasing their energy usage.

New systems now heat your home using significantly less energy compared to older generation equipment. Energy-efficient equipment can be installed with controls to use only as much fuel as needed to heat your home or a specific part of your home.

What Is Heating Oil?

Where It Comes from and How It Keeps You Warm

heating oil source wisconsin Heating oil comes from crude oil, which has to be refined to remove impurities. It’s then separated into different “fractions.” More refined, lighter fractions are used to produce such products as gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel fuel and No. 2 home heating oil, which is what you use to heat your home. By the way, did you know that diesel fuel and No. 2 fuel oil are virtually the same thing, in terms of their chemical composition?

Refining is just a step in the process. There is more work to be done before your fuel reaches your heating oil tank. After it is refined and ready for use, heating oil is transported by ship, barge, truck, and/or pipeline to major fuel terminals. It is distributed from these terminals to local heating oil companies. Many of these companies have their own storage facilities, which can hold thousands of gallons of heating oil. These secure storage facilities ensure that an adequate supply of fuel is on hand during the cold months to ensure people get their safe heating oil delivery whenever they need it.

How Heating Oil Keeps You Warm

You either have an oil furnace or oil boiler in your home. A furnace uses air to heat your home, while boilers use water. Furnaces and boilers can both use fuel oil to heat, and it starts in the combustion chamber, where the oil is tuned into a flame by the oil burner.

Oil Burner: Engine of Your System

Like any mechanical device, heating oil systems require all components to work together. But some parts are more important than others. One component that is particularly vital to the efficient and effective operation of a heating oil system is its burner.

The burner can be considered the engine of the heating oil system. When your house gets chilly, the thermostat will send a signal to tell the oil burner in the furnace or boiler to turn on. A fuel pump then starts to draw the oil from the tank and through fuel lines to reach the oil burner.

There is a device on the burner called the nozzle, which turns the oil into a very fine spray. This oil mist mixes with air and ignites in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. This heat then gets moved around your home and comes out either through radiators or baseboards (if you have a boiler) or vents (if you have a furnace).

How efficiently this is done depends on the design of the burner. Modern burners contain electronic pre-purge and post-purge controls to ensure ultra-clean starts and stops. New two-stage burners also have an efficiency level that’s 5–15% higher than older ones because they have been designed to conserve fuel.

Combustion Problems in an Oil Burner

If an oil burner seems to have combustion issues, it doesn’t always mean the burner is malfunctioning on its own. Sometimes, poor air flow around the system can be the culprit. Poor air flow can be caused by a variety of factors.

  • the furnace or boiler room is always sealed off or closed.
  • insulation or other energy conservation steps have been taken, resulting in a very tightly-sealed home.
  • a clothes dryer, workshop or pet’s living quarters are near the system. Lint, sawdust or animal hair can be drawn into the air openings of the burner and clog it.

If the burner flame looks weak, its color is orange and if there are signs of soot, there may be a lack of combustion air. To confirm this, open a door or window to bring fresh air to the area around the heating system and watch the burner flame. If it turns a bright white, lack of combustion air is the problem.

If you are uncertain about the cause, the best thing to do is to reach out to your heating oil service contractor and arrange for burner service.

How To Avoid Home Heating Mistakes

Don’t Compromise Safety for Savings

heating mistakes wisconsinWhen we come home, we expect to warm up quickly, especially for anyone who uses heating oil to heat their home. And why not? The flame in a heating oil system burns hundreds of degrees hotter than in other energy systems.

But when temperatures plunge into the single digits and the wind chill gets to below zero, people get worried about their heating fuel costs going up. That’s when some will try extra hard to save a little money on heat.

While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to save money on heating your home, you need to do it in a smart way and never take chances with your safety. Here are some common home heating mistakes—and how to avoid them.

