Supporting the Community: CES Donates Maintenance Vehicle to Ten Mile River Scout Camp
We’re proud to support the local community and giving back to those who’ve supported us make it sweeter! Combined Energy Services’ Mike Taylor and Ron Lindholm hand the keys of this Chevy service truck over to Tom Hamer, Ranger at Ten Mile River Scout Reservation.
This is the 3rd vehicle in a year that CES has donated to Ten Mile River, a 12,000-acre Scout Reservation that is home to three traditional Scout summer camps and a Family Camp. Located in Sullivan County, near Monticello and Narrowsburg, it is operated year-round and has been a CES propane customer for over 20 years. TMR has been host to tens of thousands of scouts & their families over the decades, giving many life experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.
CES is proud to be a family owned, local company who has been serving the community for 50 years. We’re honored to be able to give-back to great local non-profits in the region like TMR.
Combined Energy Services wants to take a moment to remind everyone of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 430 people in the United States die each year from accidental CO poisoning and approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room. More than 8% of those visiting the OR are hospitalized.
Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that often goes undetected, striking victims caught off guard or in their sleep.
This “invisible killer” is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not necessarily guarantee safety.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says about 170 people in the United States die every year from carbon monoxide produced by non-automotive consumer products, such as room heaters. That’s a whopping 60% of CO poisoning deaths! So as the weather turns colder, it’s important to take extra precautions.
Who is at Risk?
Exposure to carbon monoxide can result in permanent neurological damage or death, and anyone can be at risk. The CDC says infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more prone to illness or death, but carbon monoxide doesn’t discriminate – especially if certain conditions are present.
How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in My Home?
Winter can be a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages.
The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home near the bedrooms. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. The CDC offers these additional tips:
- Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year. Combined Energy Services offer a variety of service plans (Propane – Fuel Oil/Kerosene) to take the worry away from system maintenance;
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors;
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes;
- Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished;
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly;
- Never use a gas oven for heating your home;
- Never let a car idle in the garage;
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. If you don’t have one, please go out and get one.
As with smoke alarms, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
You won’t know that you have a carbon monoxide leak without a working alarm. So, test alarms regularly and replace them every five to seven years depending on the manufacturer’s label.
For the best protection, have carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
Carbon monoxide alarms are not interchangeable with smoke alarms, and vice versa. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available.
Replacing CO detectors
If you wonder if your carbon monoxide detectors are worn out, they probably are. CO detectors only have a five to seven-year life. In 2009, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) began requiring an end-of-life warning to alert homeowners when their carbon monoxide alarm has reached the end of its useful life. If there’s no date on yours and you can’t remember when you bought it, you’re probably due for a new CO monitor.
Here are two key things to look for when you buy replacements. First, pick a detector with a “fuel-cell electrochemical” sensor. This type is far more sensitive to CO and less prone to false alarms than models from just 10 years ago. There are other types of sensors on the market (metal oxide and gel cell) that offer longer life. But humidity and temperature changes can reduce their accuracy.
When it comes to detecting carbon monoxide, we recommend accuracy over detector life span. Second, experts recommend choosing a model with a digital readout and a “peak level” memory retention feature. That’s helpful to emergency personnel if they suspect CO poisoning. If you have small children, consider buying a talking CO detector. A voice warning is more effective than a horn at waking children.
Since carbon monoxide is roughly the same weight as air, it neither rises toward the ceiling nor sinks to the floor. Therefore, detectors that don’t have a digital display can be mounted anywhere if they’re at least 15 in. below ceilings.
Just make sure you install one on each level of your home. Locate them in hallways near bedrooms but at least 15 ft. away from fuel-burning appliances.
Steps to Take When Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds
The CPSC says never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm, and do not try to find the source of the gas. Instead, follow these steps:
- Immediately move outside to fresh air;
- Call emergency services, fire department or 911;
- Do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for;
- Do not reenter the premises until emergency responders have given you permission to do so.
- Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- The U.S. Fire Administration has put together materials on the dangers of carbon monoxide. Included is a list of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.
Low to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning is characterized by:
- Shortness of breath
High level carbon monoxide poisoning results in:
- Mental confusion
- Loss of muscular coordination
- Loss of consciousness
Symptom severity varies depending on the level of carbon monoxide and duration of exposure. Mild symptoms sometimes are mistaken for flu.
It seems like we go from one season to the other without pause. Waking up this morning to the first frost gave way to finally turning on the heat. A few moments after firing up the furnace for the first time this fall, I got to enjoy that fresh roasted dust bunny smell. You know the one I’m talking about? A cross between dust, pet hair and heat. Not a burn, so much, but a heating up. Yeah that one!
To prevent this roasted dust bunny smell, it’s a good thing to break out the vacuum and clean the radiators, heat vents and returns prior to turning on the heat. Combined Energy Services offers yearly services contracts for Propane, Fuel Oil and Kerosene heat. We don’t vacuum the radiators or vents, but we make sure that your furnace is in tip top shape.
If you have radiators with thin metal fins, you want to use a vacuum attachment with soft bristles. Why? As coolant passes through the radiator’s pipes on its way through the heating loop, it transfers much of its heat to the pipe that, in turn, transfers the heat to the fins that surround the pipe. It is the fins that release the heat into the ambient air. Crushing the fins together disrupts the fin’s ability to transfer heat making the system inefficient. So, take your time vacuuming them.
Cleaning the vent and return covers or grilles isn’t difficult either. Depending how dirty they are, you may be able to just vacuum them off with a bristled vacuum attachment. If they are really dusty or grimy, you may want to take them off and wash them. Are your heating system returns in the ceiling or difficult to reach? You might want to consider getting a telescoping brush for cleaning.
With forced air heat, don’t forget about your filter. Having a clean filter not only improves air quality but also the efficiency of your furnace…up to 15%! Please note that changing your forced air furnace filter is a pretty simple fix, but if you are uncomfortable at all with the process, please call in a professional.
There is much discussion about how often you need to change your forced air furnace filter. If it hasn’t been changed in months, there’s no better time than the present! Typically, it should be changed every 3 months at most. The number of people and pets in the home along with the type of filter may dictate a more frequent replacement cycle.
So, with a little fall cleaning, you can get rid of the roast dust bunny smell, improve air quality and help your furnace run efficiently. You can view more safety tips on our website.
What will this winter bring?
Tips for being ready for whatever winter brings!
It shouldn’t be hard to remember the devastation that occurred in March 2018. With 4 Nor’easters clobbering the area leaving millions without power for days, you’d have to live under a rock to not want to be prepared.
Depends on what prediction you follow – The Old Farmer’s Almanac, NOAA or The Weather Channel – it’s anyone’s educated guess what Mother Nature is going to throw at us. The Woolly Bear caterpillars are predicting a mind winter (large red-brown bands), while the local deer turning grey in September is indicative of a harsh winter. Even the wildlife can’t come to a consensus!
Rather than take chances, wouldn’t it be easier to take some steps now and rest easier later? Here’s a few steps to get you going.
- Make sure your heating system is ready for the cold weather by having it serviced NOW. If you are a Combined Energy Services customer, we offer service contracts on both propane and fuel oil It’s recommended that you have your heating system professionally serviced BEFORE you turn it on.
- Are you a “Will Call Delivery” customer? We must ask why? CES must be notified 5 – 7 business days before the desired delivery date. We will make every attempt to get you fuel sooner but if there’s severe weather, our automatic delivery folks get preference.
- There’s a serious rumor that needs to be dispelled here. Someone started the scuttlebutt that heating fuel companies wait until the prices are high to deliver fuel to their automatic delivery customers. This is just NOT true! Combined Energy Services uses a degree-day delivery system that considers monthly temperatures to plan deliveries. It has nothing to do with price, and everything to do with weather.
