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water filter installation massachusettsIf you drink bottled water, or keep a filtered pitcher in your fridge, you might have at least considered installing a whole house filtration system in your home over the years. The question is, what stopped you?

A whole-house water filtration system may sound expensive, but it may cost less than you think – especially when you consider the many ways it saves you money over time.

In this Q&A, we’ll look a little more deeply into whole-house water filtration, and why it might be a good choice for your western Massachusetts home.

Q. What is a whole-house water filtration system?
A. Depending on where you live and how it is sourced, the water that comes from your faucets may contain impurities like rust, sediment and minerals. A whole-house filtration system removes impurities before it reaches those taps.

Q. What are the benefits of a whole-house water filtration system?
A. Healthier drinking water is the most obvious benefit of a water filtration system, but there are other benefits, too. For example:

Q. What are the types of water filtration systems?
A. There are several types of water filtration system, and the one that’s right for you depends on your home and water supply (a big reason why you should get a professional consultation when installing a system).

Some of the most common whole-house water filtration systems include:

Q. What’s the first step in choosing a whole-house water filtration system?
A. Before installing a whole-house water filtration system, you’ll want to test your water to understand which system would most benefit you. You can purchase water testing kits online, or you can have your water tested by professionals.

Q. How long should a whole-house water filtration system last?
A. With proper care and depending on the type and your usage, reverse osmosis, ionization, and UV systems can last up to a decade or so. Carbon filters need to be replaced once a year.

Q. How much does a whole-house water filtration system cost?
A. The price of water filtration system installation ranges widely, depending on the type and complexity of the system you choose. Simpler systems cost less than $1,000, while more comprehensive ones can cost more than $5,000.

Q. Does a water filtration system require professional installation?
A. In most cases, yes. Simpler carbon filter systems can be installed at the tap, and less expensive under-counter models can probably be installed by a DIYer. But more advanced whole-house systems require professional installation to make sure you get the full benefit of filtration throughout your home.

Considering a whole house water treatment solution? We can help. Contact FSi today to request a FREE water test so that we can help you choose a water treatment system that is right for your western MA home.

ductless a/c massachusettsYou may have seen a ductless mini-split system in a local restaurant – those long cooling units, usually hung above a doorway or high on a wall. But did you know those ductless systems can also be used for home heating?

A ductless mini-split heat pump is a great and efficient way to keep your home comfortable year-round – whether as a primary source of heating and cooling in a home that lacks existing ductwork or as a supplement to your furnace or A/C.

How A Mini-Split System Works

All ductless mini-split systems include two components – an air handler (the indoor unit) and a condenser (the outdoor unit), connected by a thin pipe installed through an exterior wall. A single condenser can operate up to four air handlers, creating an efficient zone heating and cooling system in your home.

A ductless heat pump system works by using heat exchanger coils to move warm air from one location to another. During winter, for example, your heat pump draws warm air from outside your home to increase temperatures inside; during the summer, the heat pump reverses the process, expelling warm air from your home.

Key Benefits

Mini-split heat pumps are a big step up from window air conditioners and portable space heaters, providing economical comfort that can be targeted to specific spaces in your home. But the benefits of a mini-split heat pump aren’t limited to energy savings. Ductless heat pump systems are also:

Want to keep your heating and cooling bills low while staying as comfortable as possible? Consider upgrading your space heaters and window A/Cs to a multi-function ductless mini-split heat pump from FSi. Contact us today to learn about MASS SAVE® rebates on heat pumps and discuss ductless mini-split installations in Greater Springfield, MA!

bioheat facts massachusettsElectricity is considered a “clean fuel” by many. But when you take a closer look, it isn’t exactly the “green miracle” people often make it out to be.

Although the electric appliances (or heat pump) in your home don’t produce any emissions, the power plant that generates the electricity certainly does. In fact, in Massachusetts, nearly 90 percent of the electricity produced is generated by burning natural gas, which is mostly methane – a gas with a far higher Global Warming Potential (GWP) rating than carbon dioxide.

Contrast that to the ultra-low-sulfur Bioheat® fuel we deliver.

