A: If your heating system isn’t working, call Porco Energy immediately. When a service technician arrives, let him know everything you did to the system before he begins working on it. You should also let him know if anything out of the ordinary happened, like an unusual noise, a strange smell or smoke. In many cases, this will help the technician detect the problem—and get your heat back on again—faster.
A: Heat is generated by burning oil inside the furnace. This happens in the combustion chamber, which gets very hot. Air absorbs this heat in the furnace’s heat exchanger. Next, the blower sends the heated air through a system of ducts, and warm air circulates through the home.
A: The basic heating principle is the same. The difference is that a boiler heats water instead of air. A circulator pumps the hot water through a system of pipes, distributing the water to radiators, baseboards or air handlers throughout the home. Some boilers are designed to create steam, which circulates by means of a system of pipes. The pipes are connected to steam radiators throughout the home.
A: The heat exchanger is the main component of your furnace. If the heat exchanger has a crack or a rust hole, combustion fumes (including carbon monoxide) can contaminate the air in your home. This is a potentially deadly situation and should be addressed IMMEDIATELY. A cracked heat exchanger is not a simple furnace repair; in fact, it usually requires replacing the entire furnace. If you suspect that you might have a cracked heat exchanger or a carbon monoxide problem caused by your furnace, turn the system off immediately. Then call us right away for service.
A: Installing a new furnace with a variable-speed motor is a good solution. These “smart” motors automatically adjust airflow volume and speed based on your home’s temperature requirements. There will be fewer on/off cycles, smaller temperature swings, consistent even heat and lower fuel bills.
A: There are two indicators of efficiency.
1. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE).
All heating equipment manufactured after 1980 is required to have a label indicating its AFUE. The AFUE ratio is a measurement of a heating system’s seasonal efficiency, taking into account how well the system performs over an entire season of starts and stops. Modern heating systems range in efficiency from 81% – 95%. If your system’s AFUE is lower than this range, talk to us about your replacement options.
2. Combustion efficiency.
When we tune up your heating system, we do a combustion efficiency test that tells us how well your burner is converting oil into heat. If your combustion efficiency is below 78, you may want to evaluate your upgrade options, which could include an oil burner retrofit. A new burner will burn the fuel/air mixture in a cleaner, more controlled manner, resulting in lower heating costs and less combustion bi-products going out of your chimney.
1. Turn off your furnace or boiler.
2. Call our office.
All fuel emergency deliveries are subject to an interruption in service charge and a start up fee. It is the customer’s responsibility to contact our office when tanks are reading 1/4 full before a run out, as it may take up to 5 business days to make a delivery.
A: Yes! As long as your heating system is working properly, you should not smell oil in your home. If you do, it means something is WRONG! A heating oil smell could come from a leak, combustion or burner troubles, heat exchanger failure or exhaust system problems. Call us and we’ll come over to correct the problem. If you have a leak, we’ll remove the oil and help get the smell out of your home. If you ever smell oil coming from your vents, call us immediately. That’s an indication of a faulty furnace that may be releasing dangerous gas in your home.
A: Yes; it is nontoxic and a cleaner burning, lower carbon fuel than other petroleum based products such as gasoline or diesel because it burns hotter and more efficiently. As with any other fuel, propane must be handled and stored properly. Propane appliances and systems should always be maintained ans serviced by qualified technicians.
A: In the past there have been no significant disruptions in supplying propane. Approximately 90% of the propane consumed in the United States is produced domestically. Of the remaining 10%, which is imported via pipeline, tanker, boat or transport, a large percentage comes from Canada.
A: The propane gas business is competitive and each company sets its own pricing policy. Most companies price propane gas so that the more you buy per year, the less you pay per unit.
Propane gas prices are usually based on a customer’s estimated annual use. When a customer uses additional propane gas appliances, total consumption and cost increase but the unit cost may be reduced. On the other hand, if gas use decreases, the customer will likely pay a higher price per unit.
Another factor that can determine the price of propane, as with any other fuel, is the cost of acquiring the product from wholesalers. Price fluctuation, as with any fuel, may vary depending on a number of factors. Advance planning by a consumer can help control these costs (i.e., budget plans, fixed price programs, etc.)
A: Normally the propane gas company owns all equipment, including the tanks and regulators. Therefore, the price of propane gas to the customer may include a charge for use and maintaining equipment. For other fuels, the customer owns the equipment and the price covers only the fuel.
