Dupuis Energy
401 Walcott St Pawtucket, RI 02860
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Is Summer Too Early for Furnace Maintenance?

Get your furnace scheduled for a tune-up before the winter snows arrive

Winter heating isn’t the first thing that comes to mind as you’re sweating your way through the summer months. However, summer is the perfect time to think about furnace maintenance. If you don’t get your furnace serviced before winter comes, you can’t be sure if it will do its job, and the last thing you want is to literally be left out in the cold.

Professional Maintenance

Hiring a professional to inspect and maintain your furnace guarantees that a thorough job is performed and your furnace functions as it should. Professional technicians will:

• Clean out dirt from places you can’t see
• Test airflow and how well ducts are sealed
• Check and test the burner and pilot light if your furnace has them
• Inspect and lubricate all moving parts
• Check the flue
• Look over the condition of the furnace and all components including the thermostat and controls
• Test safety, including any potential dangers from carbon monoxide
• Make sure that the temperature is correct in all areas of the house to avoid cold spots

This complete maintenance is not only necessary for older furnaces but for new models as well. If you have to make a warranty claim, you may need to provide the furnace manufacturer with records to show that you’ve had the unit inspected regularly.

Do-It-Yourself Maintenance

There are a few things you should do throughout the year to make sure that your furnace continues to operate well until the next scheduled maintenance visit. Inspecting and changing the filter on a regular basis ensures efficiency and keeps the circulating air clean. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to monitor levels just in case something goes wrong. While that’s monitoring the air, you should monitor the furnace for any strange noises, unnaturally short cycles or the presence of accumulating soot. Any of these could be signs of a more serious problem that requires professional intervention.

When and How to Schedule

Don’t wait to schedule furnace maintenance. The best time to have a professional check out your furnace is late summer or early fall before there’s any chance of truly cold weather. This gives technicians enough time to do a thorough inspection and make any necessary repairs. All you have to do is contact your local energy company and set up an annual maintenance visit.

In the MA and RI areas, winter months can be brutal. Dupuis Energy can provide the routine maintenance that your furnace needs to stay in top shape during the cold weather. Visit our website or give us a call today to set up a regular service schedule.

What’s the Deal With All Those AC Efficiency Ratings?

Understand efficiency ratings to make wallet-friendly AC choices

There’s no doubt that keeping your home cool all summer long is one of your top priorities. Of course, you’re also concerned about how much cooling your home is going to cost. Spending time to look at efficiency ratings before you buy your next HVAC unit can help you save money while enjoying the best in comfort. Remember that it’s important to work with heating and cooling pros who can help you choose the best system for your home.

Common AC Efficiency Ratings

One of the easiest ways to save on your summer cooling costs is to pay close attention to efficiency ratings before buying a new AC unit. All household AC units on sale in the U.S. are labeled with special efficiency ratings. Remember that portable units are generally not given the same types of ratings.

The two efficiency ratings that you’re most likely to see while shopping for a new cooling unit are:

• SEER: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio is a measure of how much cooling potential a unit produces in relationship to the amount of energy it uses. Look for units with a SEER rating of at least 16 to maximize savings.

• EER: The energy efficiency ratio is used to measure the cooling efficiency of heat pumps. Look for an EER rating of at least 10 to maximize savings.

You can also look for the ENERGY STAR label, which is given to products that meet stringent efficiency requirements. A wide variety of household and commercial appliances are awarded ENERGY STAR ratings. Try to replace older appliances with ENERGY STAR appliances when possible to ensure savings in every room of your home.

Choosing the Right Unit for Your Needs

Homeowners throughout MA and RI can ensure the best in comfort and energy savings by paying close attention to efficiency ratings. However, it’s important to pay attention to other factors when buying a new AC unit. Be sure to consider all of the following:

• Sizing: You’ll need to calculate the total square footage of the area you need to cool in order to determine the size of the cooling unit you need for your home. An HVAC professional can help make sizing calculations.

• BTU Ratings: Once you know how many square feet of space you need to cool, you’ll need to look for a unit with enough BTUs to efficiently cool your space. Ask your HVAC tech for help.

• System Type: You’ll need to choose between central air and ductless systems if you’re replacing your whole HVAC system.

