During the recent Northeast Heating Oil Industry Summit, dedicated leaders, representing thousands of home energy providers, pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, and are not waiting for legislation asking us to do so. The home energy industry is responding to demands to lower greenhouse gases by scientists and home-grown activists. We are facing a crisis and every one of us needs to embrace the solution.
This resolution calls for a 15% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2023; a 40% reduction by 2030; and a net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Our Home Heating Industry wants to be a key player in the climate change discussions happening in government and local communities.
Like many others in the industry, AFC is already delivering Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil, which cuts sulfur dioxide emissions by 75 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by 10 percent compared to previous heating oil. We also provide more energy-efficient equipment options which can help reduce usage and save on energy costs.
The Home Heating Industry has many small and medium-sized companies, just like AFC. They started out selling dry goods or ice like AFC did. Next, they provided coal and eventually moved to heating oil. These companies, like AFC, are family-owned, joined in the business by their children and grandchildren. They expanded to bring in drivers, technicians, and office staff. Like AFC, the average Home Heating Company is multi-generational owned and operated. We have evolved along with our industry.
AFC is continuing to do our part to make this resolution possible and to make the earth a better place for future generations.
AFC is committed to helping protect the environment and ensure a sustainable future.
Electrical power outages are unavoidable and increasing in both frequency and duration. Nearly 60 percent of all blackouts are caused by storms, but 34 percent are caused by equipment failure due to the nation’s aging and the overloaded electrical grid.
AFC is an authorized service-dealer of Kohler, Generac, and Briggs & Stratton generators. We have the best systems to run your entire home quickly, quietly, and efficiently until utility power returns. Never be inconvenienced by a loss of electricity again.
Home generators can:
Monitor utility power for outages.
Self-start to ensure operation, whether you’re home or not.
Switch on almost instantly when utility power fails.
Protect sensitive electronics from damage during the initial power spike.
No need to step outside in bad weather to start the unit. You stay warm & dry
Have your stand by or whole house generator installed and maintained by our highly skilled technicians, ensuring the usefulness and performance of the unit. Make sure you are set for any weather or power situation. Give us a call to find out which unit is best for you. Already have a generator? Have AFC inspect and service your generator, making sure you are ready for the upcoming winter weather. Contact us today to set up an appointment.
If your equipment is more than 20 years old and breakdowns have become frequent, or your latest repair required replacing a major part, it’s a good sign that your system is hitting the end of its life span. Don’t wait until Fall to assess your system. Certain tests can help our technicians figure out how much heat your home loses in the winter, and now is the best time to perform those evaluations.
Today’s equipment is much more efficient, saving homeowners as much as 20%, 30%, and even 40% each year.
On average, the energy efficiency level for new oil heating systems is in the mid-80% range, but to make sure your system performs to its rated efficiency level, it’s critical that your heating system installation is done properly.
AFC employs certified oil heat technicians that are trained to make sure that your system is sized properly for the needs of your home. After determining how much power your home’s heating system needs, they can then expertly install your new boiler or furnace to guarantee you years of comfort and energy savings. If you’re ready to explore some heating options for your home, AFC will be happy to help. Consider making an appointment now to set a plan in motion before AFC’s busy season is underway.
Call today and ask about our Heating System Installation Specials!
In addition to offering expert installation, maintenance, and repair services, one more AFC tool that you can use is our Home Comfort Agreements. Home Comfort Agreements are a great way to protect your investment while ensuring the safety and comfort of your family. All plans include an annual system tune-up as well as discounts on all AFC services. For more information about all the Comfort Agreements that we offer, please visit our dedicated page or give us a call and we would be happy to answer all of your questions.
We’ve been evolving the products and services at AFC since we opened our doors in 1888, fulfilling our customer’s needs and finding a way to provide the very best for you!
We are here to take care of all your Comfort Needs.
We want to assure you that we’re here to take care of all your comfort needs and our employees are up to the challenge. We’re screening our employees daily, and have implemented safe ways to have your work done.
Our Customer Service Representatives are available to answer your questions about price protection, electronic payment options, paperless billing, and accessing your account through Online Account Access.
