Propane vs. Heating Oil: Pros and Cons

pumping unit in sun

With the temperatures beginning to drop across Fairfield County, homeowners are starting to think about how they will keep warm this winter. Two of the most popular options for home heating are oil and propane; each offering their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages.

Heating Oil

Just like gasoline for your car, home heating oil is manufactured from crude oil, though it undergoes a different refinement process. Heating oil is an especially popular option for homeowners in New England, a region that accounts for more than 80% of the country’s total consumption.

Pros

  • Burns hotter than propane, meaning less is needed to heat your home.

  • Does not require a connection to a natural gas line.

  • Non-explosive.

Cons

  • Produces more emissions than natural gas.

  • Oil furnaces require frequent cleaning.

  • Volatile market leads to unpredictable pricing.

Propane

Unlike heating oil, which is a liquid, propane is a gas.

Pros

  • More efficient than heating oil, meaning your furnace can convert a higher percentage of the fuel into heat.

  • Certified by the Clean Air Act as a clean source of alternative fuel.

  • Can be used for a variety of functions, such as space heating, water heating, cooking, clothes dryers, and more.

Cons

  • Requires large tanks, which may be an unattractive addition to your yard.

  • Because it is gaseous, it is more prone to leaking than oil.

How are you keeping warm this winter? Whether your heating system uses oil or propane, Devine Bros. can provide it at an affordable price. If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, give us a call at (203) 866-4421 to learn about our heating oil and propane delivery services.

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5 Easy Tricks to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution

dirty air conditioner filter and dirty finger

Indoor air pollution is nothing to sneeze at – no pun intended. With several known health effects resulting from exposure to household pollution, establishing good air quality should be at the top of every homeowner’s priority list. Here are five things you can start doing today to reduce air pollution in your home.

Trick One: Invest in an air purification system.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to begin cleaning up your air is by investing in a purification system. Not just any old purifier will work, though. Buy a filter with the HEPA label – these products have undergone rigorous testing and have proven to remove 99.97% of airborne particles.

Trick Two: Improve the natural ventilation in your home.

Indoor air is usually more polluted than outdoor air because airborne contaminants are found at higher concentrations inside. One way to combat this is by increasing the natural ventilation in your home. This can be done with the use of exhaust fans, and by leaving your windows open when the weather permits.


Trick Three: Stop using commercial air fresheners.

Despite what the label says, air fresheners don’t clean your air. In fact, they fill it with toxic chemicals – even the ones marked as “all natural”. Instead, use one of these homemade recipes to make your own air freshener, or just light a match to overpower strong odors.

Trick Four: Dust the right way.

Dusting your home isn’t as simple as you may think. For best results, you should always use a microfiber cloth; they are specially designed to attract dust, while traditional feather dusters just spread it around. Also, when dusting a room, always start at the top and work your way down to the floor to avoid double-dusting.

Trick Five: Decorate your home with houseplants.

Houseplants aren’t just for looks, they can actually improve your air quality! A study from NASA found that certain houseplants can naturally remove harmful particles from the air. Click here to learn more about how houseplants can reduce indoor air pollution.

How clean is the air in your home? If you don’t know, consider scheduling a free indoor air quality consultation with the experts at Devine Bros. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, call us today at (203) 866-4421.

How To Care For Your Lawn During The Fall Months

landscaping supplies norwalk ct | devine bros

Want a beautiful, healthy, green lawn during the spring? Then don’t forget about your lawn this fall! Early autumn is a great time to repair the damage caused from the summer fun, and also ensure good conditions for the following seasons.

Follow these steps to help you care for your lawn this fall season:

Step #1: Remove The Leaves
Playing in the colorful autumn leaves is something all kids enjoy. Unfortunately, the leaves are no good for the grass – they block light and trap moisture. So, when the leaves begin to fall, rake them away as often as you can. If you don’t, the ground under the pile of leaves will become soggy and decay once spring comes.

Step #2: Continue Watering
Lawns need water whenever it’s dry – no matter the season. Early morning is the best time of day to water your lawn. The winds are usually lighter, so you will waste less water due to evaporation. Keep your sprinklers or irrigation system running until the end of October – by that time, you will want to disconnect hoses to avoid frozen pipes.

