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Everything You Need to Know About Gas Hearth Products

fireplace installation vermont When it comes to adding warmth and charm without the mess or hassle of logs and embers, plenty of your neighbors are discovering the ease and style of a gas fireplace. One thing that always surprises people is the realistic look and actual warmth of a gas fireplace. This is no plastic log over a lightbulb!

People always ask, “How do you choose the logs you use in a gas fireplace?” Well, the logs in a gas fireplace are made from cement, ceramic, or ceramic fiber blends that are carefully crafted and painted to look just like real wood logs. You can even specify a species of wood you want to display. Gas logs are made to withstand high heat and can last for several seasons depending on how much you use your gas fireplace.

Is Converting to a Gas Fireplace Easy?

It is! It’s quite common to convert an existing fireplace to work with a gas log set, or a gas log insert. But the best part about a gas fireplace is that you don’t even need a chimney to make that happen. The professionals at Junction Fuels can make it easy to add a gas fireplace to virtually any room in your Vermont home.

Whether you’re converting a wood-burning hearth or adding a new gas hearth, the main choice you need to make is between ventless and direct vent designs.

Ventless or Direct Vent: What’s Best?

Direct vent and vent-free technology are two great ways to add a gas fireplace even if you don’t have a chimney or flue. All that’s needed is access to propane gas.

A direct vent gas hearth can be installed almost anywhere. That means you can incorporate cozy charm into just about any room, including living rooms and family rooms, but also kitchens and dining rooms, too. Create your dream master suite or a spa-like bathroom escape, just by adding a gas fireplace. You can also convert traditional fireplaces to a maintenance-free propane hearth with a gas log insert.

The Size of the Log Set Matters

Aesthetically, you want your log set to be in proportion to your fireplace. The size of the fireplace and the size of your burner will help you determine the size of your gas log set. You need to allow space for control valves, gas lines, and other elements so the width of your burner should not be the exact width of your fireplace.

In any case, we can help make sure you choose the best size for your hearth.

What are the Benefits of a Propane Fireplace?

Propane-fueled fireplaces add ambiance—but they also provide efficient supplemental heat without the mess, smoke, and ash of a wood-burning fireplace. Plus, a gas hearth is much safer, too.

No more playing with matches and waiting for tricky kindling to catch—you can turn on and adjust the flame with a wall switch or even a remote control and turn it off when you are done. No waiting for embers to burn out or worrying that they will flare up again by mistake.

Warm Up Your Home with a Gas Log Set from Junction Fuels!

Nothing beats the cozy charm and ambiance of a fireplace. Let our team show you just how easy and affordable installing a gas fireplace or stove can be this late winter season. We service and install everything we sell, and we stand by our work.

Contact us for more information today or to find out more about our current selection.

A Homeowner’s Guide to Troubleshooting Your Home Heating System

heating system repair vermont There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night and thinking, “Gee, it’s cold in here!” before you realize your heat is off.

Or maybe your system just doesn’t seem to be keeping your rooms as warm as usual. No matter the situation, when your furnace or boiler is on the fritz, we’ve got your back! We’re always here to lend a helping hand and our in-house team of service technicians can get you back up and running fast.

Signs of Heating System Trouble

However, sometimes there’s an easy fix that you can handle yourself that can help you avoid the expense of a service call—and free up our techs to help others. Try these troubleshooting steps before you call us:

1. Check Your Thermostat

Make sure your thermostat is set to a temperature at least 5° above room temperature and set to “heat.” Is it the batteries? Try installing fresh ones just to be sure.
2. Check the System Switch

Did the switch for your heating system accidentally get turned off? This happens more often than you’d think. Don’t overthink it, just turn it back on.

3. Check Your Fuel Supply

If you haven’t checked your tank gauge in a while, there’s a good chance you’ve run out of fuel—especially if it’s been very cold recently, or if you’ve been spending more time at home during the day. If you’re out, know that we’re on call 24/7 for emergency deliveries.

