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Should You Repair or Replace your Furnace?

Should You Repair or Replace your Furnace?

By on Aug 6, 2019 in Furnaces, Heating, Residential |

Summer will be over before we you know it, and you may be thinking about getting a head start on preparing your home for fall and winter. One of the most important things you can do to prepare for the cooler seasons is inspecting your furnace for signs of wear and considering the repair or replacement of a broken system. It can be difficult to know when you should have your furnace surfaced by a professional and repaired or whether you should have your system replaced in its entirety. As a homeowner in the Midwest, you probably understand the importance of having an operational furnace for the winter. A faulty heating system can turn even a mildly frigid day into an uncomfortable situation. You can ensure your family’s comfort throughout the cold months by addressing your furnaces needs in the summer or early fall before the chilly weather sets in. Identifying issues early on allows time for you to have the necessary repairs done, or have the unit replaced by professionals. By planning ahead, you can research options and budget for the expense. While situations vary, these tips will help you learn about the best time to service your furnace, problems you may encounter and whether to repair or replace your system in each scenario. Scenario 1: Your furnace is emitting carbon monoxide- Any system that could expose you and your family to carbon monoxide needs to be replaced as soon as possible. A furnace with a cracked combustion chamber allows carbon monoxide to leak into your home and should always be replaced immediately. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, which is why it can be a silent killer. Households with gas furnaces should always be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. Between 2010 and 2015, 2000 people died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. The highest number of deaths occurred in the winter during the months of frequent furnace use. Scenario 2: Your furnace is over 15 years old- Even the highest quality heating systems aren’t built to last forever. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a furnace should last 15-30 years before you’ll need a replacement. This varies by brand, quality, and other factors. But a heater will generally start to...

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How Heat Pumps Work

How Heat Pumps Work

By on Jul 29, 2019 in Heat Pump |

For residents that live in climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space in your home to a warmer space. This makes the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During seasons that require the use of heat, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house. During cool seasons, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because heat pumps move heat rather than generate heat, they can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances regularly. There are three types of heat pumps: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside. The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump. This type of heat pump transfers heat between your house and outside. Modern heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50 percent compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling in summer months. Air-source heat pumps have been used for many years in nearly all parts of the United States, but until recently they have not been used in areas that experienced extended periods of subfreezing temperatures. However, in recent years, air-source heat pump technology has advanced so that it now offers a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions such as the Midwest. For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. In addition, a special type of air-source heat pump called a “reverse cycle chiller” generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant floor heating systems that are in heating mode. Geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pumps achieve higher efficiencies by transferring heat between your house and the ground or a nearby water source. Although they cost more to install, geothermal heat pumps have...

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Quick and easy ways to brighten your patio this summer

Quick and easy ways to brighten your patio this summer

By on Jul 22, 2019 in Outdoors |

Patios often serve as a place to gather with friends or relax on your own. Here are five easy ways to improve the ambiance of your patio. Tip #1—Get rid of patio pests: Patios are fun, but pests are never good. Pinecones serve as a great way to deter creatures like chipmunks that like to dig and make a mess. Chances are your plants will enjoy having pinecones in their growing containers because they acidify the soil. Bold, beautiful showstopper plants like azaleas and rhododendrons will burst with color amid pine cones, too. Tip #2– Rejuvenate your dilapidated patio with color. Try painting flower containers in colors that are bold, bright, and modern. You might also consider mimicking the appearance of upscale stone patios with just a bit of paint and some concrete stamps. A coat of concrete stain will give your old concrete a fresh new look. Tip #3—Refurbish your patio furniture: Make old, worn out furniture pieces look new with a coat of spray paint. Spray paint comes in a variety of colors and finishes. It can also be purchased in formulas suitable for metal, wood, and even plastic. If you need to replace some of your furniture, choose sturdy materials that can resist dampness and intense sunlight. Tip #4—Add some lighting: Outdoor lighting works wonders for night time ambiance. Lanterns and lamps can be used to brighten up tables and dark corners. Stringing lights across the patio also adds a nice touch. Bold lights, such as ones shaped like trees and topiaries are also popular. To conserve energy, use solar powered products or energy-efficient bulbs. Tip #5—Add a fire pit: A fire pit or fire table makes a warm, welcoming place for you and your guests to gather on cool evenings well into the fall. You can purchase one at your favorite retailer or make one yourself with flagstone slabs and rocks. Always be sure to research your municipalities fire code and ordinances as they pertain to the use of fire pits beforehand. Efficient Heating & Cooling are experts in high quality home comfort solutions to meet your needs. Contact us today to request an estimate or schedule...