Step #3: Loosen The Soil
You should aerate your lawn once every few years to improve drainage and loosen the soil. Make sure you aerate before you lay down fertilizer – the holes that the aeration process makes will help the fertilizer reach the roots, where it can do the most good.

Step #4: Add Fertilizer
Adding fertilizer to your lawn protects the roots from freezing and gives the grass energy for the spring. It also aids in root growth, disease protection, and drought tolerance. You should add fertilizer in early September and again during late October or early November.

Step #5: Spread Seed
Overseed warm-season lawns with ryegrass each autumn. Ryegrass provides a lush, green lawn throughout the cool winter. Overseeding is one of the most challenging lawn-care chores; you need to make sure they have contact with the soil, are kept moist, and are well established before it gets too cold outside.

Step #6: Stay On Schedule
Each of the above steps need to be done at the proper time for best results. Do you want to aerate in the spring? Unfortunately, spring aeration makes it easier for weed seeds to get established. Want to overseed in late November? The seedlings will become too tender and won’t survive.

Planning on following this process to keep your lawn healthy for the spring season? Contact the professionals at Devine Bros. for all your landscaping supplies! We are Fairfield County’s #1 provider of landscaping and masonry supplies – all available for pickup or delivery. If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, visit our website for more information, or call us at (203) 866-4421.

Now is the Time of the Year to Start Thinking About Your Heating System

Fall is only a couple of weeks away, meaning this is the time of the year when you should start thinking about your home heating system. Soon, it will be running around the clock to keep your family warm; you want to make sure it is ready to go for the season. If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, trust the HVAC experts at Devine Bros. to keep your furnace running in tip-top shape all winter long.

Take a look at some of the home heating services we offer:

Heating Oil and Propane Delivery

No matter what kind of fuel your heating system uses, we can supply it for you at an affordable price. We have provided home heating oil and propane delivery services for over 95 years, and offer 24/7 support for all of our valued customers. We even offer three different payment plans, including fixed prices, to meet the financial needs of every home and budget.

Devine Bros. Bioheat

Bioheat is a environmentally-friendly alternative fuel source that you can use to heat your home this winter. Devine Bros. first introduced bioheat to the Connecticut market back in 2004 to give our customers a way to reduce their emissions without spending more on their heating bill. Our premium bioheat blend burns cleaner than traditional heating oil, and is made right here in America. Even better, it is compatible with your current home heating system. That’s right – you don’t need any new equipment to take advantage of our bioheat! Click here to learn more about bioheat and the many benefits it offers.

Heating System Installations and Repairs

No matter what kind of fuel you use to heat your home, your heating system needs to be fully functional in order to keep warm. We can help you with that too. Our technicians are fully trained and capable of installing any make or model of furnace. If you don’t need a new heating system, we also offer professional repairs and tune up services to keep your current one running for years to come.

Are you in need of any of Devine Bros. home heating services? If you live in Norwalk, Westport, or New Canaan, just give us a call at (203) 866-4421.

Insulation: The Key to Year-Round Energy Savings

mineral rock wool

Do you want to save money on your energy bills? You should start by looking at your home’s insulation. In this article, the home heating and cooling experts at Devine Bros. break down everything you need to know about insulation; including what it is, what types are available, and how to determine if your home needs more.

What is insulation?

Insulation is a type of material used in homes and buildings to reduce unwanted heat loss or gain. Simply put, the purpose of insulation is to keep your home at your desired temperature with minimal energy use from your HVAC system.

What types of insulation are there?

There are many types of insulation available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most popular types of insulation include:

  • Blow-in insulation. Loose insulation that is sprayed into place with a specialized air blower.
  • Batts. Pre-cut pieces of insulation that are generally installed between studs.
  • Rolls. Similar to batts. Pre-cut in width, but come in long lengths to cover floors and crawl spaces.
  • Rigid foam. Sheets of polystyrene that insulate while providing a partial vapor barrier.

Is my home adequately insulated?

Unless your home was built specifically for energy efficiency, chances are it would benefit from added insulation. Most older homes are severely under-insulated, and even many newer homes are not as energy-efficient as they could be.

Scheduling a professional energy audit is the easiest way to determine if your home’s current insulation level is sufficient. During an energy audit, a trained technician will perform several tests on your home (including an insulation check) to determine how energy-efficient it is and where you can improve.

