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AFC helps you control your propane costs

propane use estimate maineWe have all seen the news lately. Each time you go to the grocery store or fill your gas tank, a bigger bite is taken out of your wallet.

During times like this, controlling your household budget is essential. That’s why many people who use propane in their homes are checking their propane usage to try and figure out what they should expect in terms of propane costs.

AFC has ways you can manage your propane costs by giving you pricing and payment options such as our EasyPAY monthly budget plan.

Precisely predicting your propane usage isn’t always possible, but our tips below can help you get a better idea of it so you can more accurately plan your household spending.

How to calculate your propane usage

It is very unlikely that you run all the propane appliances in your home at 100 percent capacity all the time. We’ve created the table below to show estimated propane usage for running appliances at 25 to 50 percent capacity for two to six hours a day. 

As you can see by the calculations, your propane usage can vary greatly, between 1.2 and 7.2 gallons per day. Just a few extra loads of laundry or hot showers increase your propane usage much more than you’d think. Here’s an example: 

This number can then be used to calculate greater use of propane appliances: 
25 percent capacity for 6 hours = 3.6 gallons per day 
50 percent capacity for 2 hours = 2.4 gallons per day 
50 percent capacity for 6 hours 7.2 gallons per day
 
A propane pool heater (at 425,000 BTU/hour) that operates for one hour a day at 75 percent capacity would add about 3.5 gallons to your daily usage: 

Propane pool heaters use a lot of propane, which is why we recommend using a thermal pool cover when the pool isn’t in use to help retain as much of the heat in the pool as possible.
 
A propane whole-house backup generator that gets used often because of storms and power outages is another appliance that can affect your propane usage estimations because you can’t predict if, when, or for how long you’ll be using it.
 
With AFC, you’ll always have peace of mind about your propane supply. Become a customer today!

Learn more about What is Normal Summer Propane Use?

Trust AFC for your home cooling installation & maintenance

ac service maineIf your home’s current air conditioning system isn’t performing well or efficiently, or if you can’t face another summer without A/C in your home, now is the time to act.

AFC provides expert installation of central air conditioning as well as heat pumps by our licensed service technicians. We also provide maintenance and repair services along with our affordable Comfort Plans. All of our work is backed up by our Comfort Guarantee.

Central air: Better comfort and efficiency

Do you already have central air conditioning in your home? If it’s more than 15 years old, your system is on borrowed time. Now is a great time to upgrade to a new central a/c system. Not only will you get superior comfort, but it will pay you back from the day you install it with dramatically improved energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a new central air conditioning system could cut your cooling costs by as much as 40%!

Are you looking to add central air conditioning to your home? Today’s central air conditioning systems offer superior comfort and better energy efficiency than window units. You can zone your cooling, and also use programmable or smart thermostats to turn the A/C off while you’re away and have the house cool when you return. Plus if you install a Mini-Split Air Condition system, they can be installed without ducts. Therefore, you can avoid the energy loss associated with the ductwork of larger central forced air systems

Another Ductless option – Heat Pumps!

If you use a boiler to heat your home, you likely do not have ductwork needed for central air conditioning. AFC has a solution that’s better than adding ductwork or being stuck with inefficient, noisy, unattractive window A/C units: Mitsubishi heat pumps!

We can install your home’s heat pump in as little as one day. With heat pumps, you can zone your home’s cooling for maximum energy efficiency. Here’s how heat pumps work.

Heat pumps have only two major components, the outdoor compressor unit and the indoor air handler. The compressor is connected to the condenser with a tube that also houses power and communication lines.
 
The compressor compresses refrigerant. That compressed refrigerant is then sent to the condenser where it releases its heat, which is dispersed out of the unit to the outdoors. The refrigerant, now a liquid, is sent through the conduit to the evaporator. The refrigerant absorbs heat from warm indoor air that is blown over the evaporator coils. The now-cooled air is sent out of the air handler and back into your home.
 
Here’s an EXTRA bonus: Reverse this process, and you’ll have high-efficiency home heating in the winter with a Mitsubishi heat pump.

Contact AFC to learn more about your cooling options and get a FREE estimate!

Learn more about Want To Be Cool This Summer?

AFC can help you feel better about the air in your home

home air filter maineThe indoor air quality of your Central Maine home can have a serious impact on your health and your overall quality of life.

Your home’s HVAC filter traps many things but doesn’t get everything. Most filters do not trap airborne viruses and bacteria or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). That is why AFC offers outstanding indoor air quality solutions from iWave.

The iWave-M is a flexible, compact air ionization system that removes many viruses, bacteria, dust, pollen, pet dander, VOCs, and more while also getting rid of odors from smoking, cooking, and pets.

The iWave-R is a self-cleaning needlepoint bipolar ionization generator made specifically for residential duct systems. It uses both positive and negative ions to clean the air and remove pollutants and odors.