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Tips to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

Tips to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

By on Jul 11, 2019 in Air Conditioning, energy efficiency, Residential |

Staying cool in the summer heat can be a difficult task. Intense summer heat can make your home less comfortable to be in while raising household energy costs. Here are some simple ways to stay cool and comfortable during the summer. 1. Turn on your fans when air conditioning is in use. Using a fan while the air conditioner is running greatly enhances the cooling effect. While the air conditioner lowers the temperature of the air, fans circulate the cool air throughout the room and house. The boost in air circulation creates a wind chill that allows you to stay cool without having to set the AC unit very low. 2. Try using ice and a fan to stay cool. Set a bowl full of ice in front of a table fan. As the ice melts, the fan will blow cooler air toward you. This hack is great for while you’re working at your desk. You could also do the same thing with a fan on your kitchen counter to stay cool while you’re cooking. 3. Cut back on the use of appliances and lights. Appliances, gaming consoles, computers, and even standard light bulbs heat up your house while they are running, so turn them on as little as possible. Run the washing machine only when you have a full load. Eliminate the heat generated when using the dryer by hanging your clothes outside or around the house to air dry. Avoid using the dishwasher if it is not full. Instead, hand wash dishes in the sink and let them air dry or use a towel. Avoid using the oven and stove to prepare meals. Use the microwave or grill instead. You could also consider eating meals that don’t have to be cooked. Chef salad with julienned turkey and/or ham and deli sandwiches are great options. 4. Thirsty but don’t have any ice? Wrap your beverage of choice with a damp paper towel, then place it in the freezer for about fifteen minutes. Your drink will be chilled to perfection! 5. Eat and work out on your deck or patio in the evening. Once the sun is down, outdoor spaces serve as ideal places to have dinner, do homework,...

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Advice on Saving Money While Air Conditioning This Summer

Advice on Saving Money While Air Conditioning This Summer

By on Jun 26, 2019 in Air Conditioning |

If you’re looking for advice on saving money this summer, Efficient Heating and Cooling is here to help. Keeping your home cool, while saving money on your energy bill, is the easy part. Allowing your air conditioning unit to work as efficiently as possible, is the key.      Helpful tips for saving money while air conditioning your home this summer. Check out our 8 tips to help you keep your house cool, and your wallet full. Annual Maintenance. Before turning your unit on for the summer, it is recommended to have a professional service company, such as Efficient Heating and Cooling come out to inspect it, clean it, and make sure it’s ready to create a cool environment in your home. Replace Filter. Remembering to replace the filter at the beginning of each season, helps maintain good air flow. If the air does not flow freely, your air conditioning unit will be over worked and possibly give up on your most needed days. Programmable Thermostat. Programming your thermostat allows you to stay cool, save energy, and not have to think about it.  It’s a win-win situation. Ceiling Fans. Ceiling fans are a great way to move the cool air around in your home. There’s an adjustment at the base of the fan, which help the blades pull up cool air from the floor and umbrella it down around the room. (The opposite way in winter, pushes down the warm air hovering at the ceiling to keep your rooms warmer.) Drawing moisture out of the air, a dehumidifier will help keep your home comfortable. Stable Inside Temperature. Your HVAC is already working hard for you, so be kind to it. Adjust the thermostat while you’re away or sleeping by only a 5-degrees, so it doesn’t take so long to cool things down when you get up or back home. Grilling outdoors vs baking indoors, is a pleasant way to keep the heat out of the kitchen as well as the rest of your home. Window Blinds and Drapes. Keeping the blinds and drapes drawn during the hottest part of the day, or in order to block direct sunlight, helps keep inside temperatures from rising. Shade trees and bushes can...

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Quick Tips to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

Quick Tips to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

By on Jun 22, 2019 in Residential |

Extreme outside temperatures in both summer and winter can make it difficult to keep your home comfortable inside. Turning up the heat or using central air can help. But without taking the precautions to make sure your warm or cool air stays inside, you could just be heating and cooling the neighborhood – and draining your pockets. On average, a typical household spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget on air that leaks into or out of the house through gaps and cracks. These gaps can be in your windows, doors, ceilings, and even in your attic. Here are some quick, simple tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Tip #1—Insulate around recessed light fixtures: Most recessed light fixtures have vents that open into the attic; which is a hidden way for warm or cool air to escape. Many homes have several of these types of fixtures, and they are a leading cause of household air leaks that go unnoticed. To fix the problem, examine your light fixtures and bulbs. Lights that are labeled ICAT- “insulation contact and air tight,” are already sealed. Next, examine the label next to the bulb. If you don’t see it, it’s safe to assume yours is leaking air. At $8 to $30, an airtight baffle is a quick, affordable fix. Simply remove the bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, then replace the bulb when finished. Tip #2—Weather strip your doors including the attic door: Your doors aren’t just letting hot and cool air escape while people enter and exit. Many doors have gaps between the door itself and the door frame. To fix the access doors to your home, install new weather stripping around the door and new door sweeps at the bottom. To prevent the escape of air from the attic access door, seal it by caulking between the stair frame and the rough opening. You could also install foam weather stripping around the perimeter of the hatch. Some stores carry pre-insulated hatch cover kits for attic access doors. Tip #3—Adjust your thermostat accordingly: Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature when you are away from home helps keep the heating or cooling system...

