As we approach the halfway mark for summer in Massachusetts, it’s probably safe to say that your grill has been working hard all season. In order to keep it working safely and properly, we recommend that you give it a good cleaning and periodically check for gas leaks.
Over the summer, many people ignore their heating systems, but the reality is that now is a great time to pay attention to your furnace or boiler. This way, when the weather gets cold, your system will be in tip-top shape and able to handle the elements—and keep you comfortable—smoothly and efficiently.
Follow these suggestions to keep your furnace or boiler properly cared for during these warmer Massachusetts months.
Annual maintenance should be a given—so much so that it’s even included as part of our service plans. Summer is a great time to set up your appointment, as we are not dealing with no-heat emergencies and it’s a bit easier for us to get one of our reliable technicians to your home. A summer tune-up also gives you time to address any bigger issues that the technician identifies. If you need a major repair or even an upgrade, you’ll have plenty of time to take care of it, and if you don’t, your tune-up will not “wear off” before winter.
Air filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Depending on what kind you have and what other air-quality factors you need to consider for your home (pets, allergies, etc.) you may need to clean or replace your air filter monthly or every other month rather than the usual frequency, which is quarterly.
Soot and scale are an inevitable part of having a furnace or boiler in your Massachusetts home. Scale is made of flakes of rust and minerals that come out of carbon dioxide combining with water vapor, while soot is a black carbon deposit with a powdery texture and consistency.
Buildup of either or both will cut your system’s efficiency down, which can result in a breakdown. And that’s not all: soot can actually create a fire hazard or carbon monoxide issues if it’s neglected. If you have soot or scale buildup that needs to be removed, please contact us for service as soon as possible.
A full tank in the summer means a good start to the winter. Condensation in the heat leads to corrosion and harmful bacteria. Keeping your tank full will prevent corrosion. In addition, prices will likely be better while demand is down. Filling up during the summer months will take care of both of these issues for you!
In addition to the regular care and maintenance you need to give to your HVAC system, if your family has furry pets, you also need to consider a few additional factors in order to keep your heating and cooling equipment running efficiently—and to keep your Massachusetts home’s indoor air quality (IAQ) where it should be. Here are four potential problem areas for you to be aware of so you can stay on top of maintenance and care of your HVAC system.
What to do: Make sure you schedule your annual tune-up for all of your heating and cooling equipment. Vacuum and mop your floors weekly. (Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.) Depending on the type of air filter you have, clean or change your air filter regularly. You may need to increase the frequency if your pet sheds. If your pet is five years old or more, consider getting a professional duct cleaning.
Here’s why: Pet fur can create blockages in HVAC filters. If your system is overworked, it will be less efficient. This will cost you more to run and it will be less effective. Blockages of this nature also increase the chances that your system will break down entirely.
What to do: Keep your pet brushed and bathed regularly. It is also worth considering having a whole-house air purifier installed.
Here’s why: When pet dander, which is basically dead, dry pet skin (as well as other allergens) makes its way around your home through your forced-air system, your IAQ takes a real dive. (This applies to systems with vents.)
What to do: Consider having a fence installed around your outdoor condenser unit. However, it’s important that there is no disruption to the air flow to the condenser.
Here’s why: Pet urine can degrade the coils on your outdoor condenser unit, and that can cause a refrigerant leak.
What to do: Check your pet door (as well as all windows and doors around your home) to see that it is tightly sealed. If it is installed correctly, it should be sealed.
Here’s why: Air might be leaking into your home, which leads to general inefficiencies and ultimately costs you more every month.
The right combination of pricing and payment plans can make such a difference in your home comfort experience. That’s why we make sure to give you a range of options that offer the flexibility you deserve.
We want to make your experience with Pioneer smooth and easy. When it comes to payments and pricing, your convenience is important to us. Pioneer’s three pricing plans give our propane and heating oil customers a clear sense of what to expect from their bill each month.
If you’d like to purchase your fuel before winter, enroll in our Pre-Buy plan. The price of your fuel will be capped, so it can’t go up, regardless of fluctuations in the market. But if the market price drops, your price will drop as well! Often seen as the best way to save, Pre-Buy works well if you’re interested in paying ahead. (A fee for two-way protection applies to Pre-Buy plans.)
The Monthly Smart Pay, or Budget, Program enables us to spread your annual fuel bill out over the course of a year. You can also incorporate your service plan cost into this payment schedule. You don’t pay for more fuel than you receive. This is helpful to people who would like to avoid a big hike in their expenses every winter. When you stay on schedule, you will not incur a finance charge.
Customers in the Monthly Smart Pay Program will pay for some fuel prior to your first delivery, and then the final payment will happen after the final delivery.
You can avoid seeing your bill increase as a result of changes in the market or weather by enrolling in the Monthly Smart Pay Plan with Price Cap. You will not be locked in if the price drops, but our suppliers do add a fee for two-way protection.
Use MyFuel Portal to keep up with the services you’re getting, keep up with your account balance, request fuel and let us know when you need service. You just need your account number to log in.
Sign up for Auto Pay and don’t worry about paying your bill again! We’ll deduct the amount you owe each month from your preferred credit card (MasterCard, Visa or Discover) or your checking account (ACH).
Receive your bills via email, and forget the papers and files for all of your records. We keep your records on file as well, so if you ever have a question, we’ll have the answer. In the meantime, you’ll reduce clutter in your home, save paper and help us cut back on fuel consumption for delivery.
The start of summer is a time for seeing friends and family, taking day trips—or vacations!—and…stocking up on propane. That last one often surprises people, but ensuring you have a full stock of this cost- and energy-efficient fuel in the summer can make a big difference when fall comes around.
