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Heating Equipment Options | ENERGY STAR® | Conservation Tips | FAQs

Upgrade and Save with Your NC Oilheat Dealer

RE-Agent-Guide.pngHomeowner-Guide.pngThe verdict is in: modern Oilheat equipment is more reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly than ever. Thus, North Carolina homeowners can save as much as 40 percent on their annual fuel costs by upgrading to high-efficiency Oilheat equipment. And most importantly, you can reduce your expenses while actually increasing your comfort level. That’s because Oilheat technology has advanced incredibly over the past decade, with innovations such as the oil-condensing furnace driving home heating to new heights of efficiency and performance.

Systems like the Thermo Pride Oil Condensing Furnace can achieve best-in-class annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings of 96 percent or higher, meaning that 96 percent of the fuel burned by this system is turned directly into warmth for your home. This model and many other modern Oilheat systems have achieved the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® label, indicating that they have been tested to pass high-efficiency standards without sacrificing performance. That’s what you can expect from an upgraded Oilheat system. 

With an NC Oilheat dealer installing your new equipment, you can also count on a job done right. NC Oilheat technicians attend NORA classes, as well as manufacturer training courses, in order to attain the knowledge and skills necessary to install and configure high-tech Oilheat systems in a way that achieves optimum performance and efficiency. This translates to maximum comfort and savings for you and your family. In fact, contracting an NC Oilheat dealer for a heating system upgrade opens the door to numerous state and manufacturer rebates.

Here are just a few of the rebate programs in which NC Oilheat dealers are participating for 2016-2017:

If you’re looking to make your home warmer and more efficient, then find and contact an NC Oilheat dealer near you. Even if your home heating system isn’t due for an upgrade, an annual tune-up can reduce your energy expenses by up to 10 percent, and many NC Oilheat dealers offer them as part of their value-added service plans


Heating Equipment Options

Deciding on the right equipment is essential for perfect home comfort. So when it's time for a new system, your NC Oilheat dealer will want to review your home, needs, and budget to determine what equipment is best for you. Here are some situations that might warrant considering a new system or upgrade:

Size of home and family

Obviously, it is necessary to know the size of the property to figure out how much heat is needed. Certain home sizes or styles have an ideal heating system match, and your provider needs to know how many people will be depending on this system.

Pattern of hot water usage in the home (showers, cooking, laundry, etc.)

This is especially important when a new water heater is being considered. The number of people in the house, and their hot water usage, must be analyzed. When are showers taken, and for how long? What time of day is most of the laundry and cooking done? This information will make it easier for your home comfort specialist to find equipment that satisfies your particular family's schedules.

New additions and other renovations

Even with each season's unpredictable weather, your family does develop a home heating pattern. However, a major change in your home can affect this pattern. If you are planning a new addition or major renovation, tell your service provider.

Allergies and poor indoor air quality

No one likes constant sneezing or sniffling as a direct effect of seasonal allergies. Allergies and other respiratory problems may be exacerbated by dry indoor air. Dry air can reduce your heating system’s efficiency and effectiveness: as moisture from indoor air evaporates, the temperature falls, causing you to turn up the heat and, therefore, use extra energy. Installing a humidifier can improve your home’s air quality and help you conserve energy.

Not enough hot water or uneven heating throughout the home

Everyone wants plenty of hot water and even heating throughout the home for all-around comfort. As much as half of the energy you use goes to cool and heat your home, so why burn money – literally – when you can choose a clean, quiet, dependable, new heating system. If there are heating problems, please make sure that your home comfort provider knows about them so that they can be solved.


Energy Star®


ENERGY STAR® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

Results are already adding up. 
As of December 2013, families and businesses have saved approximately $295 billion on their utility bills and prevented more than 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the past two decades.

ENERGY STAR® helps you make the energy efficient choice.
If looking for new household products, look for ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR®. They meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy. If looking for a new home, look for one that has earned the ENERGY STAR®.

If looking to make larger improvements to your home, EPA offers tools and resources to help you plan and undertake projects to reduce your energy bills and improve home comfort.

