No matter what the concern, a little TLC is always the first step and necessary if you want things to last and function at its full potential. This is why proper maintenance is key to lowering fuel usage and saving money.
When it comes to fuel consumption, you must look at the goals, which are operating at high efficiency to lower costs and having fewer breakdowns and repairs to provide an extended design life of your equipment. Staying on top of any/all adjustments as needed to restore system efficiency, will lower the fuel usage, and lower carbon emissions. A properly sized, clean, stable and efficient flame, should always be top priority. Of course most newer equipment is more efficient than older equipment, but even older equipment can be properly maintained to run at their peak efficiency as well.
Bottom line, details matter – especially when it comes to proper maintenance. Fewer breakdowns and the highest level of clean and efficient combustion will ultimately reduce fuel usage and be the most cost effective solution.
6 Steps to Lowering Fuel Usage
Homeowners are seeking opportunities to both maintain the safety and maximum cold-weather comfort in their homes, while reducing costs. Individuals now working from home are getting hit hard with the amount of money they are spending on utilities for both heating and cooling, and are running into different issues when it comes to maintenance and repair. The good news is that there are ways to lower fuel costs, and at the same time maintain the environmental advantages, safety, and comfort of Bioheat® fuel with effective maintenance.
Below is a case study of a homeowner who became a new customer of ours, with a two-family home, in Brooklyn, New York. Their modern boiler had an excellent Beckett burner that was operating inefficiently for quite some time, due to neglect and poor servicing. We took the most reliable steps to restore that Beckett burner to its maximum efficiency using our experience and the manufacturers specifications. This reduced their fuel consumption, saving them money and aggravation at the same time.
It is important to understand the distinction between manufacturers theoretical fuel economy and real-world fuel consumption. Many people do not realize that the BTU input/size, and characteristics of the flame play a huge role in how much fuel is being burned up as you heat your home. Case studies reflecting a wide variety of boilers and warm air furnaces in homes and multi-unit apartments have run parallel in their discoveries. They have shown the “before” subject as being highly inefficient with smoking flames which produced wasteful carbon buildup and emissions, and unnecessarily high fuel usage. However, after installing the correct nozzle and making all the important adjustments to the fuel pressure, drawer assembly setting, and air-fuel mixture, the study indicated that the mechanics were able to control and maintain significantly better efficiency, economy, and clean combustion, while reducing breakdowns and emissions all do to the properly sized BTU input, and proper combustion to achieve the highest efficiency in each particular heating unit. Improvements in combustion efficiency are confirmed by using combustion analyzer equipment both before and after making the necessary corrections. Even a 5 or 10% increase in efficiency can save consumers hundreds of dollars a year!
In the same case, the combustion head was carbonized due to the wrong “Z” setting of the drawer assembly, in addition to having the wrong fuel pressure, and the use of an incorrectly sized nozzle with the wrong spray pattern. This all led to poor overall combustion, low efficiency and significantly higher fuel costs. Since carbon buildup needs to be avoided, the combustion head was cleaned and the fuel pump pressure was set up based on the manufacturer’s specifications for proper operation.
INSPECT AND ADJUST IGNITION ELECTRODES
When you have a Beckett drawer assembly that is positioned too far backward, combined with an incorrect nozzle and incorrect setting of the ignition electrodes, will lead to the same result of fuel loss and inefficiencies. The best thing to do is to reinstall with a new and correct atomizing nozzle, and then set the ignition electrodes back to their proper specs.
Another added component is the correct position of the drawer assembly and the side plate for the Beckett burner. in the above case, the plate was pulled too far backward due to the electrodes being set incorrectly, and because the wrong nozzle was used. All of these parts work together so when one is off, everything needs to be checked and reset in order to achieve the most efficient clean combustion for reduced fuel usage. The simple solution in this case was to adjust the side plate accordingly and to push it forward to the proper “Z” setting using a beckett gauge.
At the beginning, the fuel pressure was found at only 85 PSI, which is much too low for good combustion. The correct fuel pressure on most equipment today needs to be set to at least 140 PSI. If the fuel pump pressure/psi does not meet manufacturers specifications, then a fuel pressure adjustment is essential.
