Your home is a refuge. It’s where you entertain friends and family. It’s where you relax after work, and it’s the stage for all of life’s most treasured moments and experiences.

At Cochran Oil, we understand that your home means the world to you, and we want to keep that world warm. Proper home heating is a crucial element in maintaining optimal comfort in the home, and home heating maintenance is how to stay comfortable throughout the winter.

Our home heating maintenance checklist covers all aspects of home heating maintenance. Developed by our expert technicians, it’s the very same guide we use when servicing your home. We offer it to you to demonstrate how involved maintaining a home heating system can be.

The home heating checklist also clearly and honestly depicts why you need a home heating technician’s help.

That’s where Cochran Oil comes in. With decades of experience making homes comfortable and affordably heated throughout the winter, we know you want comfort without breaking the bank on wasted fuel. Also, with a tradition of doing the job right the first time, every time, your home is in good hands.

Heating Equipment Maintenance Checklist At-A-Glance

  1. Filter Inspection and Replacement
  2. Thermostat Inspection and Replacement
  3. Boiler and Furnace Inspection, Repair, and Replacement
  4. Fuel Line Inspection and Repair
  5. Ventilation Inspection and Repair
  6. Duct Inspection and Repair/Replacement
  7. Central Heating System Maintenance
  8. Annual HVAC Maintenance

1. Filter Inspection and Replacement

The filters of your home heating system keep the air clean. In central heating systems, warm air moves through ductwork, and heats the home room by room.

Clogged air filters will push dust and particulates throughout the home. Air contaminated with dust and particulates is hazardous to you and your family’s health and should be a top concern.

A home heating technician will inspect each air filter to ensure they are clean and allow the free flow of heated air throughout the home. Often, because filters are relatively inexpensive elements of a home heating system, they are simply replaced.

2. Thermostat Inspection, Repair, and Replacement

Man looking at his thermostat

The thermostat in any heating system sends a signal to the furnace or boiler to increase or decrease the production of heat.

A properly working thermostat reports the current temperature to your system. It also orders your system to produce the desired temperature. A malfunctioning thermostat cannot properly communicate to your heating system that it needs to produce more or less heat.

This often happens because thermostats are electronic machines that sometimes malfunction. A trained home heating specialist will diagnose whether the thermostat needs to be replaced.

3. Boiler and Furnace Inspection, Repair, and Replacement

Before we talk about boiler and furnace maintenance, let’s clear up the difference between the two.

A boiler heats water, and that heated water is pumped throughout the home into radiators. A furnace, on the other hand, heats air which is pushed out throughout the home by a motor and a fan.

Over time, boilers can stop working at peak efficiency for a variety of reasons. Air trapped in the boiler or the pipes running throughout your home will impede heated water flow. Additionally, dust and dirt caught in your heating system cause rust and debris to build up. Some boilers start to leak because of this.

Furnaces that are not properly maintained can circulate contaminated air throughout your system. Dust and dirt, like boilers, can build up in furnaces and even cause a fire hazard.

To properly maintain a boiler or furnace, the area around the burner must be kept clear and clean at all times.

A full inspection of your boiler or furnace will determine whether issues can be repaired. Yet, if you’ve had your boiler or furnace for ten years or more there is a high chance the unit will need to be replaced altogether. A trained heating equipment specialist will always recommend whatever will keep your home comfortable and – most importantly – safe.

4. Fuel Line and Fuel Tank Inspection and Repair

The fuel lines of your home heating system transport fuel to the burner. That means a consistent and tightly-sealed fuel line system is paramount to a safe and comfortable home. Trained home heating specialists will inspect the entire fuel delivery line for rust, leaks, and proper assembly. Most often a total replacement of the piping used in your system’s fuel line is the safest and most efficient way of ensuring fuel is properly delivered to your boiler or furnace. Also routine inspections of the fuel tank are an important part of keeping your property safe and comfortable.

5. Ventilation and Radiation Inspection and Repair

Air duct inspection in progress

The ventilation and radiation systems in your home deliver heat to your home. A properly working system will deliver consistent warmth. A malfunctioning system will do otherwise.

Radiators fill up with water or steam from your boiler and heat the surrounding air. Air can get trapped in the radiators, and when this happens the unit doesn’t fill up with water. Your system can’t tell this is happening, so it will draw more fuel and expend more energy to reach the desired temperature. This costs you money in additional fuel usage.

Clogged ventilation systems for furnaces trap warm air in your heating system instead of delivering it throughout your home. Just like above, your system will overcompensate the lack of airflow by using and wasting more fuel.

A home heating specialist inspects each and every point from which air flows from your system into your home. They will ensure radiators and ventilators are working properly, and that electronic systems communicate properly to the rest of your system.

6. Duct Inspection and Replacement

Air ducts are used in furnace and central heating systems to transport warm air throughout the house.

The insulation in duct systems will sometimes break down or tear. This causes heat to be released inside the walls and other places where it’s not meant to ventilate. Because air is not heating your home, the thermostats will incorrectly detect a lower temperature. This causes your system to draw more fuel to make up for the difference.

Heating system technicians at Cochran Oil inspect all ductwork in a home to ensure a proper connection to deliver warm air throughout the home.

Read about innovative, ductless heated air systems here.

7. Central Heating System Maintenance

A central heating system requires maintenance from time to time. Calibrating a central heating system is crucial for proper delivery of heat to each part of the home.

