If the furnace or boiler in your Central Maine is starting to show its age through reduced energy efficiency, poor performance, or frequent breakdowns, you are likely thinking that the time will come soon to replace it.
If you are, then AFC is the perfect place for you! We’ll help you find the right furnace or boiler for your home and your budget and help you secure financing as well as any rebates your new heating system qualifies for.
We not only provide expert heating installation by our licensed and experienced service technicians, but we also have affordable Comfort Plans to help protect your investment with regular maintenance tune-ups and coverage of many parts and labor costs for heating repair.
There are many factors that influence how much you’ll pay for a new boiler or furnace. Let’s explore some of those so you have a better idea of how much it may cost to install a new heating system in your home.
We understand that some brands of boilers and furnaces cost more than others. However, at the end of the day, it’s not just about the name–it’s about getting the best quality and energy efficiency for your money. We will help you explore all of your options so that you can make an informed decision about which heating system is right for you.
If you’ve been keeping up with current events, then you’re probably aware of the supply chain issues that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic. These same difficulties are present in the HVAC industry, including workforce shortages and a lack of key materials needed such as copper and aluminum.
AFC has maintained reliable access to top-quality heating systems from our suppliers. If your home’s furnace or boiler is aging and not performing as well as it used to, it is wise to begin the process of upgrading to a new one. We’ll come out and look over your furnace or boiler and give you a FREE estimate for a new one.
The price of installing a new furnace or boiler varies depending on the chosen system’s size and placement within your home. Difficulty in installation may drive up the cost if, say, the unit is to be installed in a difficult location. Furthermore, because a larger space requires a bigger heating unit, the size of your home can greatly impact both the selected model’s price tag as well as its installation cost.
Upgrading your home’s heating system from electric to oil-fired, for example, will come at a greater cost. This is because you’ll need to install an oil tank and lines as well as make other adjustments. You will, however, get a return on your investment from the first day thanks to improved energy efficiency and comfort.
We’ll ensure that your new heating system will be able to accommodate any extra space in your home since you last replaced your boiler or furnace, such as a newly added room or finished sunroom or basement. If you hadn’t already done so, adding ductwork or baseboard radiators to those spaces will be necessary, which would come at an additional cost.
In recent years, we have come to realize just how important it is to have clean, safe air in our homes. If you are upgrading your furnace, you may choose to add indoor air quality equipment such as an air purifier or humidifier. This will be an additional expense.
Now is the time to begin planning the replacement of your aging furnace or boiler. Contact AFC today for a FREE estimate!
More than half of Maine homes rely on private, residential wells for the water they use in their homes.
While the water coming from the well on your property may look, taste, and smell fine, there may be contaminants in it that make it unsafe to drink, such as radon, E.coli, coliform, and arsenic. Another problem is that many homes with a well also have hard water.
If you’re looking to improve the water quality in your home, AFC is here to help with water treatment system installation and service. Our service technicians and plumbers are all licensed, skilled, and experienced, and our water treatment work is backed up by our Comfort Guarantee.
Since hard water is not the only issue your water supply may have, we have a wide array of Water-Right that can help with water conditioning as well as whole-home or point-of-use water filtration.
Additionally, we also carry their ultraviolet and cartridge filters.
Our water treatment experts will help determine what your water problems are and come up with the right equipment to solve them.
We also offer affordable Comfort Plans to protect your water treatment system with regular maintenance as well as coverage for many parts and labor costs for repairs. Our maintenance includes a 12-point service that includes water quality testing, replacing the filter cartridge, and a complete, thorough inspection of your water treatment system.
Hard water is a term used to describe water that is high in calcium carbonate, magnesium, and other dissolved minerals. There are different levels of hardness in water that can be determined by testing your water. The most common figures used are grains per gallon (gpg) or parts per million. Generally, any water with levels over 7 gpg or 120 ppm is considered hard. Water with levels above 10.5 gpg or 180 ppm is considered very hard water.