AFC’s licensed and skilled service technicians will install any indoor air quality equipment and their work is backed up by our Comfort Guarantee.

How to protect your home’s indoor air quality in the summer

Replace your air filters regularly. Check your HVAC system’s air filter once a month and change as needed. Do this more frequently if you have pets.

Clean your floors frequently. Between kids playing in the back yard, doing yard work, having friends over for a cookout, and days at the beach, a lot of dirt, dust, and allergens are being brought into your home via everyone’s foot-traffic. Vacuum and/or mop regularly and take off shoes right when you come in the house.

Be careful about opening windows. Check the pollen report for your area before you decide to air out the house. On days with high pollen, keep the windows closed and your home cooling system running.
Add potted plants. These are a natural, 24/7 air filter, removing toxins from the air and giving back clean oxygen.

Have your ductwork cleaned. When ductwork is not properly cleaned and maintained, pollutants may settle and accumulate in the ductwork. In the summer, turning on your cooling system might cause them to be stirred up and be blown into your living areas, causing or exacerbating breathing difficulties.

Contact us to find out more about our indoor air quality products and services, or to schedule and necessary repair or maintenance work.

Learn more about Summer Indoor Air Quality Tips

Take control of your fuel costs

fuel costs maineFor more than 130 years, AFC has been dedicated to taking care of our customers. That includes always looking for ways to make managing your fuel costs easier.

To help with that, we offer our EasyPay and EasyCap plans, giving you stability in your monthly payments and fuel pricing.

Advantages of EasyPay

When you sign up for EasyPay, it will help you manage your household expenses because you know how much your heating fuel payment will be each month. We multiply your average annual fuel use by this year’s projected price and that figure is then divided into even monthly payments. 

You could save more than 50% on your winter fuel payments! There are no more worries about a hefty heating fuel bill at a time when you have other costs like the holidays, taxes, or tuition payments.

Your heating fuel usage is not affected by EasyPay. You don’t use more fuel than usual or get more frequent deliveries.

The most important advantage is that your costs are more predictable and manageable when fuel prices change rapidly. You just pay one monthly bill even if you get two deliveries in a month when it’s extremely cold. We’ll make any necessary adjustments throughout the winter if, after our calculation, your actual monthly expenditures are a little higher or lower than we anticipated.

Advantages of EasyCap

As we have seen throughout the previous several months, fuel prices can change rapidly. And those adjustments might cause a lot of trouble with your fuel expenses.

You agree to pay a set price per gallon for your heating fuel when you sign up for EasyCap. The price you pay per gallon, regardless of what happens in the global marketplaces, will not go any higher than the capped price. However, if fuel prices go down, so will your price! *CAP fees and restrictions may apply.

EasyCap enrollment is in the spring and summer, when heating fuel costs are typically lower than during the winter. This helps you save more money on your energy bills!

If you were previously enrolled in our EasyCap plan last year…Great News! You will be invited to enroll again this year. Unfortunately, due to high demand, we will not be offering the ability to CAP* the plan price to those new to the program.

*CAP fees and restrictions may apply.

Contact us if you have any questions about or want to enroll in EasyPay and EasyCap.

Learn more about EasyPay and EasyCap: A Perfect Pair!

You can feel comfortable with us!

electricity service maineWhether you need electrical services for your home or business here in Central Maine, AFC is here for you. Every one of our electricians is licensed and insured., and all of our work is backed up by our Comfort Guarantee.

We also offer 24/7 electrical emergency services, even if you’re not an AFC customer.

Electrical services for your home

No electrical job is too big or too small for our electricians. We’ll install wiring for new construction, upgrade wiring and replace electrical panels in existing homes, install outlets and switchers, replace lighting fixtures, assist with whole-house backup generator installation, and more!

One of the new exciting services that AFC offers is installing electric vehicle chargers. This makes having an electric vehicle more convenient as you can charge it at your home rather than finding a commercial charging station elsewhere.

Whatever electrical service you need, we can always start with a FREE estimate.

Taking care of your business’s electrical needs

Businesses can have different, more complex needs when it comes to electrical work. Wiring needs are much more involved.

Commercial buildings need three-phase power, including a neutral wire, a 120-volt leg and a 208-volt leg. Because of the demand involved in supplying power to a huge structure, commercial wiring is designed to be heat, corrosion, and chemical resistant. Commercial wiring is commonly protected inside a series of tube-like conduits. To make for quick access, the wires and conduits may also be placed in open areas rather than behind drywall.

Our licensed electricians are experienced in commercial electrical work, and we are an Efficiency Maine qualified partner. We can do wiring installation for new construction or renovations, retrofits for existing commercial properties, electrical maintenance and repairs, security lighting and CCTV installation and service, commercial generator services, and voice and data cabling.

As with our residential electrical services, we offer 24/7 emergency service.

