ARLINGTON, Va. - Oil heat dealers across the country are getting a timely assist with their efforts to maximize the effectiveness of every drop of heating oil consumed this winter, thanks to a new publication issued by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA).

Efficient Oilheat, An Energy Conservation Guide is a companion to NORA's national Gold Certification program for oil heat technicians that emphasizes training in fuel efficiency, heating comfort, and energy conservation. Among its features, the new guide reviews innovations in the industry such as low sulfur fuel and high static flame retention burners that help achieve high efficiency and clean combustion.

This educational guide helps technicians converse with homeowners about various low- and no-cost techniques for conserving heating fuel. It provides low cost strategies such as proper tuneup and burner adjustments, as well as common sense advice. NORA is a nationwide collaborative of over 8,000 retail heating oil distributors in 22 cold climate states.

These companies have had to adjust to the volatility of oil prices and the geopolitics of the world market and are acutely aware of consumer demands for efficient use of heating fuel. The NORA guide aims to help technicians maximize a customer's fuel savings without sacrificing safety, reliability, or comfort. New oil heat boilers and furnaces are highly efficient, but sometimes overlooked by customers are the thermostat habits, home components and infrastructure, and lifestyle factors that can lead to higher fuels bills than necessary.

The new guide addresses the total heating scenario in a home, not just the mechanical system. The guide instructs how to make accurate evaluations of existing heating equipment and the effectiveness of certain control devices. Details such as locating the burner/boiler, the height of the chimney or vent system, size of the burner nozzle, and age of the equipment are all addressed, with advisory notes to technicians.

The guide serves as a convenient reference tool by which oil heat distributors can help customers determine if a new heating system is worth the cost and estimate what can be expected for a payback period.

Technicians also learn how to develop a trained eye in order to detect situations that contribute to heat loss and place undue demand on the heating system. An example is uninsulated hot water pipes or heating ducts, which contribute to heat loss, might be keeping adjacent cold-water pipes from freezing in winter. The solution would be to insulate all the pipes from the cold.

NORA's Gold Certification is a multitrack continuing education program that provides recognition to oil heat technicians who advance their knowledge and skills as measured by a quality benchmark for performance and experience.

Efficient Oilheat, An Energy Conservation Guide is a 166-page, spiral bound paperback edition, available now at

Publication date: 11/27/2006