Hard water can create a host of problems in your home and in your plumbing. These are some issues that hard water can cause.
Skin problems. Using hard water for bathing can do a number on your skin. Residue from soap is frequently left on your skin as hard water doesn’t allow it to fully rinse off. This leaves your skin feeling dry and tight. If you or someone in your family has eczema, then using hard water will only aggravate those symptoms.
Hair problems. Hard water can also damage your hair. First, it can be very drying, which is a problem for color-treated or already dry hair and scalps. As with soap on your skin, hard water doesn’t allow shampoo and conditioner to fully rinse off, leaving your scalp irritated and your hair weighed down and feeling gummy or sticky.
Laundry problems. Since hard water can’t remove stains or odors from your clothing effectively and doesn’t rinse cleanly, fabric is constantly being coated with more and more minerals. Therefore, your clothing never gets clean and looks worse each time you wash it.
Cleaning problems. Chalky calcium deposits, often called limescale, and soap scum build up in your showers, tubs, and sinks. Limescale can also build up in shower heads, coffeemakers, and tea kettles. Toilets can develop rust-colored stains. Spots build up on glasses, dishes, and flatware. All this necessitates more frequent and intensive cleaning.
Plumbing and appliance problems. Hard water can cause more wear and tear on water-using appliances like your dishwasher and washing machine. That increases the risk of damage and repairs while reducing their life expectancy. Hard water can also cause plumbing problems like reduced water flow, clogged pipes, and increased stress on pipes and fixtures.
Contact AFC for a FREE estimate on adding a water treatment system to your Central Maine home!
Perhaps you have been seeing stories about ductless heat pumps in the news lately as people are looking for improved energy efficiency in their homes.
AFC can help with ductless heat pump installation and service. We also offer affordable Comfort Plans to assist with heat pump repair and maintenance. All our service technicians, electricians, and plumbers are licensed, trained, and experienced so you can trust our work, which is also backed up by our Comfort Guarantee.
No need for ductwork. When homeowners don’t have ductwork, it can be very expensive to add central air conditioning or forced-air heating. Ductless systems are not only more budget-friendly because you avoid installing ductwork, but the installation process is easier.
Zoning your heating and cooling. Ductless units operate autonomously, so you can decide when and to what temperature different rooms in your house are heated or cooled. Your heating and cooling efficiency will notably improve.
Energy efficiency. By using ductless cooling and heating systems, you can reduce your home’s energy expenses while maintaining a comfortable temperature. These systems are efficient because the air is not lost through ductwork like traditional HVAC systems, so all the heated or cooled air goes directly into your living spaces.
No more window A/C units. Say goodbye to the inefficiency, hassle, and security risk of window air conditioning units when you install ductless heat pumps! Other benefits include no more light being blocked by window units. Also, no more easy access into your home for dust, dirt, pollen, and bugs.
Ductless heat pumps are easy to change from heating to cooling mode with just the push of a button. You don’t need two separate systems! The outdoor compressor unit and the indoor air handler, called the evaporator, are both parts of a heat pump. They connect through tubing that has power lines as well as communications and condensate drain lines running through it.
Cooling: The compressor does what its name implies and compresses the refrigerant vapor so that it can circulate to the condenser. Here, heat from within the refrigerant is transferred into the surrounding air outside, and as a result, the refrigerant changes back into a liquid form. Afterward, this liquid passes through an expansion valve where its pressure decreases significantly. From there, it enters another coil, known as the evaporator, where indoor air is blown over said coils containing low-pressure coolants which absorb heat readily from said air; thus cooling it in turn. This newly cooled indoor temperature-controlled environment leaves through supply registers located throughout your house accordingly.
Heating: Reversing the closed-loop heat pump system in winter enables houses to draw heat from the outside air rather than trying to extract it from within.
