Bioheat® Fuel Vs. Traditional Heating Oil

Why Is Bioheat Fuel Better?

bioheat made in wisconsin Bioheat® fuel is one of the best ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the environment without sacrificing comfort or needing to undertake expensive, disruptive equipment replacements.

Bioheat fuel operates under the same principle as traditional heating oil. That’s why you can use it in existing home heating fuel systems without any modifications to your current heating equipment. But here’s the key difference: Bioheat fuel represents an enhanced eco-friendly alternative to conventional heating fuel.

You also don’t lose any heating power with Bioheat fuel. On the contrary, it burns much more efficiently, reducing heating system maintenance, improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. And it has the highest Btu content of any alternative fuel!

Renewable Biodiesel

Bioheat fuel is a blend of renewable biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur heating oil. Biodiesel is a gallon-for-gallon replacement for petroleum fuel. Biodiesel is made from organic and recycled ingredients like:

  • used cooking oil
  • animal fats
  • inedible corn oil
  • soybean oil
  • canola oil
  • algae

Bioheat Fuel and Lower Emissions

Blended with ultra-low-sulfur heating oil, biodiesel is an excellent and practical way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Biodiesel is considered a biogenic fuel that eliminates carbon output. By contrast, when traditional fossil fuels that do not contain biodiesel are burned, they take carbon that was stored in soil and put 100% of that carbon into the atmosphere.

In contrast, the combustion of biofuels and other biogenic energy sources recycles carbon-dioxide emissions through renewable plant materials and other biomass feedstocks.

Bioheat fuel cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions significantly because biodiesel achieves emissions reductions of at least 50% compared to petroleum. Using Bioheat fuel instead of traditional heating oil means reductions not only in carbon dioxide, but in sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and mercury.

The production process for Bioheat fuel has many benefits. It diverts waste products from landfills and puts them to good use. It also supports American farmers and biodiesel producers.

The production process puts excess oil and fats to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel.

Biodiesel (biofuel) is now being produced at more than 125 production plants around the country. Today, these facilities produce about three billion gallons of biodiesel each year.

Biofuel production isn’t just about achieving a cleaner environment. It’s about building a stronger economy too. The biodiesel industry supports nearly 60,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in GDP, household income and tax revenues.

From Farm Waste to Biofuel—Right in Wisconsin

Right here in Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has partnered with biogas partner Agra Energy to build a first-of-its kind commercial facility that will turn dairy farm waste into renewable biofuel.

The $20 million facility, located at Dairyland Farm in New Franken, will use advanced technology to convert biogas waste into an estimated 750,000 gallons of renewable diesel and jet fuel annually.

Wisconsin is the ideal place for a facility to turn dairy manure into energy because it has an abundance of dairy farms.

UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said the initiative is in line with the university’s larger sustainability goals, which includes becoming carbon-neutral by 2030.

We want to be at the cutting edge of helping produce technologies that will move us away from the traditional fossil fuels,” Leavitt said.

Read more about Bioheat fuel.


Can Heating Oil Spoil in My Tank?

Heating Oil Lasts Much Longer than Gasoline

heating oil expiration wisconsin If you ended the season with plenty of heating oil in your tank, you may be wondering if your fuel will still be good when you turn your oil boiler or oil furnace on again in the fall.

No worries. Your heating oil will be fine. The average life span of home heating oil ranges between 18 and 24 months. In comparison, regular gasoline only has a shelf life of three to six months.
However, if you ended winter with a near-empty tank (a quarter full or less), you should get a fill-up as soon as possible. Here’s why.

A lot of empty space inside your oil tank causes trouble. It’s best to keep your tank at least half-full (preferably more) during the warm months.

Condensation is the reason for the trouble. Empty space in your tank is space where water condensation can form. Condensation is more common during the summer. Hot, humid days and cool nights create the perfect atmosphere for condensation buildup to accelerate inside your tank. And if your tank is aboveground, outdoors and in an unshaded area, it’s especially prone to condensation.

