Helping you save energy ... money ... time ... and maybe even some headaches - that's our goal at Harbor Fuel Oil. That's why we've included this page of customer resources on our website. If you need any further help, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Conservation Tips for All SeasonsWinter ... spring ... summer ... fall - no matter what the season, we have lots of easy tips to help you lower your energy costs. Some don't even require spending a single penny! For more conservation advice tailored to your individual comfort needs, please contact us.
Cold Weather Tips
- Insulate your hot water tank. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends that you insulate the tank or water heater and the first six feet of hot water pipe.
- Have your heating system tuned. A well-tuned boiler or furnace burns 5% less fuel.
- If you have a furnace, clean or replace the air filter once a month to ensure the best airflow and efficiency. Make sure that furniture or draperies do not block vents.
- Upgrade your heating system. Homeowners who have older Oilheat systems can lower their fuel costs by 30% or more by installing a new, high-efficiency system. New designs incorporate technologies like condensing and multi-stage operation to squeeze every ounce of heat from the system. The savings provide a remarkable return on investment that keeps paying off year after year - every time the weather turns cold.
- Open shades and drapes during the daytime and close them when the sun goes down.
- Seal off your attic-circulating fan with polyethylene and tape.
- 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.
Warm Weather Tips
- Keep drapes, blinds and shades closed during the day to block out the sun.
- Clear furniture away from air conditioning vents.
- Install an attic fan - it can cool your attic by nearly 30 degrees!
- Plant shade trees due west of west windows. It could reduce your air conditioning bills by up to 25%!
- Cook on the outdoor 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.
All-Year TipsThese tips can help save energy in every season.
- Install a digital programmable thermostat. It puts your heating and cooling systems on an automatic schedule: full heat or cooling during hours when the home is active, and less when the house is empty or the family is asleep. The U.S. Department of Energy says that setting back a home's temperature by 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day can reduce total heating and cooling costs by 5% to 15%.
- Insulate thoroughly to eliminate heat transfer through your walls, ceilings and floors. You could reduce your heating and cooling costs by as much as 15%, according to Consumer Energy Council of America.
- Replace outdated appliances with high-efficiency units to reduce energy consumption.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use only 25% as much energy and last 10 times as long.
- Reduce water heater temperature setting to 120 degrees to save fuel. (You'll also reduce the risk of scalding.)
- Add caulking and weather-stripping around doors, attic access, windows, outdoor faucets and any areas where there might be leaks. (As much as 40% of your heating and cooling costs can be due to air leaks.) Check caulking at least once a year and replace material that has dried out and shrunk.
- Install rubber gaskets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls. (Gaskets can be found in most home improvement stores.)
- Check weather-stripping and door sweeps at least once a year and repair or replace them as needed.
- Repair and weatherize your storm windows.
- Close off rooms you don't use - and remember to shut the vents inside.
- Install dimmer switches. In addition to enhancing the mood, they'll extend the life of your bulbs and help you save up to 60% on your lighting costs.
- Install motion activated switches that automatically turn lights on and off.
- 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.
- Take showers instead of baths. A five-minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of hot water; filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.
- Keep ductwork in good repair by sealing leaks with mastic, metal-backed tape. Your home could be losing up to 25% of its heated or cooled air before it reaches the vents!
- Install ceiling fans. They could cut your energy bill for cooling by 40%.
- Use efficient temperature setting for your refrigerator and freezer. Recommended temperatures are 37 to 40 degrees for the refrigerator and 5 degrees for the freezer.
- Don't leave the fridge door open! Every time you do, up to 30% of the air inside can escape. The same can be said for your oven.
- Use less water and use cooler water when doing laundry. The warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.
- Consider air-drying clothes on clotheslines or drying racks. Clothing manufacturers recommend air-drying for some fabrics.
- Use a covered kettle or pan to boil water; it's faster and uses less energy.
One of the Best Ways to Conserve Is to UpgradeThe best way to "go green" - and save money - is by maximizing your fuel efficiency. At Harbor Fuel Oil, we are conservation experts, and we help many customers upgrade their heating systems to maximize efficiency and minimize emissions. When you replace an older heating system with a high-efficiency model, you can reduce consumption by 30% or more.
We can also help you with smaller conservation steps like installing a programmable thermostat or a new energy-saving burner control.
One "green" move we recommend to all our customers is to get their heating system tuned before cold weather comes. A well-tuned system uses 5% less fuel and burns cleaner, with reduced emissions. Your Harbor Fuel service plan may include your annual tune-up.
back to top
Conservation ResourcesFor more valuable conservation advice, click on any of the helpful links below.
U.S. Energy Information Administration
U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Saver Site
Green Living Ideas
Alliance to Save Energy
LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program)Known commonly as Fuel Assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides eligible households with help in paying a portion of their winter heating bills. Homeowners and renters, including households whose cost of heat is included in the rent, can apply at the agency in their area. Eligibility is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member, 18 years of age or older. Household income cannot exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Applicants on Nantucket Island can contact:
South Shore Community Action Council, Inc. (SSCAC)
265 S. Meadow Road
Plymouth, MA 02360
Phone: (508) 778-0870 Hyannis (Nov - April)
Phone: (508) 746-6707 Plymouth
Phone: 1-877-383-5243 Toll Free
For more information on LIHEAP in Massachusetts, visit http://www.mass.gov/hed/community/energy/low-income-home-energy-assistance-liheap.html.
Mass Save®The HEAT Loan Program provides customers the opportunity to apply for a 0% loan from participating lenders to assist with the installation of qualified energy efficient improvements in their homes. The loans are available up to $25,000 (depending on utility) with terms up to 7 years. To qualify for the loan, the customer must own a one-to-four-family residence, obtain a Mass Save® Home Energy Assessment, and install qualified energy efficiency measures recommended by a Mass Save® representative.
For more information, call 1-866-527-SAVE, or visit www.masssave.com.