The refrigerant works by first becoming a vapor under low pressure, which chills it significantly. Heat always flows from hotter objects to colder ones, so the refrigerant absorbs heat from its surroundings. The compressor then pressurizes the gas back into a hot liquid form once it has drawn all available heat out of its environment. This extremely hot refrigerant is then routed to your indoor coils via tubing, where your blower releases the built-up heat into your home.
You can trust AFC for expert installation and service for your home’s heat pump! Contact us today for your FREE quote.
Whether you are new to using heating oil in your home, or have used it for decades, you may not know much about it.
AFC is here for you! We love teaching our customers about what keeps their home warm, safe, and comfortable. We’ve put together some common questions and their answers so you feel more informed about heating oil.
To be vaporized and combusted in your furnace or boiler, heating oil must reach a temperature of 140°F. Today’s double-walled heating oil tanks and built-in alarms prevent leaks and overfilling. AFC’s TANKShield tank insurance covers 100% of replacement costs in the event of a tank failure, along with removal and disposal costs.
Heating oil is one of the most cost-effective energy sources for home heating. Today’s high-efficiency oil-fired heating systems are much more efficient than in years past, with some models boasting efficiencies over 95%. In addition, heating oil can get your home warm faster than any other energy source.
Today’s heating oil is much cleaner than the heating oil of a few decades ago. All heating oil sold in Maine meets the ultra-low sulfur standard (ULSHO), meaning that it must have 15 parts per million (PPM) or less sulfur content. Traditional No. 2 heating oil contains an average of 4,000 ppm.
More improvements are coming, including the addition of biodiesel blends, as part of the heating oil industry’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Automatic Delivery takes the guesswork out of getting your heating oil delivery. We employ sophisticated software that analyzes your past usage and current weather conditions to determine when you’ll need a delivery, then we schedule it. You never have to worry about running low on heating oil!
If you opt for Will-Call delivery for your heating oil, be sure to check your tank’s gauge regularly so you know when it is time to call us and request a refill. We recommend not letting the gauge fall below 25%. If you’re unsure how to read the tank gauge, here’s what to do.
On top of your heating oil tank, look for the transparent plastic tube with markings on it that resemble car fuel gauge numbers: F, ¾, ½, and so on. There is a red marker or a float inside the tube that informs you how much heating oil is in the tank.
Regular, professional maintenance is necessary for your home’s furnace or boiler so that it runs efficiently. Our annual tune-ups not only lower your energy bill but also help keep your equipment from malfunctioning. Our licensed and skilled technicians take the time to inspect and fix any current or potential problems before they can cause damage. With our Comfort Plans, you’ll not only get a tune-up for your furnace or boiler but also discounts on many parts and labor costs needed for repairs.
Ready for heating oil delivery you can rely on? Become an AFC customer today!
Propane is a versatile and energy-efficient fuel source that offers many advantages and amenities for Central Maine homes.
Want to learn more about propane? We have gathered some information to help expand your understanding.
Propane’s full name is liquified petroleum gas (LPG). The chemical formula for propane is C₃H₈.
Edmund Ronalds, a British academic and industrial chemist, discovered propane in 1864 while researching chemicals in light crude oil from Pennsylvania. In 1910, Walter O. Snelling took the next big step in propane’s development. At the time, Snelling worked for the United States Bureau of Mines based in Pittsburgh where he conducted research on gasoline evaporation and storage methods. Through his study, he discovered that specific evaporating gases could be transformed into liquids. Out of all the gases examined, Snelling discovered that propane was the most bountiful. He then devised a way to bottle liquid gas, which gave birth to the propane industry.
In three years, Snelling sold his propane patent to Frank Philips, founder of Philips Petroleum, for $50,000. That would be about $1.4 million in today’s money.
If you’ve ever smelled rotten eggs, then you know what ethyl mercaptan smells like. This is the most common odorant used to make propane detectable, since propane by itself is nearly odorless. This scent helps people identify propane leaks. If you notice that rotten-egg smell in your home, immediately follow propane safety best practices and evacuate. Get to a safe location, then call 911 and AFC.