A heating system technician will inspect both the heating system itself, and each room into which warm air flows. Checking thermostats, ductwork and ventilation, and several other components are all part of a central heating system maintenance regimen.

Read about how an oil-fired system works here.

8. Annual HVAC System Maintenance

Air ducts being replaced

Along with all other inspections and maintenance programs, your entire HVAC system should be inspected annually, every year.

The many components of a heating system can break down, sometimes at different times throughout the year. An annual checkup with one of our highly-trained heating specialists identifies every problem with your heating system, so you can take care of everything at once.

Maintenance over Repairs

Maintaining your heating system is good for your finances. With maintenance, you can avoid massive out-of-pocket costs if something completely breaks down. Maintenance, in fact, prolongs the life of every element of your home heating system.

Also, annual maintenance ensures you won’t be without heat during the frigid winter months. In short, annual maintenance is absolutely necessary, every year.

Cochran Oil Is Here to Help

At Cochran Oil, we strive to bring the very best of our experience to each and every job. With comprehensive, full-service inspections to quick repair and replacement of any part of your home’s heating system, you’ll never be without heat for many winters to come. If you haven’t scheduled your annual home heating system maintenance, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Working with us will save you money, give you peace of mind, and stay comfortable in the place where life happens – your home.

The onset of colder winter months means figuring out how to keep your house warm and should be a top concern for all homeowners. After all, the amount that you pay in heating costs can greatly increase when temperatures reach below zero. 

Some of the best ways to keep your house warm in the winter, while keeping utility bills low, is a combination of things easily done by a homeowner, while other strategies are best done by a professional home heating service.

Cochran Oil can help you in both ways. Our home heating experts not only know how to keep your heating system running in top shape – we identify areas throughout the house where homeowners can take charge.

We’ve listed several of those things our home heating specialists might suggest to any homeowner. Focus on insulatingyour home – it’s the most important part of keeping it warm throughout the winter, and you’ll be surprised by how many small projects can effectively help you do this.

Ways to Keep Your House Warm This Winter


ai_keephousewarm_2Some of the suggestions may seem obvious, but they have been tried and tested by homeowners and home heating specialists for decades.

1. Rugs – Carpeting increases the insulation capabilities of a home, which means less heat escapes.

Wood and linoleum flooring get very cold in the winter when the heat isn’t blasting. That means your heating system is working overtime to overcome the cold emanating from your floors.

Large rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting, helps keep cold emanating from the floors, which then cools the air further. Plus, walking on carpets in the wintertime is much more enjoyable than walking on wood or linoleum.

2. Curtains – Windows are one of the leading sources of “heat bleed” – the act of heat produced by your heating system escaping through openings in your home.

Thick curtains keep heat from reaching the windows, which means less heat escapes. If used in tandem with heavy drapes, this will result in helping to keep your house warm in extreme cold.

3. Blocking Gaps – Blocking gaps is a simple approach to battling heat bleed.

Whether you install a plastic or fabric door bottom to seal a gap between a door and the floor, or you roll plastic over windowsills to isolate the window from the inside space, you’re blocking gaps.

ai_keephousewarm_3You may not know that there can be gaps throughout your home. For instance, the attic is one of the spaces in your home most responsible for losing heat. 

Very often, people think that these measures are enough to keep a house warm in extreme cold, but the value of an end-to-end heating inspection of your home – from the gaps in your attic to the need for a new boiler – cannot be understated.

How to Keep Your House Warm in the Winter

Heating Professionals

Heating professionals approach the insulation and optimization of your heating system in a different way than the homeowner.

Heating technicians at Cochran Oil come to every home with only one goal in mind – saving you money on utilities, either immediately or in the long run.

With that said, heating professionals have a wide variety of options to choose from when trying to keep your house warm during the winter.

1. The Boiler – In many cases, the boiler in a home may be old.

Older boilers may not running at peak efficiency, most likely need maintenance, or need to be replaced outright.

A properly maintained boiler will run at peak efficiency, delivering heat throughout the home in the desired manner.

If a new boiler is needed, there could be significant up-front costs., Yet, over the lifetime of your new oil or gas boiler, you’ll see substantial savings. If you are not planning to leave your home anytime soon, a new and more efficient boiler will pay for itself over time.

2. Fireplaces and Chimneys – Do you have a fireplace in your home? If you do, you could be losing a large amount of heat.

Unless fireplace plugs are installed, or fireplace caps are outfitted to the top of the chimney, heat will escape to the outside in a big way. This will cause your heating bills to go up as your heating system tries to make up for all the lost heat exiting the house through the fireplace or chimney.

Also, you’ll want to have your chimney inspected. Soot and ash can build up and contaminate the air of your home, posing a health risk to you and your family.

3. Dampers – Dampers are mechanisms that control air flow through a home heating duct system.

Greater airflow from the heating source will increase the temperature throughout the home, while less airflow will lower the temperature. Home heating specialists can either repair or install dampers to give you more control over the heating in your home.

Also, if your home already has dampers installed, home heating specialists at Cochran Oil will be able to ensure it is working properly, from the joints that hold it together, to the motor for your home heating system.  ai_keephousewarm_4 

4. Thermostats – Sometimes thermostats outlive their usefulness. They will either need to be repaired or replaced.

Over time, thermostats can start delivering incorrect information to your heating system. For instance, if the home is colder than usual, it might be because the thermostat is not sending the correct signal to the heating system.