Because of the industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, Bioheat fuel burns more cleanly, with significantly fewer emissions and harmful pollutants than other fuels – including natural gas. Here are six pollutants potentially produced by heating your home – and every one of them is reduced by using Bioheat rather than other energy sources:

Few Repairs And Less Maintenance, Too

As a Bioheat use, you’ll also benefit from better heating efficiency and easier maintenance, since highly refined, renewable and ultra-low-sulfur Bioheat fuel creates fewer deposits on heat exchangers.

Looking ahead, the heating oil industry is committed to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050. As higher blends of Bioheat fuel become more common in the coming years, home heating oil blended with biofuel will continue to move closer to becoming a carbon-neutral fuel.

This and other innovations within the industry will help keep heating oil as a leader in America’s clean energy evolution.

Today’s Bioheat® – taking the lead in the green revolution. To learn more about Bioheat deliveries in western Massachusetts, contact FSi today!

fuel payment options massachusettsA little predictability can go a long way these days, especially when it comes to paying your monthly bills. The good news is you can get some of that predictability for FREE when you enroll in the SmartPay budget program from FSi.

If you have been buying your heating oil or propane as a will-call customer, you have probably gotten some heating bill surprises over the years. That’s because you’re paying for more than half a year’s worth of fuel during a four-month period, when temperatures here in western Massachusetts can drop quickly and stay low for weeks at a time. When you’re a SmartPay customer, you’ll avoid those surprises and smooth out winter’s bill-paying bumps in the road.

Here’s how it works: We’ll make an estimate of your heating oil or propane use based on your past bills, then divide that total into 11 equal payments (we can make small adjustments ­– up or down – as needed). There are no finance charges or fees for SmartPay – just think of it as FREE peace of mind from our family to yours.

Our Price Protection Options Give You Even More Predictability

Smart Pay can help level out the ups and downs by spreading your fuel payments out over the course of the year, but it won’t have any impact on the price of your fuel. To manage that trick, you need Price Protection from FSi.

Whether you choose Price Cap protection, which shields you from fuel price spikes while letting you take advantage of price drops, or Prebuy, which lets you lock in a price for your season’s worth of fuel, you’re sure to get the peace of mind you’re looking for.

The Bottom Line

SmartPay will take the stress out of paying for your heating oil or propane deliveries, helping you with your budget planning all year round. Imagine how much easier it will be to plan knowing how much you’ll pay for your energy bills every month! It’s possible when you enroll in SmartPay from FSi.

Enrollment for SmartPay is underway for the 2020/2021 heating season! Contact us today to make the switch from will call, or to become an FSi customer!

heating installation massachusettsHaving a reliable and efficient home heating system is really important here in western Massachusetts, where we rely on our furnace or boiler for almost two-thirds of the year.

If your heating equipment is on its last legs and you fear you may need repair or replace it, don’t worry: FSi is here to help. If you’re not sure what course to take, here are some repair vs. replace guidelines for your home heating system:

Repair your equipment if:

Replace your equipment if:

Tipping The Scales: Mass Save Rebates

Sometimes the repair/replace equation is pretty close to even, making your choice a tougher one. In those cases, incentives can tip the scales in favor of a heating system upgrade.

This year, for example, you may qualify for thousands of dollars in rebates and loans with zero percent interest to cover equipment replacement. Mass Save rebates in 2021 include up to $2,300 on propane furnaces and boilers and up to $800 on oil furnaces and boilers.

Additional savings are available for propane and oil water heaters – contact us today to learn more.

Considering a new heating system installation in western MA? We can help! Contact FSi today to learn more about propane and heating oil heating system installations in Greater Springfield!

bioheat and the economy massachusettsBioheat® is fast becoming one of the most in-demand alternative fuels in the U.S.A. But Bioheat is much more than simply another home energy source: from production to end use, it’s a fuel that has a big impact on lives across the nation and closer to home, including yours!

