How automated is your home?
Have you given much thought to your thermostat? There are many options out there, some of which you may not know about. Some thermostats only work with single-stage equipment, others only work with single-stage equipment, others only work with a dual-fuel configuration. There are non-programmable thermostats and programmable thermostats. There are also thermostats considered “smart” that can not only effectively control your home comfort, but learn too.
If you’re considering a new thermostat for your home, here are some things you should know about smart thermostats.
Smart thermostats have a lot of the same capabilities as your run-of-the-mill programmable thermostat. You can adjust temperature based on the time of day, whether it’s the weekend or a weekday, and more. You can make sure that when you arrive home, you are comfortable. Programmable operation can help you save money on utilities; you won’t waste heating and cooling dollars on an empty home.
However, smart thermostats are able to do much more than a programmable model. They can act as part of a complete home automation system. With a smart thermostat, you can control your thermostat from your tablet or smartphone – you don’t have to be near the box on the wall. For example, if you’re heading home from work during the winter and want your home to be toasty warm when you arrive, adjust your thermostat before you get there. When you walk in the door, it will already be the temperature you specified.
Some smart thermostats do even more. They can learn your schedule and preferences. They can judge when you’re most likely to be home or away – automatically adjusting temperature based on your schedule. Imagine your thermostat knowing that you like your home cooler while you sleep and being able to make that adjustment without any input from you.
The goal of a smart thermostat is to maximize comfort, give you complete control of your home’s temperature and save energy. If you are interested in installing one of these thermostats in your home, talk to your HVAC contractor during your fall preventative maintenance appointment.
Like this post? Share it!
Are you ready for the holiday season?
Turkey dinners and gift exchanging season is fast approaching! Are you already planning this year’s festivities?
If so, there are some things you should keep in mind to keep your money in your wallet (instead of handing it over to the utility companies). You can still throw a great party without busting your budget on heating expenses.
Potluck the meal. Save a little on gas and/or electricity by having your guests bring a side dish. Not only will this save money when it comes to utility costs, but it could also save time and reduce stress the day-of.
Turn the thermostat down a degree or two. When there are more people in a home, it feels warmer. Home comfort wont’ be as affected by turning down the thermostat a degree or two.
Adjust the humidity. Did you know that homes that are drier feel colder than those at a higher humidity level? Make sure your home is at a comfortable setting. Just don’t overdo it. A home that is too humid can feel stuffy and suffer from mold growth.
It’s still fall; host a bonfire. Opt for an alternative to an indoor party and have a bonfire (weather-permitting). It’s something a little more out of the ordinary and can be a great change of pace.
Have a fireplace? Use it. You’d be surprised by how much heat even a tiny fireplace can produce. If you have a fireplace, don’t hesitate to use it. Just make sure that your damper is open when you’re using it, and closed when you don’t have a fire. Your fireplace acts like a vacuum when the damper is open – sucking up the warm air in your home.
Focus on family activities that don’t involved electronics/the TV. A puzzle or a board game may feel lame in 2017, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have some nostalgic fun with a round of Monopoly or Clue (just don’t blame us when grandma flips the table because she landed on “Go to Jail” for the fifth time).
The little things, like turning off lights in unused rooms, can add up. Don’t forget the small things. Keep lights off in unused rooms, don’t forget to make sure your vents and registers are open, and don’t forget to make sure all windows and doors are shut.
The most important thing you can do this fall to save money during the holiday season is schedule an appointment with your local heating and air contractor. During this appointment, they will look over your furnace, heat pump or both to make sure they are in tip-top shape.
Like this post? Share it!
Have you checked your floor vents recently?
Are you beginning to feel a chill in the air? We’re diving deeper and deeper into fall, and the weather is only going to get colder. Are you ready for chillier weather?
While we’re preparing for winter weather, it’s important to keep our pets in mind. Anyone who has a pet knows how much of a mess they can make. Messes can lead to poor indoor air quality and fuzzy furnace filters. If you have pets, here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your heating and air conditioning equipment.