Thermostats are mechanical and electronic instruments, which means training is required to service them. It is strongly advised that you only let a trained home heating professional work on your thermostats to keep them in top operating order.

5. Filters – Filters in ductwork and throughout home heating systems keep the air you breathe safe and clean.

Particulates and pollutants travel throughout the house and, through a properly installed filter, will always be cleaned as it passes through.

Conversely, an improperly installed heating system filter will potentially bleed heat through the sides. Or, if it is too dirty, will release pollutants and particulates into the air.

A filter that is too clogged with particulates and pollutants will not ventilate heat properly, which will result in a colder home for you and your family.

Most often, a home heating professional will suggest replacing filters, and having them properly installed by a trained technician. This ensures your air is clean, there is proper airflow throughout the home, and that you are benefiting from all the heating fuel you’re paying for.


ai_keephousewarm_5It’s clear that bringing a home heating professional into your home is the best way to ensure that your home stays warm this winter. 

Extreme cold taxes heating systems greatly, and year-over-year, elements of your home heating system will need to be repaired or replaced.

Home heating specialists can offer many suggestions to a homeowner to help them lower their heating bills – suggesting rugs, covering up windows with plastic and curtains, and more.

But many of the most effective ways of heating your home require investments in your home heating infrastructure. Your boiler, thermostats, ductwork, and fireplaces all fit into this category.

If you’re worried about how you can keep your home warm this winter, Cochran Oil. With decades of experience in the field, our home heating specialists have seen everything. That means your comfort, your family, and your home are in good hands.

Without a doubt, the home furnace is one of the most crucial systems in your home.

Yet, just like any complex system, things go wrong. The many working parts of home furnace systems can break down, wear away, and stop working as they’re supposed to. Without proper maintenance, these types of issues can start popping up too often to keep up with – that’s why hiring a professional home furnace repair service is absolutely essential.

A Complex System

Your home’s oil-furnace or gas-furnace system is a collection of complicated and varied components. Some of these components, like the boiler, are large and durable enough to withstand many years of use.ai_furnacesystems_4

But, many of the smaller parts of a home furnace system are prone to breaking down. And, when something does need repair or replacement, it’s hard to tell where to start without the proper training and experience.

Most all issues with home furnace systems are caused by a lack of maintenance and tune-ups. A full, end-to-end home furnace tune-up will ensure all components are operating at optimal efficiency and clearly indicate what furnace repair parts are needed.

In this furnace troubleshooting article, we’ll explore the ten most common issues homeowners experience with home furnace systems. You’ll understand more clearly why your furnace isn’t working, and the importance of proper maintenance and whole-system tune-ups to save you money and keep your home comfortable year-round.

The 10 Most Common Issues with Home Furnace Systems

Have you ever found your home furnace system doesn’t work properly, or stopped working altogether?

Many homeowners will at some point experience one of these problems with their home furnace system. If you have any further questions about issues with your heating system, contact us today – our experienced heating system technicians can pinpoint any of these problems, and many more that are not so common.

  1. Thermostat – Most all home heating furnace systems are run by a thermostat, and sometimes this thermostat appears to not be working.What happens often is that homeowners forget to turn on their thermostat. Simply flipping the switch to “On” will reactivate your home heating system, returning your home to a comfortable temperature.ai_furnacesystems_1The thermostat could also stop working altogether. Whether it doesn’t read the switches correctly or stops sending a signal to a home heating system, these types of fixes are best done by a trained professional.
  2. Circuit Breaker – Older homes will have circuit breakers that are easily tripped, meaning they turn off when they are overloaded with power demand.You can check your circuit breaker by opening up your electrical circuit breaker box and seeing if any of the switches are tripped. This is indicated by whether any of the switches are pointing toward the “Off” position.If you have an old home, you may need a new circuit board, or a furnace system that doesn’t demand as much power. For a full furnace system replacement, make sure to call a professional home heating service.
  3. Safety Switch – Also known as the “limit switch,” this safety feature turns off the furnace if there is a risk of overheating.Overheating often happens to older systems, especially if additions have been added to a home with an outdated heating system. If you haven’t replaced your home heating system since having an addition – or it’s a very old system – it may need to be completely replaced.
  4. Clogged Filter – Your home heating furnace’s filter captures allergens in the air and keeps emissions from filling up your home.ai_furnacesystems_2A clogged filter – meaning one that is overloaded with particulates from the air – will block warm air from flowing throughout the home. Additionally, filters that have been ignored for a long time become a safety concern. If you suspect this could be the main issue with your home heating system, contact us as soon as possible.
  5. Furnace Placement Upkeep – The area around your furnace must be clean and free from debris at all times.Most furnaces are placed in basements within homes, and basements are often not as regularly cleaned as the rest of the house. Moisture and dust wear down metal components, while also risking a potential fire hazard.Make sure, as part of annual maintenance, to thoroughly clean the area around the furnace. Additionally, placing any storage items in or around your furnace makes maintenance and servicing more difficult for yourself and qualified technicians.
  6. Burner Flame – A furnace is only as valuable as its properly working burner flame. Without a consistent and steady burner flame, your home will not be heated, and your home furnace system will begin wasting fuel.Proper maintenance of the burner flame mechanism includes a thorough cleaning, replacement of non-working components, and a complete functionality check.Best done by qualified professionals, maintenance of your burner flame mechanism will save you money and ensure year-round home comfort.
  7. Furnace Blower – The purpose of your furnace blower is to circulate heat generated by the furnace throughout your home. If the motor or fan are not working properly, a home furnace system can overheat.ai_furnacesystems_3To save on fuel and potentially large repair costs, monitoring the activity of your furnace blower is crucial. A trained technician checks the electrical supply, along with the flow of heated air throughout your duct system.
  8. Vents and Ducts – The way your home furnace system transfers heat throughout the home is through ducts and vents.Sometimes a duct can be torn or dislodged, allowing heat to escape to spaces in the walls and attic. This puts a larger burden on your home heating system as it uses more fuel to heat your home properly.If a vent is blocked by debris or not working properly, it will not transfer the heat generated by your furnace. This also will result in higher fuel costs.
  9. Electric Ignition or Pilot Control – Have you ever forgot to turn on the water when you’re boiling something? Without a properly functioning pilot or ignition, your home furnace system ceases to do its job – heat your home.Crucial elements to check when maintaining your electric ignition or pilot control include ensuring the power source is unimpeded, and on-and-off switches are completely opening and closing the flow of fuel.Overlooking this key component to any home heating system could cause your home to become uncomfortable very quickly – especially in winter. To avoid having the ignition or pilot stop working at the worst time, have a technician complete an end-to-end furnace check that includes this component.
  10. Heating and Rapid Cycling – Your furnace starts and stops all the time according to the work needed to heat your home.The heating cycle is a succession of starts and stops that allow heat to build up, then be moved from the furnace system to the rest of your home. If your home is heated too quickly, your system will stop producing warm air fast enough. This results in deep temperature drops throughout the day. This is known as “rapid cycling”.A proper heating cycle will not be too quick, the length of which is determined by the size of the home. This is an adjustment made when the furnace system is installed, and best done by a trained technician.