What Happens After Oil Tank Condensation

After water forms on the bare walls on the empty area of the tank, it drips down and sinks to the bottom of the tank because it is denser than heating oil. There, it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms. Over time, these become sediment that can create problems with your oil tank. One problem is that sediment, also known as sludge, can get into your fuel lines and clog them up. This will cause your heating oil system to shut down.

Keeping your heating oil tank full during the summer months prolongs its life. That’s because the same condensation that results in sludge can also corrode your tank from the inside out – a big problem that could be difficult to see coming and costly to remediate.

More Benefits of Filling Your Heating Oil Tank Now

Knowing you’re protecting your investment in a heating oil tank should give you plenty of motivation to get a summer fill. But there are other benefits to filling your heating oil tank now, rather than later.

  • A full oil tank guarantees you’ll have fuel for your heating oil system on hand when you need it. Cold weather can sneak up on us, so don’t be caught without enough heating oil to get you through the first surprise cold snap next fall.
  • You’ll have more flexibility for scheduling a home heating oil delivery at your convenience now, rather than waiting until fall to order fuel—when everyone else gets around to doing that. You don’t want to be delaying until the last minute and having to schedule an inconvenient – and more expensive – emergency heating oil delivery.

If you call for your fuel, reach out to your local Wisconsin heating oil provider to schedule a heating oil delivery soon. After that, you can get back to enjoying some warm weather fun without worrying about your heating oil tank—or the heating oil inside of it.

What Maintenance Does a Water Heater Need?

Regular Maintenance Extends Equipment Life

water heater tune up wisconsin Did you know that the life span of the most common water heater—units with a storage tank—can vary greatly, anywhere from 7 to 13 years.

How long your storage tank water heater lasts depends on a number of factors, including the temperature of the water you set for the tank, the volume of water used, the overall quality of the water heater model, and perhaps most importantly, the water quality. In Wisconsin, you may have to contend with “hard water,” which means your domestic water has a high amount of mineral content. Read more about hard water in the Madison area.

To head off any problems, especially if you have hard water, it’s a wise idea to call on an experienced heating oil technician to flush out your oil-powered hot water storage tank once a year. This procedure will remove sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank. This sediment is caused by the build-up of minerals. Your technician can also check the condition of the anode rod, which generally lasts from 3-5 years.

What Is an Anode Rod?

Storage tank water heaters contain many parts and components, including a long metal anode rod, which extends the life of your water heater by preventing corrosion from building up inside your tank.

Usually made of magnesium or aluminum, the anode rod does its job through a process called electrolysis. The metals in the anode rod attract ions that normally would cause rust in iron and steel. But instead, these ions latch on to the anode rod and as a result, cause it to degrade over time. Without the anode rod, your water heater could rust out in just a few years. That’s why it’s so important to replace the anode rod after it degrades.

Are There Any Oil-Fired Water Heating Options?

Yes. A direct-fired water heater is the most common type, with a dedicated burner inside to heat water that is stored in a tank. As you use the water in the tank, the supply of hot water is constantly replenished.

On the other hand, an indirect-fired water heater uses the burner inside your boiler to heat your tap water. A typical design is a water tank with coiled pipes inside. These coiled pipes connect to your boiler. Hot water from the boiler passes through the coil, which heats up the water surrounding it. Thanks to this design, the boiler water never mixes with the contents of your water heater. Because of this configuration, an indirect-fired water heater is highly efficient and just one example of why heating oil is a leader in efficiency.

How to Tell If Your Water Heater Is Wearing Out

Some telltale signs of a failing water heater tank include higher water heating bills, water stains and unusual noises. If it takes longer to heat water than it used to, or the water doesn’t get as hot, these are also signs that you may be ready for a new water heating unit. A big trouble sign is a slow leak from your tank or rust on the tank or in your tap water. (A water tank rusts from the inside out).

If you think your water heater is failing, please contact a full-service heating oil company for advice.

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.