4. Check Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers can easily trip. Check the breaker that your heating system is on and turn it on if it’s off.

5. Check the Air Filter

When the air filter on your furnace gets clogged, the system will shut down as a part of its safety protocol. Replace it and set a reminder on your calendar to check it once a month.

6. Check the Boiler

If you have a steam boiler, check the water level gauge. It should be at least half-full. Call us if it isn’t. Have a hot water boiler? You can skip this step.

7. Reset the System

If none of the previous steps work, push and hold the Reset button for 30 seconds. Only do this ONCE. Doing it more than once floods the combustion chamber with too much heating oil. That’s an expensive repair job on top of any other repairs you may need.

If none of these steps resolves the problem, call us and we’ll dispatch a technician to get you up and running as soon as possible.

Our Service Plans Can Prevent Heating System Troubles

Some heating system problems are easy to prevent. An annual tune-up is the best way to make sure your boiler or furnace is running at peak efficiency. It not only helps keep heating costs down, but regular maintenance also prevents many of the problems that lead to breakdowns. Our affordable service plans include annual maintenance and can also help you save money on repairs if you do require a service call!

Whether you need an oil-fired equipment or propane system repair, the experts at Junction Fuels are here for you, and we’re always happy to help. We’re your neighbors, and we care about our reputation in the community. That’s why we go out of our way to exceed your expectations. Contact us to become a customer today.

Find Out How They Each Work to Heat Your Home

heating service vermont If you’ve never given much thought to your heating equipment before, you may use the words “boiler” and “furnace” interchangeably. In casual conversation, it might not make a difference but if you’re shopping for or building a new home, or if you’re looking to replace your current heating system, understanding the difference is important.

As you start to do your research, you’ll discover they are not the same. So, what’s the difference between a boiler and a furnace? In a nutshell, the main difference is how they distribute heat. A furnace uses a system of ducts to blow heated air throughout your home. A boiler heats water to create steam to spread heat via baseboard radiators or flooring systems.

If you’re navigating home heating equipment for the first time, here’s what you need to know:

Learning All About Boilers

There are two types of boilers. Forced hot water boilers heat water to between 170 degrees and 200 degrees and provide instant heat through pipes throughout the house. Vents in the baseboard then disperse the heat throughout the house. 

Steam boilers create steam and sends it to radiators as a vapor. When the vapor cools, it returns to the boiler to become steam again. It’s important that the water level doesn’t drop below a certain level, and steam boilers have a gauge in front to show the water level. If the water level gets too low, the burner will not fire, and the boiler will not provide heat.

Basic Furnace Facts

A furnace uses a heat exchanger to warm air, which is then blown through ductwork to warm your home. Registers in the floors or ceilings of your living space allow warm air into your spaces and feature a damper so you can control the flow.

Supply registers, which deliver warm air, are usually located under windows or in the ceiling near outside walls. Return grills are typically located closer to the interior of the home and bring air back to your system. They do not have a damper. 

What About the Fuel That Powers Them?

Furnaces and boilers can be run with oil, propane, natural gas, or electricity—although except for natural gas and propane, the equipment is not interchangeable. In the northeast, most homes will use oil or gas for heat. Electric heat just takes much longer to reach a comfortable temperature and maintain it—driving up your energy usage. That means, even without geopolitics driving energy costs up, electricity costs you more.

Heating oil is a great option because it has a higher BTU output per gallon, so you use it more slowly than propane. That means you could pay less to heat your house with heating oil, even if the per-gallon cost of propane is less.

Today, home heating oil is ultra-low sulfur. It burns much more cleanly, with significantly fewer particulate emissions even from the already low levels of the past few decades. What’s more, new heating oil boilers and furnaces now burn fuel 99.9% cleanly, according to studies conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven Laboratory.

Propane is also a great option! Propane generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, and it delivers more than twice the Btus of natural gas, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy. It’s also a smart choice if you also want to run other appliances on propane.

