Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil; What it means for you.

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!

 

Categories AFC

How to read your propane gauge.

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%.

locating the propane gauge on a household tank

 

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.
623-3851.
Remember, you can always have your account on Automatic Delivery and then you won’t have to worry about reading the gauge.

We also have more information and a video on how to read your tank gauge on our Propane Safety Tip Page.

Categories AFC

Travis Mills Foundation Veteran’s Retreat

Travis Mills Foundation Veteran’s Retreat in Rome, Maine. This past Summer was very special for a group of military personnel and their families. They were invited to come out and spend a week at the newly renovated Travis Mills Foundation Veteran’s Retreat in Rome, Maine. This year the Travis Mills Foundation hosted 57 veterans and their families from 23 states and 4 branches of service. This opportunity enabled those families to have a fun and relaxing stay with all the accommodations needed for service members who have injuries due to military activity.

AFC was fortunate enough to be able to work with Mitsubishi and their regional representatives, Roger Willet and Dave Hazel, to have some much needed equipment donated and installed. AFC recognized the need for a proper cooling system as most physical handicaps interfere with the body’s temperature regulations. Staying cool and comfortable is imperative to these service members and their families.

Travis Mills Foundation Veteran’s Retreat in Rome, Maine.In addition, Marc Lacasse, President and CEO of AFC, had a special announcement during a recent company event. AFC was able to donate $25,000.00 to the Travis Mills Foundation for use at the Veteran’s Retreat.

We have learned they were able to purchase golf carts, which are necessary for the military members and their families to get around to the activities and facilities at the retreat. AFC is very proud to support our military and the Travis Mills Foundation.

For more information on the Travis Mills Foundation, please visit their website: https://www.travismills.org/foundation/

SSG. Travis Mills accepting the donation from Marc Lacsse, President and CEO of AFC.
SSG. Travis Mills accepting the donation from Marc Lacsse, President and CEO of AFC

AFC donates truck to RSU38’s CDL Licensing Class

AFC donates truck to RSU38’s CDL Licensing Class.Recently, it was brought to AFC’s attention that the RSU38 Maranacook Adult Education Program had only one truck to use for the CDL Licensing Class. The time required for driving has been a challenge for the school with their minimum resources.  Classes were limited to 10-12 students per semester due to the restricted availability of only one truck.  According to Steve Vose, Adult Education Director, “With a second truck, we would be able to accommodate more students.”

AFC’s Fuel Dispatch Manager, Mary Hunt, was asked to speak to a class of students about the opportunities AFC offers CDL drivers and what they could expect if they were a Fuel Delivery Driver. She had spoken with Steve on several occasions about upcoming events and during one of these conversations she heard there was a need for another truck. Mary went back to AFC’s President, Marc Lacasse, and inquired about the use of the 1986 International Fuel Truck that was acquired when AFC purchased Weymouth’s Fuel Inc. in Clinton back in 2015.

Mary asked. “Is the truck something that AFC would be willing to donate to the Maranacook Adult Education CDL program?”

Marc agreed to donate the truck without any hesitation.

It turned out to be a perfect fit. The truck was something that the class could use and AFC is always interested in helping to get more CDL drivers in the area.

Steve Vose and AFC’s Fuel Dispatch Director, Gelson Miranda.
Steve Vose and AFC’s Fuel Dispatch Director, Gelson Miranda

“We recognize that there is a shortage of drivers as a whole in the industry. That is why AFC works with local technical and training schools to provide resources that will benefit our local economy and industries. “

Last week, AFC’s Fuel Dispatch Director, Gelson Miranda, handed over the keys to Steve Vose. The Fuel truck was on its way to a wonderful program that AFC is excited to support.  We look forward to meeting the next class of graduates and potential AFC drivers from the program.

If you are interested in RSU38’s Adult Continuing Education, please visit their website: http://www.maranacook.org/adulted/

For information on the specific CDL Class B Training program, please click HERE.

 

AFC donated truck to RSU38's Adult Education Program.

 

30 Years at AFC

John Tyler, 30 year employee of AFC.
John Tyler, 30 year employee of AFC.

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.

Categories AFC

AFC Welcomes J&S Oil, Inc to Team

On April 1st, 2016, AFC completed the acquisition of the fuel/propane and service segments of J&S Oil, Inc. of Manchester, Maine.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for what the J&S team has built over the years. They have been a trusted member of the Augusta & Winslow communities and we intend to carry on that legacy,” assured Marc V. Lacasse, AFC President and CEO. “We are very excited to begin working with the excellent staff and wonderful customers that J&S has created relationships with over the last 44 years.”

J&S offices on Western Avenue in Manchester and Augusta Road in Winslow will continue to operate as usual with the same great staff customers have come to know and trust over the years. AFC also operates their main office on Northern Avenue in Augusta and a satellite office on Mutton Lane in Clinton, ME.