Here are four reasons why you should stock up on propane this summer.
To be clear, summer prices for propane are not always lower. Factors including shipping costs, staff training, and general demand also drive prices. Even so, we suggest at least one summer propane delivery.
Along with the noise and news coverage of a summer thunderstorm, there’s also actual danger. With that in mind, it’s important to the team at Pioneer Oil and Propane that you have the proper propane equipment and that you’re prepared to take the right steps to keep your Central Massachusetts home and family safe.
If you think you may have a problem with your propane tank or appliances, call us right away at 508-753-3223. In emergency situations, do not email—just call. We’ll carefully and thoroughly inspect your equipment, so we can address the issue right away.
May is National Barbecue Month! How are you planning on grilling in your Massachusetts backyard? If you’ve been using briquettes—or anything besides propane—take a look at these five reasons to rethink your approach to grilling. Propane offers the following benefits—and more!
Do you have a bulk propane tank? If so, we can run a line to the grill box and attach the grill directly to it. No more trips for tank refills and no running out in the middle of cooking dinner!
Back in February, people across the United States looked on as a deep freeze in Texas led to unexpected and devastating power outages. It was hard to watch and, we know, much harder to experience. We’re seeing that a few times a year, our power is knocked out by a storm and huge numbers of families are stuck without power for extended periods of time.
Even with unfortunate events like this one, we see many state governments moving forward with efforts to “electrify everything.” It is seen as a solution to protecting the environment and often includes plans to eliminate fossil-fuel heating systems, including heating oil, propane and natural gas furnaces and boilers—so they can be replaced with electric heat pumps.
At Pioneer Oil & Propane, we want to see an end to climate change as well! The catch is that heat-pump conversions are very costly and once the temperature drops, they’re not even efficient. In fact, when the temperature dips below 32°F, a home with an electric heat pump will need a backup system to keep warm! This is paired with the fact that electricity production generates the second-largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. (Transportation is first on the list.)
We believe it is important to take aggressive steps in addressing climate change. In fact, we’re already doing that by offering a 5% blend of Bioheat® fuel and energy-efficient propane to all of our customers. Both Bioheat fuel and the propane we sell produce near-zero emissions. This is not something that can be said about electricity.
Currently, the carbon-emissions-reduction strategy being put forth by state and federal government agencies is not covering all necessary bases, and lawmakers are not engaging with the heating oil and propane industries to educate themselves about how we are working toward carbon-emissions reduction already—and how the effort is growing.
We all want to see a solution to climate change. The issue here is that we cannot rely on breakthroughs that have not yet happened to an already unreliable electric grid. We need to be careful not to overload the grid, and implement realistic, effective solutions.
Contact us to find out how we can work together to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.
About one out of every 10 fires started by home heating systems are related to the home’s water heater, according to a home heating study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association. Using the water heater in your Massachusetts home is not something to shy away from, but it’s important to be familiar with the system and to understand the proper precautions you should be taking throughout the year. These suggestions will help keep you, your home and your family safe as you operate your water heater.
Don’t leave anything flammable near your system.
In order to avoid a flashback fire, it’s important to keep anything flammable, like oily rags, paint supplies and cleaning supplies as far from your water heater as possible.
Stick to your annual maintenance schedule.
Getting regular tune-ups is a critical part of responsible water heater ownership. Rather than waiting for a breakdown, schedule professional service once a year. This gives our technicians the opportunity to notice any issues that could become bigger, possibly dangerous problems down the line.
Let us know when your water heater is not functioning properly.
Many systems and devices have great potential for D-I-Y troubleshooting. Your water heater is not one of them. Please contact us for help if your water heater needs service or a specific repair.
Maintain a clear space surrounding the water heater.
Don’t allow debris to collect around your water heater. It’s important to keep clear space in order for the pilot light and assembly to work properly. They need “breathing room” for air flow but clutter can disrupt proper ventilation.
Know how to shut the system down if you need to.
If you smell gas or find that you have a gas leak, you need to know how to shut down your water heater. Take a look at your owner’s manual, and if you don’t have it, you can probably find it online. Have questions? Contact us—we can help!
Be open to the possibility of an upgrade.
If your water heater is getting on in years or has not been well maintained, you may be due for an upgrade. The newest water heaters available today are safer and more energy-efficient than ever before. In fact, with a new system, you’ll see lowered fuel bills right away!
At Pioneer, we keep your safety top of mind—all the time! Set up your water heater tune-up or inspection today. Do you need an estimate for an upgrade? Let us know!
Earth Day is this week, but the ideas behind Earth Day should be on our minds 365 days a year. When you think about Earth Day as it relates to your Massachusetts home, what comes to mind? Recycling, using less energy, running appliances more efficiently, saving water—there are endless possibilities. One primary way you can make a difference is by thinking through how you fuel your home heating system and your appliances, and how that fuel compares to others.
Take a look at some of the ways propane and electricity stack up against one another. You may be surprised by what you learn, but if you’re looking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, this is the right comparison to look into.
Fueling your Massachusetts home with propane will help you cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, and your home will be more warm and toasty when the temperatures drop. With propane, you’ll be cutting back on your carbon footprint, and you’ll be using a safe fuel as well. In fact, if propane leaks, it dissipates without leaving residue or a spill of any kind.
In addition to propane, other increasingly clean options for powering your home do exist! If you’re a Bioheat® fuel household, you’re also part of the solution in the movement toward a carbon-neutral future. And solar panels are becoming more and more affordable from one year to the next, so that’s another solution to consider.