When it comes to quality of service, AFC can’t be matched! Contact us when you need electrical services for your Central Maine home or business.

Learn more about Residential & Commercial Electrical Services

AFC helps make managing your fuel costs easier

fuel payment options maineThis is a very stressful time when it comes to energy costs, and we are concerned about how worrying this is for many of our customers.

High fuel prices are why we established our AFC EasyPay Price Protection Plan years ago. With EasyPay, we divide your heating oil and propane costs equally over the number of months remaining in the heating season, making your heating expense more manageable.

Another advantage of EasyPay is that there isn’t an additional fee to participate. It’s FREE!

How does EasyPay work?

The calculation of your monthly payment begins with a review of your past fuel usage. Next, we multiply your annual fuel usage by this year’s EasyPay estimated projected price per gallon.  Finally, this figure is then divided by the number of months remaining in the season, resulting in a low, monthly payment.
 
If fuel prices fluctuate significantly higher or lower than the EasyPay estimated plan price per gallon, we may adjust your monthly payment accordingly.

Many AFC consumers have recently enrolled in our EasyPay program because they concur it will be an effective way in making their heating expense more affordable.

Signing up for EasyPay does not increase your annual usage and does not affect your delivery schedule.

The greatest advantage of EasyPay is that your heating costs are forecasted and manageable in a time when fuel prices can vary considerably. Even if you receive two deliveries in a month, you only pay one monthly payment. You won’t need to worry about large heating bills at a time when you have other expenses like holidays or tuition.
 

Feel Comfortable with Us!

We provide the most competitive pricing we can without sacrificing dependability or safety while delivering your propane and heating oil.

Many of you have been with us for a long time. It’s discouraging to charge high fuel prices.
Unfortunately, the price is set by market trading and restrict our options considerably. You can depend on us to try all feasible means to help you during this difficult period.

We appreciate your confidence in us, and we promise to do everything we can to care for your family, regardless of how the price of heating oil or propane fluctuates. If you are having difficulty with your AFC payments, please contact us before you fall behind so we can work with you to find a solution that works for you. 

Learn more about The Benefits of EasyPay in a Volatile Market

Heat Pumps Offer Comfort & Energy Efficiency

home cooling options maineYou may have thought that there are only two options when it comes to keeping cool in the summer: Central air or portable window A/C units.

The first option would involve installing ductwork for central air conditioning, which can be potentially expensive. Between drafting the layout of the ductwork system, the demo work involved, and the installation of the ductwork and vents, you could end up spending more than $5,000 for just the ductwork. Add to that the cost of installing the central air conditioning system.

The second option would be to use window A/C units. They aren’t a great option for many reasons. They’re inefficient energy hogs that can send your electricity bills into the stratosphere. They’re unattractive, loud, block light and they’re a security risk. Plus, they let in dust, dirt, pollen, and bugs. You have to install them in the spring and take them back out in the fall, a hassle at best and hazardous at worst.

A better solution for cooling a ductless home would be heat pumps, which, when it comes to air conditioning, are also called ductless mini-splits. AFC provides expert installation, maintenance, and repair of heat pumps, and feature many Mitsubishi models to fit your budget.

Heat Pumps Make Keeping Cool Easy

You can have cool comfort all over your home with heat pumps.

Not only are heat pumps more efficient than window units when it comes to cooling, but since you can zone your home’s cooling with multiple heat pumps, you’ll be using less energy in this way as well. Large rooms where a window unit would be ineffective will be cool and comfortable.

Heat pumps are a permanent installation, so you don’t have to deal with putting them in before summer then taking them out before winter. Your view isn’t blocked, and all your windows can be safely locked.
As an added bonus, Heat pumps can also help you in the winter, providing supplemental heating to underheated areas of your home.

Do you have questions about how heat pumps can work for your Central Maine home? Get in touch with us and we’ll answer your questions and give you a FREE estimate.

Learn more about You Don’t Need Ductwork To Stay Cool

Get control of your propane costs

daily propane use maineWith energy costs fluctuating as they have been recently, many of our propane delivery customers are looking for ways to better manage their own propane usage and costs.

Knowing how much propane you can expect to use would go a long way towards achieving that goal. It’s not always easy to do, as propane usage varies greatly from season to season. Look over your last year’s worth of AFC statements and you’ll see that.

No matter how your propane use changes over the course of a year, AFC offers several pricing and payment options you can choose from to take charge of your propane costs. You can select the ones that best suit your needs and budget.

How to calculate your propane usage

Because you are not likely to be using all your propane appliances at 100% capacity 24/7, the calculation below is for using them at 25% to 50% capacity for two to six hours a day.

