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What You Need to Know About Energy Audits

By on Apr 3, 2019 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Furnaces, Residential |

Saving money is always a plus, especially while being comfortable in your own home.  Be it winter or summer, the potential savings can be phenomenal. Back in August 2013, the government published Energy Saver 101 picturing a Home Energy Audit.  This publication has 101 ways to be protected from high energy costs.   What an energy audit is, and what it can do for you.  A home energy audit is an assessment of how well your home uses energy.  For instance, small cracks in the siding or foundation, can bring as much air into your home, as if you had left a window open for 24 hours.  Imagine leaving your window open overnight during subzero temperatures, how much harder is your furnace running? Or, leaving your window open all day while it is over 90 degrees and humid?  That’s when your air conditioning unit will be choking!  Take that extra pressure off your furnace and air conditioner by calling in a professional auditor.  Steps to take before signing a contract:  Check with your utility companies. They may do the audit themselves or be able to recommend a local company.   References. Get several references from the auditor company and contact them all.  Ask each referenced customer if they were satisfied with the results.  Call the BBB. The Better Business Bureau may have information on any complaints against the company.  Ask questions of the energy auditor.   Does the energy auditor use a calibrated blower door?  How about thermographic inspections?   If not, ask another auditor company.  Preparing for an audit.  Before the energy auditor visits your house   Make a list of any existing problems such as condensation and uncomfortable or drafty rooms.   Have copies or a summary of the home’s yearly utility bills (electric and heating if other than electric; such as gas, fuel oil, and coal).  The auditor then will analyze the residents’ behavior:   How many people live here?   Is your home occupied during the day?  What is the average thermostat setting for summer? For winter?  Do you use every room in the home?  What to expect during an audit.   Room-by-Room. The energy auditor will do a room-by-room examination of the residence.  Utility Bills. A thorough examination of your home’s bills for electric and heating. This will give the auditor an idea of what to look...

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DIY – How to replace furnace filters

By on Mar 11, 2019 in Furnaces |

Before we know it, the warm summer weather will be here and our air conditioning systems will be working hard to keep our homes cool and comfortable. Spring is the perfect time of year to perform some routine maintenance on your HVAC system to make sure it will be running in optimal condition when we need it most – on those muggy, hot, long summer days.    Keep Your HVAC System Healthy this Spring  While some spring maintenance tasks can be handled on your own, others are best left to the professionals. Not only do you want to avoid your HVAC system breaking down during the summer, but you also want to make sure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Let’s discuss all the things you can do this spring to get your system ready for the hot months ahead.  DIY Spring HVAC Tune-Up Tasks   Here’s what you can do on your own to get your HVAC system ready for summer:  Replace the filter. Your furnace filter should be changed often; it’s recommended to swap it out once a month, since a dirty filter will make your system work that much harder to properly heat or cool your home.  Clear away debris. On the outside unit, clear away any leaves, sticks, dirt and other debris that may have collected around it throughout the winter. The compressor in your air conditioning unit requires proper air flow to work as efficiently as possible, so make sure shrubbery or trees are at least three feet away.  Check for wear and tear. After the unit is cleaned off, inspect it for any damage like dents, cracks, leaks, etc. If anything appears to be broken, make a note of it to discuss with a professional heating and cooling company.  Install a programmable thermostat. If you aren’t already using a programmable thermostat, there’s no time like the present to install one and get ready to start reaping the benefits, which include lower utility bills and more overall home comfort.  Professional Spring HVAC Tune-Up   Of course, calling the professionals to do your spring HVAC tune-up is actually an even better idea. An HVAC company knows exactly what to look for, plus will perform routine maintenance to ensure...

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How to Maintain Your Furnace for Winter

By on Sep 24, 2018 in Furnaces |

Even though fall just officially began this past Saturday, there’s no time like the present to get ready for the inevitable colder weather that’s just ahead. This means not only doing some regular fall maintenance tasks, but also learning how to best prep your furnace for the winter. A properly working furnace is key to your and your family’s overall comfort, especially when those temperatures drop below zero. Furnace Maintenance Tips for a Warmer Winter It’s Murphy’s Law at its finest: your furnace works perfectly until that first really, really cold day when you need it most. This is not only extremely inconvenient, but it’s also extremely uncomfortable. Even with layers of blankets and warm clothing, a non-working furnace means everyone in the house will be freezing. Plus, we can guarantee that HVAC companies are going to be slammed on that first cold day helping others experiencing the same situation.   The good news is there are a few things you can do right now, while the weather is still cooperating, to ensure your furnace is working when you need in most. Use these furnace maintenance tips to keep it running well in the cold months ahead: Inspect the system, inside and out. Give your entire HVAC system a visual once-over, looking for cracks in belts, faulty connections and dusty, dirty components. All parts should be free of dust and debris and in good working order. Replace the filter. Neglecting to change the air filter is one of the top causes of problems with HVAC systems. Set a reminder somewhere – on a calendar, in your phone, a sticky note, etc. – to change your filter on a monthly basis. This will not only keep your furnace running more effectively, but it will also improve indoor air quality and reduce your energy bills. Test the thermostat. Before the true cold weather sets in, test out your thermostat. Turn up the heat to a few degrees warmer than the current air in your home and make sure the system kicks on within a few minutes. Clean the air vents. Take a few moments to clean out the air vents in your home. Use a screwdriver to remove the vent covers,...