Our Technicians are here to provide emergency service and to answer critical calls. Please feel free to call us with your questions or concerns and we can help you determine if you require immediate service, or if the work can be scheduled for a later date.
Our Driversare on the road, safely delivering your heating fuel and propane. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to see if there is something we can do to help make life a little easier.
We will get through this together, and we want you to be as comfortable as possible.Be safe!
Spring weather means green lawns,flowers…and power outages?
Self-isolating indoors has been difficult enough, but the Spring weather has been giving us a challenge too. Wet heavy snow and torrential rains recently contributed to regional and statewide power outages. You shouldn’t have to do without power, too. Plus, given our current situation, having a generator is important now more than ever. You can rely on a propane-powered generator to get you through the thunderstorm season. Whether you are considering getting a whole house generator or already have one that needs maintenance.
From estimates, installations and maintenance, contact AFC to see how we can best serve you.
Indoor Air Quality Options
Our indoor environment has a great impact on our health. We spend much of our days indoors, so it is important to have clean, healthy air to breathe in our homes and offices.
AFC offers iWave Air Purifiersthat can easily and quickly be incorporated with heat pumps or conventional cooling and warm air systems for residential and light commercial settings. The iWave units are extremely economical to install and require little maintenance to keep your indoor environment clean and healthy.
Give us a call to see what your options are and to get a free estimate.
During the recent Northeast Heating Oil Industry Summit, dedicated leaders, representing thousands of home energy providers, pledged to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, and are not waiting for legislation asking us to do so. The home energy industry is responding to demands to lower greenhouse gases by scientists and home-grown activists. … Read more
As we have seen on the news, most of this country will be experiencing a blast from the Polar Vortex and there will be plunging temperatures across most of the United States. 32 states are expected to be feeling some effect of this weather event. Most will experience temperatures and wind chills that the homes’ heating systems are NOT designed for.
Newer homes may struggle to maintain temperature and older homes most likely will NOT maintain temperature and the temperature WILL drop while the heating system is working at full capacity.
Here are some general suggestions for when the temperatures go well below normal levels:
1. You can raise the temperature in your home by 2 to 4 degrees above your normal setting. Take all programmable thermostats out of setback mode and set on a permanent HOLD until the weather and cold temperatures get back to a more normal level.
2. If you have a furnace; replace the filter.
3. Keep garage doors closed and limit opening exterior
4. Make sure air vents and radiators are not blocked or
5. If you have a 90%+ furnace and boiler: You must keep the
intake and exhaust clear of ice and snow. During these cold temperatures, ice
can build up. A 90%+ furnace and boiler have 2 white PVC pipes; an exhaust pipe
and an intake pipe that are generally on the side or back of your home. In some
instances, they are on your roof, do NOT go on your roof to clear the pipe.
If the temperature in your home is dropping and your radiators are HOT with boiler systems or you have HOT air coming out of your vents with furnaces DO NOT PANIC. Please make sure that your heating system continues to operate. If the temperatures drop in your home, it will not be able to recover until temperatures rise and the wind-chill diminishes. Most heating systems are sized to operate at 0 degrees outdoor. Put your thermostat on hold 70 degrees or higher.
To help minimize temperature loss you can boil water, make
soup, or stews; they help introduce humidity and warmer temperatures into your
DO NOT USE YOUR OVEN or a GRILL TO HEAT YOUR HOME.
Please check on neighbors and elderly residents during any
extreme temperatures. Stay warm and safe and share this information with any of
your family and friends.
The United Way of Kennebec Valley is a nonprofit organization serving 19 communities in Southern Kennebec County. United Way partners with 48 local programs to provide a better quality of life for people experiencing emergencies, hardships and personal challenges in our communities since 1955. One of those partnership programs is The Bread of Life Ministries in Augusta. Homelessness is on the rise in Central Maine, and the need for emergency shelter has never been greater in the Capital area. Bread of Life Ministries operates adjacent shelters for families and veterans. Bread of Life is forced to say ‘no’ to roughly 600 phone calls per year from our neighbors seeking shelter. Their capital campaign’s mission to “Never Say No Again” will ensure that no one is left out in the cold. AFC was proud to contribute $10,000.00 to this campaign. Below, Marc Lacasse, President & CEO of AFC presented John Richardson, Executive Director of Bread of Life Ministries, with a check at our recent company event.
