Negotiate for the best price

Something to always remember, there are some purchases in life that can be negotiated. When you buy a house, a car, or pretty much any other major purchase, it is common to get the salesman.  With salesmen often comes the opportunity to barter. I would suggest that buying a furnace or air conditioner should be the same way. Most salesmen expect or are at least prepared for some push back no matter their response.  They are there to find a way to get you to buy in a way that helps their company as well as themselves.

To give your self the best shot at success, do your homework. In this case, the more you know about purchasing an HVAC system, the better you will be able to negotiate the bottom line. Continue reading

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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

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.

Duct-Less Air Conditioning and Heating

Recently, a friend asked me to help him find a way to air condition his new TV room in the attic of his home. He has an old Chicago house with a walk up attic, and he and his wife thought that the attic was the best place for the kids to watch TV and be out of their hair all in one shot. Unfortunately, their attic was never a conditioned space, and therefore did not have any duct work attaching it to the existing heating and cooling systems. We checked out all of the possibilities, and even considered snaking flexible duct work up to the attic. Despite our best efforts, we could not come up with any way that wouldn’t involve ripping out a wall or two. Continue reading

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

Why Should I Invest in a Wi-Fi Thermostat?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past five years you have probably heard about programmable thermostats and the benefits they could potentially have for your home and your wallet. Unfortunately, very few people actually see the savings that a programmable thermostat can provide. Programming a traditional programmable thermostat is very tedious and if you don’t know what you are doing you might never figure it out. You are more likely to simply use the thermostat like a non-programmable digital unit because the programming is so difficult to set. However, programmable thermostats have been changing. Touchscreen capabilities coupled with Wi-Fi access is the new standard in programmable thermostat technology. Continue reading

Undercharged Air Conditioners Increase Cooling Costs

Cooling your home isn’t cheap. Every year the summer seems to grow hotter and hotter and the cost of electricity rises ever higher. If you want real relief from the heat the only real option you have is to suck it up and use the air conditioner regardless of the high costs you will have to pay later. What if you are paying more than you should? If you don’t have your air conditioner cleaned and assessed on a yearly basis, odds are you are paying more than necessary for the use of your cooling system. Dirt build up impedes energy efficiency, but many of these homeowners that don’t take care of their air conditioners have a much bigger problem lurking in their system.

Poor Maintenance Leads to Leaks

Poorly maintained air conditioners are far more likely to spring leaks than systems that are cared for regularly by a professional. Major Freon leaks are obvious and the air conditioner won’t work at all until the system is fixed. However, many air conditioners will develop small pinhole leaks that only allow a small amount of Freon to escape. These leaks can be far more costly and damaging to the air conditioner if they are not addressed early on. Continue reading

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Programmable Thermostat?

Are you getting the savings you expected from your programmable thermostat? If not, you are not alone. Most homeowners invest extra money in a programmable thermostat but then fail to use it properly. Half of the problem is a lack of education on the part of the contractor that installed the thermostat and the other problem is the design of the unit. They are not designed for ease of use and any homeowner that has a busy day to day life is not going to have the time to fiddle around with the program every time they have a schedule change. What we really needed was an easy to use thermostat that could be adjusted from anywhere and Lennox Home Comfort Systems delivered.

Easy and Innovative Temperature Control

The new and improved icomfort™ programmable thermostat is now Wi-Fi enabled! This feature expands the capabilities of this impressive thermostat making this a programmable thermostat that you can actually benefit from having installed in your home.  There are some of the features included in this high-tech yet easy to use thermostat: Continue reading