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5 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

By on Sep 11, 2018 in Furnaces |

After a long, hot, and muggy summer, it’s time to welcome in the cooler weather and vibrant colors of the fall season. While it may still be a while before the snow starts to fall, while the temperatures are still warm there’s no time like the present to do a little fall home maintenance. This way, you can rest easy knowing you’ll be fully prepared for the arrival of that cold weather that is inevitably on its way to northeast Ohio. Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Home Start these fall home maintenance tasks now, and you’ll be ready to kick back with some hot cocoa on the couch on those frigid days. Here’s are five easy tips to get your home properly prepped for fall and beyond: Schedule your annual furnace maintenance check. Fall and winter are some of the busiest seasons for HVAC companies, and the last thing you want on a chilly autumn day is for your furnace to be on the fritz. You may call for service only to find out you’re on a list a mile long, and a technician can’t come for several days. Beat the rush and call now to schedule annual maintenance on your furnace to ensure it’s in great shape for the cold months ahead. Clean up the landscaping. Did you know that fall is actually the best time to reseed your lawn? It’s true – the roots actually grow deeper in the fall to prepare for winter. Additionally, you should prune your trees and shrubs to promote healthy growth in the springtime, and watch for any tree limbs that are getting too close to power lines or your roof. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are key to your and your family’s safety throughout the entire year, and you can use the changing of the seasons as a reminder to make sure they’re in good working order. Swap out the old batteries for fresh ones regularly so there’s never any doubt that they’re in perfect condition. Seal up drafty doors and windows. Save some money on your energy bills this fall by making sure you’re preventing drafts from causing your furnace to...

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A Day in the Life of an HVAC Technician

By on Aug 27, 2018 in Air Conditioning, Furnaces |

Every home and commercial building utilizes HVAC – heating, ventilation and air conditioning – systems to control the temperature, humidity and air quality indoors. This means residential houses, offices, schools, stores, restaurants, factories and so on all rely on the same basic type of system to keep the people indoors comfortable throughout the entire year. An HVAC technician, therefore, is trained in all three components, and uses those skills to install, maintain and repair heating, air conditioning, ventilation, and refrigeration systems. What Does an HVAC Technician Do? A typical day in the life of an HVAC technician will begin with learning about which types of specific jobs are on the schedule for the day. The technician may be required to fix a broken component, advise whether an entire new system is needed, or simply adjust settings so the system is working more efficiently. Here are a few more tasks HVAC technicians are responsible for on a daily basis: Installation: HVAC systems need to be installed by licensed professionals to ensure their safety and effectiveness. Additionally, a technician will understand and recommend the right size system for both residential and commercial sites, completing the necessary calculations to determine that information correctly. He or she will connect the systems to water lines, fuel lines, air ducts, electrical wiring and more to ensure everything is working effectively. Repair: HVAC technicians are often called in to troubleshoot issues with the HVAC unit itself, the thermostat, compressors, refrigerant levels, air handling systems and more. He or she understand how all components work and can fix the problem or recommend the necessary solution. Maintenance: Properly maintaining an HVAC system is key to keeping it working efficiently for as long as possible. This is why it’s recommended to schedule an annual furnace check or an annual air conditioning check. In these checks, usually performed in the spring and fall, the technician will test and clean the blower fan, inspect the level of coolant, and test the system’s overall operation and functioning. HVAC technicians generally travel to several different customers every day. They might have a fairly regulated schedule if they’re working on a construction site. Or, they may not know what tasks are ahead for the...

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The Facts about Carbon Monoxide

By on Feb 19, 2018 in Furnaces |

According to the CDC, carbon monoxide (CO) claims the lives over 400 people in the United States every year. Additionally, over 4,000 individuals are sent to the hospital annually with CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide can build up in the home from gas ranges, furnaces, fireplaces, and it’s also produced any time fuel is burned in cars, generators, lanterns and more. This is why is so essential to arm yourself with as much information as possible about this “silent killer,” so you can ensure you and your family are safe in your home. 5 Carbon Monoxide Facts You Should Know Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, although children and those with chronic conditions like heart disease and breathing problems are more likely to feel the effects. Here are five facts about carbon monoxide to help educate you about this dangerous, poisonous gas: You cannot smell or taste carbon monoxide. CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that cannot be noticed without a detector. This makes it especially dangerous, because if you’re sleeping, for instance, you would not notice its effects until it’s too late. If someone says they can smell carbon monoxide, it’s often some other combustible byproducts – and this should also be addressed immediately. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms feel like the flu. If you and your family suddenly feel ill all at the same time, this should not be ignored. When everyone is experiencing simultaneous symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, difficulty breathing or blurred vision, these could actually be signs of CO poisoning, not the flu. Your appliances can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Your appliances should always be installed by a trained professional. Why? Well, gas appliances, in general, need to be properly vented to ensure no carbon monoxide is leaking into your home. You can reduce your risk of CO poisoning with a CO detector. Installing carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home can greatly reduce the risk of CO poisoning in your home. These detectors are designed to set off an alarm before life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide are reached inside, allowing you and your family to safely get outside as quickly as possible. Make sure to change the...

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