The Right Person for the Job

If your furnace is not working, you might be thinking to yourself, “I could do that!”.

Yet, having trained and experienced technicians is a safety consideration along with a financial one. If any of these above issues are not dealt with correctly you could face extensive repairs or possibly replacement of your entire oil furnace or gas furnace system.

At Cochran Oil, we are here to help. With a track record for long-lasting and affordable home heating solutions, we can ensure every component is running properly and safely – saving you money and giving you peace of mind. We come ready with all furnace repair parts to offer you the most efficient solution to your home comfort needs.

Congratulations on deciding to buy a tankless water heater for your home! Now, how do you choose the right one for your home and your budget? Cochran Oil is here to help you sort through the choices that will help you decide on the right tankless hot water heater for your needs.

First, out of all the solutions for heating water for your home, choosing a tankless water heater is perhaps the best way to help you save on utility bills over the course of a year.

Whether you choose to go with a gas-powered tankless water heater or an electric tankless water heater, you are set to save between approximately $40 to $100 a year in energy costs according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

It’s also important to know that tankless water heater installations are generally more expensive than their tank-bound counterparts, but the energy savings over the years will pay for the additional upfront costs.

There are many considerations when choosing whether to purchase a tankless water heater, and which type. This provides an overview of those considerations and, as always, your team of experts at Cochran Oil is here to guide you through any questions.

Determine the Maximum Number of Devices

Tankless models ready for installation

One of the most important considerations when thinking about tankless water heaters is how many units you will need in your home.

This is based on your average hot water usage, which is a function of how many people are using hot water in your home. For instance, if there are ten people in your home you may need more than one unit. But, if you live alone, or only have one other person, then one hot water heater unit might be fine for your needs.

Cochran Oil’s experienced technicians have worked for years in the water heater industry. This means our professionals will be able to correctly determine how many tankless water heaters you will need in your home.

Determine the Required Temperature Rise

Washing machine using hot water from a tankless water heater

The next most important factor when choosing a tankless hot water heater is how well it heats water to the required temperature. In the industry, we call this ‘temperature rise’.

Determining the correct temperature rise capabilities for your tankless water heater requires some information about your home. Perhaps the most important factor is the average temperature of the water coming into your home.

The most common hot water usage is showering, which usually runs between 101-105 degrees Fahrenheit. Determining the right temperature rise factor for your tankless water heater is a calculation based on the incoming temperature of the water. For example, if the incoming water temperature is at 40 degrees, you’ll want a tankless water heater with a temperature rise factor of about 60 degrees.

You can find out your average water temperature with various online heat map tools; Cochran Oil can easily assist you in determining it, too. Heat maps give you a general idea of the temperature of incoming water, which helps you choose the right tankless water temperature. In warmer climates, you’ll need a less powerful tankless water heater. In colder climates, a unit with a higher temperature rise factor will be required.

As our tankless water heater technicians have extensive experience in their service areas, Cochran Oil can help you figure out right away which type of unit will work for your home.

Determine the Right Size

Hot water from a shower head

Figuring out how to choose the right size of a tankless water heater can be a challenge. You need to determine how much hot water you are using, while also understanding the required temperature rise for your home appliances.

This is because it takes time to heat up water. The greater your temperature rise need, the larger the unit. A larger unit is also needed if there are several people using hot water, or if you plan to have several appliances running at once.

Flow Rates

An important factor for determining the right size of a tankless water heater is knowing how much water and at what temperature various appliances use hot water. Here’s a handy guide for the average temperature and flow rates (measured in gallons-per-minute, or GPM).