About 70% of propane in the United States and Canada comes from natural gas processing, and the recent growth in shale gas production has helped to meet demands. Propane can also be refined from crude oil.
When natural gas is processed, it produces liquid components like propane, butane, methane, and ethane. Propane is then distributed through pipelines, tankers, ships, trains, and trucks to bulk distribution facilities. The propane is distributed to local vendors, such as AFC, and we reliably and safely deliver it to homes in our Central Maine service area.
You’ll never need to worry about propane again with our Automatic Delivery. We use your propane usage history along with current weather conditions to let our state-of-the-art software accurately predict when you’ll need more propane. With that data, we make a propane delivery to you before you run low.
Propane is a clean-burning, efficient energy source that was selected as alternative energy under both the 1990 Clean Air Act and the 1992 National Energy Policy. Because propane doesn’t contain methane as natural gas does, it isn’t classified as a greenhouse gas. If there ever is a leak, propane won’t pollute the air, soil, or water.
Rather than compromising comfort or convenience in order to decrease your home’s carbon impact, switch to propane! Not only is it cleaner burning, but more energy efficient. In fact, today’s propane heating systems and appliances have efficiency ratings that can reach 95% or higher!
AFC is Central Maine’s leader in dependable propane delivery and quality propane appliance services. Become a customer today!
Whether you need electrical services for new construction, a home renovation, updating the wiring in an older home, or commercial electrical work, the licensed and experienced team of electricians at AFC can do the job right and to the highest standards for safety.
AFC offers 24/7 emergency services and FREE estimates for our work. No job is too big or too small, and all our electrical work is backed by the AFC Comfort Guarantee.
If you have any of these seven problems in your home, contact us to request service and we’ll make sure any needed work is done right so your home’s electric system works properly and safely.
Does the light flicker frequently in an overhead fixture or lamp and your home is not in a brownout situation? The problem may be a poor connection from the wiring to the fixture, or loose or corroded wiring.
If this is happening frequently, turn off the malfunctioning lights and contact AFC for a service call. This situation needs to be evaluated by an electrician.
A warm outlet is commonly a sign of an overworked outlet. Electrical outlets can only safely run a certain amount of voltage at a time and when the demand exceeds that amount, it will heat up. This is common, especially in older homes with electrical systems not designed to handle the demand of today’s copious amounts of electronics and electric appliances, and is also a fire hazard. Unplug all devices from that outlet and let the outlet cool down. Do not use power strips or multi-outlet plug-ins in the outlet. Plug the excess devices in other outlets, being careful with extension cord usage.
If the outlet isn’t being overworked, the problem may be faulty wiring or casing. Contact AFC and we’ll come to check it out.
A circuit breaker is an essential safety feature in your home’s electrical system. It is designed to trip and shut off the electrical current if something is wrong. It can happen from time to time in any electrical system. However, if it happens a lot, or if there is one particular breaker that keeps tripping, those are signs of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed.
First, unplug devices such as phone chargers and laptops when they’re not being used. Also, spread out devices around your home so you’re not overworking one specific circuit.
If you already do this and are still dealing with frequently tripping circuit breakers, contact us.
If there are outlets in your home that do not work, that could be a dangerous problem. It could be that wires to the outlet are loose or damaged behind the walls, and that is a fire hazard. Contact AFC so we can investigate the problem.
Do you feel a shock when turning a light switch on or off? If it’s a quick, mild shock, it could be static electricity. However, if the jolt is stronger and it hurts, that is a sign that the problem is in your electrical system. Possible causes include the switch not being grounded, faulty wiring, a defective switch, or that your switch box is made of metal. Get in touch with us and we’ll come to check it out.
We’ve all been feeling the pinch of higher energy bills lately. However, high electric bills with an unexplained increase in usage could be a sign of trouble in your electrical system. AFC can look into your home’s electrical system to see where the problem lies.