Here are four key impacts of Bioheat fuel:

  1. The environment – Bioheat® is a safe, renewable, eco-friendly energy fuel made domestically from a combination of ULSHO heating oil and vegetable oils, recycled restaurant oils, and other natural sources. The production of Bioheat is extremely efficient, and the fuel itself is nontoxic, biodegradable, and promotes better air quality and environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Bioheat also reduces energy consumption by providing a cleaner, more complete and energy-efficient burn – and by reducing wear and tear on heating equipment, it could delay trips to the landfill by older furnaces and boilers.
  2. The national economy – The biodiesel industry currently supports more than 60,000 U.S. jobs, generating billions of dollars in GDP, household income, and tax revenues. That impact is projected to grow significantly as biodiesel projection increases. Biodiesel also creates opportunities for business owners: restaurant owners, for example, can sell used cooking oil—once a waste product—to biodiesel producers as an additional source of revenue. Lastly, Bioheat® helps our economy by helping meet our nation’s energy needs without incurring the cost for new land use or drilling, or paying premium prices for imported fuels.
  3. Your personal economy – Bioheat can help your own bottom line, too: for one thing, it can be used in your existing heating system without modification – which means you won’t need to a make further investment in equipment to enjoy Bioheat’s benefits. Further, getting Bioheat deliveries in western MA may extend heating equipment life while reducing heating maintenance and service calls.
  4. Your community – Bioheat fuel is delivered by the same family-owned, community-based heating oil companies (like ours) that have been reliably delivering fuel for decades – not large-scale, impersonal regional or national utilities. That keeps money in local towns and counties, where it is more likely to benefit your family and neighbors.

Bioheat® – one of the fastest growing alternative fuels in the nation. Get yours today when you become an FSI customer! Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule a Bioheat delivery in Greater Springfield, MA

service plan choices massachusettsIf you read this blog, you probably know that routine maintenance is the key to lower HVAC energy bills, and that about 80 percent of the most expensive home cooling repairs could be avoided simply by getting your equipment professionally serviced every year.

But did you know that routine maintenance is included in our A/C Advantage and Value Service Plans?

If you sign up for an FSi A/C Service Plan, you’ll have fewer breakdowns to start with – and when you do have a problem, it’s usually covered at no charge or at a discounted rate.

Want another reason to jump on a Plan? How about cut-to-the-front-of-the-line emergency repair service? You’ll rest easy knowing that if your A/C is one of a number of local cooling systems that fails during a heatwave, you’ll be among the first homes to get your equipment back up and running.

Two Levels Of A/C Service Plans Available

Looking for peace of mind and a great value on A/C service? Here’s what we offer.

Advantage Service Plan

Value Service Plan

We also offer Service Plans for other home comfort equipment, including your gas- and oil-fired furnace, boiler or water heater.

An investment in an FSi Air Conditioning Service Plan will pay for itself now and later with lower bills and fewer costly repairs. Contact FSi today to learn more about air conditioning maintenance in Springfield, MA!

gas grilling how to massachusettsNational Barbecue Month is on our doorstep – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get cooking on your built-in propane grill right now!

As you prepare for the outdoor entertainment season ahead, it’s smart to review some important safety reminders for your propane grill. Here are seven things to remember as you fire up for the coming season.

  1. Install your built-in grill at least six feet away from your home.
  2. Never leave your propane grill unattended.
  3. Check hoses and connections for leaks before operating the grill.
  4. Never light a gas grill with the lid closed – to light your grill, open the lid before turning on the gas at the tank. If the grill doesn’t light after a couple of clicks, turn off the burner, turn the gas off, and wait 5 or 10 minutes before attempting to light it again.
  5. Make sure to keep your grill lid accessible to extinguish small flare-ups. It’s also a good idea to portable fire extinguisher on-hand.
  6. Never disconnect your grill or adjust fittings while the grill is in use. When you finish grilling, shut off the gas valve.
  7. Always practice food safety:
    • If you can’t wash your hands, use antibacterial wipes before eating or handling food – especially raw meat, poultry, or fish.
    • Separate raw meats from cooked and prepared foods. Store raw meats in a separate cooler, place raw meat on its own plate, and use different utensils to handle uncooked and cooked food.
    • Always cook meats to temperatures that ensure your safety.

Still using a charcoal barbecue? Make the switch to propane today and enjoy instant start-ups, no chemical fumes, and precision temperature control! Contact FSi to learn more about built-in propane grill hookups and outdoor kitchen installations in western MA today.

Already have a propane grill? Make sure you have enough propane in your tank to last the spring and summer! Contact us today for reliable propane deliveries in Greater Springfield, MA!

how to descale massachusettsIf you have a conventional water heater (one with a storage tank), one of the most important tasks you have is to periodically flush it so that mineral deposits (“scale”) won’t accumulate on its heat exchanger (scale reduces efficiency and shortens the lifespan of your equipment).