  • Bathtub Flow Rate – Bathtubs have an average flow rate of four gallons per minute, at a temperature of 102 degrees.
  • Shower Flow Rate – Showers have an average flow rate of 2.5 to three gallons per minute, at a temperature of 104 degrees.
  • Washing Machine Flow Rate – Washing machine flow rates average at two gallons per minute, at an average temperature of 120 degrees.
  • Dishwasher Flow Rate – Dishwashers have an average flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, with an average temperature of 110 degrees.
  • Kitchen Sink Flow Rate – Kitchen sinks have an average flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, with an average hot water temperature of 110 degrees.

Select the Power Source – Natural Gas, Propane or Electric

Bathroom using water from a tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters use three different types of power sources – natural gas, propane or electric.

If you are considering using any electric-powered appliance, you must determine how it will impact the power usage of your home overall. Some older homes might have weaker electric systems. This means that a whole-house electric tankless water heater may not be the best option, as it might overload an older system.

Natural gas- and liquid propane-powered tankless water heaters are, on average, more powerful than electric units. For this reason, they are most often used as a whole-house solution for hot water needs.

Additionally, natural gas and liquid propane tankless water heaters are far more energy-efficient. The U.S. Department of Energy has determined that electric units save you about $40 a year in energy costs, while natural gas and liquid propane units save about $100 annually.


As with any high-usage appliance, maintenance is a crucial consideration when thinking about having a tankless water heater in your home.

Cochran Oil recommends that you have your tankless water heater serviced annually. This helps you achieve the longer life expectancy of these units over tank-bound units. Experienced technicians will change the air filter and make sure the burner is in working order.

Additionally, mineral buildup, in areas with hard water, is detrimental to any water heater. Using vinegar to remove mineral buildup, which we call “scale”, every 500 hours is crucial to keeping your unit running smoothly year-round.

Proper maintenance for any water heater, whether using a tankless unit or otherwise, is best done by experienced technicians. Our team of experts can help determine the proper maintenance regimen you need for your home, no matter where you live.

Whether you’re looking for hot water heater troubleshooting tips or want to know when it might be time to upgrade or replace your water heater, the experts at Cochran Oil have the answers.

We’re Here to Help

At Cochran Oil, we understand how to keep your home running smoothly all year round. With many years of experience, dealing specifically with tankless water heaters, you can rest assured that Cochran Oil will keep your unit running well for its full life expectancy. Plus, you will have reliable hot water and energy savings for years to come.

HVAC, which stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, is the system that most homeowners use to keep your home comfortable throughout the year.

There are two different types of systems, each of which have their own set of benefits. The main differences between them are configuration and performance. However, ultimately, they do the same thing, which is cooling and heating your home.

The packaged unit is an all-in-one system that is great for places without crawlspaces, whereas the split system has separate components for those with more indoor space. Depending on the type of home you have, either one will be the right choice for you.

To determine which option is best for your home, read this article. While you are reading, remember that your local team of Cochran Oil experts offers consultations to help you find out which option is right for you.

What is an HVAC Packaged Unit?

Does your home not have a crawlspace or a basement? You may want to consider an HVAC packaged unit.

The packaged HVAC unit houses all parts of the system in one metal cabinet. The evaporator coil, condenser, and compressor are all housed together to save space from being used inside.

Often, the cabinet is either placed on a home or building’s ceiling, or on a cement slab outside the home.

Specially-made ductwork connects the outdoor cabinet to all the rooms in the home. Though the cabinet is outdoors, the actual functions of a packaged central air system are controlled indoors.

Some packaged central air systems will also include a natural gas furnace or electric heating coils as well.

In short, a packaged HVAC unit comprises everything involved in a central air system in one unit placed outside the home. Homes with little indoor space to house these systems – or those lacking in underground spaces – will have a packaged unit.

What is an HVAC Split System?

diagram of split HVAC systems

An HVAC split system is for homes that have space for large indoor cabinets.

The split system model holds the condenser and compressor in an outdoor cabinet. Another indoor cabinet will hold the evaporator coil, and an air handler sends the cool air through the duct system. A line set – a copper tube that connects both the indoor and outdoor components – moves cold air to the house.

Benefits of Each Type of HVAC

Both the packaged and split HVAC systems have their own benefits. Depending on the type of home you have, you can enjoy one of two sets of benefits.

HVAC Packaged Unit

  • Efficiency – Packaged units are assembled in factories, which typically means they are more efficient than split systems.
  • Easy Installation – As packaged units are only one single unit, they are easier and more versatile to install. This also results in less expensive installation costs and a smaller footprint on your property.
  • Less Invasive – Because the package system is in one all-inclusive unit, there is no need for additional refrigerant lines.
  • SEER – This is an acronym that stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, which in this unit ranges from 13 to 18, and is considered a good rating.
  • Quiet – As the entire system is located outside, you experience no noise inside your home.

HVAC Split System

Split HVAC system
  • More Efficient – The SEER rating for split systems is typically 25 or above, which is much better than package systems.
  • Customizable – Because there are two components to a split system, placement is more flexible than a large HVAC packaged unit.
  • Lower Maintenance – For ductless mini-split systems, the maintenance costs are much lower than any other central air system.
  • Value-adding – The energy efficiency of HVAC split systems is so high it has the potential to add resale value to your home.

