Tuesday, 23 January 2018 / Published in Home Tips, Maintenance, Top Tips

Has the National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory in your area?

Are you sick and tired of the cold? The most recent cold front sweeping the nation has been long-lasting and downright dangerous in some areas. Burst pipes and cold drafts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to subzero wind chill.

Here are some things you should be conscious of during extremely cold weather so you and your family stay safe.

  • Give space heaters proper clearance and never leave them unattended.
  • Double-check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia.
  • Avoid cotton clothing and dress in multiple, loose layers.
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves.
  • If you are shoveling snow or exerting yourself outdoors, take constant breaks.
  • If you travel, make sure you have at least a half a tank of gas and a three-day winter survival kit.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it.
  • Never operate a generator inside your home.
  • Have your chimney and gas furnace inspected and cleaned once a year.

If you suspect something is wrong with your gas furnace, give your local contractor a call and NEVER try to fix it yourself. Gas furnaces require the expertise of a skilled hand for troubleshooting maintenance and repair. There is no “DIY” in “HVAC.”

Do you use supplemental heat during extremely cold weather?

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Monday, 01 January 2018 / Published in Home Comfort, Home Tips, HVAC System Advice

Are you having trouble staying comfortable?

The worst way to ring in the New Year is with a high electric bill and an uncomfortable home. Airflow may not be something you’ve though about, but it is a critical component of home comfort. In fact, your whole heating and cooling system depends on your equipment’s ability to access and condition the air in your home – trouble with airflow = trouble with comfort.

Here are some issues that poor airflow can cause:

  1. Lower efficiency
  2. Weaker air stream (a.k.a. it takes longer for your home to reach the temperature you’ve set).
  3. Poor indoor air quality
  4. Higher bills
  5. Emergency repairs

Here are some things that cause poor airflow

  1. Closing registers and vents
  2. Loose, collapsed or disconnected ductwork
  3. Planting too close to your outdoor equipment
  4. Dirt and debris on your outdoor condenser
  5. Dirty furnace filter

So, what can you do? These are the things you can do to make sure your equipment is receiving proper airflow.

  1. Change your filter frequently
  2. Have your ductwork inspected once a year
  3. Have your cooling equipment maintained in the spring and your gas furnace maintained during the fall.

Those are the big three! Call your local heating and air conditioning contractor today if you are having issues with airflow.

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Saturday, 30 December 2017 / Published in About Your Contractor, Efficiency, Top Tips

Are you gifting yourself a high-efficiency furnace in 2018?

The best way to increase comfort while decreasing utility bill expenses is to make an upgrade to your heating and cooling system.

That being said, the process of buying a new HVAC system can feel a bit daunting. After all, they are not an everyday purchase. Since we are currently in the throes of the heating season, we’re going to talk about gas furnaces right now. Here are some things you would be wise to keep n mind while searching for the right furnace for your home.

  • Efficiency. If you want a snapshot into the performance benefits of the new unit you’re buying – consider the efficiency rating. Furnace efficiency is measured with a percentage called the “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency” or “AFUE”. The higher the AFUE percentage, the more efficient the equipment. For example, a 96% AFUE gas furnace will convert 96% of the fuel you put into it into useful heating power for your home.  Furnaces over 90% AFUE are considered “condensing” models.
  • Sizing. Did you know why it is so important for your contractor to come over to your house before giving you a quote for a new system? Your home is unique – you are going to have certain requirements that don’t necessarily fit into a predetermined package. Sizing is one of those factors that is going to be specific to your home. Different sized homes need different sized equipment; however, square footage is not the only factor that determines the size of your heating equipment. Your contractor will take into account your home’s insulation, the number of rooms you have, your windows and more.
  • Rebates and Financing. Afraid that you can’t afford the efficiency you want? Make sure to ask your contractor about current promotions and financing options. For example, a manufacturer rebate could bring the price of a high-efficiency furnace down to a point that is within your budget.
  • IAQ Additions. Your heating and air conditioning equipment is your first, and main, line of defense against poor indoor air quality. Don’t forget to ask your contractor about IAQ additions (such as whole-home humidifiers, UV light systems or air cleaners).
  • Maintenance Agreements. Annual maintenance is the best way to make sure your new equipment runs smoothly year after year. In fact, many manufacturers require maintenance as part of the warranty. A great way to make sure you never miss a maintenance appointment is to ask your contractor about a maintenance agreement. This way, you will be sure to get your cooling equipment checked every spring and your heating equipment checked every fall.
  • Paperwork. Make sure you keep all of the paperwork that came with your equipment and was given to you buy your contractor. This way you are covered for the future should anything happen.
  • Warranty. Is it your responsibility to register your warranty? Does your contractor take care of it? Make sure you ask your contractor about who registers your equipment for warranty coverage. Most manufacturers have an “out-of-the-box” warranty and a longer warranty that goes into effect after a piece of equipment is registered.

Ultimately, the most important thing you are going to do is choose the right contractor for the job. It is worth your time to research your local contractors. Here are a few red flags to look for when you are searching for a contractor.

  1. Quotes over the phone
  2. Little to no presence on the web
  3. No credible recommendations
  4. Gives you a quote before visiting your home

Need a good starting off point? Visit the Maytag local contractor finder.

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Wednesday, 27 December 2017 / Published in HVAC System Advice, Save Money, Top Tips

Do you have any resolutions for the New Year?

Are you ready to leave 2017 behind and ring in the New Year? Did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish over the past year? While you’re contemplating your personal resolutions for 2018, consider setting some home improvement goals.

Here are some examples of positive changes you can make around your home that can help make you happier, healthier and more content.

  1. Lower energy use. You can make little adjustments here and there to make sure that you are using the least amount of energy possible. Lowering energy use may be as simple as turning off the lights when you aren’t in the room, or unplugging things when you aren’t using them. There are also some big changes you can make that can have a major impact on how much energy you consume during the year. Here are a few:
    1. Replace older windows with new, energy-efficient windows.
    2. Invest in a high-SEER air conditioner or high-AFUE gas furnace.
  2. Lower utility bill spending. This resolution goes hand-in-hand with the previous one. Your heating and air conditioning equipment makes up about 60% of your utility costs (on average). If you make some adjustments to how you operate your HVAC equipment, you could see major savings on your bills – like turning down your thermostat a few degrees during the winter and up during the summer, sealing windows and doors to prevent drafts and investing in a programmable thermostat for customized comfort. Here are some smaller changes you can make around your house to lower your utility bills.
    1. Remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
    2. Invest in a timer for your Christmas lights.
    3. Avoid using space heaters for supplemental heating during the winter.
  3. Improve indoor air quality. You spend a lot of time indoors – especially during the peak cooling and heating seasons. You want to make sure that the air you breathe in is as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it may seem. Did you know that your indoor air is often more polluted than the outdoor air? here are some things you can do to make that fact not apply to your home.
    1. Invest in IAQ products like a whole-home air cleaner or UV light system.
    2. Set a reminder to change your furnace filter every month.
    3. Invest in a filter with higher filtration power – like a HEPA-grade filter.

Are you adding any of these to your home to-do list? You can start by calling your local contractor and scheduling a consultation for that new high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment.

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