Dupuis Energy
401 Walcott St Pawtucket, RI 02860
(800) 322-5025

5 Little Known Factors That Can Affect Your Power Bill

Keeping energy consumption as efficient as possible helps keep your energy bills low. Many factors contribute to your overall energy use, and fluctuations in these variables can amount to hundreds of dollars in your energy bill. Consider these strategies to optimize your energy consumption and lower your costs.

“Ghost Loads” Steal Power

Anything connected to an electrical outlet is capable of draining small amounts of current when not in use. Most notorious are power converters that change AC power to DC, electronic recording equipment, televisions, cable or satellite receiver boxes and battery chargers for portable tools.

Follow these steps to reduce or eliminate waste through ghost loads:
1.    Buy an inexpensive watt-hour meter and take readings from each idle item that uses electricity. Determine what to do by the reading you get. Test extension cords, too, and replace those that are leaking.
2.    Cluster electronic equipment so that everything in the cluster can be plugged in to one heavy-duty power strip with an “On/Off” switch.
3.    With the exception of AC/DC converters that provide instantaneous power for critical services, such as lift chairs for persons with disabilities, unplug any that feel warm to the touch.

The Time of Day Power Is Used Makes a Difference on Your Bill

In many states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, power companies charge more for usage during the hours that electricity is in highest demand. If you live in MA or RI, get a copy of your power company’s rate schedule and make adjustments accordingly.

Simple changes in daily routines can make big differences. For example, perhaps you can do laundry in the late evening or on weekends. Playing video games, washing dishes, taking showers or baths, and using hair dryers or power tools are other activities that might be easy to reschedule to off-peak hours.

Routine Appliance Maintenance Reduces Power Bills

Appliances that are well maintained run efficiently and use less power than those that are hindered by lack of the lubrication or cleaning needed to keep all parts working freely. Often, maintenance of hot water heaters is totally neglected. Review the owner’s manual and follow instructions carefully.

Attitudes and Habits Affect Monthly Bills

Careful attention to efficient use of all conveniences in your home can make big differences in your power bill. Shutting off lights, closing windows and doors, and choosing quickly when you open the refrigerator door are examples of actions you can take.

Pay attention to water, too. If you have a lackadaisical attitude toward controlling the temperature, flow and use of water, especially hot water, your attitude will show on your bill.

Air or Power Leaks Cost Money

Whether it is a refrigerator gasket that doesn’t seal, a house that lets air in around the doors and windows, or an underground electrical cable that leaks power through cracked insulation, energy leaks cause power bills to climb. An energy professional can help you identify and resolve these issues.

Help is Available to MA and RI Residents

Dupois Oil, located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provides power-saving services to homeowners and building managers throughout most of Rhode Island as well as in southeastern Massachusetts. To learn how we can help, browse our web site.

Behind the Scenes of a Heating System Tuneup

Everything You’ve Always Wondered About a Heating System Tune-up But Didn’t Know Who to Ask

Okay, so you may not have put much time and thought into the annual tune-up, but now that we’ve got you thinking about it … what exactly happens during an annual heating system tuneup?

First, it helps to know the basics of how your heating system works. For both oil and natural gas heating systems, fuel and air are mixed in a combustion chamber and then ignited, which heats a sealed chamber. Fresh air blows across the hot chamber, where it is heated and forced through heating ducts. The dangerous exhaust is vented out of the combustion chamber through a chimney.

Annual servicing of your heating system is inexpensive, especially when you consider that a clean heating system lowers your fuel expenses and prolongs the life of your furnace. It’s especially affordable when you compare it to the cost of replacing the furnace! But what does the technician actually do?

After shutting down the system for safety, the technician will clean the combustion chamber, where soot buildup can cause the walls of the chamber to corrode. A special wire brush is used to scrape off build-up, which is then vacuumed away. The technician also inspects for any corrosion or holes in the chamber.

The next step is to check the exhaust flue for any holes that could let carbon monoxide leak into your home. Some smaller holes can be patched, while larger ones will require that the flue be replaced. The technician will adjust the barometric damper to moderate the chimney draw. If the chimney draws too much air, that compromises your system’s efficiency.

For an oil heating system, the oil filter is also replaced. The filter keeps impurities in the oil from clogging the nozzle, which could shut down the system. For all systems, the air filter is also changed. The air filter must be changed at least once a year, but you can easily change it yourself between tune-ups for cleaner air in your home.

Finally, the technician checks the blower belt for wear and proper tension. The blower is what moves the heater air through the ducts to the vents, and a loose or worn belt will reduce the system’s efficiency.

If you have any questions about the annual tune-up, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment in MA or RI, visit Dupuis Oil’s homepage or call us today.