How can I add insulation to my home?

  1. Identify weak spots in your home. An energy audit will better help you identify your weak spots, but common problem areas include walls, attics, basements, and around windows and doors.
  2. Determine your R-Value. Insulation is categorized by R-value, which measures how well the material can resist heat. Your R-value is determined by your geographical location, click here for an R-value map.
  3. Choose which type of insulation is best. A sales associate at your local hardware store may be able to assist you.
  4. Install the insulation. Installation is different depending on the type of insulation, and the area it is being installed. You may choose to seek professional help for this step, as installation can be tricky.

Once you’ve sufficiently insulated your home, take your energy savings to the next level with a professionally-installed HVAC system from the experts at Devine Bros. If you live in Fairfield County, Connecticut, give us a call for all of your home heating and cooling needs at (203) 866-4421.

Myth or Fact: Indoor Air Pollution

Hand with marker writing the word Facts Myths

How much do you know about indoor air pollution? Read the four statements below and see if you can correctly determine whether they are true or false…

Myth or Fact? – The air in the average home is more polluted than a major city.

Fact! When we hear the word “pollution”, we automatically think about the air outside, but the air in our home can be even worse. In fact, it is not uncommon for household air to be over 10 times more polluted than outdoor air.

Myth or Fact? – Indoor air pollution has no real health effects.

Myth. Indoor air pollution has been proven to cause to several side effects, ranging from mild to severe. Immediate effects of indoor air pollution are similar to allergies and can include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and headaches. Long term effects are much worse, as indoor air pollution has been linked to lung cancer and COPD.

Myth or Fact? – It is too difficult to improve indoor air quality.

Myth. Improving your air quality isn’t done overnight, but it is possible. Installing a HEPA air filter in your house is a great first step, but you must also work on limiting common sources of indoor air pollution.

Myth or Fact? – HVAC Equipment can contribute to indoor air pollution.

Fact! Since your heating and cooling systems supply your home with a large portion of its fresh air, it only makes sense that they can significantly impact air quality. Air filters should be changed every month, your air ducts should be professionally cleaned every 3-5 years, and your heating system should be annually inspected by a licensed technician.

Trust the experts at Devine Bros. to keep your air clean and your home healthy. We offer home heating, cooling, and air quality services to homes in Norwalk, New Canaan, and Westport, Connecticut. If you live in Fairfield County, give us a call today at (203) 866-4421.

Portable vs. Standby Generators: Which is Better?

standby generators norwalk ct | devine bros

With the heart of hurricane season quickly approaching and an aging electrical grid, homeowners in coastal Connecticut are beginning to think about protecting their power supply.

Power outages aren’t just an inconvenience, they can cost you thousands of dollars in damage, which is why backup generators are such a smart investment. If you are thinking about purchasing a generator for your home, you will have two options to choose from: portable or standby. In this article, we will cover the basics of each type and determine which is best for your home.

Portable Generators

Portable generators are, well, portable. These units are not permanently installed to your home, and can be wheeled out of your garage or shed in the event that your power goes out. Here is some other basic information on portable generators:

  • Portable generators are the cheaper of the two options.

  • No installation is required, as portable generators can easily be connected and disconnected from your home.

  • Portable generators do not generate nearly as much power as standby models, and can only power a few devices at a time.

  • You will need to go outside to refuel your portable generator every few hours.

Standby Generators

A standby generator, on the other hand, is permanently installed to your house and connects directly to your gas line. These units can automatically detect a blackout, and turn on within seconds to provide your home with power. Here are a few other things to know about standby generators:

  • Standby generators are more expensive than the portable versions.

  • Since standby generators connect to your home’s gas line and breaker box, professional installation is required.

  • You never will need to refuel a standby generator, because it is connected to your home’s gas line.

  • A standby generator is powerful enough to provide energy for your entire home, not just a select few devices.

  • Since these units automatically turn on, they will provide your home with power even if you are away when the blackout occurs. This is essential to preventing problems such as frozen pipes and food spoiling in a warm refrigerator.

  • Standby generators increase your home’s resale value.

Although they come with a higher price tag, standby generators are clearly the better option for homeowners looking to protect their power supply. If you are ready to invest in one for your Fairfield County home, call Devine Bros. at (203) 866-4421.