Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Back For Daylight Savings and Don't Forget to Change Your Batteries

Most people are aware that time falls back on November 4, 2012 for Daylight Savings Time—or the first Sunday in November.  Along with changing your clocks for daylight savings, the International Fire Chiefs Association and All Seasons Heating and Cooling Service Company wants to remind you to also change the batteries in your Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Monitors

 “Change Your Clock Change Your Battery”

Have you ever been woken up at say 2 or 3 a.m. by a screeching alarm? I have and it is not a pleasant thing. There are many devices such as smoke detectors, water detectors, and CO Monitors that have batteries. When the batteries get low and need to be replaced; some of these devices let you know in a very rude manner.  Of course the batteries only get low in the middle of the night when you are in your deepest sleep.

You should get in the habit of once a year replacing your batteries in these devices.  Fresh batteries in your safety devices is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself and your family.  

Now is a good time to replace your batteries in these devices as you change the clocks in your home so you too won’t have an unnerving experience when you are sound asleep and the alarm awakens you.

Just Remember:  First Sunday in November, to change your clock to fall back for fall and to change your batteries.  


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Now is a Great Time to Replace Your Old Inefficient Heating and Cooling System!

Don’t put it off another year praying and hoping it will last! All of us want to spend our money on something else other than our heating and cooling systems. A new 60” TV, a new boat, car, clothes, ATV, a vacation, anything but a new heating and cooling system, right!?

Any heating and cooling system that is older than 12 years old needs to be considered for replacement. If you are having repeated repairs, or if your utility bills have gotten out of hand, and your system is way out of warranty, now is the best time to replace it. I know, I know, it does cost a lot of money to replace a heating and cooling system, but it is a necessary evil of owning a home. Just like your roof or appliances, your heating and cooling equipment has a useful life and when it reaches a certain age and condition, it must be replaced.

The fall and spring are the best times to have a system replaced because of the different promotions going on. Most manufacturers have rebate or financing programs that will save you hundreds of dollars, some utility companies offer rebates as incentives to purchase higher efficiency models, and there are still a few Federal Tax Credits available as well.

All Seasons has special promotions in addition to the above money saving promotions. Check out our “specials” tab.

A word of caution, all companies are not the same. The best companies train and certify their technicians on an ongoing basis to offer you the best possible service and expertise. You should ask for a certificate of insurance to be certain the company is licensed and insured. Make sure the company has workers' compensation insurance because if a worker gets hurt on your property, you can be held responsible if they do no have workers' compensation insurance. Remember if they do not have a business license or are not insured; you will be stuck with their workmanship or lack of it with no recourse. Most HVAC companies are excellent and honest, but there are a few that are not. Be smart and do your homework so you are not one of the horror stories that you hear about.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Furnace Precision Tune Up

It is the perfect time to get your furnace precision tune up now before we hit the cooler fall months, or have a cold snap that takes you by surprise. Manufacturers recommend routine maintenance on your heating and cooling products because it will extend the overall life of your system. We have had some beautiful days this past week and hopefully the 90 and 100 degree days will be a memory for us. So as the cool down of fall is upon us, here are a few reasons you should get your system precision tune up now:

  • Extend your equipment life
  • Help prevent health and safety risks
  • Save money with improved efficiency
  • Catch minor issues before they become major expensive ones
Semi-annual maintenance may extend the life of your furnace or heat pump system.  Having a precision tune up performed helps your system run at its highest level of efficiency. Higher efficiency leads to less energy use and less energy use leads to lower utility bills which can pay for the tune up and is great for our environment. When you have a professional tune up performed on your furnace or heat pump; you are also getting the peace-of-mind knowing your equipment has been thoroughly inspected for safety risks. A tune up may find minor problems and by having them repaired now can save you money and inconvenience in the future. 

Be sure to contact us to schedule your precision tune up. A little prevention and regular attention to your furnace or heat pump now will benefit you going forward. We look forward to serving you soon.

Note: Be sure to replace your carbon monoxide monitor and or smoke detector batteries now. If your devices are older than three years old, please replace them. Their sensors are less effective after that age and offer little if any protection.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Avoid Water Damaged Ceiling and Property!

  Do you have or have you seen unsightly water spots or bulges in your ceiling? This damage may be caused by a roof leak, plumbing issue, or your air conditioning indoor unit. My air conditioner, really?!

If you have a split system--central air conditioner or heat pump with the indoor unit located in your attic space, you may have serious water issues just lurking. A split system is a heating and cooling system that has two separate cabinets. The unit located outside in your yard is called the condenser unit and the unit located inside your house (in an attic, knee wall space, or in a closet) is called your air handler or furnace and coil.

On a hot humid day, your air condenser can remove up to 20 gallons of water. This water is called condensate and drips off your indoor air handler refrigerant coil into a pan which takes the condensate water outside of your home by a PVC pipe system. This is fine and dandy and how it is supposed to work and it does work perfect most of the time. 20 gallons of water is a lot of water folks and your AC/Heat Pump system removes it every day.