Making smart HVAC purchasing decisions is essential to ensuring your comfort while staying in budget. Contact the friendly pros at Dupuis Energy today to learn more about your cooling options.

Schedule AC Services to Save Big

In contrast to paying a fortune for AC repairs and replacements, regular maintenance services are a great investment.

If AC maintenance isn’t topping your list of priorities, you aren’t alone. While many of us don’t blink an eye when paying for oil changes, plumbing checkups and seasonal home inspections, we aren’t so quick to treat our HVAC systems the same way. In fact, most of us wait until breakdowns or serious service outages before we pick up the phone to call in the professionals. As a result, we often end up with a large repair bill, which only reinforces the common belief that servicing air conditioners isn’t affordable for those of us on a tight budget. In reality, regular AC maintenance is one of the best ways to cut down on long-term household expenses. Here are three good reasons why it’s a smart buy:

Better Efficiency

If your energy bills are on the high side, a lagging AC system could be the culprit. Units that aren’t working at top efficiency use more energy and need more time to circulate the same amount of air as units that are in perfect shape. Scheduling maintenance checks and buying low-cost replacement parts to keep your air conditioner in great condition pays off over time in the form of lower monthly bills.

Improved Air Quality

Since you can’t see air, you just don’t know if your home’s indoor air quality is up to par. As a result of improper ventilation or outdated AC parts and dirty filters, the air your family is breathing can be full of pollutants, mold spores and other irritants. With access to special equipment, a professional can tell you whether you should be concerned. To cut down on extra expenses in between appointments, keep up with frequent filter changes. To find out how often your unit’s filter needs to be changed, check the manufacturer’s user manual. In the meantime, head over to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to learn more about the importance of monitoring indoor air quality.

Longer Lifespan

What can be worse than dealing with an inefficient AC system? Replacing it altogether when buying a new AC isn’t what you had in mind for your savings account. Whether you have a built-in system or a portable unit, buying an air conditioner is always a big expense. By servicing the system you already have on a regular basis, you can significantly extend its lifespan and get a heads-up from a professional on when you can expect to need a complete replacement.

Need help getting started with AC maintenance? Contact Dupuis Energy today for more information about our budget-friendly service plans in MA and RI.

How to Choose the Most Efficient AC Unit for Your Home

Staying cool with smart selection strategies

It’s not like picking out a new lawn mower. You’re investing a sizable portion of the household budget in air conditioning equipment that will affect home energy costs for years to come. Dependable performance tops the list of requirements, but how do you factor in energy ratios, tonnage and heat load calculations? Understanding the terminology makes it easier to develop smart AC selection strategies.

Know Your Ratings

You have an advantage today that wasn’t always available to homeowners facing big decisions. The Energy Star standard was established in 1992 for measuring consumer product energy efficiency. This standard rates AC models by their seasonal energy efficiency ratio. SEER tells you the amount of energy needed to produce specific cooling relative to energy consumption. The minimum rating is 13, and units with high SEER numbers usually come with bigger price tags. You need to weigh that cost difference against energy savings over the lifetime of your new air conditioner.

Size Up Tonnage

Bigger isn’t always better when you’re choosing a new air conditioning system, but a smaller, less expensive model isn’t always a money saver. That huge AC quickly cools down your home, but the fast temperature drop results in short-cycling that’s hard on equipment life. An over-sized unit doesn’t handle humidity well, and that underperformance drives up monthly cooling costs. If your air conditioner is too small, it runs constantly in order to keep the house comfortable. As a general rule, you need 1 ton of air conditioning per 500 square feet of floor space.

Consider the Variables

Ratings and ratios are important, but consider more than the numbers. Does your home sport a brick or vinyl exterior? Stone facades handle heat better than synthetics and wood, but heavy insulation gives both materials an advantage. How many and what types of doors and windows expose the house to summer sunlight? Are they shaded by large trees? Your HVAC professional factors all these variables into a heat load calculation that accurately measures heat coming into the house, and this information helps determine the most energy-efficient AC choice for your home.

With a little research, you can develop smart strategies for choosing the best AC unit, but it helps to have professionals on your side. Here at Dupuis Energy, we take care of MA and RI homeowners with more than 115 years of experience, and we’re always happy to answer your questions. Contact us today so you won’t have to sweat the big decisions.