A: Propane dealers operate in a competitive marketplace and prices may vary among companies. Transportation costs contribute to geographic variations in price. Companies that provide complete 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week service are usually more expensive than companies that offer limited service hours. Also, a few companies only sell propane and offer no other services. Choose a level of comfort to suit your needs.
A: Some appliances are specifically manufactured to use propane gas. Some may be converted from natural gas to propane use. Mobile or manufactured homes and recreational vehicles must use appliances, such as water heaters and heating equipment, which are approved by the American National Standards Institute for propane use (each appliance should have a manufacturer’s label for its intended use). Also, air intakes are necessary when using propane appliances in these homes, but are not required for standard housing equipment. You can always contact us for more details. An important note: Do not change the air supply to the appliances in your home. Always follow the manufacturers’ guidelines.
A: If you are on automatic delivery, your propane supplier will know when to fill your tank(s). They monitor your consumption and refill your tank accordingly. If you are on will-call delivery, most companies ask you to call your propane supplier to schedule a delivery when your tank gauge is at 30%.
1. Close all propane tank or cylinder supply valves.
2. Call us.
An interruption of your gas supply requires a leak test be performed. This may result in additional charges.
A: In most cases the propane gas company owns the tank and is responsible for inspecting and maintaining it. However, if you own the tank, you are responsible for maintenance. The National Fuel Gas Code requires an inspection every time a delivery is made. The deliverer must check the tank for any surface bulges, leaks or loose fixtures. After certain periods of time, some tanks may require formal recertification. All containers are required to be painted a light, reflective color. All combustible material must be at least five feet away.
A: It is critical that your propane system be kept in good operating condition. This can be done by your propane supplier. There are nationally recognized programs, such as GASCheck, to help ensure your system’s safety. (The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises the use of the GASCheck program.)
First and foremost, you can tell there is a gas leak by the smell. As a protective measure for your safety, a strong odor is added to the propane so that you will easily be able to detect the smell. Make sure your entire family can recognize the odor of propane gas.
Under some conditions, such as when people have colds, allergies or sinus congestion, or there is a presence of strong cooking odors, you may not smell a gas leak; therefore, it is recommended that you install a propane gas/carbon monoxide detector in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Call us for additional information.
A: Take immediate action! If you smell gas in your house, camper, RV, workplace or around any gas equipment:
A: You’ll get longer life from your water heater and prevent breakdowns if you follow these simple guidelines:
A: If you’re like many people, the frustration of an equipment breakdown can make it tempting to solve the problem with a quick fix that doesn’t cost you a lot of money. That way you can get on with your busy life in relative comfort. BUT, while a quick fix may be the least expensive solution in the short run, it may not give you the most value in the long run. It’s a fact of life: Older heating and air conditioning systems are more likely to break down. That means a bigger chance of emergency service calls and repairs—and paying for them. Worse, a heating system breakdown could mean extensive damage to your home. (No heat on a cold winter day can cause your pipes to freeze.)
There’s also an ongoing cost factor. Repairing an old system can only restore it to something less than its original level of efficiency. After you’ve recovered from the furnace repair bill and the frustration of a system breakdown, you’ll still be battling high energy bills. What’s more, even a system that doesn’t break down loses efficiency as it ages. A 15-year-old home heating system doesn’t operate anywhere near the efficiency it had when it was new! Plus, when compared with modern, technologically advanced equipment, 15-year-old heating and cooling systems are considered inefficient by today’s standards. The average homeowner can save up to 40% on heating and cooling costs with new high-efficiency equipment. Here are some rules of thumb to help you decide whether to replace or repair.
Replace your system if:
Repair your system if:
A: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and it indicates the efficiency of air conditioning systems. The higher the SEER number, the more cooling you get per unit of energy. As of January 2006, only units with a SEER of 13 or higher can be sold in the United States. Today’s cooling units are up to 40% more efficient than those made as recently as 10 years ago.
A: It’s never a good idea to mix and match a/c components with different SEERs. You might save money initially by replacing only your outdoor unit with a SEER of 13 or higher (minimum required by January 2006 mandate) SEER compressors and hooking it up to your 10- or 12-SEER system. However, it doesn’t make sense in the long run. It’s like buying a brand-new stereo set and hooking it up to your old antiquated speakers. By pairing components with different SEERS, you’re just not going to get your money’s worth in terms of comfort and efficiency. You’re better off paying a little extra up front because you’ll be saving a lot more over time. At Porco Energy we have the expertise to help you choose the right efficiency system for your home.
A: You bet! We can mount a cooling coil on top of the furnace and install a condensing unit outside. If you’re ready for a new furnace installation, we can recommend energy efficient units that incorporate A/C.
