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IN THE NEWS
 
Before 2013 comes to a close, we want to thank our readers and those that have secured advertising in The Advantage news. Our goal is to bring you regular up-to-date energy news and small business tips. For your reading pleasure, we've put together a recap of the most accessed articles from 2013. The next issue will be delivered Thursday, Jan. 2, then return to its regular Wednesday publication the following week. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Update on the status of the 90 percent furnace standards
Air Conditioning Contractors of America
From Feb. 20: Many contractors and homeowners are wondering about the status of the proposed settlement in the lawsuit challenging the minimum energy conservation standards that are set to go into effect on May 1. The proposed settlement was filed as a motion in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Jan. 11, after several months of mediation by the principal parties involved in the litigation, the American Public Gas Association and the Department of Energy.
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New furnace efficiency rules on the way
The Plain Dealer
From Jan. 16: Beginning May 1, the Department of Energy will be implementing a comprehensive set of new regulations that will make installing a new furnace — especially in an older home — something of a challenge. The DOE has defined a "north region" of the country that will have to comply with a 90 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency requirement. Under the new guidelines, nothing less than 90 percent efficiency will be acceptable.
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US oil supplies reach 82-year high
AllGov
From May 8: The U.S. is awash in a glut of crude oil, with inventories at their highest level since the government began keeping monthly data in 1931, according to a report released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While inventories of oil and distillates (diesel fuel and heating oil) rose, the supply of gasoline actually fell. The total U.S. commercial inventory of crude oil stands at 395.3 million barrels, while total gasoline inventories fell to the middle of the range for the past five years.
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  PRODUCT SHOWCASES
Carlin 48245 Now with Smart Ignition

Extend the life of ignitors with Carlin’s new 48245 primary control with Smart Ignition. The 48245 runs in Intermittent Duty (or “constant” duty) when needed to prevent loss of flame. Smart Ignition switches to Interrupted Duty when it can to dramatically extend the life of the ignitor or transformer. The Model 48245 is the smart replacement for 3-wire controls. www.carlincombustion.com
Ductless Mini-Split Kit

Sid Harvey’s introduces a time-saving idea to speed the installation of the most popular mini split systems. The Sid Harvey Mini-Split Installation Kit includes communication cable, drain hose, disconnect, whip, ring terminals, and cable ties to make installation quick and easy and comes in either 25 foot or 50 foot lengths. The Mini-Split Installation Kits are available at all Sid Harvey Stores. 

www.sidharvey.com

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Proposed settlement rescinds regional standards for residential gas furnaces
ACCA
From Jan. 23: In a settlement filed, the Department of Energy has agreed to withdraw the pending minimum energy conservation standards that include regional standards for residential non-weatherized and mobile home gas furnaces. ACCA, the nation's largest association of indoor environment professionals, joined the case last year as an Intervenor aligning with the American Public Gas Association who challenged the Direct Final Rule in a suit brought in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
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5 best (and worst) states for solar energy
Care2
From June 26: This year is only about half over, but already U.S. companies have installed 723 megawatts (MW) of solar energy across the country. This means that solar energy accounted for over 48 percent of all new electric capacity installed in the U.S. last quarter. SolarPowerRocks.com has put together a list of the five best — and worst — states for solar energy.
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Some fuel dealers leave assistance program, 1,400 families affected
Vermont Public Radio
From Nov. 6: About 1,400 Vermont households that qualified last year for fuel assistance will have to find a new source of heating oil and propane this winter. Eight fuel companies representing 11 different dealerships have dropped out of the fuel assistance program because of a new pricing system.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword: Heating Assistance.



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Service clinic: Make the most of pre-season A/C tune-ups
Contracting Business
From April 10: As temperatures moderate, spring is often a "slow season" for contractors, compared to winter and summer, so offering special pre-season check-ups for residential ducted air conditioning systems can provide a steady stream of income at a time when there are fewer emergency service calls. Plus, these preventive appointments are excellent opportunities for building better relationships with current and new customers, ultimately creating more loyalty to your company.
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10 reasons why HVACR technicians need mobile field service applications
Contracting Business
From Nov. 27: As evidenced by Sage's software surveys, companies investing in mobile technology for their remote workers are receiving excellent results. Mobile field service apps are becoming the most powerful tools in the service technician's toolbelt, helping them boost their productivity, improve service delivery and increase customer satisfaction, among other benefits.
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Mercury-bulb thermostat myths
Contractor Magazine
The world of thermostats for hydronics is full of myths and misunderstandings. Some of these are due to misinformation about thermostats in general. Some are specific to mercury-bulb thermostats. And some thermostat myths apply just to hydronics.

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HVACR contractors: 12 resolutions for a stellar 2014
Contracting Business
Resolutions are just starting points. Use these, or substitute any of your own, one per month, throughout 2014. Keep them as a checklist, then at the end of the year, see how well you did.

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The HVAC service profit chain
Contracting Business
In an industry driven by weather, and a local economy, how can you build a service company profit chain? You can't. You have to do it by refocusing your business from fix-it or replace-it, to the service agreement, and building a long term relationship with the homeowner.

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Service clinic: Preventive maintenance is good for optimal hydronic system performance
Contracting Business
From Jan. 30: As the market has pushed the need for higher-efficiency equipment, the need for routine hydronic system maintenance is greater. We all know that a substantial amount of hydronic system costs are related to poor maintenance. Fixing a problem caused by lack of maintenance can cost 10 times in the emergency mode what routine maintenance would've fixed in the preventive mode. Here are some basic guidelines about what to look for on a routine visit to a customer's hydronic system.
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Tax credits for energy efficiency are back
Akron Beacon Journal via Phys.org
From Jan. 16: Reinstatement of the popular credits was a little-noticed part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the last-minute legislation that kept America from tumbling over the fiscal cliff at the start of the year. The law allows homeowners to claim tax credits of varying amounts on improvements such as insulation, energy-smart windows and highly efficient furnaces. And Congress made those credits retroactive, meaning improvements made in both 2012 and 2013 will qualify.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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