- Wouldn’t it be easier to sign up for Automatic Delivery and not worry about checking your fuel gauge to try to figure out how many days of fuel you have remaining? There’s still time, call us today for details at 800-874-1975.
- Is your heating system more than 20 years old? It might be time to bite the bullet and install a new furnace. Maybe consider changing from fuel oil to energy efficient propane. Combined Energy Services can take the worry out of the process. Contact CES for a free, no obligation quote. The expense for conversion can easily be paid for in increase energy efficiency.
- Something you can easily do yourself is to seal up any outside air leaks. If you can see daylight around closed doors or windows, it’s time to add some weatherstripping and caulk. If you feel drafts around receptacles and light switches on exterior walls, you can add foam gaskets behind the plates. They’re available at your local hardware store or online.
- Do you have enough insulation in your attic? Do you remove or cover window/wall air conditioners? What about your fireplace damper? Does it close properly. Check out this diagram for more handy tips.
- What about replacing your dirty wood burning fireplace or woodstove with an energy efficient propane model? Combine Energy Services can help! Not only can we sell you with propane but we also sell a wide variety of propane fire options.
Contact Combined Energy Services for all you home heating needs!
Water heating makes up almost 20 percent of your home’s energy bill, but did you know that by switching out your electric water heater for a propane-powered water heater can save you money?
The type of water heater you choose has a direct impact on not just your energy bill, but also your home’s environmental impact, your family’s safety, and your home’s resale value – and propane really is the best choice.
Water heaters have a huge impact on your everyday life and are an essential home appliance. Every time you take a hot shower, wash your dishes or use your washing machine, you are using your home’s hot water heater.
Propane water heaters are a cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly option for your home or cottage.
A propane water heater can save you significant money
In a comparison study from the Propane Education and Research Council, the annual energy cost for a propane tankless water heater in a 2,400 sq ft home was $355 (US) a year cheaper than an electric storage tank model. Not only that, but the propane water had around 70 percent fewer emissions.
The price of propane is far cheaper than that of electricity. When you factor in the costs of installing, maintaining and the average lifespan of your propane water heater, it’s around 30 percent less expensive than an electric water heater.
Propane water heaters are also less expensive to repair, have a longer lifespan and do not diminish in performance as they get older, meaning the long-term savings can be significant.
What other benefits come with a propane water heater?
Improved efficiency – Propane water heaters heat twice as much water in an hour than electric heaters. That means from a smaller sized tank you will be able to get far more water, reducing the amount of energy it takes to heat and store your hot water. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration you get 91,333 Btu from 1 gallon of propane and just 3,412 btu from 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity! Btu or British thermal units are a measure of heat energy and are commonly used for comparing various energy sources. Tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed, making them even more efficient. They do not produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money. We proudly offer Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters.
Environmentally friendly – Made from the process of refining crude oil and natural gas, propane is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels in the world. An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved clean alternative fuel, propane offers lower greenhouse gas emissions than electricity and is non-toxic to the environment.
Safety – Propane tanks are far more puncture resistant and are very difficult to ignite since propane is a non-toxic gas. However, if this was to happen and your propane water heater was to leak, it would vaporize and dissipate into the air rather than puddle and cause a fire threat. The strong pungent smell, resembling rotten eggs, will let you know immediately if there is a leak.
How old is your electric water heater?
Over time, the performance of an electric water heater diminishes, wasting energy and costing you more money than you should be paying. Even worse, your old electric water eater could quit or fail at any moment, costing you even more money for a replacement and cleanup.
Do you know how old your electric water heater is or how well it is performing? It’s important to not wait until your current electric water heater is past its prime. It’s probably the case that your water heater is performing well below the level of when you first bought it, and significantly below the level that a propane water heater would perform at.
The sooner you make that switch over to propane, the sooner you will be able to reduce your energy bills and save money on monthly energy costs.