Guidelines and Explanation of Terms
Tested heating system efficiency (minimum 82%): This is the combustion efficiency test
typically performed by a heating technician when servicing and cleaning the burner.
Floors over unheated areas: Examples are an enclosed porch or a crawlspace. Doesn’t refer to
Basement wall: Basements in many new buildings are insulated all the way to the floor or
footings (full height). Older buildings may have poor soil drainage, e.g. a wet basement. To
avoid potential foundation damage from damp soils freezing and expanding, it is generally
considered safe to insulate to 1’2’ below ground level. This still saves considerable energy.
Windows: Sealed double glazing sometimes has gas fill such as argon or krypton. Lowe storm
windows are also available. Either exceeds the basic single glass + storm.
Doors: A solid wood door is only a bit more insulating than a single pane of glass. Adding a
storm door cuts heat loss in half. An insulated door can equal almost 10 panes of glass.
Refrigerator: Refrigerators made before 1995 have the make and model information on a metal
plate inside, usually on the door. From 1995 on, the information is on a sheet of metal foil.
Gas stove: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, piloted gas burners can use more than
twice the energy used by electric ignition gas burners.
Available on the Maine Public Utilities Commission or Maine State Housing Authority
web pages ( or )
May 12, 2006
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