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is an electric receptacle that can detect minor changes in the electrical current in the outlet and shut down power if needed. These are essential safety features for rooms where water is used, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
If you don’t have GFCIs in these spaces, you simply need to replace the existing outlet with a GFCI one. GFCIs are readily available at hardware or home improvement stores. If you do not feel comfortable doing electrical work in your home, contact AFC and we’ll take care of it for you.
AFC is Central Maine’s leader in quality electrical services. Contact us today for a FREE estimate so we can get to work for you!
On October 5th, OPEC announced it was slashing production by two million barrels daily. Their announcement last week did not go unheard, and the markets reacted. The cost of heating oil increased by over 70 cents per gallon. This news may not only affect heating oil. Natural gas, electricity, gasoline, and propane are also expected to increase.
Although fuel prices are changing fast and are currently in an upward direction, they can turn around just as quickly. We saw prices spike in spring only to drop by more than a dollar over the summer. There are simply too many variables to know where things will go moving forward. We’ll keep you informed if and when they do.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
If you are having trouble paying your bill, please contact us. Many times, AFC’s professional team can work with you to provide you with more time to pay, especially if you’ve been a long-term customer. If you are not currently enrolled in our EasyPay Budget Plan, we highly recommend that now may be a great time to consider doing so.
It will make budgeting your heating expenses more affordable.
The AFC Team
If you heat your home with heating oil, you know that it cannot be beaten for keeping your Central Maine home warm, safe, and comfortable. One reason is that no other fuel gets your home warm faster than heating oil.
With dependable heating oil delivery from AFC, you can enjoy the benefits of heating oil without worry.
Here’s some more information about heating oil.
No. 2 heating oil and diesel fuels are both distillates derived from crude oil and have a low viscosity. While they have nearly the same chemical makeup, they are used for different purposes. There is no federal excise tax on No. 2 heating oil, so like off-road diesel fuel, which is also untaxed, it is dyed red to distinguish it from the taxed on-road diesel fuel. Because people use No. 2 heating oil in their boilers or furnaces to heat their houses and not for on-road transportation, it is not subject to the federal excise tax. No. 2 heating oil is frequently referred to as home heating oil or fuel oil so that it does not get confused with diesel fuel.
Like diesel fuel, No. 2 heating oil has a winterized variety known as winter blend. This winter blend is a combination of No. 2 heating oil and No. 1 heating oil that is less viscous, less prone to gelling in extreme cold, and easier on your furnace or boiler. Winter blend is also sometimes referred to as kerosene mix.
The heating oil AFC delivers to your home or business is not the same heating oil of just a decade or two ago.
That is because the heating oil industry has been committed to creating a cleaner burning heating oil that is more environmentally friendly than the heating oil of yesteryear. This has led to dramatic changes.
A major change has been the development of ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO). Since 2018, the State of Maine has required that all heating oil be delivered by ultra-low sulfur heating oil.
The reduced amount of sulfur in ULSHO provides a wide range of benefits. First, greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically lower than traditional heating oil, making it much better for the environment as the world continues to fight climate change.
That lower sulfur is also better for you and your home’s furnace or boiler. Less sulfur in heating oil allows your heating system to operate more efficiently, which can help to lower your winter heating energy costs. Because there is less sulfur, fewer deposits are left on the heat exchangers in your furnace or boiler. Thanks to that, the wear and tear on your furnace is reduced, helping it to run more smoothly with fewer breakdowns and a longer life expectancy.
This is just the beginning of the advances as the heating oil industry strives for net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. The addition of biodiesels, made from natural resources like plant oils and algae, offers the promise of even cleaner burning as well as less dependency on foreign oil.
Whether you’re in Augusta, Winslow, Clinton, or other nearby Central Maine communities, you can count on AFC for dependable heating oil delivery. Become an AFC customer today!
As the weather cools here in Central Maine, we’ll be using more hot water as we linger in the shower a little longer, run our dishwashers more with upcoming holiday meals, and have more visitors.