Considerations for Each Type of HVAC

As stated above, the two different systems come with their own set of considerations.

HVAC Packaged Unit

  • Roofs – If the condenser half of your system is located on your roof, a bad installation can lead to leaks and other issues.
  • Weather and animal damage – As one part of the system is located outdoors, your entire system is susceptible to weather and animal damage. Many people have found that animals will find a way inside of packaged units for shelter.
  • Lifespan – Packaged systems are prone to rust and, therefore, typically have a shorter lifespan.

HVAC Split System

  • Done right – A badly-installed HVAC split system can greatly reduce its efficiency and effectiveness in your home.
  • Labor intensive – Higher labor costs can make split systems more expensive to install.
  • Leaks – There are more moving parts in an HVAC split system, so there are more opportunities for inefficiencies. Cracks, crevices, and bad ductwork are just a few of the host of problems that can happen with split systems.

How to Choose the Right System

Choosing the right type of central air and heating HVAC system is based on a number of factors.Do you have one of these models already? –

If so, stay with the type of model you have. To uninstall and reinstall a different type of HVAC system can be so costly. You’ll lose out on many cost-saving benefits.How large or small is your home? –

This is an important consideration.

For smaller homes, the packaged unit will be best. That’s because all components of the packaged system are located outside. With a smaller amount of storage space for HVAC components, you’ll be better off with a package system.

For larger homes, or those with a basement or crawlspace, a split system will be best. That’s because you have extra space to house components in your home.

For whatever system you need, Cochran Oil has your back – guaranteed

At Cochran Oil, we understand HVAC systems in and out. That means that whatever type, size, or configuration of home you have, we can and will find a solution.

From design and configuration to installation and maintenance, the expert technicians at Cochran Oil can ensure you have the right solution for your HVAC system needs the first time. Contact us today for a consultation on the best way to keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient with an HVAC system.

The main goal of any plumbing system is to get water into your home—and not the other way round. Most likely, you want it to stay that way, and here is where a backflow preventer comes in handy. A backflow preventer helps to ensure that water goes in one direction, and never the other. Simply put, it helps to prevent backflow. It is a device that is installed on home’s water pipes, which allows water to flow in into your homes but never out of it. Its main function is to prevent water contamination which can occur as a result of backflow.

What is backflow?

Backflow occurs when water that is supposed to only ever flow into your homes from the main water supply, flows back out into the water supply, from your homes. Just like the name implies, backflow occurs when water moves in the wrong direction and into your water supply, instead of out of it. Backflow can result in water contamination as a result of contaminants like pesticide, human waste etc.

A lot of things can cause backflow. One of such causes is pressure changes in the pipes which makes water flow backwards into the main water supply. Water, like most liquids, naturally moves from an area with high pressure to an area with lower pressure. Backflow may occur if the water pressure in a pipe is reduced, when there is a broken water line, or if a large amount of water is being used, like what is needed for extinguishing fires.

How It Works

There are multiple types of backflow preventers which includes the Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB), the Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ), and the Double Check Assembly (DCA). Each type of backflow device is designed to provide a different level of protection for various commercial or residential organizations. Hospitals and morgues, for example, handle large quantities of hazardous wastes on a daily basis, so they require much heavier-duty backflow preventers than a residential irrigation system.

A backflow preventer has two check valves and one relief valve in the middle. The check valves and the relief valve open and close with pressure. If there’s a problem with any of the check valves the relief valve opens and releases the water into the atmosphere.

Why You Should Install One

A backflow preventer essentially protects your water (drinking, cooking, bathing, washing) supply. A backflow preventer is very important as it eliminates the spread of infections through contaminated water. Wherever you live or work, there’s a high probability of getting backflow of human waste, fertilizers, chlorine, soaps from showers, dishwashers, sinks, bathtubs etc. which can spread diseases.

Also, installing a backflow preventer would prevent you from breaking the law. In 1973, The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency established “The Safe Drinking Water Act” in order to prevent contamination of public water systems which may occur through backflow and other means. Also according to the State of Delaware Plumbing Code, the installation of backflow preventers must be approved via permit and they are required to meet American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE) standards for construction, installation, maintenance, inspection, and testing for that specific application and type of device.

So that means when installing a backflow preventer, it is critical that you get a certified plumber like the experts at Federal Mechanical who can help you choose and install the right type of backflow preventer you need.

ac maintenance

What if your summer turned into a real living hell?

The only way to keep your cool during the summer is with a good air-conditioner. But if your AC breaks down, then every day will be miserable.

Fortunately, a little AC maintenance can help you keep everything running nice and smooth. Keep reading to discover our hottest maintenance tips for a cool, cool summer!

1. #YesFilter

We live in an age where people celebrate “no filter.” But that doesn’t apply to AC unit maintenance!

When your filter is full of dirt and other unwanted nastiness, it will have to work a lot harder to keep you cool. That translates to higher power bills all summer long!

Keep the price and the temperature down by regularly cleaning or changing your filter.

2. Keep It Trim

Another thing that can reduce airflow may surprise you: the great outdoors!

The chances are that your outside AC unit was nice and clear when you first installed it. However, plants and leaves and other obstructions will grow up and start obstructing the flow.

Bust out the shears and the garden hose to clear the area out and get a more efficient AC unit.

3. Get With the Program

If you don’t already have one, take it from us: a programmable thermostat will change your life!

