Let the Fresh Air in this Fall!

Finally, the nights are cooling down enough to allow us to open the windows and with the chill of fall comes fresh air into the home! But, before you know it the temperatures will be too cold to leave the windows open, so before you lock up the windows for the rest of the year, ask yourself, “How is the air quality in my home?” Dirt, dust, dander, and millions of other particles build up in our HVAC duct system all year long, and as long as the debris is stuck in the ducts, it will continue to circulate into the air you and your family breathes!

Dirty Duct Work

Dirty ducts could be the source of continued allergy and respiratory irritations and unexplained illnesses. Luckily, there is something you can do to get this mess out of your ducts, and the results could last up to the three years or more! 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

What to Do if Your Air Conditioner Freezes

Without fail, every year, hundreds of homeowners call at the beginning of the cooling season because the air conditioner began to develop ice on its lines and the unit is not putting out adequate cool air. Though this problem is common throughout the season, starting the unit up for the first time often reveals damage that was either left from last season or that occurred during the condensers long winter outdoors. No matter the cause, you need to get the system back up and running before the real heat of summer arrives. Most homeowners rush to the internet for quick fixes, but there is very little a homeowner can do about a frozen air conditioner. More likely than not, you will need professional help.

Shut the Unit Down and Check the Filter

However, there are a couple steps you can try on your own. The first and most important step is to shut the cooling system down. This will shut off the compressor and prevent the system from burning itself out and causing more damage. You could run the fan alone to help circulate warmer air over the coils to speed the thawing process. While the air conditioner is thawing, check the filter. A dirty filter left from over the winter season could be choking off the airflow to the coils. This could be the cause of the freezing. Continue reading

Temperature Differential Causing Discomfort

The thermostat is in control of one of the most important systems within the home: the HVAC system. This system dictates your comfort level and allows you to choose the temperature that you find most comfortable. However, there is a setting on the thermostat that can disrupt this comfort if it is not set appropriately. The temperature differential can give the thermostat a few degrees leeway before turning your HVAC system on or off. This could allow your homes temperature to fluctuate drastically all while the thermostat continues to read the original set temperature.

Resetting the Differential

Let’s say that you are most comfortable at 70 degrees during the winter season. You set the thermostat and go about your day. Every time the furnace comes on the house gets to feel uncomfortably warm. In between cycles when the furnace is off, the home becomes uncomfortably cold. The temperature differential is probably set at three degrees. That means that the temperature can get as warm as 73 degrees and as cold as 67 degrees before the thermostat responds to the temperature. This is what is causing your discomfort. Check with your thermostat manual for instructions to change the differential and set it back to one degree. This will give you the temperature you desire and eliminate this source of discomfort.

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.

Upgrade without Installing Duct Work

So you are finally ready to get rid of that old boiler, and upgrade to forced air heating. Some homeowners want forced air because they want to install central air conditioning and others want to upgrade simply for improved energy efficiency. However, installing duct work in a finished home can cost thousands alone and can greatly disturb the home. There is a better way to get forced air in your home with a mini split ductless heating and cooling system.

Solving Your Heating and Cooling Problems

A mini split ductless heating and cooling system is very unique. Through the use of one centralized condenser you can heat and cool each room in the home individually. Wall mounted systems are installed in the target rooms and a remote control can individually adjust the temperature to the desired levels in each space. This system solves many problems all at once, including: Continue reading

Hot Water Tank Maintenance Tips

When was the last time you had your hot water tank cleaned?  Do you hear a popping noise?  Do you seem to run out of hot water faster than before?  Does your water seem to not be as hot?  These can all be symptoms of a hot water tank in need of a cleaning.  It is also possible that your hot water tank needs to be flushed.  Hot water tanks are usually very durable and have a long life expectancy.  However, just like your furnace, your hot water tank needs to be maintained.  So when you are calling in to have your furnace cleaned also ask about having your hot water tank cleaned as well.  Spending a little money now, can save you a large repair or replacement bill.  Don’t wait until you have a problem or a leak.

Steps to Maintenance:

  • Turn Tank Off
  • Replace Anode– The anode protects the tank from corrosion and it should be changed every 4 to 7 years
  • Check for Leaks– Leaks at the bottom of the tank typically mean that the tank has corroded through and needs to be replaced. Other leaks may be solved by tightening valves or having a pro take a look. Continue reading

Protect Your Home While You are Away

The winter season is a popular time to go on vacation with the family. You pack up your belongings, head to where it’s warmer, and leave the winter chill behind! You lock up your home and assume that all will remain safe, but you make one disastrous mistake. You shut off the furnace. Many homeowners do this to conserve a little energy and save some money on their energy bills. However, doing this will leave your home vulnerable in the icy cold weather. All you need is one extra cold night and you could experience an expensive home disaster.

Water Damage from Burst Pipes

When the furnace is off, there is nothing stopping the temperature in the home from dipping below freezing. When this happens, the plumbing system is at risk of freezing. Even one frozen pipe and be a major problem. This is due to the fact that once a pipe is frozen, it may burst! The pipe is forced to expand by the presence of the ice, but as the ice begins to thaw, the water pressure will burst through the pipe and cause a major water leak. If you are out of town, there is nothing there to stop the water from flowing into your home and causing major water damage. Continue reading

Protecting Your Children from Hot Water Burns

Ensuring the safety of your children is not an easy task. When they are small children every inch of their bodies is susceptible to harm, but there are steps you can take to protect them from some of the worst dangers in the home. One of these dangers involves the temperature of the water in the home. Children can become easily scalded by water that may not even feel intolerably hot to the skin of an adult. That is why every parent must take certain steps to protect their children from this type of injury, and it all starts with a good look at your hot water tank.

Set the Tank Back

The first step is to turn the water tank back to 120 degrees. This is the lowest temperature where you can still get hot enough water when needed without allowing the tank to grow bacteria. Many homes have the tank set at high as 150 degrees. At this temperature an adult’s skin can burn in 2 to 3 seconds. Place a child in that water and it could cause serious damage instantly. Every degree you set the tank back is a degree safer for the members of your family, but as an added bonus, every 10 degree difference will translate into a 4% savings on the water heating portion of your energy bills! Continue reading

Energy Saving Made Simple

With the rising cost of energy, it is very important and practical to conserve electricity as much as possible. Conserving energy not only helps us lower our electric bills, but it also helps in protecting our natural resources. There are a lot of ways to conserve energy, but you have to choose the ways that are easiest and best for your family and your home. Most of them are simple. So simple that even your kids can participate in making your home greener this winter season. Here are some of them the easy ways you can start saving.

Five Ways to Conserve Energy:

1. Turn off the lights when leaving a room. Electrical lights consume a large amount of energy. This is especially true if you are using incandescent lights because these lights are extremely energy inefficient. Make it a habit to turn the lights off and see how much you could save on your electricity bills.

2. Unplug your appliances when you’re not using them. Appliances that are plugged still consume energy even if they are turned off. So, to avoid this from happening, unplug everything that is not in use. Continue reading