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


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

A Couple Tips to Keep Your Home Cool

Record breaking temperatures are nothing new for Chicagoland, yet thousands of homeowners find themselves with a broken air conditioner on the first hot day of the summer season. They put off having the unit cleaned and inspected during the spring, and now they need emergency repair services. Odds are these homeowners have the system back in working order by now, but are they still making the air conditioner work much harder than necessary to cool the home? Many of us make common mistakes when it comes to keeping the home cool, but here are a couple tips you can apply in your home to bring down the temperature along with your cooling costs.

  1. Start-Up the Air Conditioner in the Morning:

Some homeowners only run the air conditioner during the warmest part of the day, the afternoon. Once the sun sets and the temperatures drop, they turn off the unit and don’t turn it back on until the home gets uncomfortably warm the next day. They do this to conserve energy, but they could be wasting way more than they are saving. Turn the air conditioner on when the home is already hot and humid makes it very hard for the air conditioner to catch up and get to the set temperature on the thermostat. Continue reading

Taking Baby Steps towards a Solar Powered Home

Going solar is no longer only a project that “tree-huggers” undertake. With the many advances in solar technology, countless homeowners are beginning to see how making an investment in solar panels is becoming more practical and affordable. Are you considering having your air conditioner replaced this summer? If so, this could be the perfect opportunity to start building a solar powered energy system in your home. Lennox Home Comfort Systems has created a completely customizable solar system that can start small and grow over time to possibly even power the entire home!

SunSource® Home Energy System from Lennox

The SunSource® Home Energy System from Lennox begins with the installation of a SunSource® Solar-Ready air conditioner or heat pump. These high efficiency systems use the least amount of energy possible to cool down your home, and when you pair the system with a few solar panels, you can cut down the cost of operation even further. As the savings begin to pile up, you can put money aside to purchase additional panels down the line. Depending on the size and demands of your home, you can install up to 15 solar panels on the roof and the amount of energy you generate from these panels could eventually cancel out the cost of electricity use in your home all together. Continue reading

Weeds Obstructing Air Conditioner Air Flow

We are quickly moving in to the air conditioning season, and as we do the plants and weeds begin grow around our air conditioning unit outside. Failing to trim back these plants regularly could cost you more than just the beauty of your home. One of the easiest ways we have to keep our energy bills low is to keep the plants away from the air conditioner. Trim bushes, cut the grass and pull any weeds because the ones we leave behind restrict air flow to your unit causing higher energy bills and a shorter equipment life.

Remove Obstructions for Proper Airflow

The recommended distance between landscaping and your air conditioner is 24 inches. This clearance allows enough air flow to not only to keep the unit cool and prevent overheating but also to reduce overall electrical consumption. Proper air flow is vital to proper system performance, and you would be surprised to see the damage that a few poorly placed weeds can do. Unless you want to overpay on your electric bills this summer, keep on top of your yard’s maintenance needs and keep the air conditioner clean of obstructions.


Making the Right Choices When Installing an Air Conditioner

Most people would assume that installing an air conditioner is simply a matter of picking the one you want and hooking it up to the home. In reality, the process is much more complicated, and choosing the wrong air conditioner for your home or not having it professionally installed could be a costly mistake. Take the time to do your research not only on air conditioners but also on potential contractors you may choose to trust with the installation of your new unit.

Your Salesman and Installers

The salesman that comes to your home must do more than simply match the new unit to the size of the old system. He should take the time to get to know your needs and asses the home’s cooling load before making any recommendations. The installation crew that eventually puts in the new air conditioner must also have the experience and skills to properly level and install the unit. Here are some of the areas you should ask either your salesman or installers about before they ever leave your home: Continue reading

Reducing the Cooling Load Reduces Noise

Although it may only be March, summer temperatures have arrived and the hum of air conditioner condensers can be heard on nearly every residential street. Some are louder than others, but as the temperatures continue to soar, things are only going to get noisier for some homeowners.  The warmer the weather is, the harder the air conditioner has to work in order to keep the home cool. Unless you have other barriers in place, your air conditioner can suffer and so will your energy bills.