Electric Space Heater Safety

It’s not a good idea to shut off your furnace or boiler (or turn their thermostat way down) and use electric space heaters to try to save on fuel. You may save a little bit on fuel, but you’ll run up your electric bill instead. You’ll also vastly increase your chance of frozen pipes.
Space heaters also pose safety risks. Here are tips for using them safely.

  • Always turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Keep your space heater away from anything flammable
  • Never plug a portable space heater into an extension cord or power strip. Extension cords and power strips have not been designed to handle the high flow of electric current needed for a space heater. Doing so can cause the heater to overheat or even catch on fire.

Leave Your Heating Vents Open

Another common mistake is closing the heating vents in seldom-used rooms. The belief is that this will conserve heat and save money but this is not recommended

Closing some vents disrupts normal airflow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder. Closing vents can also raise the risk of frozen pipes, especially in rooms that tend to be on the cold side anyway.

It’s always better to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program your thermostat to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.

Don’t Turn the Thermostat Too Low

You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to 68°F while you’re awake and setting it about 8°F lower while you’re asleep or away from home. But you should not set your thermostat below 60°.

Moving your thermostat setting too low is another way to raise your risk of frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to enter.

How to Save with Energy-Efficient Temperature Settings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature.

The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher temperature inside your home will slow heat gain into your house, saving you money on air conditioning costs.

The U.S. Energy Department concludes that you can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply adjusting your thermostat 7°-10°F for eight hours a day from its normal setting.

If your oil furnace or oil boiler has not been keeping you warm enough, please explore current heating oil equipment rebates and then reach out to your heating oil service provider for advice.

Read more about a new boiler installation or a new furnace installation.

New Study: Switching to 100% Biodiesel Saves Lives

Lower Cancer Risk, Fewer Premature Deaths Among Findings

biodiesel fleet wisconsinA new study has revealed that switching to 100% biodiesel could have a life-saving impact for community residents, with such benefits as decreased cancer risk, fewer premature deaths and reduced asthma attacks.

The study, sponsored by the Clean Fuels Alliance America and supported by organizations like the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, sought to assess the public health benefits and potential economic savings of converting from petroleum-based diesel to B100 (100% biodiesel) in 13 sites and communities across the country. These locations were chosen because of their high rates of air pollution caused by petroleum diesel.

Here are some of the startling findings about the potential results of using 100% biodiesel in place of all-petroleum diesel in these selected test locations.

  • When Bioheat® fuel made from 100% biodiesel is used in place of petroleum heating oil, there was an 86% reduced cancer risk and 17,000 fewer lung problems.
  • In the 13 communities and sites studied, there would be 340 fewer premature deaths, 46,000 fewer lost workdays, and $3 billion in avoided health care costs.

The movement toward biodiesel—in home heating fuel and elsewhere– ensures a greener, more sustainable future for everyone. Biofuels like biodiesel reduce carbon emissions, particulate matter, and other harmful outputs like sulfur oxide.

It also supports Wisconsin’s economy. Biodiesel production adds 13% of the cash value of soybeans grown in the Badger State.

Madison Moving Toward 100% renewable energy

This news about the health benefits of biodiesel coincides with the encouraging news that the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board and the Clean Fuels Alliance America has invested funds to help the City of Madison retrofit 20 of its fleet service vehicles to run nearly 100 percent on biodiesel fuel.

Over its life cycle, biodiesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86% when compared with petroleum diesel.

Madison has set a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy and zero net carbon emissions for all city operations by 2030. In fact, Madison became the first city in America to achieve LEED GOLD status for environmental sustainability with its fleet garage.

The city has already launched an integrated energy management approach to reduce its emissions, which includes the use of not only biodiesel but propane, solar, renewable natural gas, and electric vehicle technology.

While all are proving to be viable solutions, B100 technology is a 100% renewable solution that is available now and doesn’t require the costly purchase of new vehicles.

Why Is There Whistling During an Oil Delivery?

