Frequently Asked Questions

Heating Oil

Is oil heat an efficient way to heat a home?

Oil heat has always provided efficient and affordable warmth and it’s gotten even better in recent years. Many oil-fired systems now display the prestigious Energy Star Label, which signifies that they are technologically advanced and clean burning. Some oil heat systems have efficiency ratings that exceed 90%.

Are there adequate supplies of heating oil?

It’s been more than 30 years since there was a significant problem with energy supplies. Today, improvements in drilling technology have opened up reserves in more countries than ever.

The United States also has a Strategic Petroleum Reserve with nearly 700 million barrels in place. It’s the word’s largest emergency oil stockpile. A few years ago, the U.S. also established a two-million-barrel heating oil service.

What’s the easiest way to get a delivery?

The easiest way to get heating oil is through automatic delivery. The oil company normally counts “degree-days” to keep track of how cold the weather has been and calculates an individual burn rate for each customer. This lets the company know just when a customer will need a delivery, long before most people would know it themselves.

Automatic delivery doesn’t mean more fuel is burned. It provides peace of mind because you don’t have to think twice about how much fuel is in your tank.

What should I do about an old system?

An old oil heat system is no different than any other outdated heating system, regardless of the fuel used. Old systems can generate higher than necessary fuel bills, but they can easily be replaced with equipment that incorporates new oil heat technology.

The nonprofit Consumer Energy Council of America concluded that changing fuel sources does not make “economic sense” and a better investment would be to upgrade an older system to new equipment in order to improve efficiency.

How do I know if my system should be replaced?

Oil heat systems typically last 30 years and longer. However, the older the system the greater the gain in efficiency and cleanliness through upgrading. If your oil heat system is less than 25 years old, you are already benefiting from some of the technological advances of Clearburn Science.

Besides a total replacement, are there lower-cost ways to improve an oil heat system’s efficiency?

A professional tune-up can increase efficiency by up to 5%. Homeowners can also improve efficiency-by as much as 25% – if they replace an old burner with a modern, flame-retention burner rather than replacing the entire furnace or boiler. Purchasing a new burner is a modest investment with a rapid payback. It is estimated that flame-retention burners have saved homeowners billions of dollars in fuel costs and have conserved more than six billion gallons of oil.


What is bio fuel heating oil?

Bio fuel is a cleaner burning alternative fuel, produced from any fat or vegetable oil, such as soybean oil. It contains no petroleum, but it can be mixed with petroleum heating oil to create a bio fuel blend. Bio fuel is simple to use, is biodegradable, nontoxic, essentially free of sulfur, and reduces carbon emission.

Why use bio fuel heating oil?

There are many important reasons for our country to be using bio fuels. Bio fuels, such as bio heating oil, are made from domestically produced, renewable resources, reducing our dependence on imported oil and improving our energy security and balance of trade. Because bio fuels contain no sulfur, they create fewer emissions than fossil fuels and they contribute virtually no carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which is important for reducing the buildup of greenhouse gases.

Will I need to make changes to my heating equipment or storage tank?

No, bio fuel will not cause problems for your current equipment or storage tank. In fact, it may be a benefit! Bio heating oil actually burns cleaner with less soot and particulates.

Is bio fuel heating oil expensive?

The price of bio heating oil is virtually the same as conventional home heating oil. In addition, there are tax incentives to using bio heating oil.

Can I get a fixed price on bio heating oil?

Yes, Robison offers the same pricing options as conventional heating oil.

Heating & Cooling

How often should I change or clean my air conditioner filters?

Filters should generally be replaced every month when the system is running. Replace filters with the same kind and size as the original filter. If your filter is not disposable, follow the manufacturer instructions for cleaning.

Where is my air filter located?

Your air filter should be located in either the blower compartment of the furnace, in an attached filter case, or in a return air grille in a wall of your home. If you cannot find the air filter, contact us for assistance.

Where can I purchase filters for my air conditioner / furnace?

If you are unable to find the appropriate-size air filter at your local hardware outlet, you can contact us.

Why is a matched HVAC system so important?

A matched system is important for a variety of reasons. One is comfort. When all your components are properly sized to your home, you can control exactly how much heating or cooling you need so you can relax. Also, a properly sized matched system enables every component to perform as designed, meaning proper cycle times are maintained, humidity is controlled, and system sound is minimized.

Another reason matched systems are important is efficiency. Most systems people buy are too large for their homes, meaning they pay to heat and cool space that isn’t even there. A matched system outlined when we’ve completed a load calculation for your home provides just the right amount of heating and cooling you need so you get the most value for your utility dollar.

What is a SEER rating and how does it impact my energy costs?

SEER means Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Like its “mpg” counterpart in the automotive industry, the SEER gives an indication of the performance efficiency of the system. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the unit, and, the more efficient the unit is, the lower the operating costs will be. Experts say that by purchasing a system with a high SEER, you’ll use less energy to cool your house, resulting in lower electric bills. In many cases, these savings are enough to partially or fully offset the cost of the new equipment within a few years.

What do all those rating numbers mean?

