Signs That It’s Time To Upgrade Your Heating Equipment

Like anything else, the furnace in your home comes with an expiration date. For most, the heating system is an afterthought until it breaks down, but being proactive in replacing it can help you avoid some seriously cold days in the dead of winter.

Here are four signs that it’s time to upgrade your home’s heating equipment.

Your energy bill keeps creeping up.

Have you noticed a steady increase in your energy bill over the years, despite little-to-no change in your consumption habits? While rising energy prices could be responsible for part of the blame, declining efficiency is a sure sign that your furnace is beginning to fail.

Your heating system is more than 20 years old.

Many HVAC experts recommend replacing your furnace every 10-15 years. While you can get away with going a little over this time frame, you should really draw the limit at two decades. Heating systems that old are probably costing you tons of money due to their inefficiency, not to mention the inevitable repairs.

The cost to repair is more than half the cost to replace.

If your heating system is currently broken, you may be on the fence about whether you should pay to have it fixed, or just buy a new one altogether. In these situations, refer to the 50 percent rule: if the cost of repair is more than half the price of a new unit, buy a new one. If it’s less than half the price, then having it fixed is the most economic option.

Your home isn’t comfortable.

Does your home always seem to be too hot or too cold, no matter what temperature you set the thermostat to? This could be due to a variety of reasons, including a declining heating system, poor air flow, a malfunctioning thermostat, or insufficient insulation. It is best to contact a professional HVAC techinician in order to properly identify the problem.

Connecticut homeowners can count on Devine Bros. to keep warm all winter long. For almost 100 years, we have offered a variety of heating solutions to the Fairfield County area including heating system repairs, tune ups, and installations. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

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3 Reasons You Are Running Out Of Hot Water

There is nothing better than the feeling of a long, hot shower – until it turns into an ice bath because you ran out of hot water. Sound familiar? If you are constantly running out of hot water in your home, here are a few potential reasons as to why.

shower with flowing water and steamYour hot water heater is too old, or too small.

Hot water heaters come with an expiration date. If yours is more than ten years old, it may be time to consider replacing it with a newer, more efficient model. On the other hand, yours may just be too small. Hot water heaters come in different sizes to accommodate the needs of different homes, it’s possible that yours wasn’t designed to handle your household demand.

You have a buildup of sediment in your hot water heater.

Tap water usually contains minerals, such as calcium carbonate. These minerals can make their way into your hot water heater, and accumulate at the bottom of your tank in the form of sediment. This buildup hurts your water heater in two ways: it reduces its capacity, and hinders its efficiency. Have your tank professionally flushed once a year to solve this problem.

You are placing too high of a demand on your hot water heater.

Just like anything else, hot water heaters have their limits. If you are running multiple water lines at once (shower, dishwasher, washing machine), you run the risk of quickly using up all of your hot water. Having family members shower back-to-back can also place high levels of stress on your water heater, so try waiting fifteen minutes in between to give it time to recover.

If you need a new hot water heater for your Connecticut home, contact the heating and cooling experts at Devine Bros. For almost 100 years, we have helped Fairfield County residents stay comfortable all year long. If you live in Norwalk, Wesport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

How A Programmable Thermostat Can Help You Save Money Year-Round

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As a homeowner (or even a renter), heating and cooling is one of the largest recurring expenses you will have to deal with. Space heating and cooling is responsible for the largest portion of our energy consumption, and it isn’t even close. In the average household, heating and cooling accounts for 40-50% of total energy costs.

So, when we are looking for ways to lower our energy bills, it makes sense to start by looking at heating and cooling. One of the best ways to save money on this is by installing a programmable thermostat.

Programmable thermostats are just what they sound like. They automatically adjust the temperature of your home based on your personal, preset preferences. This can help you save money by using less energy at times of the day where it’s not needed.

For example, let’s say your house is empty from 8:00AM – 5:00PM. You don’t need to heat an empty home, but you also don’t want to come home from work to an ice box, so you are forced to make a sacrifice. With a programmable thermostat, you can have the best of both worlds. You don’t have to pay to heat your home all day, but you can have the heat turn on at about 4:00, so it is nice and warm by the time you arrive.

Programmable thermostats obviously require an upfront investment, usually less than $100. With such an affordable price tag, they quickly pay for themselves with the year-round energy savings that they provide. In fact, even Nest’s Learning Thermostat, which starts at $250, has proven to pay for itself in only two years.

Devine Bros. offers energy-efficient heating equipment installations to Fairfield County, Connecticut. Trust us to properly install your furnace, boiler, or hot water heater in order to maximize efficiency. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

Why You Should Always Keep Your Heat on in the Winter

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Wintertime is synonymous with cold weather, hot chocolate, and high energy bills. In an effort to save money, many homeowners will turn off their heat when they are at work or away on vacation.

While this seems like a good idea in theory, in practice it is not.

Winter presents many challenges for homeowners, such as ice dams, heating equipment issues, slip hazards, and frozen pipes. The last one in particular can be very troublesome, as one small pipe burst can easily rack up thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home.

As you may recall from science class, water expands when it freezes. This puts an incredible amount of pressure on the inside of your pipes, and eventually they will crack. This most commonly happens in outdoor pipes such as your swimming pool or water sprinkler supply lines, but they can happen indoors too. Pipes that run along the exterior walls of your home in particular are prone to freezing, even when the temperature in your home is nowhere close to 32°.

For this reason, it is important to always keep your heat on at least 60° F during the colder months. This includes overnight, during the day when everyone is at work, and especially when you leave your house on vacation for extended periods.