That’s Your Vent Alarm—and You Can Get a Rebate for Upgrading It!

oil delivery wisconsinIf your oil tank is located in your basement and you’re home when a driver makes his delivery, you’ll probably hear a whistling noise as your tank starts to fill up. But don’t worry. This is perfectly normal.

Besides the tank itself, your heating oil storage system includes important components like the fill pipe, vent pipe, and vent alarm.

What Happens During a Delivery

After the driver arrives, he connects the hose from his oil truck to the fill pipe and starts releasing the oil. As oil flows into the tank, the air is pushed back out. As the air goes through the vent alarm–located between your tank and vent pipe–it makes a whistling sound. When the whistling stops, the tank is just about full.

Since your basement tank is out of sight from the driver, the vent alarm prevents overfilling and the possibility of a spill. Safety codes do not allow your heating oil company to deliver your fuel if the vent alarm is not working.

If your vent alarm needs to be replaced, you may be eligible to receive a $300 rebate for installing a new one. This is the latest heating oil equipment rebate to become available through the WPMCA Rebate Program, with funding provided by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). Read more about Wisconsin rebates.

What You Should Know about Your Oil Piping

  • The vent pipe relieves the vacuum created when the oil burner pulls fuel from the tank.
  • The vent pipe should be at least 1.25 inches in diameter. A narrow diameter allows excessive pressure to build up inside the tank during filling, which can cause a tank rupture.
  • PVC piping does not meet NFPA safety codes and must be replaced because they are more likely to crack when tanks are being filled.
  • It is the homeowner’s responsibility to properly maintain fuel tanks and all associated piping.

Help Your Driver Make Safe Deliveries

Ice and snow can turn an already tough job into a potentially hazardous one. Maneuvering with a heavy hose while navigating slippery surfaces can be challenging; sometimes delivery drivers lose their footing and sustain injuries.

You can help the driver make safer deliveries by keeping the path to your oil tank clear of snow and ice and removing any nearby obstacles, such as fallen branches.

It is also important to shovel or plow your driveway and keep it free of ice. Safety codes prohibit your heating oil company from parking an oil truck on an incline unless it is perfectly dry.

Marking the edges of your driveway makes it easier for delivery drivers to navigate. Remember, just because you can get your car down your driveway doesn’t mean a 15-ton heating oil truck can make it, too.

If you have any questions about deliveries or your oil storage tank system, please reach out to your local heating oil company.

And if you’re thinking about replacing your oil storage tank, read about your options here.

Should I Repair or Replace My Home Heating System?

Guidelines to Help You Decide

heating system service wisconsinMuch like your car, regular preventive maintenance goes a long way in extending the lifespan of your heating oil equipment, whether it’s an oil furnace or oil boiler. But even the best-maintained heating equipment eventually wears out.

You will then reach a point where repairs will cost more than they’re worth since an old furnace or boiler will continue to have low fuel efficiency – along with poor performance and a greater chance for further breakdown.

How To Decide Whether To Fix Your Heater

So how do you determine whether to repair or replace your home heating oil system? Here are some guidelines.

  1. The age of your heating system – If your heating system is more than 15 years old, you should consider replacing it soon. It’s better to invest your money into a new high-efficiency system with the latest technology– which will lower your annual fuel costs– rather than putting your money into an aging system with worn parts prone to failure.
  2. Compare repair and replacement costs – A new oil furnace or oil-powered boiler represents a significant investment for your home. But repair costs can be high, too – and with a repair, you have to consider the possibility of the problem happening again in the future. Here’s a rule of thumb: if your heating system repair exceeds 50% of replacement costs – especially on an older unit – you should probably replace it.
  3. Consider system efficiency – Old heating systems burn more fuel because of their inefficiencies, which means you’ll get higher bills. An old heating unit could have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of less than 70%. A replacement model can be 85% efficient or higher.
  4. Consider Wisconsin heating oil equipment rebates – Current rebates for energy-efficient heating systems could save you hundreds of dollars on new equipment – perhaps enough to tip the scales in favor of replacement. Read more.

