Duct Loss

Have your duct system tested for air leaks. Many think that windows and doors are the major cause of a home's air leaks. But according to recent research by the Department of Energy, gaps, cracks and disconnections in the typical home's duct system are much more significant. The DOE states that the typical duct system loses 25 to 40 percent of the energy put out by the central furnace, heat or air conditioner. Leaks are usually the biggest problem.
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Flood Prep – Fuel Tanks

Keep these points in mind when you anchor a fuel tank:

a) If you prefer not to do this work yourself, you can have a handyman or contractor anchor your tank.

b) Extend all filling and ventilation tubes above the 100-year flood level so that flood waters cannot enter the tank.

c) Close all connections when flood warnings are issued.
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Flood Prep – HVAC

Keep these points in mind when you have your HVAC equipment raised or floodproofed:

a) Changes to the plumbing, electrical system, and ventilating ductwork in your house must be done by a licensed contractor, who will ensure that the work is done correctly and according to all applicable codes. This is important for your safety.

b) If you are having your existing furnace or hot water heater repaired or replaced, consider having it relocated at the same time. It will probably be cheaper to combine these projects than to carry them out at different times.

c) Similarly, if you have decided to raise your HVAC equipment, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient unit at the same time. Upgrading can not only save you money on your heating and cooling bills, it may also make you eligible for a rebate from your utility companies.

d) if you decide to protect your HVAC equipment with a floodwall, remember that you will need enough space in the enclosed area for system repairs and routine maintenance. Also, depend-ing on its height, the wall may have to be equipped with an opening that provides access to the enclosed area. Any opening will have to be equipped with a gate that can be closed to prevent flood waters from entering.
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Anchor Your Fuel Tank

A fuel tank can tip over or float in a flood, causing fuel to spill or catch fire. Cleaning up a house that has been inundated with flood waters containing fuel oil can be extremely difficult and costly. Fuel tanks should be securely anchored to the floor. Make sure vents and fill line openings are above projected flood levels. Propane tanks are the property of the propane company. You will need written permission to anchor them. Ask whether the company can do it first. Make sure all work conforms to state and local building codes.
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Choosing a Fuel Source

When your're choosing a fuel source for your home heating system, start with available fuels in your region, because not all fuels are available everywhere and some are cleaner and more efficient than others. Based on your chosen fuel—natural gas, fuel oil, light propane gas, and kerosene are the most common—you can figure out how much heat a gallon will give you and how efficient that fuel is likely to be. Called the standard heat value, the amount of heat a fuel can produce per gallon or cubic foot is measured and reported in Btu (British thermal units). The higher the Btu produced, the more efficiently the fuel burns and the greater its heat value. Fuel oil, for example, has a heat value of 135,000 Btu/gal., while liquid propane gas produces 91,000 Btu/gal. Next you need to plug that information into the furnace selected. How many Btu/hour the furnace or boiler releases determines its output and will help to decide how much furnace you need to heat your space to the desired temperature. This is how the pros size and evaluate your heating needs. Following these formulas, you can plot out your energy usage, optimal furnace size, and desired output, too.
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Furnace Maintenance

Keep your furnace tuned and in top condition. Proper maintenance of your furnace can save 6 to 10 percent of your heating bill. Have a certified technician look at your furnace and make the necessary adjustments before the heating season starts.
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Heating System Size

Bigger is not always better! Too large a system costs more and operates inefficiently. Have a professional assess your needs and recommend the type and size of system you should purchase.
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Home Weatherizing

Insulation and air-sealing improvements to the shell of your home will always improve your comfort, regardless of the size and type of heating system installed. Weatherization may also allow the installation of a smaller, more economical heating system.
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