Categories AFC

EasyPay, EasyCAP, Easy What?!?!

Budgeting is smart.  And you’re smart, right?  We think you are.

Price Protection Plans are a simple way to get your budgeting for home heating fuel off on the right foot.  We know, we know – it’s “supposedly” still winter here in Maine,  but there isn’t a better time to start planning for next season then now.  Prices are low – and who doesn’t like low prices?!?!  Smart people LOVE low prices!

Even smart people like you and me can get confused by all the budgeting options that we offer.  So, I thought I would answer some commonly asked questions that might help you feel like the super smart person that you are and help you make a decision about what Price Protection Plan is right for you.  Here goes:

What Is EasyPay?

EasyPAY lets you spread the cost of your heating fuel over a number of months.  (If you get in early, we can spread the payments for as many as 13 months!)  With this type of plan, you receive a $0.05 per gallon discount on the market price of fuel the day that it is delivered.

What Is EasyCap?

EasyCAP spreads the cost of your heating fuel over a number of months but also has a small CAP fee factored in.  CAP fees are sometimes called “downside protection” – it means that you pay a small fee to ensure that you never pay more than the price you have locked in at, no matter what happens to the price over the course of the season.  However, if the price drops lower than the price you locked in at, you pay the lower price.

Why Is There A Fee For EasyCap?

Our suppliers charge us a fee for the “downside protection” that we then pass along to our customers who choose the EasyCAP option.  Think of it as insurance – the fuel you have contracted with us will be there for you when you need it, at or below the price we contracted for.

EasyPay and EasyCap Plans let you plan for the coming winter season with AFC.

How Does AFC Figure Out My Monthly Payment?

As much as I don’t love math, this one is pretty simple:  we estimate the number of gallons we think you will use for next season (based on the number of gallons used in the past), multiply it by the price per gallon that we have contracted for you, then divide it by the number of months to spread your payments over.

A few important things to note:

  • If you have a credit balance on your account from last year, we can roll that into this years budget to further reduce your monthly payment
  • If you sign up for EasyCAP, we will add the CAP fee into the calculation
  • Your heating system should be tuned up every year to ensure it’s running at peak efficiency.  AFC offers a wide range of Comfort Agreements with benefits that include a annual tune up.  We can roll that cost into your monthly payment, too

Can My Monthly Payment Change?

Sure can – but mostly for good reasons!  If we have estimated your fuel usage too high, we can always make a mid-season payment adjustment to make sure you don’t have a big credit on your account at the end of the season (although, if you do get a big credit, we can roll it into next years price protection plan or issue you a refund).  If you love cold weather and we have a great big, snowy, cold winter, then we may need to adjust your payment to make sure you don’t end the season in the hole.  Good news – we take an average usage from the last few years to try to avoid needing to do this.

What Is A PreBuy?

PreBUY is for you if you want to pay for your fuel upfront – one shebang!  Pay now (at a great rate) and get your gallons delivered throughout the season, when you need them.

What’s The Catch?

The catch is, we don’t have a magic crystal ball that can tell us how the weather is going to be next year, or what is going to happen with the price or what numbers to pick for the next big PowerBall drawing.  What we can do is chat with you and tell you about all the options we offer and let you make the choice that is best for you and your home.

If you’ve made up your mind about which Price Protection Plan is right for you, let us know!  We will get you all signed up.  If you’ve got more questions, give us a call – (207)623-3851 – or stop by one of our offices – 4 Northern Ave, Augusta, ME or 121 Mutton Lane, Clinton, ME – We’d love to chat.

Categories Oil

AFC Announces Expansion into Clinton & Surrounding Areas

AFC is excited to be working out of our newly acquired Clinton Office, previously Weymouth’s Inc., located at 121 Mutton Lane in Clinton, Maine.

Not only will we be expanding our heating oil and propane delivery territory, we are also anxious to offer new customers in Clinton, Albion, Unity, Pittsfield, and surrounding towns a full line of heating, plumbing, electrical services, as well as residential and commercial cooling services at competitive rates.

As a local Central Maine company headquartered in Augusta, Maine, with over 127 years in the business, we take pride in providing the best home and commercial comfort solutions, with a professionalism and reliability that is unmatched.

“AFC customers enjoy knowing that we’re a full service company” states Troy Lambert, Customer Service Lead for the Clinton Office, “AFC fuel drivers and service technicians are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We really pride ourselves in going above and beyond for our customers.”

The Clinton branch is currently staffed Monday through Friday from 8AM – 4PM. The main office, located at 4 Northern Avenue, Augusta, ME, is open 7AM – 5PM. Folks are encouraged to contact us, stop by either office or to call (207) 426-3211 for more information.

Categories AFC
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