United Way’s Executive Director Rob Gordon looks on with our very own Lynn Ouellette, Customer Service Manager for AFC and a United Way Pace-setter. Lynn helped lead the way and organize a payroll donation initiative. AFC employees are able to donate directly through their pay checks each week. Twenty-eight businesses met or exceeded United Way’s 5 Percent Challenge through increased donations to the 2017 Employee Giving Campaign. AFC employees came in with 61%. For more information, please visit their websites:
AFC Continues to Partner with Community Organizations.
The Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed was founded in 2001 by a group of local residents who were concerned about declining water quality on their lakes. A 217 square mile drainage basin in central Maine, the Cobbossee Watershed contains more than 15,000 households and attracts thousands of tourists and summer residents each year. Just recently, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has confirmed growth of Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) in the north end of Cobbosseecontee (aka Cobbossee) Lake in Winthrop. The plant was discovered in July by Friends of Cobbossee Watershed (FOCW) plant surveyors. DEP,FOCW and Cobbossee Watershed District have searched for and removed plants since last month’s discovery. The FOCW will be doubling down with their efforts, altering their plans a bit to survey the known area in and adjacent to the marina, so that we may find plants as they emerge. They will continue to work closely with the Maine DEP and the owners of Lakeside Marina to prevent further introduction of invasive plants as well as stop those that have already been introduced from continuing to grow. The FOCW intend to manage this situation as swiftly as possible. Their efforts to keeping our local waterways clean and free from invasive species is a never-ending task, so it seems. AFC understands the importance of this natural resource for both current and future generations to come. That is why AFC proudly donated $10,000.00 to the Friends of Cobbossee Watershed. Pictured above is FOCW Executive Director Tamara Whitmore accepting the check from Marc Lacasse, President and CEO of AFC. AFC has previously been a supporter of the Tadpole Patrol, one of the educational programs currently underway with FOCW.
As of July 1 of this year, all fuel delivered in our state is mandated to be ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO) with a sulfur content standard of 15 ppm (parts per million).
So what is Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil (ULSHO)? Simply put, it is heating oil with substantially lower sulfur content (similar to Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel shift in 2006 for diesel vehicles). As an example, ASTM #2 Fuel Oil with a very high sulfur content has sulfur in the range of 5,780 ppm (parts per million); low sulfur heating oil measures around 322 ppm; and an ULSHO can have around 15 ppm sulfur content.
How will this benefit Mainers? First of all – it is extremely clean burning – ULSHO is the cleanest ever produced, emitting next to zero particulates. Burning ULSHO also cuts sulfur dioxide emissions by 75 percent and nitrous oxide emissions by 10 percent compared to previous heating oil. Next, it improves heating efficiency – ULSHO has the highest BTU content of any alternative fuel. Plus, it reduces sooting and scaling compared to regular heating oil. This means you’ll get more heat in your house and less lost up your chimney. If you had natural gas, you’d have to burn about 40 percent more to receive the equivalent heating benefit of ULSHO heating oil.
What is the impact on the environment? With a decrease in the sulfur content, we can expect a greater reduction in Green House Gas Emissions and these numbers are expected to continue improving. The lower the sulfur content in your fuel means your heating system will emit less sulfur dioxide which would have contributed to acid rain and haze. The EPA estimates that this improvement will reduce deaths in people with lung and heart disease, produce fewer cases of exacerbated asthma, and less time missed from school or work due to poor air quality.
To sum it all up…Ultra-Low Sulfur Heating Oil is right for your home, right for the environment, and right for Maine. It is safer, healthier, and more energy efficient than its predecessors. It also Increases equipment life . Cleaner fuel also means less build up in the exhaust system of your oil heater. This in turn means less maintenance and a longer life for your equipment. ULSHO is also creating more American jobs and reducing our need for foreign oil. The future is now, and it’s looking brighter than ever!
We are always looking for ways to help improve the working knowledge of our customer base, so that everyone can better understand the equipment and tools necessary to ensure that each of you are comfortable in your homes and at your place of work.
Reading a propane gauge can sometimes be confusing. First of all…the gauge only goes to 80%. Other things to take into consideration is the outside temperature as well as how many appliances use propane. Let’s walk you through the steps on how to read your propane gauge.