Did you know that if just 1-in-10 households purchased ENERGY STAR® equipment, over 17 billion pounds of pollution would be removed from the air?

ENERGY STAR® products can help you save hundreds of dollars per year.
Upgrading to an ENERGY STAR® rated oil-fired furnace or boiler, you can reduce heating bills by almost 30 percent!

When you choose heating equipment that carries the ENERGY STAR®, you're creating a better environment both inside and outside your home. You'll be saving energy and money today - and helping to save the planet for future generations.

Conservation Tips

When it comes to energy savings, conservation is most important. There are many ways that you can conserve energy, that are fast and easy to implement. Here are some conservation tips for all seasons and all types of weather.

Conservation Tips for Cold Weather

  • Sunshine! Windows on the south side of the house get the most sunlight. Eastern windows get sunlight in the morning. West facing windows receive sunlight in the afternoon. Open shades and drapes during the daytime to let the sun’s warmth enter your home, and close when the sun goes down.
  • Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors when not in use.
  • Remove air conditioning window units, or cover them well.
  • Keep radiators free of dust for top efficiency.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much as 10 percent a year on their heating and cooling bills by simply turning the thermostat back by 10 to 15 degrees.
  • Wrap your pipes, to guard against heat loss and prevent them from freezing.
  • Avoid using space heaters. They're expensive to operate, and can be dangerous, too.
  • Check your threshold for any gaps between it and the door. Use a bottom seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door — it should brush up against the floor to seal up the threshold. It virtually stops drafts.
  • Get a heating system tune-up — it’ll ensure you get maximum performance from every drop of heating oil burned.
  • Make sure you have good insulation on exterior walls, ceilings with cold spaces above, and floors with cold spaces below.
  • Change the windows. Consider new low-emissivity glass, which will decrease radiant heat loss without lowering visibility.
  • Upgrade your oil burner — a modern burner can cut costs by 15 percent.

Conservation Tips for Warm Weather

  • Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
  • Move furniture away from air conditioning vents. Plant shade trees due west of west windows. It could reduce your air conditioning bills by up to 25 percent!
  • Cook on the grill to keep cooking heat outside the home.
  • When cooking inside, use a microwave instead of a conventional oven. It uses less than half the power and cooks food in about one-fourth the time.
  • Install reflective window coatings to reflect heat away from your home.
  • Use ceiling fans to cool your home — they’re much cheaper to operate than air conditioners, and moving air feels cooler, so you can keep your thermostat setting higher.
  • 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.
  • Change or clean your air conditioning filter monthly during cooling season to improve efficiency and the life of your air conditioner.
  • Whenever possible, hang your laundry outdoors to dry.
  • Install patio covers, awnings, and solar window screens to shade your home from the sun. 
  • Keep the coils of your central or window air conditioner free of dust and dirt.

Year-Round Conservation Tips

  • Use compact fluorescent lights. They last up to 10 - 13 times longer than standard bulbs and use 75 percent less energy.
  • Install dimmer switches. In addition to enhancing the mood, they'll extend the life of your bulbs and help you save up to 60 percent on your lighting costs.
  • Lower the temperature of your water heater from 140° to 120°. You'll save 3 percent -5 percent in water heating costs for each 10° reduction. Or consider a timer to turn your water heater off when not in use.
  • Don't keep your refrigerator or freezer too cold. Recommended temperatures are 37° to 40°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer.
  • Don't leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30 percent of the air inside can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
  • Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it's faster and it uses less energy.
  • Air-dry dishes. Also, avoid using the heat-dry, rinse-hold and pre-rinse features.
  • Choose a high-efficiency clothes washer and dryer. High-efficiency washers use half the water of standard models. High-efficiency dryers can save up to 30 percent in energy over standard models.
  • Defrost food before cooking — you could save 30 percent to 50 percent on cooking costs. And pre-heat your oven only for baking.
  • Install water-conserving fixtures, such as showerheads, faucets and toilets.
  • Fix leaky faucets, especially hot water faucets. One drop per second can add up to 165 gallons per month — more than a person uses in two weeks.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. When properly used, it could save as much as $100 or more off your annual heating bills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Technical Questions

What kinds of oil heating systems are available?
Today’s versatile oil heat systems can heat with water, steam or warm air. Additionally, a boiler can dispense hot air through the home by using hydro-air. Thus, any oil heating system is compatible with air conditioning. Oil heat is also a terrific option if you are interested in radiant heat.