It’s the preferred fuel for cooking, and it’s great for all kinds of heating—washers and dryers, water heaters, spas, and hot tubs—as well as for powering backup generators.

Looking for Boiler or Furnace Services? Call Junction Fuels Today!

One of the biggest decisions you make about your home, particularly here in Vermont, is how you are going to heat it. You have plenty of options—but some are better than others. Whether you are updating, replacing, or starting from scratch, the pros at Junction Fuels can answer all your home-heating equipment questions. 

Contact us today to get started on upgrading your home’s heating system.

Our offices will remain on-call for emergency services on Friday, 12/23, Monday, 12/26 and Monday, 1/2. Thank you and happy holidays!

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Protect Your Price, and Keep Warm!

low sulfur heating oil vermont If you’re wondering about the best way to heat your home, or you’re purchasing your first home, you have a lot to think about as energy prices remain extremely volatile. While there are several options—like propane, natural gas, and electricity—the best choice for central Vermont’s damp cold winters is oil heat. Those other fuels just don’t provide the same heating energy. And if you think heating oil is a “dirty” fuel…think again. Today’s ultra-low sulfur heating oil is as clean an option as any of those other fuels. But what is ultra-low sulfur heating oil? Let’s answer that.

What is Ultra-Low Sulfur Heating Oil?

Ultra-low sulfur heating oil is the result of dramatic enhancements in the refining process that has produced fuel that burns 95% cleaner than it did in the 1970s. Traditional heating oil has a sulfur content of up to 4,000 parts per million. In contrast, ultra-low sulfur heating oil has a sulfur content of just 15 parts per million.

As a result, the heating oil we deliver to fill your tank burns so cleanly, producing such negligible emissions, that the Federal Clean Air Act doesn’t even regulate it anymore.

What are the Key Benefits of Ultra-Low Sulfur Heating Oil?

What makes ultra-low sulfur heating oil a better way to heat your home? Heating oil in general has a higher BTU output per gallon than other types of fuels. That means it will warm up your home faster than other types of fuels. It’s also true of ultra-low sulfur heating oil…but because it burns so cleanly, it’s even more efficient, and it’s easier on your equipment, too.

Delivering Value with Every Gallon

When it comes to pricing, every type of heating fuel is reacting to pressures in the market. The global economy and any issues that affect the supply of crude oil will affect how much you pay to heat your home.

On a local level, seasonal demand always plays a big role. When temperatures are colder than normal, people use more heating fuels, driving prices up. That’s why we secure large amounts of heating oil year-round, especially during summer, when the costs tend to be lower, so we can pass on savings to you in the winter when you need them most.

But we like to make sure you’re protected from the volatility. That’s why we offer our Monthly Budget Plan. It you off the heating oil price roller coaster by spreading your costs evenly throughout the year helping to cut winter bills nearly in half and making it easier for you to budget your expenses.

We also offer Pre-Buy and Fixed Price programs that you can enroll in each fall season. Please note these plans are closed for the 2022-2023 season, but here’s how they work so you can take advantage in the years ahead:

Need a Heating Oil Delivery? Call Junction Fuels Today!

When you’re looking for a new heating oil provider for your home or business, you want a company that puts customers first. That inherently means offering fair, transparent pricing, but it also means offering true reliability, with products and services designed to make your life easier. Families and businesses in the Woodstock area get all that and more from Junction Fuels! Contact us today to learn more or to get started on becoming a customer.

Get Familiar with Propane and Its Benefits

propane supplier vermont Most folks who’ve lived in the northeast have—at least once—lived in a home heated with heating oil, or even kerosene. But those who’ve previously lived in a warmer climate region may be more familiar with electric heat.

So, the idea of heating a home with propane might seem odd or unfamiliar. Most people think propane is just for grills and camping. But as electric rates go up and the cost of oil remains unpredictable, many homeowners are looking for a domestic fuel source with less volatile prices and a more abundant supply. Others are wondering if oil or electricity is the fuel greenest choice on the market. And once they learn the details, more and more people are discovering the many benefits propane has to offer! But what exactly is propane?