First, we have to find the gauge! To do so, carefully open up the dome on top of your propane tank. Please use extra caution in the summer time. Wasps and Hornets love to make their nests in the domes as they are warm and offer good protection from the elements.
Once the dome is open, you will notice the quite a few objects. The gauge will be the only one with visible numbers. In the photo below, the small orange arrow on the right is pointing to the gauge. Although it is facing us in the upside-down position, we are still able to read the numbers. This tank is reading full at 80%.
This gauge illustration/example on the left has a dial that reads up to 95%. Most common gauges will only display a dial to 80%. The important thing to remember here is that if your gauge reads 25% or lower…it is time to call for a fill up!
Once you know your percentage of fuel, use the chart below to calculate the gallons of propane remaining. Remember, a tank is filled to a maximum of 80%.
Please call us if you have any questions about your gauge, your tank, or if you need a fill up.
Remember, you can always have your account on Automatic Delivery and then you won’t have to worry about reading the gauge.
John Tyler has quiet a story to tell. On August 11, 1987, John started his employment with AFC. So, it is only fitting that the day he decided to retire falls on that exact date 30 years later.
We recently sat down with John for a little Q&A chat.
AFC: Why did you decide to become a plumber?
John: My father was a plumber, so I am a 2nd generation plumber. My mother was a teacher. I did 7 years as an apprentice learning from the same gentleman that employed my dad.
AFC: When you’re not doing plumbing, what do you do to keep busy?
John: I’ve lived in Readfield for over 60 years. I like to work on projects around the house and on the property. I have a 1940 Hudson that I work on as well.
AFC: You also volunteer, correct? (You can tell John doesn’t wasn’t to talk about himself.)
John: Yes. I have been a firefighter, a Mason and volunteered for the United Way. I’ve also given over 25 gallons of blood through the years. It’s about giving, caring and sharing with people, customers and coworkers.
AFC: That’s awesome! What do you like most about this industry?
John: Many things. It is being able to help a customer with a problem or a job and seeing them so happy when you’re done. It’s being part of something built and knowing that the construction will be there for years and you were part of it. It is about seeing new products or technology and learning to keep up with the changes.
AFC: You still enjoy learning?
John: Yes. I plan to continue learning. I also enjoy helping to educate the next generation of plumbers.
AFC: How so?
John: I have been involved on the college level Southern Maine Community College and at the high school level with the Capital Area Technical Center where I was placed on the advisory board to the instructors. I have been involved with trade schools and judging competitions. I was also on the Plumbers Examine Board and worked on Maine State plumbing codes. My peers call me the “code guy”.
AFC: What do you think you will miss most once you retire?
John: The daily contact with the coworkers and the trade. I went 17 years without a planned absence. Plus, I’ll miss helping the customers. When I started, there were 7 employees. Marc (our CEO) has really grown this company and I can’t wait to see where AFC goes next.
AFC: What advice do you have for the next generation of plumbers?
John: Keep your soft skills where they need to be. Balance family and work because you can’t do one without the other. Too much work, your family will suffer. Too much fun time, and your work will suffer.
AFC: What is the funniest story you can tell me?
John: Wow…there are quite a few. Most involve removing items that were not supposed to be there. Once I removed a deceased tropical fish when the client thought his toilet could be used as a disposal.
Another incident involved two squirrels. This happened two weeks apart in the same neighborhood. Each time the squirrel had climbed down the 4-inch vent pipe and wreaked havoc on the plumbing system. I didn’t discover the squirrels until I removed some pipes. It was as if these two squirrels were related and had the same idea. Very strange, and it hasn’t happened since. Sometimes Mother Nature plays into plumbing.
Here’s a funny story. One time, I was pulled a hand full of toy soldiers from a plugged-up toilet. Not too unusual, but it was odd as there were no small children in the house, just young teens. Apparently, they had them set up on the toilet seat and were shooting them in with a water gun, then flushing them. Later I found out that the teens videotaped a reenactment of the whole scenario, including one playing me doing my work. I saw the video. It was pretty funny.
AFC: (smiling) That story was definitely better than the fish story.
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