Friday, October 23, 2015

CO Monitors – Which ones to Purchase and Why?

It is getting to be winter when we are start turning our furnace’s on and start thinking about safety again. It is most important to have your heating systems inspected for safe operation and maximum efficiency. It is also time to replace batteries for your Carbon Monoxide monitors or purchase new ones if your current one is older than 3 years old. Be sure to purchase a monitor for each floor.


If you have a fossil burning appliance such as a gas, oil, or wood burning furnace, or you have an attached garage to your house; you should own a Carbon Monoxide Monitor for your safety. Thousands of people die or become seriously ill from co poisoning needlessly each year.  Routine maintenance, common sense and a quality co monitor will save lives.

Which CO Monitor should I buy? Great question since there are so many to choose from.  A few tips:

1.     Find one with a fuel cell sensor

2.     You should plan on spending at least $60.00 for a high-end monitor.

3.      Low level monitors can cost over $100.00 and have to be purchased from your HVAC company. These monitors are the best because they will alarm faster than a UL store bought monitor. These monitors start reading CO levels a 5 PPM (Parts Per Million) and will alarm at 35 PPM instantly whereas “store bought monitors” will not alarm until 70 PPM with a four hour duration. These store bought monitors will save your life, but if there are elderly people or young children or anyone with suppressed immune systems living in the house; they may become very ill before the alarm goes off. This is why a low-level monitor is recommended.

4.     Have the monitor in a hall at least 15” from the ceiling. If you have a wall unit, hang it at eye level so you can easily see it when walking by. CO gas is neutral gas as it is the same weight as air so it doesn’t rise or fall.

5.     Consumer Reports has a rating on various monitors that you can buy at the Big Box Stores. The monitors are not all equal.

6.     Check out this web site for additional information and to learn the symptoms of CO poisoning.


Summary: Be sure you have a CO monitor on each floor of your home and have your heating system tuned-up by a professional HVAC technician.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Who’s Actually Installing Your HVAC Equipment?

This is a question most folks don’t think about when purchasing new heating and cooling equipment for their home. It is of crucial importance because if a crew of low skilled or non-caring technicians installs your equipment; you will have serious issues down the road if not at start up.

Do I have your attention?

The friendly smiling salesperson most likely will not be installing your equipment. He is paid to sell and that is what salespeople do – sell, not install or service. (A few do, not many.)

Ask your sales person who will be installing your equipment.

The technicians should:

·        have at least several years of experience installing the brand and type of equipment that you purchased.

·        should be North American Technical Excellence(N.A.T.E) certified in your type of equipment and have factory training.

·        have a reputation in the company as being “picky” and taking pride in all his/her work.

·        have all the tools required to perform the job correctly

·        always clean up after themselves and protect your property by wearing shoe cover and laying down floor protection.

·        Answer any questions you have and explain their plan to you before starting the job.


You as the homeowner really don’t know what is correct and what is not. A lot of companies will take “short-cuts” that will have an impact on your comfort and the efficiency and longevity of your equipment. This is very scary! Buyer beware! The lowest price is usually not the best choice.


You can sway the odds in your favor by doing a little homework in advance. Plan for your replacement and not wait for a major breakdown. What we recommend is:

1.      Find a contractor that has a great reputation (not that they advertise a lot or are a large company). Ask friends, neighbors, co-workers etc. for their input. You can also check BBB, Angie’s List, etc., but know that the contractors pay these folks to be listed so they can be biased.

2.      Be sure the company is insured and licensed. You can go online to the State Board of Contractors to find out if they are licensed. Ask for a copy of their insurance. If they don’t have insurance – YOU may be stuck with the bill! If a worker gets hurt on your property, it is YOUR problem and you can be sued if the contractor does not have Workman’s Compensation insurance.

3.      If your job requires a city permit, be sure the contractor pulls it and not YOU. If you pull the permit, the job liability is YOUR problem now and not the contractor. It is not worth the couple of hundred dollars you might save by doing this yourself.

4.      Have an idea of what type of equipment you want or need. The more efficient the equipment; the more it costs upfront. More efficient equipment cost the contractor more and they pass that cost onto you. The energy efficiency beginning level for AC and heat pumps is now 14 SEER which is pretty darn good.  It was 10 SEER in 1992 and then 13 SEER in 2006 until recently this year. (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating is how all HVAC equipment is rated across the board.)

5.      It is a good idea to get three quotes. If you have contractor you trust and feel good with, then stay with them, but it never hurts to check.

6.      Be realistic in your expectations of cost. Nothing is free and nothing worth owning is cheap.

7.      Spring and Fall usually have manufacturer rebates that can help with costs on mid to higher end equipment.


Hopefully this article is of some use to you. If you have any questions, please feel comfortable in contacting us for more information.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is Your Castle Comfortable?