You can program it to raise the temperature at certain times and lower it at other times. And certain smart models let you make adjustments by using your smartphone.

By taking better control of the temperature, you can help reduce your bills and also prolong the life of your air conditioner.

4. The Biggest Fan

Sometimes, the problem with your AC may be right in front of you all along. We’re talking, of course, about the AC fan!

Over time, your fan may become damaged and dirty. Cracks and chips in your condenser fan will disrupt the airflow and keep everything as cool as you need it to be.

Replacing a damaged fan is very easy to do. However, if you never notice when it needs to be replaced, then you and your AC unit will be suffering in the heat for no reason! 

5. Clean It Up

Another area of your AC unit that doesn’t get enough attention and love are the “fins” within the unit. As with the filter, this area can get clogged with dirt and debris that damages the unit and keep it from performing effectively.

You can fix this by vacuuming the area, ideally with a soft-bristled brush. Keep in mind you’ll most likely need to unscrew the box and lift it off to perform this maintenance.

AC Maintenance: The Bottom Line

Now you know the secrets to AC maintenance. But do you know who can help you keep your cool during the summer?

We specialize in air conditioner repair and maintenance along with plumbing, heating, and more house maintenance services than you can shake a stick at. To see how we can make your AC better than ever, contact us today!

Every year, when the weather starts warming up, it’s smart to start thinking and planning for ways to entertain and enjoy your home’s outdoor areas.

Whether it’s grilling, sitting by the pool, or lounging on the patio, there are many options for making outdoor entertainment and leisure time comfortable. And, propane is there to power your outdoor lifestyle every step of the way.

As an inexpensive and safe fuel source, you can make all your outdoor entertainment and relaxation dreams a reality with propane systems. With the right appliances and systems, your entire property can become a space for outdoor enjoyment and entertaining.

Call us today to take care of all of your propane needs at 1.888.735.5651!


Discover all the options that are available to you:

Propane Pool and Hot Tub/Spa Heaters

A heated pool is obviously a great thing for colder temperatures. But for warmer months, a heated pool offers a reliably comfortable swim, no matter the twists and turns that the weather can bring.

With a propane-based pool heating system, you can keep water at any temperature that is comfortable for you. Many people enjoy a pool that is around 70 degrees or more for the right balance of refreshment and relaxation.

If you’ve got a hot tub, you’re in luck! The same type of propane heating system you use for a pool can be used for a hot tub as well.

With propane-heated pools and hot tubs, you can extend the available months to swim and soak throughout the early spring, summer, and into the late fall. The best part is that propane heaters are smaller compared to their electric counterparts, and they heat up water much more quickly.

Propane Patio Heaters

Patio heaters are a growing trend for people who want to be able to entertain patio-side throughout most of the year. Some are so powerful and efficient that you can even enjoy the outdoors on a crisp late fall day.


Wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted patio heating units are perfect for dining outside on a chilly night. As propane is an efficient and inexpensive fuel source, you can heat up large outdoor spaces without worrying about breaking the bank.

Propane Outdoor Fireplaces and Fire Pits

Fireplaces and fire pits are great additions to any home, but the cleanup is anything but desirable.

That’s why propane fireplaces and fire pits are the way to go. With a clean and smokeless burn, you won’t worry about passing winds blowing smoke in your face. Plus, as a safer alternative to wood, they can be turned off on a dime as opposed to waiting for embers to die down, as with a wood-burning pit or fireplace.


There’s also the convenience of propane-fueled fireplaces and fire pits. With wood-fired fireplaces and pits, you must continually fuel the fire with fresh wood (and make sure you always have it stocked). With propane systems, you can focus on enjoying your time by the fire without pausing to feed it.

Propane Grills and Outdoor Kitchen

Considering a propane grill? Now you’re cooking with gas!

Outdoor kitchens and grills are practically the definition of summer. However, traditionally, they can be a messy way of preparing food. With propane, there is no more clean-up of charcoal or wood ash. With propane-fueled grills and outdoor ovens, clean-up is a snap.

Propane grills and propane-powered outdoor kitchens are also safer. Whereas a charcoal-fueled grill takes time to cool down, a propane-fired unit turns off immediately.

Additionally, with propane delivery services like those provided by Cochran Oil and Propane, you can forget about running out to buy wood or charcoal ever again!


Pool House, Guest Cottage and Outbuildings

If you’re someone who believes in truly optimizing the use of your outdoor space, propane is your answer.

Pool houses, guest cottages, and other outbuildings are often expensive to heat and maintain. Electric units suck up power and do not offer a cost-effective or efficient way of heating these spaces. 

Propane, on the other hand, allows you to efficiently and effectively heat and maintain the temperatures of these outbuildings. For pool parties, sleepovers, and extended stays with guests, propane is an inexpensive way to keep your guest cottage, pool house, or other outbuildings comfortable.

For all your propane needs, you can rely on your Cochran Oil and Propane team

If you’re ready to start thinking about optimizing your outdoor spaces, Cochran Oil and Propane can help.

From design and consultation to installation and maintenance, Cochran Oil and Propane offers a full-service, year-round solutions for all your propane needs. Most importantly, Cochran Oil and Propane will sign you up for regular propane delivery so that you never run out.

home heating oil

Eighty percent of US homes are using home heating oil. Out of the 80%, 20% of households are in the Northeast census region. Heating oil is useful in areas where homes have limited access to natural gas. To ensure a constant supply, homeowners have to install storage tanks. The tank should be double walled. It should have a spill container located underneath to reduce oil spills.