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5 Tips to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

5 Tips to Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your Home

By on Jun 10, 2019 in Residential |

Extreme outside temperatures in both summer and winter can make it difficult to keep your home comfortable inside. Turning up the heat or using central air can help. But without taking the precautions to make sure your warm or cool air stays inside, you could just be heating and cooling the neighborhood – and draining your pockets. On average, a typical household spends about a third of its annual heating and cooling budget on air that leaks into or out of the house through gaps and cracks. These gaps can be in your windows, doors, ceilings, and even in your attic. Here are some quick, simple tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Tip #1—Insulate around recessed light fixtures. Most recessed light fixtures have vents that open into the attic; which is a hidden way for warm or cool air to escape. Many homes have several of these types of fixtures, and they are a leading cause of household air leaks that go unnoticed. To fix the problem, examine your light fixtures and bulbs. Lights that are labeled ICAT- “insulation contact and air tight,” are already sealed. Next, examine the label next to the bulb. If you don’t see it, it’s safe to assume yours is leaking air. At $8 to $30, an airtight baffle is a quick, affordable fix. Simply remove the bulb, push the baffle up into the housing, then replace the bulb when finished. Tip #2—Weather strip your doors including the attic door. Your doors aren’t just letting hot and cool air escape while people enter and exit. Many doors have gaps between the door itself and the door frame. To fix the access doors to your home, install new weather stripping around the door and new door sweeps at the bottom. To prevent the escape of air from the attic access door, seal it by caulking between the stair frame and the rough opening. You could also install foam weather stripping around the perimeter of the hatch. Some stores carry pre-insulated hatch cover kits for attic access doors. Tip #3—Adjust your thermostat accordingly. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature when you are away from home helps keep the heating or cooling system from running excessively when no one...

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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 versus Professional Air Conditioning Tune-up

By on Apr 2, 2019 in Air Conditioning, Cooling, energy efficiency, Residential |

How would you feel if you came home after a long, hot summer day, only to find the air conditioner has stopped working? And, then, to be on a waiting list, as the repairman made his rounds to all the other people who also are waiting? Guessing it would make you a bit hot under the collar, wouldn’t it? (pun intended) Preventive maintenance in the springtime is a much better option… Plan ahead and Enjoy your summer!     Benefits of Having an Annual Air Conditioning Tune-up  Spring is the perfect time to have your air conditioning unit checked out… That way you can be sure your system is ready when you are! While there are many things you can do yourself, there are still other things it’s best to call in the professionals for. To see what they are, feel free to reference one of our previous articles: https://efficientheatcool.com/time-spring-hvac-tune/   Besides coming home to a cool house when it’s super humid outside, here’s some other benefits to maintaining your air conditioning unit:  Prevention truly is the best medicine for keeping you cool. Scheduling your annual maintenance check is your first step!  You want your air conditioning unit to be in peak condition for the summer season. Plus, ongoing and preventative maintenance help contribute to the longevity of your unit.    Increase efficiency of your system. You not only want your air conditioning unit to work, but you want it to be as efficient as possible. Regular maintenance will ensure your air conditioner is running at peak efficiency as you keep your home cool and comfortable. Plus, it saves you money by helping you avoid some of those mid-summer repairs and it lowers your electric bill.   Improve the performance. Remember last summer when you noticed that the air coming out of the vents wasn’t quite as cool or blowing as strong as you would’ve liked it to? An annual maintenance check in the spring helps your air conditioning system provide a better cooling output throughout the humid summer months.  You can schedule your tune-up here!   So, what can you expect from your technician during an annual air conditioning maintenance check?  Following are three things your technician will do and why:  Clean the coils. Your technician will clean the evaporator and condenser air coils, because dirty coils can decrease the ability of your HVAC system to cool your home. Dirty coils can...

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Spring Maintenance Guide

By on Mar 11, 2019 in Residential |

Are you finally thinking about spring cleaning? Or do you avoid the phrase all together because it is overwhelming? As overwhelming and stressful as spring cleaning can be it is one of the most important cleaning task lists for you as a homeowner to pay attention to. Check the exterior drainage – If you are living in the midwest checking your exterior drainage is very important as the snow begins to melt and the spring showers begin to fall. Standing water can be very harmful for you foundation.    Clean out gutters – Checking your gutters and cleaning out all left over leaves from the fall and any sand or salt that may be left over from your winter snows. Cleaning out your gutters will allow to proper drainage, and will help prolong the life of your gutters.    Inspect the exterior of your home – Has the paint chipped on your house? Was the siding damaged from winter? Are there any holes in your brick? By walking around your house and taking notes of all the minor or major changes you have noticed you will be able to fix these in a timely manner. Get your air conditioning system ready for summer – Living in the midwest you are blessed with a variety of different seasons. Preparing your air conditioning for the changing weather conditions is vital to make sure it is working properly. Call to schedule your tune up today (216) 663-6462 Repair/replace damaged window screens – Repairing damaged window screens will help keep your air in your house as well as keeping the bugs out. Repairing these the right way the first time will save you time and money down the road.    Clear dead plants/shrubs from the house – Plants can grow their way into cracks and holes on the exterior of your home, causing damage to your foundation. Keeping up on clearing dead plants will help keep the foundation of your house intact.    Check trees for interference with electric lines – Trimming trees near your electrical lines will help keep your property safe as the season transition.    Inspect roofing for damage, leaks, etc – Inspecting your roof will allow you to notice if any damage was done...

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