Ensure a Proper Installation

Once you have selected a new system, your heating oil service expert will install it the right way. This requires skilled technicians with specialized training. The bottom line: installing a new heating system will increase energy efficiency and save you money, as long as the boiler or furnace is sized and installed correctly.


You can expect to reduce your annual fuel expenses by 20% or more—depending on the age and efficiency of your current system—not to mention virtually eliminating high repair bills, with a replacement system.

A new heating oil system is also a green choice. Emissions from an old system can be significantly reduced by upgrading to a high-efficiency heating oil system. Today’s heating oil systems are efficient and their emissions are negligible. Advances include systems with reduced fuel-firing rates. Plus, today’s greater use of Bioheat® fuel is reducing emissions even further.

Don’t wait until your heating system fails on the coldest day next winter! Start doing your research now.

Energy Saving Tips for Spring

Little Changes Can Add Up to Big Savings

home energy saving wisconsinThese days, everyone is scrambling to find ways to save money. With heating and cooling comprising about 60% of your total home energy expenses, it pays to examine ways you can conserve on your heat and air conditioning.

There are actually many small yet important energy conservation methods that can add up to impressive savings. Let’s take a closer look at some of the steps you can take to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

The key to saving energy and money is improving efficiency! And when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of your heating system, one of the best things you can do is schedule an annual heating system tune-up with your equipment service provider.

Tune-ups (sometimes called “system cleanings”) are typically recommended once a year. Not only do they ensure that your heating oil system is running properly, but this preventive maintenance will also ensure that the system is operating at peak efficiency. In fact, a tune-up can help reduce heating oil usage by up to 10%!

5 Tips for Saving Money on Heating and Cooling

  1. Check your air filter on your heating and cooling system on a regular basis. Be sure to change it if you see that it’s necessary to do so. Talk to your service provider if you need assistance in deciding whether you need a new filter. If you do, your technician can also talk you through the steps of replacing the filter.
  2. Look to your windows. Lock the hot air out and hold the cool air in this summer by sealing windows. You’ll save money in the long run with this step, which you can accomplish with caulk for nonmoving parts and weatherstripping for moveable joints.

    During the cold months, keep curtains and shades open in sun-exposed rooms to absorb all that free heat and solar energy during the day, then close them at night to keep it in at night. Do the reverse in the summer by closing curtains and shades during the day to block solar heat. Smart window treatments can help manage solar energy throughout the year.

  3. If you’re looking for an all-weather, year-round solution, install a smart programmable thermostat. Whether you’re away or just sleeping through the night, one of these devices will help you conserve energy and save on your bills. In fact, a smart programmable thermostat can cut up to 10% from your annual energy usage!

    In the spring and summer, the U.S. Energy Department recommends setting your central air conditioning system to 78°F when you’re at home. Program your A/C system to shut off 20-30 minutes before you leave home each day; return the temperature setting to normal comfort levels 20 to 30 minutes before you come home.

    In the winter, the optimal setting is 68°F when you’re at home. Dial it down toward the 60°F range when you’re asleep or out of the house. The temperatures you ultimately choose will depend on factors like the outdoor temperature and your family’s comfort preferences. Remember, these are just guidelines.

  4. Clear away any unnecessary items in front of your baseboards or vents. Whether there are pieces of furniture in the way, a too-thick rug, or assorted kids’ shoes and toys on the floor, you’ll want this area to be clear in order to make the most of your home’s energy usage. Finally, for safety’s sake, keep the area around your heating system as clean and clutter-free as possible. Never store anything flammable near your system.
  5. Install ceiling fans. Ceiling fans work for your home throughout the year. The circulating air helps keep you and your home cool in the summer. In the winter, reversing the direction of the blades will push down the warm air that’s trapped near the ceiling. That helps you use less heating oil while still keeping your home warm.

To learn about how you can positively impact your home’s energy efficiency through upgrades to systems like heating oil boilers and heating oil furnaces, please go here.