Propane is a byproduct of natural gas. Because it is compressed and stored in a liquid state, it is sometimes referred to as Liquid Petroleum Gas or LPG.

Propane is one of the cleanest, most versatile, and most efficient fuels around. It’s a domestically sourced alternative fuel that can provide steady, reliable heat at an affordable price. Propane also offers exceptional performance and efficiency in a wide range of home appliances at a much lower cost than electricity.

Here’s what you probably didn’t know about propane, and why so many customers in eastern Vermont are making the switch:

Propane Is Remarkably Efficient Compared to Other Fuels

Propane generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, and it delivers more than twice the Btus of natural gas, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy.

Also, propane appliances are incredibly efficient, so they waste very little fuel in the combustion process. On the other hand, about two-thirds of the energy used by a power plant to generate and transmit electricity is wasted along the way.

Propane is Versatile Enough to Power Many Appliances

Because propane is so efficient, it’s a smarter choice than electricity for a wide variety of appliances, in addition to heating your home.

For example, propane water heaters generate much more hot water at a cheaper cost per gallon. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that heat water with propane rather than electricity can see average annual savings of $174.

The same technology that makes propane ideal for space heating and water heaters makes it a smarter choice than electricity to power all kinds of appliances that use hot water or heat:

Propane Has a Fantastic Track Record for Safety

While it’s a highly flammable gas under certain conditions, leaks are rare, and propane is a safe and clean-burning way to heat your home and water. Like natural gas, propane has a distinct rotten-egg smell to help you quickly notice leaking gas.

Propane can also help keep your home and family safe year-round. When storms knock out power, a propane-fueled backup generator will keep your lights and everything else running until the utility companies can make repairs. In addition, a gas stove will continue to work during a power outage. Now that’s some peace of mind!

How Can I Get Propane? Call Junction Fuels!

Whether you’re ready to make the switch to propane, or have more questions, the professionals at Junction Fuels have the knowledge, experience, and resources to answer all your questions. And we can get you started with the right size propane tank for your needs, reliable propane delivery, and more.

Contact us for more information or to get started today.

Keeping Track of Your Home’s Fuel Level Has Never Been Easier!

propane monitor vermontPlenty of our customers enjoy our automatic propane delivery service to eliminate the worry of a run-out. But automatic deliveries aren’t the best solution for everyone. If your propane or heating oil usage isn’t consistent, we can’t use our algorithm to best predict your needs.

You may be one of our many customers who only use their Vermont home seasonally or on weekends—or maybe use it as a rental property. All those things mean your fuel use fluctuates. And it means you’ll really appreciate the real-time accuracy of our Otodata wireless propane tank monitoring service.

What’s So Bad About Running Out of Propane?

If you’ve never run out of propane, you may not realize what a hassle it can be. There’s the inconvenience, of course. Then there’s the cost of an emergency fill up, plus a pressure and leak test for safety. And even if your tank isn’t completely empty, you could still have problems. When propane levels get too low, air can get into your system, which can lead to expensive damage. In general, you shouldn’t let your tank’s propane level go below 20%.

Watching your tank yourself isn’t hard, but it’s also easy to forget to check your tank levels. This is made especially hard if you aren’t using your home full-time, or if you have to make a trip to check on a rental property (or count on tenants to check for you).

How Does a Tank Monitor Work?

Wireless tank monitors track the level of propane or heating oil in your home’s fuel tank in real-time and transmits your usage via wireless cellular technology. When the tank gauge reaches a pre-set level, the monitor alerts us—and you—directly via the wireless mobile app.

In addition to timely alerts, the app gives you even more control and insight. You can use it to easily track and adjust your monthly energy consumption—and better save on energy costs.

Tank Monitoring is Smart for Vermont Rental Properties

If you manage rental properties, a tank monitor can be a game changer. Whether you handle long-term rentals or short-stay properties, or even an Airbnb, unpredictable usage that varies from week to week or month to month makes it hard to gauge usage. Plus, constantly checking tank levels is inconvenient.