Pets lay on vents. There’s nothing like the feeling of warm air on a cold fall or winter evening. Your pets feel the same way, often lying down on vents and registers to feel that warm breeze. If this is a habit of your pet, make sure they have not accidentally closed any of them. Closing vents and registers is bad for your heating and cooling system. Your equipment is designed to heat or cool a certain amount of space. When you start closing registers and vents, you mess with that calculated load. This can reduce efficiency and system life.
Pet hair means more frequent filter changes. Pet hair can quickly block your furnace filter. Plus, the things they track indoors, along with the cleaners you use to clean up any mess, can lower indoor air quality. If you have pets, it’s a better idea to change your furnace filter as frequently as once a month (just to be safe).
Don’t leave the door open when letting your pets outside. It’s not your job to heat the neighborhood. Make sure you keep the door open briefly while letting your pets outdoors. However, make sure you have a good view of your door. You want to be able to let your pet back indoors when they are ready. chances are if you feel cold, your pet does as well.
Want to up the quality of your indoor air? Talk to your heating and air contractor about indoor air quality products – like whole-home air cleaners, humidifiers and UV lights.
Like this post? Share it!
What do you set your thermostat to during the spring and fall?
Deciding when to switch from heating mode to cooling mode, and vice versa, may not be easy. It’s important to keep air circulating during the spring and fall, but you may not need the power of your gas furnace or air conditioner to keep your home comfortable. So, what should you do?
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to your heating and air conditioning equipment during the mild seasons.
Don’t turn off your equipment. It’s important to keep the air flowing during the spring and fall, especially if you are an allergy sufferer. If you notice that your equipment is not kicking on as often, and the air is getting stale, try setting your fan to the “ON” position on your thermostat.
Commit to your thermostat settings. It can be hard to determine when it is time to change your thermostat from one mode to the other. The important thing to keep in mind is to not keep switching between the two. On and off cycles are the most energy-consuming portions of a heating or cooling system’s run cycle. Minimizing these cycles is key.
Don’t simply rely on open windows. This goes hand-in-hand with the first point. It is important to keep your air clean during the fall and spring. The weather may be mild, but the allergies can be brutal. If you have to open the windows, do so sparingly.
If mild weather is common in your area, consider investing in a heat pump. A heat pump paired with a gas furnace can be the ideal, year-round heating and cooling setup. This way, you are always using the most efficient heat source for the season. Heat transfer (the heating method used by a heat pump) is a more energy-efficient heating method than heat creation (the heating method used by heat strips and space heaters). During milder nights, when you don’t need the power of the gas furnace, your heat pump can kick on and keep you cozy.
Want to know more about best practices for operating your heating and cooling equipment during the mild seasons? Get in touch with your local heating and air conditioning contractor.
Like this post? Share it!
Are you able to tell when a deal is too good to be true?
If it sounds like an HVAC contractor is offering you a deal that is too good to be true, chances are it is. When it comes to heating and air conditioning equipment, quality is key. And, quality sometimes means paying a little more upfront.
That’s not to say that there aren’t ways to get a good deal; just be smart about it. Here are some things you can check to make sure that a deal is as good as it seems.
Research the contractor giving you the quote. Make sure they have had positive experiences with past clients. Also, see if they have a good reputation on online review sites. In the digital age, it is harder than ever to run from a bad reputation.
NEVER get your equipment from a sketchy source. What is a sketchy source? One example would be an online auction – you can’t guarantee the quality and sustainability of the unit when you’re buying it online. Make sure you get your heating and air conditioning equipment from a licensed professional. This way you can be sure that your equipment is not damaged, is covered under warranty, and didn’t “fall off the back of the truck.”
Check for local and manufacturer rebates. Manufacturers and local utility companies often offer incentives for buying better, more efficient heating and air systems. You may think you can only afford a standard-efficiency system, but a system the next step up may be just as affordable when you factor in a rebate. Doing research is an important part of the buying process.
Don’t always go with rock-bottom pricing. It takes a lot of money to run a professional business. Quality contractors are up-to-date on all licenses and permits, put more time into their work and take continued training to ensure they know how to work with the latest HVAC technology. That’s not to say that all contractors who offer low prices are cutting corners – just be sure they know what they are doing.