Is your home’s water heater up for the job? If the answer isn’t a resounding and immediate “Yes!” then it’s time to upgrade to a propane tankless water heater installed by the licensed, skilled technicians at AFC.
We sell, install, maintain, and repair top-quality propane tankless waters from leading makers such as Rinnai. AFC can also assist you with rebates and financing. Our affordable Comfort Plans help keep your new propane tankless water heater in peak condition while helping to shield you from big repair bills.
A standard storage water heater with a tank continues to heat the same tank of water all day and all night, whether you’re using it or not, meaning it wastes a lot of energy.
Propane tankless water heaters use energy only when you need hot water, so your water heating-related energy costs may be reduced by about 40%. With a propane tankless water heater, you will save money from the moment it’s installed. Water heating consumes approximately 20% of your home’s total energy usage, making your energy costs significantly lower!
You’ll never run out of hot water if you have a tankless water heater. No more waiting between showers for more hot water. You can take as long a shower as you want even if the dishwasher is running!
Age. The average lifespan of a storage-type water heater is 10 to 12 years. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s time to begin planning its replacement so you can make a careful choice rather than a rushed one, which is what happens if your water heater fails.
Rusty water. When you notice rusty water coming from your faucet only when using hot water, it’s likely originating from the water heater tank. This might be indicative of an impending leak or complete failure of the water heater.
Wet floor around the water heater. Although water heater leaks might not be immediately visible, they can cause puddles or damp floors around your water heater over time.
Odd noises. When the water in your water heater tank is being heated, any strange sounds such as rumbling or banging made by your water heater are most likely caused by build-up and solidification of sediment in the bottom of the tank. Your water heater may be beyond repair and need to be replaced.
Bigger energy bills. As we said above, water heating uses approximately 20% of the energy consumed in a home. If you’re noticing a sudden, unexplained increase in your energy bills, it might be due to an inefficient water heater that needs to be replaced.
Enjoy comfort, convenience, and lower energy costs with a propane tankless water heater from AFC! Contact us today to get a FREE quote.
There’s a lot to do here in Central Maine as fall approaches, from apple picking to football games.
Before you get caught up in all the fun, remember to schedule your heating system’s annual maintenance tune-up with AFC. Now is the optimal time for maintenance of your home’s furnace or boiler. Most people put scheduling their tune-up off until the last minute, so our schedule is more open now. It will be much easier to get an appointment for a day and time that is best for you.
Like all of our equipment work, your furnace or boiler tune-up is covered by our AFC Comfort Guarantee.
Getting your heating system a tune-up is even more important this year, with inflation taking a bigger bite out of your wallet. How can a tune-up benefit you and save you money? Here’s how.
If you want your furnace or boiler to be as energy efficient as possible, it is important to keep it well-maintained. This efficiency will cut your heating energy costs by about 10% or more, and since heating makes up around 50% of your home energy expenses in winter, a tune-up can save you a lot of money!
Four out of five heating system repairs might have been prevented if the equipment had been professionally maintained on a regular basis. Not only does our heating system tune-up keep your boiler or furnace running smoothly, but it also provides an opportunity for our service technicians to inspect your system more closely. They can identify potential problems and fix them before they can get worse and cause a breakdown and leave you with a bill for repairs.
Heating systems that get routine, professional maintenance tend to last longer than those that do not. You won’t have to replace your furnace or boiler as quickly, so you’ll get a higher return on your investment.
Manufacturers often require that your heating system be serviced by a professional once a year to keep the warranty valid. If you don’t get regular maintenance for your furnace or boiler and it breaks down, you may end up having to pay for big repair costs later if the warranty has been voided.
Another great way to protect your home’s furnace or boiler is with an AFC Comfort Plan. Each one of our Comfort Plans includes an annual tune-up by our licensed and skilled service technicians. And, if you have problems with your heating system, you also will get priority service, free diagnostic work, discounts on some parts, and labor for repairs.
Beat the fall rush and contact AFC today to schedule your heating system tune-up and enroll in an AFC Comfort Plan!