Can I determine the age and life expectancies for a heating system?
One way to determine a system’s age is by checking the serial number; the date of manufacture is sometimes “hidden” within the serial number. Look for labels and tags near the unit. It’s possible that the installer tagged the system with the date of installation. 

As far as longevity is concerned, oil-fired boilers and furnaces easily provide 20 years of service if properly maintained and serviced. Many of these units last even longer, providing quality service to the homeowner for many years

Do I need a chimney for oil heat systems?
Some new systems do not require chimneys, they vent directly. In fact, the newest trend is to put the boiler outside of your home, or to combine a furnace and an air conditioner, and have that unit outside.

What is the future of heating equipment?
Oil heat equipment manufacturers have made the most dramatic advances for Intelligent Warmth. New oil-powered equipment is significantly cleaner burning and more efficient than it was thirty years ago. We have also increased reliability, thereby increasing maintenance intervals from one year, to as long as three years for new equipment. Manufacturers are hard at work in their research laboratories today on technological improvements that will make oil heat even cleaner, more efficient, more reliable, and even easier on the environment. 

What is the AFUE number on the yellow sticker on my appliance mean?
AFUE is an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. AFUE is a statistic used by the Department of Energy to measure how much heat stays in the system versus how much escapes up the chimney. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. However, AFUE test procedures have some problems. The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) is now conducting a study to determine how much energy is really used to keep your home warm and to keep plenty of hot water flowing for a normal family. We believe that this will revolutionize how Americans make appliance purchases. 

How does an oil burner work?
Heating oil in liquid form must be turned into vapor and mixed with air before it can burn. The oil pump lifts the oil from the storage tank, pressurizes it and delivers it to the burner’s nozzle that sprays the oil in a fine mist of small droplets. This process is call atomizing. These droplets are mixed with air and then ignited by a spark from the burner’s ignition system.

The flame from the oil burner heats the air in a heat exchanger inside the boiler or furnace. On one side of the metal is the flame, and on the other is the water or air that circulates in the house. All of the emissions from the oil flame (mostly nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide) are sent up the chimney.

Oil Heat And My Home

Which is the best way to heat my home?
Home heating fuel consumers tend to report high levels of satisfaction with all aspects of heating fuel that were measured including: Safe, Clean, Accessible, Fast service, Local, Efficient, Convenient, Dependable, and Reliable.

Prices of energy vary from market to market and at different times of the year. The Consumer Energy Council conducted a study to determine the best ways for consumers to save energy in their home and they found that changing fuel sources was not effective. If you want more information on this, and how best to save dollars, you can visit the Consumer Energy Council website.

Is oil heat clean?
Cleanliness is an important oil heat improvement. Today’s oil heat is 95 percent cleaner than it was in 1970. When properly adjusted and maintained, new oil heat systems create absolutely no soot, dirt, or odors in the home. It’s the intelligent warmth.

Has oil heat improved, and what is its impact on the environment?
Over the last three decades, oil heat equipment has improved its environmental performance. Before the development of the modern oil burners, the emissions of particulate matter from an oil heat system were 10 pounds per 1000 gallons burned, or .1 percent. Today’s oil heat has significantly lowered its emissions. Now, only 7 ounces is released for every thousand gallons burned, or .006 percent.

How can I take advantage of oil heat, or get it in my home?
Oil heat can be installed into any home and be easily combined with air-conditioning. If you don’t currently have oil heat, using oil heat should not be a problem. It will require the installation of a tank, which may be installed inside, outside or outside underground. The furnace or boiler may be installed either inside or outside depending on the space in your home, and what works best for you. The most important step is to find a local oil heat dealer who can work with you to ensure that the oil heating system you install will meet the needs of you and your family.