Our tank monitor service can save you the expense and hassle of fuel runouts that can ruin a guest’s stay and take the guesswork out of knowing when to order fuel for different locations. Track everything and get alerts with the app!

Tank monitors are easy to install, and we can have you ready to go in a matter of minutes! Contact us today to find out more about the benefits of wireless tank monitoring and how we can get you set up 100% hassle-free.

Don’t Wait Until the Temperatures Drop to Replace Your Furnace!

heating service vermontIf you’re looking forward to the crisp, cool nights of autumn, we’re right there with you. But while a little nip in the air makes for great “sleeping weather,” you want to be sure your heating equipment is ready for the colder winter temperatures soon to follow. If your heating system wasn’t pulling its weight last year—cycling more often to keep your home warm, burning through more fuel than usual, or even breaking down—you might even be thinking about an upgrade.

It’s smart to do it before the coldest months of the year settle in. if for no reason other than you don’t want to be caught in a deep freeze in the middle of the installation process. But there are other smart reasons to get the work done before the season changes, too. For starters, as we get deeper into fall, our team gets busier—so it’s harder to schedule a convenient time for your installation.

But did you know getting the work done before winter sets in could also help you keep heating costs more manageable?

Investing in Your Heating System Can Lead to Savings

A new heating system is a big investment. So, you want to make sure that you get a good return. With a new heating system, that means improved efficiency without sacrificing comfort from the second it turns on. That’s why many of our customers are thinking about the fuel they use to heat their home. And many of them are opting for clean, efficient, and versatile propane.

Propane generates more Btus than an equivalent amount of electricity, so you need much less propane to produce the same amount of heat or energy. Also, propane appliances are very efficient as well, so they waste very little fuel in the combustion process. On the other hand, about two-thirds of the energy used by a power plant to generate and transmit electricity is wasted.

In other words, propane can offer more bang for your buck, all while protecting the environment and keeping your heating costs as low as possible. It’s a win-win for customers who care about the environment but also want to keep costs under control. 

Enjoy Better, More Comfortable Heat

There’s a lot of talk about the virtues of electricity for powering and heating our homes. The problem is, not all heating systems work in all climates. Electric heat pumps are getting a lot of buzz—and they can be effective in some areas of the country. But they deliver heat at or below your normal body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the temperature drops below 25 or 30 degrees, they become incredibly inefficient.

As you’d expect, that really won’t cut it during a Vermont winter. Propane furnaces deliver a warmer, more comfortable heat, regardless of the outdoor temperature. In addition, many high-efficiency propane furnaces are two-stage or variable speed units, so they will deliver more consistent and steady heat, too.

Call the Pros at Junction Fuels For A Heating System Upgrade

Because propane is so efficient, it’s a smarter choice than electricity for a wide variety of appliances in addition to heating your home.

For example, propane water heaters generate much more hot water at a cheaper cost per gallon. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that heat water with propane rather than electricity can see average annual savings of $174. Those savings can add up, especially as electric costs are going up, even as gas and propane prices are starting to moderate.

If you’d like more information about how a propane heating system can help you keep heating costs down without sacrificing comfort, contact us today. We offer everything from furnaces to water heaters—and are locally owned and operated right here in Woodstock, Vermont!

Three Key Reasons Not to Leave Your Tank Empty

summer oil delivery vermontWho thinks about ordering heating oil in July? If you’re enjoying the endless days and balmy temperatures, you’re probably not giving much thought to your oil tank. In fact, it might seem nuts to schedule a heating oil delivery in the middle of summer…but hear us out! We’ve got three smart reasons to fill up your tank this month:

1. You’ll extend the life of your oil tank.

It’s true! When your heating oil tank sits at or near empty, condensation will begin to form on the interior walls. Because water is denser than heating oil, that water drips down and sinks to the bottom of the tank, where it becomes an ideal environment for bacteria and other microorganisms.