What New Englanders Can Teach You About Energy Efficiency

How To Have Affordable Indoor Comfort All Year Long

New England is a beautiful place to live. Four distinct seasons guarantee that the weather is never boring. Each season has its own attractions, whether it’s hitting the slopes in Vermont for winter skiing or heading to the Massachusetts beaches for summer surfing.

Given the especially chilly winters, those who call New England home have had to learn a thing or two about how to maintain consistent yet affordable indoor comfort. When you consider that heating and cooling account for almost 60 percent of residential energy usage, it makes sense to do everything possible to lighten the load on your heating and cooling equipment. Here are six heating and cooling tips for energy efficiency that will lower your energy costs without sacrificing indoor comfort.

1. Insulate

Adding insulation is like wrapping your home in a cozy winter coat. It conserves heat in the winter, but it also keeps things cool in the summer, especially when you consider that New England summers aren’t always hot enough for 24/7 air conditioning.

2. Seal any cracks or leaks

A typical family home loses about $350 worth of heated or cooled air every year due to cracks and leaks. Windows and doors should be inspected, and if you find any leaks, seal them with weather stripping, spray foam or caulk. Duct work should be inspected every few years, and any leaks and cracks should be sealed. Schedule a home energy assessment with a qualified technician, and make sure that a blower door test is included in the assessment.

3. Schedule furnace and air conditioning tune-ups every year

Furnaces and air conditioners that receive annual maintenance are much more efficient, and they have a longer lifespan than poorly maintained systems.

4. Invest in a programmable thermostat

It’s a hassle to be constantly turning the thermostat up and down to conserve energy when a programmable thermostat could do the work for you. You can save a bundle on energy costs when you program indoor temperatures according to when you are home, when no one is home and when you’re asleep. A good rule of thumb for winter heating is that when everyone is home, set the thermostat at 68-70 during the day and 65-68 at night. When the house is empty, set the thermostat at 55-60.

5. Keep your HVAC filters clean

Dirty air filters force your heating and cooling systems to work harder than they have to. Dirty filters can damage your heating and cooling equipment, and they do nothing to improve indoor air quality.

6. Heat and cool only the rooms you use

Seal off the vents and close the doors of rooms you don’t use. Set the thermostat at 62 degrees in winter, dress warm and use a space heater or fireplace to keep warm in rooms you use. This could save you up to $200 every year on energy costs.

Who doesn’t love saving money? Visit Dupuis Oil to find out if you qualify for any of these MA or RI energy efficient rebates.

The Ultimate Guide to Heating and Cooling Service Plans

How Routine Maintenance Can Keep Your HVAC Equipment in Top Condition

Do you remember the last time that you had your heating and cooling system serviced? If not, a seasonal maintenance plan can help you get back on track. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Census, 88% of homes in Rhode Island use natural gas or heating oil as their primary fuel. These heating systems have unique maintenance requirements, so whether you have a boiler or a furnace, your system should be inspected and serviced annually. Regular maintenance will improve safety and efficiency while reducing costly repairs. At Dupuis Oil, we offer service plans for almost every type of heating and cooling system. If you’re interested in learning more about annual maintenance plans, here’s what you need to know.

Standard Services

Our maintenance plans include a comprehensive inspection and tune-up that’s performed according to manufacturer specifications, but that’s not all. We reward our customers by offering priority service 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Plus, we offer a 25% discount on parts and labor if you need a repair.

Air Conditioning Service Plan

Air conditioning maintenance plans are available for central cooling systems, ductless split systems and other cooling equipment. They include a comprehensive 26-point tune-up and emergency service. If your compressor or condenser fails, we’ll give you a $100 credit toward a replacement.

Propane Service Plan

We are pleased to offer customized maintenance plans to our propane delivery customers. We will clean and service your propane heater, replace your air filters and perform a comprehensive safety inspection each year.

Oil Maintenance Plans

We offer two flexible maintenance plans designed especially for customers that use conventional heating oil. Our conservation maintenance plan is ideal for customers who use less than 500 gallons of heating oil each year. It includes a full furnace tune-up and safety inspection. Plus, we’ll check your tank using ultrasonic testing equipment. If your tank needs to be replaced, we’ll give you a $1,000 credit. Even if your tank doesn’t qualify for this coverage, we’ll give you a $200 credit.

Premium Maintenance Plan

If you use more than 500 gallons of fuel each winter, our premium maintenance plan offers extended coverage for your entire heating system. In addition to all of the services available in our standard maintenance plan, we will repair or replace most parts at no additional charge.

If you would like to learn more about our service plans, contact us to request a quote. We offer fuel delivery, maintenance plans and related services to customers in RI and southeastern MA.