Ask questions, get several different quotes and don’t skimp on the installation. Your heating and cooling equipment is an investment in your home comfort, and it is something that will affect your expenses every month. Find out more by scheduling a consultation with a contractor today.
Like this post? Share it!
Are you guilty of any of these bad homeowner HVAC habits?
We want our heating and air conditioning systems to last as long as possible. To do that, we’ve got to keep a few things in mind. Here are some things that you may be doing that could affect how long (and efficiently) your heating and cooling equipment operates.
- Constantly adjusting the thermostat.
The toughest part of an air conditioner or gas furnace’s job is start up and shut down. When you are constantly adjusting the thermostat, it can lead to more frequent on and off cycles. Plus, just because your home is set at a warmer temperature during the winter, doesn’t mean your furnace is going to warm up your house any more quickly. It will just run longer – causing additional wear and tear.
- Planting too close to your equipment.
Blocked airflow is an efficiency and performance killer. Planting too close to your equipment cannot only cause blocked airflow, but the plants can grow into your condenser and affect components. This can result in a costly emergency repair.
- Closing registers and vents.
Heating and cooling equipment is designed to heat or cool a certain amount of space. When you start closing registers and vents, this alters the amount of space being heating or cooled, making your air conditioner act as if it is improperly sized. This can lead to problems like longer run times, shorter system life and a frozen evaporator coil. This also applies to furniture placement. Make sure your furniture is not blocking registers and vents.
- Using a condenser cover.
Again, this can affect airflow – decreasing system life, lengthening run times and negatively affecting comfort.
- Forgetting to change the furnace filter.
Not only can a dirty filter block airflow, it can significantly lower the quality of your indoor air. Disposable filters don’t have to be an expensive purchase, and changing a filter is relatively easy to do. Try to change your filter once-a-month, but at the very least, one time per season.
- DIY repairs, maintenance and installation.
If you think hiring a professional is expensive, just try and fix your HVAC equipment yourself. There is a reason why technicians go to school, attend additional trainings and carry licenses. HVAC systems are complicated pieces of equipment and require a skilled hand for installation, maintenance and repairs.
- Not scheduling preventative maintenance.
The worst habit of them all. It’s good to have your contractor come out and look at your air conditioner during the spring and your gas furnace during the fall. This way they can catch minor issues before they become a big problem. Your contractor will make sure that your equipment is running as efficiently as possible, saving you money during the peak season. Contractors are even making it easier with maintenance agreements – never forget to schedule an appointment again.
Have you scheduled fall preventative maintenance yet?
Like this post? Share it!
How much time do you spend in front of a screen?
For years, word-of-mouth recommendations have been king when it comes to contractor recommendations. Think neighbors talking over a fence or families talking over the phone. However, the platform has changed over the past few years. Now, people are turning to the internet for their recommendations. Have you ever used the internet to hire a professional to work on your HVAC equipment?
Start your online contractor search by visiting online review sites – like Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor! Why’s that? Well, you can read reviews, see the services a company offers and compare different contractors. You can also do a simple Google search on the contractor you’re considering. This may pull up their website, other sources of reviews or their Better Business Bureau profile.
An online contractor search is a good thing! However, an online equipment search is not so great – especially if you are looking at an online auction site. There are no guarantees when it comes to the quality, warranty or legitimacy of the equipment being sold. If it seems too good to be true, changes are it is.
The same principles apply to hiring a heating and air conditioning contractor. If they are offering you an unbelievably low price – especially if they haven’t examined your home – the installation won’t be worth the initial cost savings. Heating and air conditioning contractors work in a field that requires a lot of skill and expertise. You don’t just want any “Joe Schmoe” working on your equipment. An inexperienced hand can cause major problems.
Don’t just go with the first contractor you find. Set up a consultation with several different professionals. Get in-person quotes, ask plenty of questions and make sure they are the right person for the job.
Need some help finding a contractor in your area? Start off with the Maytag HVAC contractor locator.
Like this post? Share it!
