Home repair Fraud

Home repair fraud is an on going threat in anything from the unsolicited sales person to the fly by night repair companies.  Fraudsters have gained fame for blatant scams involving roof seal coating, however their are the less blatant attempts effecting just about anything in your home or heating and cooling system. Continue reading

Clean indoor air

Blue skies of clean air

Indoor air often contains higher concentrations of hazardous pollutants than outdoor air. In general your home has none of the protections that nature has to clean pollutants out of the air. So other then waiting for late spring and early fall to vent the air in your home, what can you do?

The first thing you need to do is take a look at the sources of pollutants in your home. Some include every day chemicals such as cleaning products and pesticides. However their other sources such as cooking, bathing materials, and any issues associated with heating or air conditioning your home. Continue reading

Running the Air Conditioner During the Winter

Now that the summer heat is a distant memory we need to make sure we are ready for what winter has in store for our homes. Part of getting ready for winter includes winterizing your air conditioner. Every year in the spring we repair and replace many units because they were turned on during the winter months by accident. Sometimes kids playing with the thermostat are to blame and sometimes we push the wrong button. Other times the cause is excessive heat trapped indoors that causes us to use the air conditioner for some relief.  No matter how it happens if your unit starts in the winter serious damage can occur.

Reduce Heat Gain

Running the air conditioner when it is less than 60 degrees outside can cause serious, irreversible damage to the system’s compressor. It must be 60 degrees for at least a few days before you can safely use the air conditioner without worry of blowing the compressor. If the home is gaining too much heat, turn down the temperature at the thermostat and consider closing drapes or blinds. The sun may be heating up the inside of your home and closing the blinds will help bring the temperature down. If the house is still too warm, shut down the furnace and crack of few windows on opposite sides of the home. Take advantage of the free cold air outside, but don’t waste energy by running the furnace at the same time. Continue reading

Post-Hurricane Sandy Scam Prevention

As hurricane Sandy blows herself out, cities and states along the East coast begin to assess the damage done to many areas that are not accustomed to hurricanes. New York and New Jersey were hit especially hard, and whenever there is a disaster like this, scam artists come crawling out of the woodwork from all over the country. They flock towards disaster because it usually means easy money. These states will be especially vulnerable because disasters of this magnitude rarely if ever impact this area. Before you throw your money away on a fly-by-night contractor, consider these tips in order to prevent another disaster on top of the hurricane damage.

Tips to Prevent Post-Disaster Scams:

  • Slow Down and Take a Deep Breath! Many homeowners rush into repairs and find themselves in the middle of a scam simply because they tried to rush through the process. We know you want to get back to normal, but haste is something scam artists are counting on in order to make a quick buck. Continue reading

Repetitive Part Replacement: Condenser Fan

Some air conditioning systems are plagued by the same problem year after year. No matter how many times the homeowner replaces a part, they only get one or two years of function out of it. The air conditioner could be a lemon, but there may be another issue causing the same damage to the part every season. Get to the source of the problem and you could put the problem to bed for good. Although we may be entering the winter season, problems you are having during the summer may be caused by damage that is done during the winter. The condenser motor and condenser fan are costly parts to replace, but many homeowners are replacing them every other season without ever finding and correcting the source of damage.

Air Conditioner Fan Function

As the refrigerant or Freon inside your air conditioner pulls heat from the air, the condenser fan and motor work to cool the refrigerant down so that it can continue to absorb more heat. If the refrigerant is not cooled down, the air conditioner will overheat and cease to work properly. Continue reading

Northerners Faced with Furnace Replacement

Those of us that live in the northern half of the United States endure some of the most extreme winter seasons. Blizzards are not uncommon in Maine or Illinois, and as a result, the heating system is used around the clock during the coldest months of the year, typically October to April or May depending on the year. Heavy use of the heating system not only leads to high energy costs, but it also causes a lot of air pollution.

The combustion process that your heating system uses to create heat for the home pumps out greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Natural gas furnaces may be the cleanest burning units when compared to the alternatives, propane, oil, wood, and electricity, but if your furnace is wasteful with the natural gas it consumes it can still be a major contributor to pollution. Continue reading

Severe Storms Can Severely Damage Air Conditioners

With the severe storms that recently came through the Chicagoland area, it is once again worth mentioning that you need to check on your air conditioner occasionally to ensure debris-free operation. Heavy winds blow down tree branches among other things and sometimes they end up stuck in our air conditioners. Turning a unit “On” in this condition could cause damage to your unit.

Clear the Way for Proper Operation

To avoid any possible damage you to your unit you simply need to take a moment and check the unit before turning it on! If you do find debris lodged in the unit simply turn the unit off and remove anything that may obstruct proper operation. After the debris is removed, take a moment to pull the weeds or plants surrounding the system that may impede proper air flow. Once everything is cleared out of the way, test your air conditioner. Everything should be working properly, and these few moments of your time could have saved you hundreds in air conditioner repairs.

Programmable Thermostat Location and Use

There has been a lot of talk about how much money programmable thermostats can supposedly save the average homeowner, but can a programmable really save you as much money as they say it can? Energy Star states that the average homeowner can save about $180 a year when properly using a programmable thermostat, but the problem is that most of us invest in these pricier thermostats but never use them correctly. You have to find a program that works best with your schedule and actually set the thermostat to run that program! If your schedule changes you have to adjust the program. This is the only way you will see these kinds of savings on your energy bills. Continue reading

Avoid Fall Allergies

We are quickly moving to the end of summer, and as we do, people who suffer with allergies are getting ready. Millions of dollars are spent each year to help those who have these respiratory issues but most over look one of the simplest ways to help. Install a powerful filtering system and all the things that float in the air causing your allergy symptoms can be reduced. Don’t be fooled by the $15, 1” filters you find at home centers, but instead choose a media filter. This type of filter is permanently added to the duct work of your system and you only have to change the filter material once or twice a year.

Air Quality Improvement

The difference in air quality that one of these filters can provide is incredible. Dirt, pollen, mold spores, dander and all other solid particles floating in the air can be either reduced or completely removed from the air in your home. The health benefits are considerable and the allergy relief is quite noticeable, simply give your favorite HVAC company a call to find out how you and your family can receive allergy relief this fall.

Your HVAC Contractor is Not a Plumber!

No homeowner likes having to call in a professional to perform repairs, but when you are forced to employ their services, it is important that you choose the right pro for the job! Many states require contractors to acquire licenses for the various types of work that they claim to perform, and as the consumer hiring their services, making sure your contractor is properly licensed could be the difference between a job well done and a job that needs to be re-done! There are some HVAC contractors out there that advertize plumbing services along with their heating and cooling services. This isn’t a problem if the company is licensed to do both and hires both licensed HVAC professionals and licensed plumbers, but if you don’t ask for proof of a plumbing license, don’t assume that your HVAC contractor is qualified. Continue reading