Insulating to Reduce the Cooling Load

The cooling load on your air conditioner will affect its ability to operate not only quietly but also efficiently. Reduce the cooling load and you will reduce the noise and save money! Insulating is an easy way to reduce your home’s cooling load and there are two areas in the home that can benefit greatly from this affordable service:

  • Attic Insulation: Adding insulation to the attic is the first step towards reducing your air conditioner’s cooling load. I fresh thick layer of attic insulation will help your home retain more cold air within the home this summer. This will increase your comfort and reduce the number of cycles your air conditioner will have to make on even the hottest days. Continue reading

Prevention is the Best Medicine!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We’ve all heard that before but what it means to us in the HVAC industry is this: if you include regular maintenance on your furnace and air conditioner as part of your plan for maintaining your home, you end up with fewer repairs and the potential for considerable savings. Well maintained equipment simply operates more reliably and uses far less energy than poorly cared for units. Don’t wait until it is too late to get your unit back to peak performance!

Not Too Early to Get Your Air Conditioner Ready!

With warmer weather just around the corner it’s not too early to be thinking about your air conditioner. Those who plan ahead get their choice of when to get the cleanings done rather than having to pick from what is left late in the cooling season. By planning ahead you won’t be surprised by an early warm spell, and your air conditioner will be ready to run reliably and efficiently. So don’t be late! Get your maintenance check for your air conditioner set up now, and enjoy the spring worry free knowing you’re ready for summer.


Control Your Energy Costs this Summer

Although this past winter offered Chicagoans a break from the hefty costs of heating a home, there is no guarantee that this summer will do the same. In fact, we can all expect our wallets to become a little lighter at the gas pump because even if home energy costs stay low, gas prices are already expected to soar! Unless you want to sit out in the heat without your air conditioner, now is the time to start beefing up the energy efficiency of your home. Here are two low cost ways you can save big bucks on your cooling bills this summer.

Low Cost Improvements that Lead to Big Savings

  • Seal Your Duct Work: Leaking ducts lose much of the heating and cooling they are trying to pass around the home before it ever reaches its target room. Seal these leaks and your will not only experience increased comfort, but you will also find that your air conditioner uses less energy to keep you cool.
  • Clean Your Air Conditioner: A dirty air conditioner is another source of energy efficiency loss within the home. During the early parts of the summer season, many HVAC contractors offer big discounts to those that get their air conditioner cleaned early on. Take advantage of these discounts and boost your air conditioners efficiency at a very affordable cost.

Any improvement you make to the energy efficiency of your home will put money back in your pocket every month. You may not be able to control the gas prices, but you can control how much energy your home wastes by making green home improvements as soon as possible!

Insulate Areas that Seem Out of Reach

Are you looking for a way to save money without spending a lot of money? Improving the insulation in your home is a great way to invest a little and get a big return. However, if your old home is lacking insulation in areas besides the attic and crawl space, you may find is more costly to install more traditional forms of insulation in the finished walls of the home. These areas can’t be neglected but they also can’t be torn down and rebuilt at a reasonable cost. You need to look into blown-in insulation instead. Ease of installation and flexibility are what this type of insulation has over the traditional batts and rolls.

Leaky House Loses

Blown-in insulation can be installed quickly into nearly any space. A fresh layer can be spread over old batts and rolls in the attic or crawl space. Leaky walls can be packed full within a matter of a couple hours and the results will last for years and years. You will eliminate leaks and drafts that are common in homes that suffer from heat loss in the winter and heat gain during the summer. This could help you conserve the heat and cooling that you pay so much for every month and with the savings you will recoup the lost cost of the insulation installation within a couple of seasons. Don’t let a leaky house hold you back from saving big bucks