Fall 2019 Archives - P. Gagnon & Son
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Peace of Mind, 24/7

Mark Gagnon

Dear Friends,

We know that your family’s comfort and safety are your priorities. They’re ours, too — along with your peace of mind. Our customers know they can trust us to be there when emergencies arise during the heating season — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will — and usually at the worst time. That definitely applies to your heating system. Things often go haywire when you least expect them to and when they’re a challenge to handle — like losing your heat during a brutal cold wave or when there’s a snowstorm brewing.

These emergencies won’t wait until the weather clears or normal business hours resume — and neither will we.

Since our founding, in 1904, we have helped thousands of customers through the worst of times — restoring their heat, resolving fuel or water leaks, and handling other complex situations. So no matter when you need us, rest easy and enjoy peace of mind. We are on call and at your service — and our expert technicians will be there to help keep your family warm and safe.

As we like to say, your comfort is our concern.

Mark Gagnon, President

Smart security kit

Enter our new prize drawing to win a Yale Assure touchscreen deadbolt + Amazon Cloud Cam. Enjoy keyless access for yourself and family members and easily monitor and control your front door from anywhere by connecting with the Cloud Cam.

Read this newsletter and answer the questions on our contest page to enter. All entries received by 1/17/20 with the correct answers will be entered into a drawing. Three winners will be selected!

No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase chance of winning. See contest page for details.

Save money

Sometimes less is more. That’s certainly true when it comes to reducing paper clutter and the time you spend on paying bills. Here are a few ways that you can simplify — and save money too.

*Valid for new enrollees only, please.


The journey to seek out better comfort can bring you much wisdom. We hope you will find more peace after reading these answers from our home comfort wizard.

Is it ever possible to fix a heating problem on my own?

While many types of malfunctions can cause your system to operate poorly (or not operate at all), the problems outlined below are not only quite common, but relatively easy and inexpensive to fix.

Power switches turned off

If your heat stops working, these are among the first things you should check. First, it often happens that the power switches for the heating system have been turned off by mistake. Simply turn the electrical switches back to the “on” position and your problem may be solved.

Unchecked air filters or water level

If you have a furnace, change or clean the filters about once a month; a dirty filter compromises efficiency and can even result in a shutdown. If you have a steam boiler, check the water gauge periodically. Low water levels are a leading cause of boiler shutdowns. Steam boilers should also be “flushed” when the water in the sight glass looks rusty.

Tripped circuit breaker

Going to the circuit breaker box and flipping the proper switch may be all you need to get running again. However, a circuit breaker rarely ever trips for no reason. If this happens once and never happens again, consider it a fluke. But if this happens more often, arrange for service, as this could be a sign of a serious problem.

Faulty thermostat

Many instances of heating systems not working can be traced to the thermostat, which sends a signal to your boiler or furnace to generate heat. If the wiring is deteriorating, these signals may get erratic. A buildup of dust inside your thermostat is another common culprit. You may also need to change the batteries in your thermostat.

Would I be wise to turn my thermostat way up to get warm fast?

Your heating system doesn’t work like a car — there is no gas pedal to step on to make it go faster. Your furnace or boiler will produce heat at the same rate regardless of whether your thermostat is set to 68 degrees or 85 degrees. (Setting the thermostat higher just makes your system work longer.)

Hot Tip #1: For better temperature control, trade in your old manual thermostat for a digital, programmable one. This allows you to automate your home temperature settings and can help you reduce your energy use and save as much as 10%.

Hot Tip #2: Never program your thermostat below 60 degrees, even if you’ll be away from home for a period of time. When your thermostat setting is too low, you risk frozen pipes. Water pipes near outside walls or in unheated spaces are especially prone to freeze-ups. The risk increases if cracks in your foundation allow cold air to seep into your home.

Would it be prudent to turn off the heat in some rooms?

Sure, you wants to save money on heating your home, but you don’t want to cause problems while you’re at it. One common mistake we see is when people drastically reduce or completely shut off the heat in different zones of their home.

While you might think you’ll save a little on heating costs, shutting off radiators or closing vents creates the possibility that pipes will freeze — especially in rooms that tend to be colder anyway. That’s a really costly problem.

If you have a furnace, closing some vents disrupts normal air flow, causing an imbalance that will just make your furnace work harder and strain your ductwork.

It’s best to keep heat flowing to all the rooms in your home.

A better idea is to keep the temperature at a comfortable level throughout your home and program your system to energy-saving settings when the house is empty or everyone is asleep.

If you have a zoned system, you can vary the temperature in different rooms, eliminating the temptation of shutting the heat off completely in some parts of your home.

Can you enlighten me about improving my heating efficiency?

A study of over 1,000 homes across the country showed that consumers are getting short-changed on energy efficiency because of a combination of poor equipment installation and lax maintenance.*

After adjustments were made to correct problems, however, efficiency improved, on average, by a phenomenal 36%! This was accomplished through the following methods:

As you can see, a few fixes could save you a lot of money on heat and keep you more comfortable.

*Source: National Comfort Institute

Good value

Oil prices have been on quite a roller-coaster ride over the past year. They increased by more than 10% early last heating season, but by spring they had fallen by about 20%.

Because crude oil — which is refined into heating oil and many other fuels — is a globally traded commodity, many different forces can drive its value up or down. The geopolitical climate can have as much of an effect on prices as the actual climate.

But if you go back and look at historical trends, you’ll find that, yes, heating oil is a good value today. Adjusting for inflation, home heating oil actually costs much less than it did years ago.

Although the oil market will always rise and fall, heating oil remains an affordable source of home energy. Plus, today’s clean-burning ultra-lowsulfur heating oil saves you money by leaving fewer deposits on heat exchangers, thus prolonging the life of your equipment and reducing out-of-pocket repairs.

Everyone wants good value — and that’s exactly what you get with oil heat.


It’s important that we can reach you quickly in the event of an emergency or to confirm appointments. To do this, we need to have your current landline phone number, mobile phone number and email address.

Just call our office or contact us through our website with the information. Don’t worry, we will not share it with any third parties. It’s just between us!

Mark Leach

Q: What should I do if storm water enters my home and reaches my propane appliances?

A: Always remember to put safety first when it involves your propane storage tank and appliances. Here’s what you should do:

Read about more propane safety tips here.