We ask our customers,” Is your house comfortable?” As you can imagine, we get lots of different answers. ” I guess so, I don’t really know, yes, no, most of the house, etc.


Of ‘Couse, what is a comfortable house?  Our basic definition is a house that meets your temperature and humidity conditions, has a good air quality, and not drafty or dusty.


Most folks like to point the blame of being uncomfortable or having uncomfortable areas of their house on their air conditioning and heating systems. They think their system is to blame. This may only be a small cause of their issue.


What we see most often is their house is sick. Your house is a system and your heating and cooling system/s is part of that larger house system. Poor duct work or duct design contributes to a huge part of a house not being comfortable or having even temperatures throughout. If the ducts are not sealed or sized correctly, there may be too much or most often, not enough conditioned air delivered to each room make that area uncomfortable.


Another equally important consideration is how the house was built. How was it framed? What type of foundation does it have? How is it insulated? What type of insulation? Is the house very leaky (air leaks)? Is the house landscaped correctly? Does water drain away or drain to the house? Do all exhaust fans terminate outside the house or just in the attic or crawl space? Were the windows and doors made of a good quality material and actually sealed and flashed correctly? How old and efficient are your appliances? The answer to these questions may open your eyes and lead you to some real solutions to improve your situation.


Now you can ask your self is the AC or heating system really my problem at all? Most likely, it’s only part of the issue. What can you do?


·        You can be a DIY and make small improvements that will help your comfort and dust levels. An example would be to weather strip your doors and windows, seal any air leaks you find with calking that has low VOC’s. Add more insulation after you air seal to lower your heating and cooling bills.

·        Use shades or thermal-backed curtains for windows and sky light.

·        Have a professional test (Blower Door-Infiltrometer) your house to show you where your air leaks are coming from and seal what you can – it will make a big difference!

·        You can purchase indoor air quality products to improve the air you breathe.

·        Have a HVAC professional evaluate or tune-up your heating and cooling equipment.

·        Purchase EnergyStar rated appliances to save on energy costs.


There are many web sites you can visit to learn more about home performance issues and how to correct them and which issue should be given the most priority.


Check out these two sites:,


Your home is your castle. My castle is comfortable, is yours? If you are in our area (Chesapeake or Virginia Beach, VA) give us a call, we can help. 757-421-9790

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Avoiding Water Damaged Ceilings and Floors

Condensate Issues- Avoiding Water Damaged Ceilings and Floors.


Hi everyone, it’s that time of year again where we notice water stains or water dripping through our ceilings or that our carpets or floors get wet by the AC system indoor unit.


What happens is our condensate drain pipes get clogged and the pans overflow with water which goes where we don’t want it to go. The condensate should be going outside our house about 12” or more from our foundations where it can do no harm.

The pipes back up and then the condensate has to go somewhere. That somewhere is our floors and ceilings. This makes quite a mess because our AC systems can remove enough condensate water to fill four five gallon buckets of water a day!

Condensate overflow causes issues every year because our drains get clogged by insects or debris.


The good news is that this unsightly mess can be avoided. How?

1.      Have routine maintenance performed on your system. Part of the maintenance is to clean and clear the condensate pans and drain pipes. The indoor coil is also cleaned which can contribute to debris in the pipes that can cause a clog. The technician will also inspect the pipes to be sure that they slope downward and drain correctly.

2.      Have a safety shut-off device installed for both pipes. These devices have a float switch built in which will rise and make an electrical contact which will shut off your AC system so it cannot produce any more condensate. These devices are a proven success to save your home from water damage caused by condensate overflow issues. These devices are also now a “city code” requirement for all new installations in most states. If you don’t have a coil or pan switch device installed in your system; we highly recommend one be installed ASAP!

3.       If you are a DIY person, be sure to “suck” out your drain lines periodically to help avoid problems. This is not a cure all for condensate issues though. A professional inspection, cleaning, and condensate shut-off devices will solve most future issues.

The only situation that won’t be solved by a shut-off device is a broken or disconnected pipe. This is where a professional inspection is needed.


Bottom-line: Have your system maintained by a professional HVAC company and have a shut-off device installed and say goodbye to your potential water damage issues caused by your AC.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tips on a New System Purchase

Spring Blog – Time for a New System?


Mid-March through May 31st is the time of year many new heating and cooling systems are sold and installed. This is a good time because the weather usually cooperates and neither heating nor cooling is needed or not unbearable if it is out for a few days.


There are few things homeowners should be aware of when making the decision to replace their systems.


Some things you should be made aware of:

·        It is usually better to plan for a replacement rather than to wait for it to breakdown on the hottest or coldest day of the year. It can take days or weeks if during the busiest service months to get a new system installed and then you may be rushed into a poor decision.