As mentioned above the incorrect nozzle needs to be removed. A new atomizing nozzle (1.10-80A) for this boiler was the solution. Using a nozzle that is too large or too small, with an incorrect spray angle or spray pattern for each specific burner or heating unit, will likely result in less than perfect combustion and higher fuel use.
The overall takeaway is that each part could not do its full potential if they all weren’t working together. If one thing is off, the rest will be off. Each one of those components needed to do its job for optimal fuel efficiency. When it comes to fuel efficiency this is no different when it comes to saving on gasoline for transportation. We cannot stress enough how important maintenance is when performed by professional technicians with experience in working with these types of equipment.
Cohler Fuel’s focus is always on superior service and expert repair in fuel efficiency
As licensed professionals leading the industry, our seasoned operators install new BioHeat® and oil heating equipment (boilers, burners, hot water and oil storage tanks) when needed due to failed equipment, or when needed to improve efficiency for lower fuel consumption. Only installing the most highly accredited and trusted name brands of equipment, with extended warranty coverage for our regular full-time fuel oil customers, Cohler Fuel will be able to provide the service and resources that you need.
Our service techs are NORA-certified and have years of experience in diagnosing and repairing heat, hot water, and combustion problems. Service is available 365 days a year, including holidays. Let Cohler help save you money. No headaches… Call 718-808-8833 today!
Turn Your Home Into a Green Home
Buying a Home? Renovating a Home? Or Building a Home?
Turn Your Home into a “Green Home” with America’s Most Advanced Heating Fuel, Bioheat®:
Cleaner, Safer and Reliable
Renewable Fuel Blend
Money-Saving High-Efficiency Equipment
Complete Consumer Independence
Responsive Service and Delivery
The Gateway to a Renewable Energy Future®
Dear Valued Customer,
With the crisis of the COVID-19 virus, we hope that you and your family are safe and doing well. Our deepest condolences to all who have lost loved ones during these difficult times.
We would like to thank you for putting your trust in us, and for letting us serve you. Now would be the perfect time to go on a level-payment “budget plan”. Since 80% or more of your yearly fuel bills come in just 5 months, spreading your payments over 12 months’ time, makes your monthly payments much moremanageable and predictable. Please call or email our office this month.
The Bioheat® fuel we deliver provides efficient heat and hot water that is cleaner, safer, and better for the environment. Our new additional name “Cohler BioEnergy Fuel Co.”, reflects our direction into the future with renewable blended fuels. Nothing at all has changed with our company, our quality, the ownership, or staff.
Keep your boiler running reliably and as efficiently as possible with our full-value and FREE yearly tune-up. Why wait for a boiler breakdown in the middle of the winter? Our goal is to avoid future problems by doing important maintenance and check-ups now, so that we can keep you warm and safe all season long.
Landlords: Reduce your violation aggravations, while we help you save money with lower fuel consumption.
Please Call Us This Month to Schedule Your Free “Burner Tune-Up”
**(Due to safety concerns with the COVID-19 virus situation, please ensure that you, your family, or employees, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from our service techs. We will be wearing masks and gloves, and ask that you also wear a mask, for your safety and ours.)**
A reliable chimney cleaner may also be needed at this time of year to clean your chimney bottom, and the inside of the boiler as well. Get an estimate and remember that cleaning the chimney from the roof down, chimney caps, and liners, are not usually necessary.
Chimney companies that we have used, and have been satisfied with, are “Be Safe” (“Steve”) (1-4 family homes, only through September) 347-794-8593, or “Ray and Sons” 646-436-0278. For properties larger than 12 units, we have used “Consolidated” 718-931-8300.
If there is any way that we can better serve you, or if you have any questions, please call us anytime. Stay safe, be well, and best wishes for a pleasant summer.
Sincerely, Allan and Ben Cohler Fuel Oil Co., Inc.