Some other ways to prevent frozen pipes include:

  • Keep your under-the-sink cabinets open to allow warm air to circulate there.

  • Insulate all pipes that run along exterior walls or that are located in unheated areas of the home. Pipe insulation is cheap and only takes a second to install.

  • Close all windows, cover all vents, and seal all air leaks that are near pipes. Cold temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more quickly.

Keeping your heat on doesn’t have to cost you a fortune with Devine Bros. We offer a variety of affordable home heating solutions to Fairfield County including heating oil, propane, and BioHeat delivery. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, New Canaan, or the surrounding area, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

5 Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Home sweet Home

If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know that indoor air pollution is nothing to sneeze at – no pun intended. Poor indoor air quality affects more than 90% of North American homes, and is linked to some serious health problems such as heart disease and lung cancer.

Unfortunately, many household goods can contribute to indoor air pollution, including everyday products that most of us think are completely safe. Here are five surprising sources of indoor air pollution.

#1: Air Fresheners

Despite their name, air fresheners don’t freshen your air at all; they actually pollute it with a plethora of harmful chemicals. Even products marked as “all natural” or “unscented” likely contain phthalates, which are known to cause health problems.

#2: Cigarette Smoke

By now we are all aware of the dangers of firsthand and secondhand smoke – but what about thirdhand? Yes, thirdhand smoke is real, and so are the dangers of it. Thirdhand smoke occurs when toxic particles from cigarette smoke settle onto surfaces in your home and remain long after the smoking has ceased.

#3: Cleaning Products

Look under your sink and you will find hundreds, if not thousands of toxins that you are exposing yourself to on a regular basis. Nearly all cleaning products pose some sort of health risk, from glass cleaner to laundry detergent. Instead of using store-bought products, use a combination of vinegar, baking soda, lemon, and salt to make your own homemade solutions.

#4: Candles

Who doesn’t love burning a candle every once in a while? They fill your home with that sweet-smelling aroma… and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Opt for soy and beeswax candles instead; they may be a little more expensive, but they are much safer.

#5: Carpeting

New or old, carpets can contribute to your homes air quality problem. New carpets release formaldehyde into the air, and old carpets can harbor dust mites, pet dander, mold, and even pesticides. Instill a strict no-shoes policy at home and vacuum regularly to keep your carpets clean.

If you are worried that your home’s air may be polluted, take action! Click here to learn what you can do to improve your home’s air quality, and contact Devine Bros. for a free air quality assessment. Our experts will come into your Connecticut home and use professional testing devices to determine the quality of your air. If you live in Norwalk, CT or the surrounding area, give us a call today at (203) 866-4421.

Different Ways To Heat Your Home

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During the cold winter weather, we all have one thing on our minds: staying warm. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to do this. In New England in particular, residents rely on more than half a dozen different ways to heat their homes. Here are four of the most common methods.

Heating Oil

According to the Energy Information Administration, oil is the primary heat source for just a small fraction of homes in the West, Midwest, and South. The Northeast, however, is a different story. Nearly one in every four northeastern homes uses oil as their primary source of heat – more than any other source except for natural gas.

Propane

Propane is a clean alternative fuel source that is becoming more and more popular across the country due to its versatility. Propane gas can be used for a variety of functions such as home heating, water heating, stoves, grills, clothes dryers, generators, and more.

Electric Heating

Electricity is used to heat many homes in the form of space heaters and electric baseboard heaters. Heating with electricity is good to supplement your home’s heating system, but should not be used as your primary source of heat. Supplemental electric heating is useful for drafty spots or that cold basement office, but it is usually too expensive to rely on to heat your entire home.

BioHeat

BioHeat is an environmentally-friendly blend of heating oil that was introduced to Connecticut just over a decade ago. It is made by combining biodiesel with conventional heating oil. BioHeat burns more efficiently than traditional oil, has less emissions, and since it is made domestically, it reduces our dependence on foreign oil imports.

No matter how you are heating your Connecticut home this winter, trust Devine Bros. to keep you warm. We offer a variety of home heating services to the Fairfield County area, including heating oil, propane, and bioheat. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

How To Save Money On Your Heating Bill

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This winter, Americans will spend billions of dollars just to keep their homes warm. With so much money going to heating, families are having to sacrifice things such as vacations, home improvement projects, and even the occasional night out.

You shouldn’t have to spend an arm and a leg on home heating costs. Here are a few ways that you can lower your heating bill and keep more money in your pockets.

  • Change your air filters. Furnaces have air filters that should be cleaned or replaced on a monthly basis. Neglecting to keep a clean filter can hinder your energy efficiency and lead to repairs.

  • Invest in a programmable thermostat. Upgrading to a programmable thermostat requires a little bit of money, but they can quickly pay for themselves with the year-round energy savings they provide.

  • Tune up your heating system. It is a good idea to have your furnace tuned up every year by a professional technician. An annual tune up not only improves energy efficiency, it also prevents future breakdowns.

  • Upgrade to Energy Star equipment. If your heating system is more than 15-20 years old, you should consider upgrading. New Energy Star equipment will significantly lower your heating bills, plus some rebates are available on certain models.

  • Switch heating oil providers. If you are paying too much for your heating oil, it’s time to switch to Devine Bros. With three pricing programs to meet the needs of any budget, we are Fairfield County’s #1 fuel oil company.

Residents of Norwalk, Westport, and New Canaan have depended on Devine Bros. to keep warm for nearly 100 years. We are courteous, reliable, and have competitive rates on our heating oil, propane, and bioheat. If you live in Fairfield County, call us today at (203) 866-4421.