The numbers in this table demonstrate how much your propane usage can vary a great deal, from 1.2 to 7.2 gallons each day. Just having guests or visiting family for a few days can increase your propane usage more than you may think, thanks to using more hot water for laundry and bathing, and using your propane range more for cooking. Here’s an example:

This number can then be used to calculate greater use of propane appliances: 

In summer, a propane pool heater (at 425,000 BTU/hour) that operates for one hour a day at 75% capacity would add about 3.5 gallons to your daily usage:

If you use a propane pool heater, we suggest using a pool cover when the pool isn’t in use to help keep as much of the heat in the pool as possible as propane pool heaters consume a lot of propane.

Because you can’t know when or if you’ll need it, a propane generator might affect your propane usage predictions.

Do you have questions about our propane pricing and payment options? Would you like to set up a budget plan? Please reach out to us. We’re happy to help!

Learn more about How Much Propane Do I Use in a Day?

Smart and programmable thermostats help you save money

home temperature maineIf you’re still using an old manual thermostat in your home, you could be needlessly adding to your energy costs.

Today’s programmable and smart thermostats are reasonably priced and can be found very easily in home improvement stores, on the Internet, or through AFC. They come with a number of benefits over older-style manual thermostats. The biggest advantage is how they can help you save on your heating and cooling costs.

You don’t have to second-guess whether or not you adjusted the thermostat prior to leaving your house for the day, as well as having to pay for any extra heating and cooling expenditures because you forgot. Coming home to a cold or hot and stuffy house is a thing of the past.

Programmable thermostats and smart thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature according to on your needs, as well as create different settings for weekdays, weekends, and holidays. It’s that simple!
Smart thermostats can also be monitored from anywhere you have access to a signal using your smartphone or tablet. Some even notify you if your home’s heating or cooling system needs repairs.

A manual thermostat’s settings may differ from the actual temperature by as much as 5°. This can have a big impact on your energy use and cost. Programmable and smart thermostats allow you to precisely control the temperature. You will be able to save both energy and money by not having to fiddle with the thermostat constantly in order to maintain the temperature you want.

Installing a programmable or smart thermostat is well worth the investment and you’ll be getting a return on that investment from the day you turn it on saving up to 10% on your heating and cooling expenses.

Thermostat setting tips

The following guidelines come from the U.S. Department of Energy and are designed for an optimum balance of comfort and savings. 

Warmer weather: 

Colder weather:

Other tips:

AFC provides expert HVAC equipment service to keep your home’s heating and cooling systems running at their best possible energy efficiency. Contact us with questions, installation requests or service.

Learn more about How To Regulate Your Home Temperature for Efficiency

Control your fuel costs with AFC

payment options maineThis is a time of tremendous worry over fuel costs. We are very aware of how distressing this is for many of our clients, and we are uneasy as well.

Times like this are why we developed pricing and payment options like our EasyPay budget plan years ago. Instead of you being hit with three or four large heating oil bills next winter, we distribute your total fuel costs evenly over the year with EasyPay. If you have other large payments due, such as holiday costs or a tax payment, you won’t have to worry about your propane or heating oil delivery coming when it’s time to pay those other bills.

Another advantage of using EasyPay is that you won’t have to pay extra to be a part of it. You will not be charged anything for enrollment in this program!

EasyPay offers a lot of benefits

EasyPay is an extremely popular choice for many AFC customers. Here are six reasons why. 

  1. You don’t use more heating oil or propane than you normally would.
  2. We only charge you for the propane or heating oil you actually get at market price on the day of your delivery.
  3. Your heating oil or propane bills are more predictable and manageable at a time when fuel costs are fluctuating rapidly.
  4. You will have more money on hand during the winter.
  5. Even if it’s really cold one month and you need two propane deliveries, you still only pay your one monthly payment.
  6. You’ll never have to pay finance charges even if your account balance increases.

How EasyPay works

Our first step is to examine your past propane or heating oil consumption to forecast how much you’ll use in the future.

We calculate your yearly heating oil or propane cost using this year’s anticipated price per gallon. This amount is divided into 12 smaller, more manageable monthly installments. If your real debts deviate from our estimates in any way, we’ll make adjustments as needed.

Using EasyPay can cut your winter heating bills in half … or more!

AFC: Feel comfortable with us!

We pride ourselves on providing you with the lowest possible fuel prices while still ensuring reliable propane and heating oil delivery and service so that your family is safe, warm, and comfortable.

Many of you have been loyal customers for a long time. It’s frustrating to be forced to charge you so much for your heating oil or propane. Unfortunately, our suppliers’ costs limit our options. Please know that we will make every effort possible to assist you during these difficult times.

We value your trust in us, and we will continue to provide the finest possible service for your family, no matter what happens with fuel pricing.

If you are having a hard time paying your AFC bill, don’t wait until you fall behind to reach out. Contact us now and we’ll work with you on a solution. You can talk with us on the phone or via an online video chat.

Learn more about How EasyPay Helps in Volatile Times