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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    1

    Default Can't keep warm!

    In 2013 we replaced our windows and purchased a wood burning insert to help offset our heating costs (oil). Much to our disappointment we aren't seeing a difference in cost vs. last year. We are trying to determine why. Any recommendations on how to go about an energy audit? Other tips to help reduce our oil costs? Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Can't keep warm!

    From an initial reading of your post, it sounds like your oil heating system is producing enough heat, but the heat is escaping from the inside building envelope before it has a chance to heat the interior of the building----the new windows should be helping keep the heat in; on the other hand, your forced hot air registers, or radiators/baseboard may not be putting out enough heat due to a minor problem such as air in the rad piping, or poorly sized air registers.

    Can you give us more info as to your house & general location.

    Do you live in a very cold part of the country? Do you experience zero & sub-zero winter weather?
    Are you in a new house with good insulation in the exterior walls & attic (R13 for walls, R40 for attic), or in an older house with little exterior wall/attic insulation (there are insulation companies that can blow cellulose insulation into the exterior walls & attic, if needed--you should have at least a foot of insulation in the attic); do you have tight, double-pane storms for the new windows. Is your oil-fired equipment relatively new, or somewhat older; is it forced hot air or forced hot water? Is the oil burner cleaned & serviced each fall for a tuneup. Do you know the btu input/output of the boiler/furnace (on the faceplate of the unit). What is the total square footage of the building, & how many windows & glass doors do you have.

    Have you had your heating technician/oil man over the house to inspect & make suggestions as to ways to improve your heating response, or anything that's needed?

    You can consult the Yellow Pages under "Energy Audits" (also, Infrared Inspection Services) to get a list of contractors that provide this service in your area, or Google the phrase for your locality----they have infrared equipment that they can direct at the exterior walls & roof of your house to determine if there are areas where a lot of heat is escaping.
    Last edited by dodsworth; 01-30-2014 at 08:48 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,588

    Default Re: Can't keep warm!

    It's been extra cold in most parts of the country, except for parts of Alaska, this year. 0 degrees with a wind howling as opposed to 20 or 30 will make a big difference in your heating bill.
    Next step for me would be to check the attic insulation. As mentioned R40 is pretty much a minimum these days.
    A tune up/ check up of the oil burner may be in order.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    NH
    Posts
    136

    Default Re: Can't keep warm!

    Quote Originally Posted by dalessios18 View Post
    In 2013 we replaced our windows and purchased a wood burning insert to help offset our heating costs (oil). Much to our disappointment we aren't seeing a difference in cost vs. last year. We are trying to determine why. Any recommendations on how to go about an energy audit? Other tips to help reduce our oil costs? Thank you in advance!

    Hi, You made the same mistake that most people make, They think they can keep warm by stopping the cold from comming in. The problem is the heat escaping and all the heat escapes through the roof. Thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Can't keep warm!

    Where does the air for the fireplace combustion come from ? If you are using room air to feed the fireplace, you are sucking fresh, cold air in to replace it. Not very efficient.

    You can increase the efficiency of both heating units by having piped in fresh air supplies. You can add a manual damper for the fireplace and an automatic damper for the oil burner.

    As a side note, everyone in Texas thanks you for burning all that oil.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    central pa
    Posts
    98

    Default Re: Can't keep warm!

    ok how was your insert installed? was there a liner put in for it from top to bottom? was that liner insulated? was an insulated plate installed in the throat of the fireplace? was there insulation put around the insert in the fire box? if any of these steps were skipped it will reduce the efficiency of the unit and possible let allot of heated air out of your house. a fresh air intake might help a little but I would check on those other things first before going further

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,091

    Default Re: Can't keep warm!

    Some utilities offer a free energy audit and some insulators will give you a quick look-over for free or very little cost. A more advanced audit with IR imaging etc. will cost something but may be worth it if you're insulated fairly well already.

    Another thing that springs to mind is that you seem to be comparing money, not quantities of fuel used. If the fuel costs rose since last year you'll get an invalid comparison looking only at the money. I'm sure what you've done so far has helped, but more work may be needed to get the payoff you want in savings.

    The best DIY money spent is in caulking and sealing everything you can get to, so look into that while you're waiting for the pro's to show up.

    Phil

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