Over time, it turns into sediment or sludge that can corrode your tank from the inside out—a big problem that could be difficult to see coming and very costly to remediate.

2. You’ll prevent winter breakdowns.

Sediment and sludge that forms at the bottom of an empty tank can get into your fuel lines and clog them up. This will cause your heating system to shut down, likely early into the next winter season, when we’re in the middle of a deep freeze. You’ll need a potentially expensive emergency repair to de-gunk the lines.

Because your tank never stays empty for long in the winter, these issues typically don’t even have the chance come up. Plus, condensation is less likely to form in colder temperatures. But in summer, especially if your tank is located outside, condensation will form quickly.

3. A spring fill up means one less hassle in the fall.

How quickly do the lazy days of summer turn into the crazy, busy days of fall? Back to school, end of vacations, all those pre-winter chores. When your tank is full in the fall, you won’t have to fight for a convenient heating oil delivery appointment at the same time everyone else is trying to get a delivery. You’ll also be ready for those early cold snaps.

While you’re at it, schedule your heating system tune-up in the summer, too! Not only will you have your choice of appointments, but the benefits won’t wear off over the late summer.

Though fuel costs are up right now, filling up your tank to protect it from failing is a much better investment than paying for cleaning up an oil spill and a new tank—and the oil to fill it.

Ready for a heating oil fill-up? Contact us today and we’ll be happy to get you scheduled.

We’ve Got 3 Budget-Friendly Options to Help

propane pricing vermontNumerous contributing factors including ongoing supply chain issues and geopolitical conflict have surged energy prices across the board. This is not just for the oil and propane to fuel your home, but also at the gas pump and at the grocery store. While we can’t control fuel prices at-large, our longtime customers know we always look for ways to help keep costs manageable.

That said, several of our customers who enrolled in one of our pricing and payment plans for their propane found that they were better protected from the worst of this past winter’s price spikes.

Available Propane Price Protection Plans

We know every budget is different—that’s why we offer three options. Read on to learn how each works and discover the best option for you.

  1. Our Monthly Budget Plan: Even when fuel prices are low, this plan is the most popular! That’s because our Monthly Budget Plan helps you to avoid unexpected high invoices, no matter how cold it gets or how much fuel you use.

    We use an average based on your past fuel use to spread your costs evenly over 12 months, cutting winter bills nearly in half and making it easier for you to budget your expenses.

    The point is to keep your fuel costs level and manageable, so even if we have a particularly harsh winter or prices spike, we’ll adjust your payments, so you don’t get hit with a large balance in the summer. Likewise, if it’s a mild winter, we can adjust and reduce your payments. The point is to help you save while avoiding big fluctuations, no matter if you use propane OR heating oil!

  2. Our Propane Pre-Buy Program: When you choose our Pre-Buy program, you buy your all your propane gallons for the year up-front at the start of the season. This lets you take advantage of lower off-season pricing and eliminates the worry about the price of fuel going up as the winter season sets in and demand increases.

    When you opt for this plan, you’re also automatically enrolled in our Automatic Delivery service, which delivers even more peace of mind! You don’t have to remember to order propane, and you don’t have to worry about running out.

    Ready to enroll? Click here to get started.

  3. Our Propane Fixed Price Program: Our Fixed Price Program for heating oil and propane is exactly what it sounds like. We agree on a fixed price ahead of the heating season and you’re locked in at that price. No matter what happens with fuel prices, your price won’t go over the fixed amount throughout the heating season ahead.

    Ready to enroll? Click here to get started.

If you’re using propane, letting the pros at Junction Fuels handle all your heating—and cooling—needs is a smart choice! You can count on us for reliable deliveries all year long, as well as superior service if something goes wrong, and expert installations if you need to replace or upgrade equipment! And, no matter what happens with prices next winter, our price protection plans are designed to help you keep costs manageable.

If you’d like to sign up for a plan, now is the time to enroll. Review your options at the links above or contact us today to learn about all the ways we can help you save.