Annual Oil Burner Tune-Up – Free for regular full-time customers of Cohler. This service ensures that your boiler is operating cleanly, safely, and efficiently. We may do any of the following as part of this service:
Check fuel flow or suction line vacuum gauge
Replace fuel filter and/or strainer
Inspect or replace nozzle
Check and/or clean flame sensor and air gate
Inspect and adjust ignition electrodes
Check and/or clean combustion turbulator
Inspect flame light-off and flame characteristics
Inspect condition of combustion chamber if possible
Check/clean/replace water gauge glass and washers
Lubricate the water circulator pump
Take a combustion efficiency and draft test if necessary
Boiler Sections or Tubes and Chimney Bottom Inspection – This equipment should be inspected yearly. Residential equipment should typically be cleaned every other year. Commercial equipment should usually be cleaned every year.
Boiler Enhancement – Some older boilers are really well designed, and can be modified to operate more efficiently by installing a high-efficiency oil burner into that boiler. Depending on what older model boiler you have, additional savings may be obtained by adding a separate hot water storage tank.
Boiler Replacement – Some older boilers are just so inefficient that they should be replaced with a high-efficiency boiler to achieve significant savings. Cohler is a licensed NYC installer for oil burners and oil-fired boilers and hot water tanks.
How To Replace Hissing Air Valves to Save Money on Heating Costs
Replace air valves on steam heating radiators (or steam mains) if they constantly hiss-out steam when the radiator is already hot, or if the radiator does not get completely hot. Radiator shut-off valves and unions should not hiss at all.
Use only Hoffman, Gorton, or Heat Timer brand “Varivalve” air valves. You can purchase these at plumbing and heating supply houses such as: H & L Heating Supply, Marine Park Hardware, or on Amazon.com.
To change an air valve:
Make sure the boiler is turned off, and that the radiator is cool.
Turn the old air valve counter-clockwise while looking straight at the valve, and install the correct new valve by screwing it into the radiator threaded hole clockwise until firmly in place, with the venting hole of the air valve on top.
Pipe compound is generally not used on the threads of the air valve, however Teflon®-type tape can be used on the threads of the air valve as long as it does not obstruct the inner hole of the air valve inlet).
Use slower or faster venting air valves on steam radiators to obtain even heating throughout the building. It’s best to leave steam radiator shut-off valves in the 100% open position to avoid water buildup and loud banging noises.
Three Signs Your Boiler Is Costing You Money
The boiler takes over 45 minutes to get heat to the top floor. This is a sign that your boiler is operating inefficiently and wasting fuel.
Your boiler water feeder comes on often. There may be a boiler or tube leak, or a boiler return pipe leak.
There’s a thick plume of steam vapor coming from your chimney. Your boiler may have a leak on top, above the normal water level.
Install a Thermostat to Save Money on Heating Costs
A digital set-back thermostat will allow you to automatically raise and lower the heat, so that you don’t use any unnecessary fuel to heat your home or business when you’re not home, or when you’re sleeping.
In semi-commercial and commercial systems, consider adding a thermostat with a separate remote temperature sensor, with the main thermostat located in a secure location. This system can also be used in combination with many heat-control panels that don’t have inside room temperature sensors, to prevent overheating the building.
For most homes we recommend 1) White-Rodgers thermostats (usually model # 1F80-361 – reliable, simple to operate, and reasonably priced) or Honeywell thermostats (usually the 7400 series).
If you are mechanically inclined and want to install a new “heat only” thermostat on your own (follow installation instructions), you can purchase Honeywell, White-Rodgers, and Emerson thermostats from: H & L heating supply and Amazon.
Save Money on Heating Costs with These Do-It-Yourself Tips
Here are some steps you can take on your own to make sure your heating system is working as efficiently as possible:
Repair leaky hot water faucets promptly. Even a small drip wastes gallons.
Insulate heating pipes and heating mains in an unfinished basement or unheated crawl space. Foam pipe insulation can be used to insulate domestic hot water pipes to faucets etc. However, heating pipes must be insulated with paper-fiber-coated fiberglass pipe insulation. You may want to ask an expert for help with handling fiberglass insulation, as proper safety precautions must be taken (e.g. wearing a dust mask).
Radiator shutters can be opened or closed on baseboard hot water heating, and thermostatic radiator valves can also be installed to obtain even heating.
How Oil Deliveries Work
How Oil Deliveries Work
Learn how fuel oil delivery works with this video.