·        Just because your system is still operating, doesn’t mean it is should not or does not need to be replaced. Many older (12 years and older) are just not very efficient and have lost some of their capacity to heat and cool your home effectively. They are subject to breakdowns anytime and more so if they have not been properly and routinely maintained. These “older systems” are actually costing you more money that you could be putting toward a new system.

·        A new system that is correctly sized and installed will give you greater comfort and save you a little money on your utility bills along with improved reliability.

·        All HVAC companies are NOT equal in talent and abilities

·        Installation skill of the technicians installing your system is of key importance. You need a skilled team to insure your system is installed correctly and that they follow the manufacturer instructions and not take short cuts. These companies are generally more expensive because their employees are well trained and use state of the art equipment and techniques.

·        A “low ball” price will usually not insure quality and cost you much more money in the long run.

·        Short cuts shorten the life of your equipment and cause comfort issues and safety issues.

·        Brands are not as important as a quality  installation

·        Ask for North American Technical Excellence (N.A.T.E) or Refrigerant Service Engineer Society or Air Conditioning Contractor of America Certified Technicians as well as State licensed Journeyman or Master Technicians to perform your work. These folks have passed rigorous testing that shows they have the knowledge to perform your installation of service correctly. The techs will have a card that shows their certifications.

·        Ductwork is important. If you have ductwork that is in poor condition or not designed well, put your money there first. The top-of-line equipment will NEVER work as it was intended and you will not be happy with the results with poor duct work. You can’t see duct work (unless you crawl under your house, in between floors, or into your attic), but it delivers the air to all your living spaces and it is why you may have drastic temperature differences between rooms, excessive dust issue, and some health issues.

·        You will be much better off getting a less efficient system with great duct work rather than a top efficiency system with poor duct work.


Hopefully the above tips will be of some value to you when the time come for you to plan for a new comfort system.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Heating and Cooling Surge Protectors, are they Worth it?

We get this question every so often and the answer is YES!  Most folks will take the time and money to protect their computers because they don’t want them damaged in a storm or when utility work may cause their power to go out and then back on and then out etc. These power surges can cause significant damage to sensitive electronics. Some folks say,” my insurance company will pay, so I don’t worry about it.”   Others figure it hasn’t happened to them yet, so it probably won’t, Really?!!  Many times there is no proof that a power surge caused an issue because there may not be any evidence other that the appliance no longer works. Good luck with the insurance company!

I have some folks that have a “whole house surge protector” installed in their panel box and feel they don’t need anything else. It is great they invested in a whole house unit. I would still want a separate device made for my system to add another layer of protection and peace-of-mind.


I would rather have a layer of protection like my computer does protecting my heating and cooling system. I don’t want to be uncomfortable and inconvenienced for days when the heating and cooling guys are scrambling to find replacement parts such as circuit boards, starting devices, motors, etc. for my ac or heating equipment.  Some folks don’t know that there are several control boards (mini-computers) in a heating and cooling system.


It is always a smart thing to have another layer of protection between where the power comes in and the goes to your appliance, computer or air condition or heating system.

Are you protected? I am and I sleep better at night knowing I have another layer of defense watching out for power surges and protecting my comfort investment.

Are these devices expensive? Not at all. You can have one installed for less than $300.00 and help protect your equipment costing many thousands of dollars. The devices connect to the service box on the outside of your house and also on the service box on the indoor unit. They work by taking the excess power and sending it to ground where it is harmless. The installation usually takes less than 30 minutes. We recommend that you get a device for both the inside and outside unit. (Example an AC outside and a furnace inside) If you have a package unit; you would only need one device.


We hope this information was of some help to you. If you have any questions or would like us to install a device for you, please contact us at the number below.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Did You Change Your Batteries and Filters?

Happy March, everyone. The winter here has been rough and it is likely that your furnace has been moving large amounts of air through your home the last few months. It is extremely important to change your filters regularly in order to keep the air in your home safe and healthy.

Clogged filters can also cause a reduction in airflow, meaning it will take longer to heat your home. There’s a chance with a clogged filter, that some rooms in your home may not receive any heat.

But there are other things in your home that need checking this month. Do you have working smoke alarms? Daylight Savings Time has come and gone. Did you remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you changed your clocks? A home fire impacts the life of an American family every 85 seconds. By providing an early warning and critical extra seconds to escape, smoke alarms cut your family’s risk of dying in a home fire in half – but only if they work.

Local fire departments want to remind you that when you turn your clocks back on Sunday, March 9 at 2:00 am, make a life-saving change in your household – change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. This simple habit takes just a moment, but is the best defense your family has against the devastating effects of a home fire. The life expectancy of a carbon monoxide detector is 5 to 7 years. So it’s a little shorter than a smoke detector, which we average right around 10 years.

If you have questions about how to change your filters, or you need a carbon monoxide detector, call All Seasons Heating and Cooling, so we can help you not only be comfortable in your home, but also safe.