Put Winter in the Past

As we all know, we are now in full blown air conditioning season, and if you are anything like me your air conditioner has been running off and on for about two months. We put a lot of time and effort into making sure the system is ready for the season, and these steps we take are crucial to ensuring out comfort all summer long. However, if your winter equipment was never properly shut down and put away for the season, you could find yourself facing some problems this summer.

Stop Feeding Water to the Humidifier

The first system you need to check is the humidifier. Now is the time to turn the water off to your humidifier. Every year we get calls from hundreds of homeowners asking about leaking water near the furnace. The water is causing serious damage to the surrounding equipment, and the source of the water is the humidifier. Protect your equipment and get some peace of mind by simply turning the water valve feeding your humidifier to the “off” position. If there is no water you can’t have a leak. Continue reading

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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

Keep the Air Moving

A lack of air circulating within the home may be the source of your air quality and comfort problems. Newer homes were especially built to be more air tight than those built many years ago, and this air tight design could be the reason why your air quality is suffering. By improving the circulation in your home you improve the air quality and comfort. That’s a big statement but true. All you need to do is continue to circulate the air, and make sure all supply air vents and return registers are clear of obstructions.

Get Obstructions Out of the Way!

Many of us have tables or draperies or other common house hold items in front of our registers. This of course impedes the furnaces ability to circulate the air properly. Many people also completely close registers or cover them over with additional filtering devices both of which slow down air flow. Let your system run in the way it was designed by removing those obstacles and see the benefits of constant air movement. The air is cleaner, and the furnace distributes temperature and humidity more evenly. As a result you improve the comfort level in your home along with the cleanliness of the air you and your family breathe.

Exhaust Fan and Ventilation Performance

This chilly winter season is likely to be full of piping hot showers and home cooked meals to bring some warmth and comfort into our homes. However, if your exhaust fans and ventilation systems aren’t working their best, you may be inviting mold growth and nasty odors into your home as well. Now is the time to test these fans and to educate your family members about the importance of flipping that switch when they are cooking and showering. Not doing so could cost you big time.

Test Your Fan’s Strength

The exhaust fan and its ventilation system can be quite easily tested. You can use what we like to call the tissue test in order to determine whether or not your exhaust fan has sufficient power to remove moisture and bad odors. Simply hold a tissue up to the exhaust fan, and let go. If the tissue sticks to the grate protecting the motor, you probably have enough power. If not, you defiantly need to have this fan either replaced or repaired. The problem may not be with the fan itself, but the duct work that leads out the roof of the home may have an obstruction that is preventing the fan from doing its job. Continue reading

Humidity and Your Hard Wood Floors

In much of the United States, the summers are hot and moist and the winters are cold and dry. If this sounds like the climate you live in and you have hard wood floors in your home, you may have a problem. Excessive moisture and excessive dryness spell destruction for your hard wood floors, and if you invested all of that money in a floor, you are going to want to preserve it for as long as possible. That means getting a humidifier for the winter and finding a way to dehumidify the home in the summer months.

Dehumidification of the Home

  High summer humidity can get in between the grooves in your wood floors and wreak havoc! Vinyl wood floors are especially vulnerable to moisture. Fiberboard is not very moisture resistant and will easily warp over the years if the humidity in the home cannot be controlled. Dehumidification can be attained in one of two ways. If you operate a central air conditioning unit in the home, this will effectively remove excess moisture if used consistently. If you don’t have one of these systems, consider installing a dehumidifier and a whole house ventilation fan. The ventilation fan will keep good circulation in the home and the dehumidifier will help you compensate for those days when the humidity level is out of control! Continue reading

Trim the Fat from Your Energy Bills

Do high natural gas prices have you worried this winter. Well you are not alone! It seems like everyone is scrapping by these days, and those energy bills are only going to make things more difficult during this upcoming winter season. However, you can take a bite out of that high energy bill with a few simple ideas that will increase the efficiency of your home.

Small Investments to Help Save Energy:

  • Programmable Thermostat: We recommend using a digital set back thermostat. This will let you automatically lower the temperature at night while you sleep yet wake up to a warm home. You can save as 12% on your gas bill if you use a 10 degree temperature roll back while you sleep. You can save even more if you use the setback mode during the day while you’re at work. Continue reading