FAQ - Technical Questions


What kinds of oil heating systems are available?
Todayís versatile oil heat systems can heat with water, steam or warm air. Additionally, a boiler can dispense hot air through the home by using hydro-air. Thus, any oil heating system is compatible with air conditioning. Oil heat is also a terrific option if you are interested in radiant heat.

Can I determine the age and life expectancies for a heating system?
One way to determine a systemís age is by checking the serial number; the date of manufacture is sometimes ďhiddenĒ within the serial number. Look for labels and tags near the unit. Itís possible that the installer tagged the system with the date of installation.

As far as longevity is concerned, oil-fired boilers and furnaces easily provide 20 years of service if properly maintained and serviced. Many of these units last even longer, providing quality service to the homeowner for many years

Do I need a chimney for oil heat systems?
Some new systems do not require chimneys, they vent directly. In fact, the newest trend is to put the boiler outside of your home, or to combine a furnace and an air conditioner, and have that unit outside.

What is the future of heating equipment?
Oil heat equipment manufacturers have made the most dramatic advances for Intelligent Warmth. New oil-powered equipment is significantly cleaner burning and more efficient than it was thirty years ago. We have also increased reliability, thereby increasing maintenance intervals from one year, to as long as three years for new equipment. Manufacturers are hard at work in their research laboratories today on technological improvements that will make oil heat even cleaner, more efficient, more reliable, and even easier on the environment.

What is the AFUE number on the yellow sticker on my appliance mean?
AFUE is an acronym for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. AFUE is a statistic used by the Department of Energy to measure how much heat stays in the system versus how much escapes up the chimney. The higher the AFUE rating, the greater the efficiency. However, AFUE test procedures have some problems. The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) is now conducting a study to determine how much energy is really used to keep your home warm and to keep plenty of hot water flowing for a normal family. We believe that this will revolutionize how Americans make appliance purchases.

How does an oil burner work?
Heating oil in liquid form must be turned into vapor and mixed with air before it can burn. The oil pump lifts the oil from the storage tank, pressurizes it and delivers it to the burnerís nozzle that sprays the oil in a fine mist of small droplets. This process is call atomizing. These droplets are mixed with air and then ignited by a spark from the burnerís ignition system.

The flame from the oil burner heats the air in a heat exchanger inside the boiler or furnace. On one side of the metal is the flame, and on the other is the water or air that circulates in the house. All of the emissions from the oil flame (mostly nitrogen, water, and carbon dioxide) are sent up the chimney.

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