A: Absolutely! Today’s simple ductless air conditioning options make it possible to install a quiet, efficient air conditioning system in your home even if it doesn’t have ductwork. Ductless air conditioning systems consist of one or more indoor air distribution units linked by refrigeration lines to an outdoor compressor. These flexible “refrigeration lines” can be positioned inside your walls and ceilings with a minimum of inconvenience. Installing ductless air conditioning costs a little more than standard central air conditioning systems but much less than the cost of installing ductwork and a central air conditioner.
A: You may not realize it, but many of the air conditioning systems in use today are an endangered species. Soon, the refrigerant we know as Freon (R-22) will no longer be used in a/c systems because it destroys the Earth’s protective ozone layer in the atmosphere. (Ozone protects us from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun.) As of January 2006, cooling system manufacturers were no longer permitted to make systems that use R-22. As of 2010 the production of R-22 was no longer allowed.
A: Air conditioners run on electricity and electricity is the most expensive energy source. Converting fuels like coal or natural gas into electricity is inherently inefficient. What’s more, much of the original electricity generated at the power plant is lost during transmission over power lines. So, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, by the time it reaches your home, electricity is only 33% efficient on average.
A: An air conditioning tune-up and inspection will help catch service problems before they get you hot under the collar. Many breakdowns occur on the hottest day of the year — because that’s when your a/c is under the most stress. And because a tune-up ensures that your system will run at peak efficiency, you’ll lower your electric bills. A system that’s running efficiently can save you as much as 10% on your cooling costs. So give us a call to schedule your annual tune-up service.
A: Absolutely! Every day of the year!
A: It depends on the situation. We do our best to provide emergency service as quickly as possible. Estimated time is calculated on travel distance and other prior emergencies.
A: We use only our own certified technicians to install new heating and air conditioning systems. We never hire subcontractors. Our technicians are the most highly trained in the industry. To use subcontractors would be like taking a step down. Your comfort and our reputation are too important to put in anyone else’s hands.
A: Usually it’s only a matter of one day. We can come out to your home at your convenience. To recommend the right size system for you, we do a lot of calculations. One thing we look at is heat loss, or the amount of heat your home loses in the winter. This is just one way we figure how much Btu “power” your home’s heating system needs.
A: Most of our installations are done in one day though every job is different and some take longer than others.
A: Yes! Heating and air conditioning systems operate for months on end and need regular maintenance—just like your car. Without the regular maintenance of a tune-up, you lose efficiency and money. Annual tune-ups keep your system working at peak efficiency and give our technicians a chance to catch minor problems and signs of wear before they turn into major trouble down the road. An annual tune-up also protects your family by helping prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by ensuring your chimney is drafting properly. In addition, regular maintenance can extend the life of your equipment.
A: The experts at Porco Energy will be happy to come to your home and calculate your heating and cooling “loads.” They will then be able to recommend a system that is the correct size and model to meet your home’s requirements. Please call us for more details.
A: As much as we would like to help, our first priority is always to take care of our own customers. Providing our customers with fast, high-quality service (especially in an emergency) is what we are all about. We can’t do this if our technicians are chasing calls at all points on the compass to take care of our competitors’ customers because our competitors can’t. If you buy your fuel from us, however, it will create an obligation on our part to provide you with quality service.
A: Yes. It is now common practice for any company that grants credit to request a credit application from customers.
A: A delivery ticket is not required. Within five days after delivery we must provide a written statements that includes:
* The delivery ticket need not include the total price if, within five days after delivery, the propane gas company provides the consumer with a written statement that includes all of the above information and the total price.
** Unless billing address is different from delivery address, in which case the price per unit will be provided to the billing address.
A: New York State offers a variety of programs to help its residents identify the many ways they can save on fuel bills. Two programs that may be of special interest to propane gas customers are listed below:
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP):
This federally funded program may be able to help with propane gas bills, repairs and replacement of your appliances.Using propane gas as a heating fuel will not affect your eligibility for this program.
You are probably eligible for HEAP if you receive:
For more information about HEAP if you are under age 60, contact your local Social Services Department, Community Action Office or Economic Opportunity Office at 1-800-342-3009. If you are 60 or over, or disabled, apply in person or by mail at your local Office for the Aging or call the State Office for the Aging toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-9871.
The Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income households reduce their energy bills by providing weatherization services such as caulking, weatherstripping and insulation at no cost with a maximum assistance cap of $4,500. To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 60 percent of the State’s median income or below 150 percent of the State’s poverty level.