What is the average consumption of a household?
The oil heat industry has made great progress with energy conservation. In 1978 the average American home burned 1,297 gallons per year. In 2005, the average North Carolina home used 400 gallons of home heating oil. This is a 69 percent decrease per NC household! A new system offers exceptional efficiency – you could save up to 25 percent or more in heating and hot water costs.

How reliable are new oil heat systems?
New oil heat system components are amazingly reliable. They are so reliable most manufacturers offer 3 to 5 year warranties, and if something ever fails it is easy to get replacement parts thanks to oil heat’s standardized interchangeable parts.

Service Issues

What is the difference between “automatic” delivery and “will call”?
“Automatic” delivery means that an oil heat dealer will automatically determine when a customer needs fuel by using degree day monitoring. The customer does not need to place a call to the dealer for a delivery. The dealer will automatically deliver fuel on a regular basis and the customer is assured of never running out of fuel.

“Will-call” means that a customer will monitor their own consumption and “will call” the dealer when a delivery is needed.

How long does a tune-up take?
A complete professional tune-up generally takes from one to two hours. It typically includes a series of safety and operating tests and any needed adjustments. These include, among many others, testing the draft, the stack temperature, burner operation and system efficiency.

What is the reset button and why should I only press it once?
Primary controls have a reset button. This button allows the homeowner to restart the burner should a problem cause the unit to shut down. (For example, burners may need to be restarted after a power outage.) Pushing the reset button should get the burner running, but if the safety switch shuts the burner down again, the homeowner should call for service. Homeowners should NEVER push the reset button more than once because it might cause excess oil to be pumped into the combustion chamber. This will result in a lengthy and costly repair.

Who should service my heating unit?
The NORA Oilheat Technician Certification Program provides a national standard for Technician Training. It gives credibility and recognition to Master Technicians. It encourages Technicians to become perpetual students by requiring Continuing Education. It builds upon and supplements existing education programs. It gives oil heat companies who invest in education for their Technicians a way to differentiate themselves from those companies that do not. Currently, there are over 10,000 NORA certified technicians.

The diagnostic tools technicians use have also improved dramatically. Our new digital test equipment gives technicians the information they need to maximize a system’s safety, efficiency, and reliability. 

Technicians have wireless communications and some have handheld computer terminals that allow them to access the main computer data bank to assist them in troubleshooting and speedy repair service.

Oil Tank Issues

What should I look for in a tank installation and maintenance?
A professional should install it. Tank installation is NOT a do-it-yourself weekend project.

Have it inspected periodically. This can be done during your oil burner preventive maintenance check. The service personnel should look around the tank; inspect the fittings, the area the tank is in, and the tank itself.

You should ensure that the tank is away from debris and bushes, and metal objects should not be leaned on the tank. Also, if there is a smell of oil from the tank, bring it to the attention of your oil heat dealer. If a tank is corroding from the inside out, smells and small wet spots can indicate the tank is beginning to fail.

When is it time to replace my oil tank?
Home heating oil tanks last a long time. They are made of high-grade steel, fiberglass, or sometimes double wall tanks of plastic and steel, and can last for decades. Maintenance of the tanks and inspections prolong the life of the tank. You should talk with your oil heat retailer about the potential need to replace your tank. He can provide advice on how to evaluate the tank, and replacement options.

What causes tank failure?
The answer is corrosion. Corrosion is a natural process. It is essentially rust. Corrosion can only occur in the presence of water. That is why it is very important to protect the tank from exposure to water inside the tank. An outside tank does not have to be protected from rain, but it should be painted, and inspected to ensure that any rusting is only on the surface.

Is it normal for my oil tank to give off an odor?
No, a properly functioning oil tank should not produce odors. If you notice an oil smell in the building it may be a sign that there is a problem with your tank, the piping or your heating appliance. You should contact your oil dealer about this.