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      Blog :: 2011

      Check Your Maine Home Heating Oil Tank

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      Several years ago, I had my oil tank filled just before the long Thanksgiving weekend. I dont know why I went down into my dark, damp, dirt floored basement that Wednesday night, perhaps to just check to see if the oil was delivered, but Ill always be glad I did. What I discovered was a steady drip of oil coming out of the bottom of the tank. and it was getting worse. Luckily I had a container to catch the dripping oil and called my oil company who came right over. That night, the night before Thanksgiving, they pumped all of the oil out of the tank into another one placed just outside through a basement window that was now feeding my furnace. I think they were there until after midnight. That was certainly a close call since if left undiscovered all 250+ gallons would have been spilled directly into the ground and potentially contaminating my water supply, not to mention the cost of clean up.

      Maine homeowners who rely on oil heat may want to take some time to look at their heating systems before the really cold weather sets in.

      Maine Homeowners Should Establish Regular Home Checks

      Maine Realtors and insurance professionals know that most people consider these systems only when there are problems or when theyre moving. Whats not broken doesnt require fixing, and there are plenty of repairs or renovations that warrant most homeowners attention.

      Maine Home Owner Tips | Maine Home Heating Winter

      Image by Getty Images via @daylife

      Still, there are a couple things worth considering. One is that a heating system thats working at peak efficiency will save money by avoiding the cost of wasted fuel. The other is that a well-maintained system is less likely to leak, losing fuel and possibly damaging other possessions in the process.

      Maine Home Oil Tank Testing

      Many furnace technicians will test the integrity of the fuel tank. Using ultrasonic test equipment, they can take noninvasive measurements of the thickness of the tank near the bottom. While this type of testing isnt foolproof, it can help determine when internal corrosion is making tank walls dangerously thin.

      Testing may yield surprising results. Some older home oil tanks test better than their age might indicate; the use of thicker steel in some older tanks may be the reason. So, dont assume that just because your tank is an older model, it must need replacing.

      Outdoor Maine Home Oil Storage Tanks

      Outdoor storage tanks pose special problems. In addition to the risk of corrosion, theyre also susceptible to damage from falling objects, especially ice. Butch Bowie, environmental specialist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, urges owners of outdoor tanks to have filter protectors. The mini-shelters cost between $50 and $100 and can save the expense of equipment replacement and spill cleanup.

      The DEP receives reports on average of one oil spill every day. The department has a section on tank safety on its website; visit www.maine.gov/dep/rwm/homeowner/homeheatingoil/index.htm for more information.

      Don't miss out on helpful Maine home owner and real estate advice, subscribe to this blog to get regular updates.

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            QR Codes

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            QR codes this, QR codes that. No doubt you have heard the hub-bub about QR codes as a powerful new (are they really that new? They've been around since 1994) mobile marketing tool. If you are not familiar with them, I like to think of QR codes as a web link, in the real world. It's a way for people to use their smart phone to be taken to a website, video, somewhere on the web automatically.

            I recently had a conversation with one of my agents who was a little bit confused about how she could/should be using QR codes in her business. We discussed the pros and cons of putting them here, there and everywhere. On a website, a link would be better than a QR code. However, in the real world, since you can't actually get someone to click on a link when they pick up your flyer, a QR code gives them an easy way to use their smart phone to be taken to a video of the property.......or wherever you want to take them.

            Marketing Your Home with QR Codes

            QR Codes Are Essential for Marketing Your Home

            Maybe you want them directed to your lender to get pre-qualified. Maybe you want them directed to your virtual tour. Maybe you want them directed to a video of you dressed up in a chicken suit screaming "I will lay an egg before you get a better deal on a house". Maybe you want them taken to the video you shot with your Video Camera. It doesn't have to be a flyer. It could be on your postcards that you mail out after a home sells in your neighborhood. The QR code could point them to a video you did about how you rank #1 in Google when someone searches for homes for sale in their sub-division and that's why you were able to sell that last home so fast. Another great idea would be to attach a neighborhood video tour to a QR code on a listing flyer so people can 'get to know the neighborhood' just by picking up the listing flyer.

            The bottom line, I want my agents to get creative with their use of mobile marketing applications. QR codes are the most obvious one, but you may very well have something even better.


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