Home heating oil is normally used in oil-fired boilers. Depending on the type of oil boiler, oil flows from the tank to the furnace. The feed pipe has a fuel delivery line protective sleeve to prevent spills.

What Is Heating Oil?

This is a distillate fuel used in furnaces, water heaters, and boilers in the US. Heating oil is closely related to diesel fuel but it varies in terms of chemical composition.

As the second most important byproduct of crude oil, it is widely used around the world for heating. In ancient times heating oil was used in stoves for cooking and lanterns for lighting.

In the Northern census region, the demand for heating oil is high during winter. Production of heating oil is in autumn and summer. Delivery of home heating oil is in winter.

How Heating Oil Heats Your Home

Heating oil is primarily used in boilers and furnaces. In the case of furnaces, heating oil flows through the feed pipe and into the heating chamber. Once the furnace is on, the air is heated and the system distributes the heat in the house via ductwork.

When it comes to boilers, water gets heated and produces steam. The system distributes the steam from the boiler via pipes to the radiators. In the case of hot water, the system distributes it via radiant floor systems or coil.

To reach your home, refiners transport heating oil to a local storage terminal. For instance, in the Northern Census region, heating oil gets delivered at the New York Harbor. From there, transportation via barge or rail to different storage facilities. To reach homeowners, contractors deliver heating oil using trucks with storage tanks.

Why Is Heating Dyed Red?

Heating oil in the US is dyed red to distinguish it from other fuels sold. It helps to identify that the oil is exempt from state, local and federal road taxes. These taxes are applied to fuel sold along public highways and roads. Heating oil is not meant for use in a vehicle even a diesel-powered vehicle.

Benefits of Home Heating Oil

Clean and Efficient

Home heating oil keeps homes in the Northern region safe and warm during the cold months of winter. It burns at 1200 degrees Celsius heating air and water faster. This keeps your home comfortable.


Unlike natural gas which can escape in case of a leak and ignite even in the air, heating oil does not burn in case of a spill. The only time heating oil ignites is by using the advanced burning system of your boiler or furnace.

Getting High-Quality Heating Oil at Your Home

As a homeowner, it is wise to choose a reliable heating supplier. He should have a license, be certified, insured and bonded. Not only that. He should be reliable, should offer high-quality home heating oil and great service too.

Are you in search of a house heating oil supplier dedicated to making your home comfortable? We can help. Contact us today!

ultra low sulfur diesel

Diesel cars and trucks get a bad rap for the perceived pollutants they put out.

Everyone’s heard horror stories about being stuck behind a semi-truck pouring out black smoke for miles.

Thankfully, new ultra low sulfur diesel is reducing the harmful pollutants produced by diesel engines. Keep reading to find out how low sulfur diesel works and why it’s such a big deal.

What is Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel?

In 2001, the EPA created the Highway Diesel Program to reduce the amount of sulfur in diesel vehicles. It mandates a 97% reduction of sulfur oxides in diesel fuel, down to 15 ppm from a previous limit of 500 ppm.

Ultra low sulfur diesel was born from this law. It went into effect in 2006 and post-2007 all new diesel engines were designed to run on ultra low sulfur diesel.

They incorporate what’s called a particulate filter to help remove even more harmful pollutants from their exhaust. Diesel fuel itself is a heavier petroleum product that’s related to other fuels like furnace oil.


The benefits of ULSD are obvious. It massively reduces the amount of sulfur oxides being introduced into the environment. 

Sulfur dioxide, the most common sulfur oxide, is a known skin and respiratory irritant. By reducing diesel emissions of it the EPA hopes to lower the total amount in the atmosphere.

Most European nations have been using ULSD as the standard highway fuel for years. The move to switch was lauded as a sensible measure for overall pollution reduction.

Other hydrocarbons are also significantly reduced by the switch to ULSD. If you’ve ever seen a big truck ‘rolling coal’ you know that diesel can produce a lot of smoke.

Because ULSD has such greatly reduced pollutants it burns nearly as cleanly as gasoline. This is a major breakthrough as diesel engines are generally more fuel efficient than gas ones.


Like any highly processed petrochemical product costs increase as filtering does. ULSD is slightly more expensive than the product it replaces but it more than makes up for this with the reduced pollutants.

The process that removes sulfur compounds from diesel also destroys some lubricating and deposit reducing compounds. This means your engine will have to work a little bit harder to function at full efficiency.

Check the Label

If you drive a new model vehicle it’s extremely important you check before you pump any diesel. The particulate filters and other pollution-reducing devices they contain don’t function properly with other fuels.

You’ll produce much more sulfur dioxide when burning something like off-road diesel. Your engine will also be significantly damaged over time because of the impurities. 

Even worse, burning nonapproved fuels will likely void your manufacturer’s warranty. Look on the decal or handle of the pump. Since December of 2010, all pumps dispensing ULSD must be clearly labeled.

Do Your Part

By purchasing a fuel-efficient clean diesel vehicle you can save money and help reduce pollution. Ultra low sulfur diesel reduces the emission of several harmful compounds and helps your engine run smoother and cleaner.

If you’d like to learn more about the different types of heating oil, cooling systems, or other topics, contact us here today.