The federal government requires all air conditioning and heating equipment to be rated for efficiency. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model. Gas furnaces are rated for (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). This defines the amount of heat used to warm your home from the burned fuel. A 90% furnace will use 90% of the available heat to heat your home. 10% of the heat is vented outdoors. Many older gas furnaces are only 60% efficient. The other 40% is vented outdoors. You can see that a new high-efficiency furnace will require much less fuel to heat your home. For air conditioning, the rating is (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). This rating is based on general design criteria such as the compressor and outdoor coil. SEER ratings are for comparison purposes only, so that homeowners will know how they can compare different brands of products with similar efficiency ratings. The rating for the outdoor unit will reference a general efficiency range, such as 14 SEER. The actual efficiency rating for a specific system will depend on the combination of the outdoor unit and the indoor coil. These ratings are available from us and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute’s Energy Guide. A variable-speed indoor blower unit will increase the efficiency rating of the system, as well. Heat pumps are rated by SEER for cooling efficiency and by (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) for heating efficiency. As with other ratings, the higher the HSPF, the less energy it will take to warm your home.

How much will my new air conditioning & heating system cost?

That depends. There are many factors that must be considered. These include:

  • The efficiency of the equipment
  • The size of your home
  • Is the ductwork installed and in good condition?
  • Do you need a thermostat or electronic air cleaner?

In most cases, replacing your whole system, including both indoor and outdoor components, will result in a more efficient, longer-lasting system but will also cost a little more.

Will anything help control the humidity in my house?

Humidity is a problem in many areas. The best way to control excessive humidity is to have a system that runs longer at lower speeds. Variable-speed air-handling equipment runs at very low speeds, which keeps the air circulating against the cooling coil and removes much more moisture than conventional systems. At these low speeds, the variable-speed motor also uses much less electricity than conventional motors. A two-stage outdoor air conditioning unit will operate at a low speed, removing more moisture and allowing greater comfort than a single-stage air conditioning unit. Some variable-speed indoor blower units have Enhanced Mode that runs a very cold coil and enables the blower to slowly ramp up and down. This will wring-out extra moisture from the indoor air.

How do I know how much air conditioning and heating I need?

Be careful using any rule of thumb method to determine the capacity requirement for your home. Under-sized equipment obviously will not keep your home comfortable during peak cooling demand times, and over-sized equipment could be more expensive to operate and cause problems of high humidity. All manufacturers and HVAC experts agree the only way to determine the size air conditioner you need is by using a formula called a “load calculation.” Magic Touch will be happy to come to your home or office and perform a load calculation using the latest computer software on the market.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. You can feel the effects of CO and not even be aware of what the cause is until it is too late. The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in its mild form are often mistaken with the flu. These symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue and disorientation. The effects of CO exposure can vary from person to person, overall health, age, the concentration and length of exposure.

Where does Carbon Monoxide come from?

Carbon Monoxide comes from many different sources: back drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves, unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, leaking chimneys and furnaces, automobile exhaust from attached garages, and tobacco smoke. Magic Touch Mechanical believes any home with an attached garage and/or gas appliances should have a Carbon Monoxide Detector in the house.

How often should I have my HVAC equipment serviced?

Heating and Air Conditioning equipment should be serviced at least once a year. The best scenario is to have the heating system checked in the Fall and the air conditioning checked in the Spring. Gas-fired equipment should definitely be cleaned and serviced annually.

Why should I have my HVAC equipment serviced?

Annual servicing includes cleaning the system, checking for any problems or potential problems and adjusting for peak efficiency. The benefits include:

  • Increased dependability
  • Find potential problems and fix them quickly
  • Provide maximum efficiency which lowers energy costs
  • Prolongs the life-span of the equipment
  • Maintains safe and healthy operation
  • Can help to protect the environment

Servicing drastically reduces the chance of a break-down which usually happens at night or on weekends when repair rates are higher.

What services need to be performed for preventative maintenance on my heating and air conditioning equipment? How often should this maintenance be performed?

We recommend you have us perform preventative maintenance before the winter heating season and before the summer cooling season. We offer comfort saving plans (CSP’s) that include reduced rates on labor and parts and provide a priority response. CSP’s include washing outdoor coils if accessible, tightening electrical connections, checking supply voltage and operating current, checking refrigerant charge, measuring temperature differential at supply and return registers, cleaning blower wheel and motor, inspecting and adjusting burner, checking heat exchangers, cleaning drain lines and pan, checking ductwork for leaks and insulation, and checking thermostat.

What are the average life expectancies for heating and air conditioning equipment?

The average expected life of an air conditioner is approximately 15 years. The average expected life of a heat pump is approximately 10 to 12 years, since it operates year round. The average expected life of a gas furnace or air handler may be longer. Units in corrosive environments, such as, coastal installations, will tend to have shorter lives.

Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to “ON” so the fan runs constantly?

Yes, there are a couple of advantages. The first is that you get constant filtering of the air in your home. The second is that because the air is moving, you have a more even temperature throughout the home. However, continuous fan mode during COOLING operation may not be appropriate in humid climates. If the indoor air exceeds 60% humidity or simply feels uncomfortably humid, it is recommended that the fan be used in AUTO mode.