Are you hiring a contractor to work on your HVAC equipment?
It’s fall preventative maintenance time! Are you looking around for a heating and cooling professional to work on your gas furnace? The most important part of any installation or service call is the very beginning – the hunt for a qualified HVAC professional. Are you doing the right things to make sure that the professional you hire is up to the job?
Here are the dos and don’ts of hiring an HVAC contractor.
- Get multiple bids if you are having new equipment installed.
- Ask them about their certifications and licenses.
- Ask if they’ve ever worked on your brand of HVAC equipment.
- Check online review sites to make sure they have a positive reputation with past clients.
- Ask your friends and neighbors whether they have used the contractor in the past
- Check to make sure they are professional when they arrive at your home.
- Ask tons of questions about the work being done to your equipment.
- Ask about your warranty if you are having new equipment installed – is it your responsibility to registers, or will your contractor do it for you?
- Review their Better Business Bureau listing.
- Go with the first contractor you find simply because they are the first contractor you found.
- Go with the lowest bidder unless you are certain they have a reputation for doing quality work.
- Assume they know what you expect out of a new HVAC system. Make your expectations clear.
- Forgo a contractor all together and fix your equipment by yourself.
- Forget to ask about a maintenance agreement.
Have you scheduled your fall preventive maintenance appointment yet?
Like this post? Share it!
Temperatures are starting to cool off! Have you scheduled preventative maintenance?
We can’t stress the importance of fall furnace preventative maintenance enough. There is nothing worse than expecting your furnace to kick on during a cold winter’s day and being greeted by cool air or no air at all!
Fall is the ideal time to schedule a furnace preventative maintenance appointment with your local contractor. Here’s why.
Contractors are less busy. It can be difficult to get in touch with a contractor during peak seasons. Heating and air professionals are busy answering emergency service calls day in and day out. If something goes wrong with your furnace during the winter, it could be days, or even weeks, before a contractor can make it to your home.
Catching problems before they arise. Maintenance during the fall can save headaches during the winter. Not only will this help you stay comfortable throughout the heating season, but it could end up saving you money. The cost of a service call and a minor repair is going to be a lot less than the cost of an emergency service call and a brand-new system.
Speaking of entirely new systems… Yearly clean and checks can help maximize the life of your gas furnace. Heating equipment is going to cost more than the average appliance. You want to make sure that your investment in home comfort pays off for as many years as possible.
Keep tabs on your indoor air. You can also see if your contractor inspects ductwork in addition to servicing HVAC equipment. You never know what may be lurking in your ductwork. You want to make sure harmful particles are not being distributed around your home.
An easy way to make sure you always have a fall preventative maintenance appointment on the books is to talk to your contractor about a maintenance agreement/contract. This way, you will have a standing appointment to have your equipment checked before the heating season and the cooling season.
Like this post? Share it!
Do you always remember to schedule preventative maintenance?
Winter’s chill may not be here yet for many parts of the country, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about your furnace. Fall is the ideal time to have your furnace inspected by your local heating and air conditioning contractor. The holiday season can be a busy time, and it may be difficult to remember to schedule a maintenance appointment. That’s why maintenance agreements can be so helpful.
It’s Murphy’s Law – if your unit is going to fail, it will at the most inconvenient time. There’s nothing more frustrating. This isn’t even taking into account that added frustration of finding a contractor who can come out to your home quickly. Contractors are very busy during the winter and summer – the peak seasons. During the peak season, you could be waiting days (or even weeks) to get your unit back up and running!
To head off this issue, most contractors offer some type of service/maintenance agreement. Typically, if you have a maintenance agreement with a contractor, they will come out to your home to inspect your system twice-a-year – once before the cooling season (during the spring) and again before the heating season (during the fall). During these appointments, your contractor will be able to find minor issues with your HVAC equipment before they have the chance to turn into bigger problems.
This can help you save money in the long run. Yes, a service call is going to cost some money, but you can make up this money in efficient performance and a longer system life.
Do some research before you hire the contractor for your maintenance agreement. Need a head start? Check out the Maytag HVAC contractor locator.