The question is, do you need to flush a tankless water heater, even though it doesn’t have a storage tank?

The answer is yes.

Scale forms when heat separates calcium from water – and that process happens the same way in a tankless water heater as it does in a standard water heater model. Even a thin layer of scale could drop your efficiency by as much as 30 percent, essentially negating the advantage of using a tankless vs tank system.

The good news is that descaling your tankless water heater is pretty easy to do. Before you try it yourself, always read the instructions the manufacturer gave you first! While the procedure detailed below is fairly standard, there might be slight but important variations based on your particular model.

If you’re not comfortable tackling this procedure, don’t worry – we can take care of it for you. Just give us a call!

Materials Needed For Tankless Descaling

Descaling A Tankless Water Heater

  1. Before you begin, set your temperature to 150°F and let hot water run through the heater for about a minute.
  2. Shut off all the power to the water heater.
  3. Close the incoming and outgoing water isolation valves. If your unit doesn’t have isolation valves, then you can buy some and install them yourself.
  4. Have a bucket ready to collect water as it drains. There will be about a liter of water or so in the pipes of the tankless heater.
  5. Drain the unit and connect hoses to the drain ports of the isolation valves “A” and “B”.
  6. Dump this bucket or have another bucket ready to go with a solution to be pumped through the heater.
  7. Fill an empty bucket with a mix descaling solution and water. About half a bucket of water will do the trick.
  8. Open the isolation valves A and B.
  9. Turn on the circulation pump. Let the solution circulate through the tankless water heater for at least 30 minutes, but an hour is better.
  10. Drain the descaling solution from the heater and flush fresh water through the heater by closing valve “B”.
  11. Open up valve “A” with a hose leading to an empty bucket.
  12. Open up the inlet water valve to let fresh water flow through the unit and empty it into the empty bucket to get all of the solution out of the heat exchanger.

A good flush is important, but it isn’t the only maintenance your water heater needs! Be sure to contact a water heater maintenance expert a minimum of once every two years for a conventional water heater, and once a year for a tankless water heater. Contact FSi today to schedule an appointment for water heater maintenance in Greater Springfield, MA!

what furnace smells mean massachusettsIf you have your propane heating furnace maintained by professionals every year, chances are it will go about its job with minimal problems for most of its lifespan. But as it ages, your furnace can start to break down – and one of the warning signs you’ll encounter as it does are strange odors.

What Furnace Odors Mean

Here are four common furnace odors, and what they could mean for your heating equipment:

  1. A dust-burning smell is normal early in the heating season as your furnace burns away offseason dust and dirt; the smell should go away after few hours. If it doesn’t, try replacing your air filter (which you should do at the beginning of the season anyway) before you call us for service.
  2. A burning wire/electrical smell is typically a sign of overheating. If your furnace is cycling (turning on and off) for no apparent reason, it could be your equipment protecting itself from this problem. Give your furnace a rest for a few hours; if the problem returns when you try it again, contact us for service.
  3. A worn-out rubber or grinding metal smell can indicate a serious problem (a worn out or broken part, or something more significant) that needs immediate attention; shut your heating system down and call a heating expert right away. Depending on the age of your equipment, it may be more sensible to replace your furnace than to repair it; we can help you make the call.
  4. A rotten egg smell indicates that you have a propane gas leak; if you have a propane leak, follow these procedures immediately:
    1. Avoid touching any equipment that could cause a spark (lights or light switches, appliances, telephones, cell phones, etc.); a spark can cause an explosion.
    2. Get everyone (including pets) out of your house immediately and call 911 from a safe distance away.
    3. If it is safe to do so, turn off the propane gas at the tank; if you don’t know how to do this, ask us – it’s important information to know.
    4. When inspection teams say it is safe to return to your home, do so – but do not use your propane equipment again until it is inspected by a professional.

Having furnace trouble? Our expert technicians can help. We’ll diagnose the problem and get your equipment back up and running quickly – if we can’t fix your furnace, we’ll help you choose a new one that meets your needs and budget. Contact us today to learn more about high-efficiency heating system repair and installation in western Massachusetts!