The problem begins when a condensate drain line clogs up and the condensate water can not drain outside like it is designed to do. The water is going to continue to accumulate until you shut off your AC/Heat Pump which is not likely when it is 95 degrees outside. Where does the water go since it can no longer drain outside of your house because the drain pipe is clogged?

It goes to the place of least resistance! This is either your emergency pan (if you have one) or your ceiling or floor! If it is your ceiling, you may get lucky and notice it dripping before the weight of the water caves in the ceiling and you have a tragic mess of drywall, insulation, and water destroying your belongings. Not a good day to say the least!

This disaster can easily be avoided by having a condensate shut-off device installed in the coil drain pipe and one in the emergency drain pan. The devices will shut off the power to your system so the AC/Heat Pump can not operate and therefore, can not produce any more water. It stops the water before damage happens. You will notice your AC/Heat Pump not operating because it will be getting warmer in the house. You can call your local and favorite HVAC service company (All Seasons Heating and Cooling Service Company at 421-9790) to come out and clear your drain pipes or you can try it yourself with a wet/dry shop vac. Simply go outside where the pipes drain and hook the shop vac hose to the pipe and suck out the clog. When the clog is free and the water flows out of the pipe, the device will automatically reset and your AC will come back on. 

You can get twice the protection (a device in the main drain line and one in the emergency backup pan) and peace-of–mind knowing that your AC/Heat Pump system will not cause the water damage in the future. Our devices are inexpensive and only take minutes to install.  

Think of all the damage 20 gallons of water can do in your home.  Are you protected?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide will cause death or serious brain damage to more than 500 victims this year—don’t let a family member be one of them! What exactly is it? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct from burning various fuels and can come from a variety of common, everyday home appliances… and it’s poisonous to breathe in. Have you ever heard that you should never start your car or lawn mower with the garage door closed? That’s why. It’s a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas, making it a difficult opponent. Make sure your family doesn’t fall victim to this silent killer by knowing the facts. Homes are most at risk during fall, when people are starting up their furnace, boiler, or other seasonal combustion appliances for the first time in months.

Normally the toxic gases from fuel combustion are expelled from the home, but processes called the “stack effect” and “backdraft” trap them inside. The stack effect is when faulty appliances create a negative air pressure inside the home by ventilating too much air out of the home. The building will then “backdraft” to compensate for the air pressure imbalance by sucking air—including toxic gases—back inside.

This is usually caused by loose vent pipes, cracked metal, or corrosion.
Your home could also have internal equipment damage, malfunctioning components, or hidden blockage or damage in the vent or chimney. But how do you know?

We can clean and tune-up the central heating system, check for cracked heat exchangers, and improperly installed or loose vent pipes. Make sure your family knows the warning signs and what to do to prevent a CO nightmare.

Because it’s indiscernible by our senses, carbon monoxide can really sneak up on you—and your home’s CO detector! Because air can stratify, low-level leaks are difficult to identify, you should have at least one CO alarm on each floor of your home, and make sure it has a battery backup if it is hard-wired or plug-in.

What to do if your alarm goes off:
*Turn off combustion appliances, open all doors and windows, leave the home, and seek medical attention for a blood check.
*CO exposure is so dangerous because it interferes with the way your body absorbs oxygen, and can result in death or serious brain damage.

Symptoms of CO exposure include dizziness, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath—unfortunately, those are also symptoms for dozens of other illnesses, so it’s best to stay on the safe side and just get your home checked!

·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        moisture inside your windows
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        loose or disconnected vent pipes
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        loose or missing furnace panels
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        soot or debris in or around your furnace
·                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        rust or water streaks on your furnace vent or chimney.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Study Tips

As summer break comes to an end and school starts up again, it may be difficult for your kids to adjust back to a routine of good study habits. Follow these tips to ensure that they get the homework time they need.

Determine a designated study space.
Avoid distractions and draw a clear line between play time and study time by setting up a study area in a quiet, well-lit place. It should be well-stocked with school supplies, have access to a computer with internet, and plenty of work space.

Make a plan.
How much homework does your child have? Does your child need to study on their own in addition to assigned homework? Which subject does your child struggle the most with? Help your child to prioritize, set goals, and practice time management by keeping track of assignments. Make use of a planner or wall calendar with important deadlines.

Form a study group.
Your child will likely show more interest in completing homework assignments and projects if they can bounce ideas off a friend. Choose a day of the week to invite some of your child’s classmates over so they can help each other out and make studying fun.

Develop a parent-teacher conversation
Your child shouldn’t be playing middleman between you and the teacher. Schedule a periodic meeting with the teacher after hours so you can stay up-to-date on your child’s progress and behavior, and understand more clearly what the main course objectives are. Figure out what topics are most important, what your child should focus on during
at-home study time, and what resources are available for extra help.

Encourage learning
Education begins at home. If your child shows interest in a particular topic, fuel it. Have plenty of books, word games, videos, and other resources available if your child shows a special talent or aptitude. Don’t force anything, but let your child know it’s ok to like
school—learning can be interesting!

Give guidance, not answers
When your kids ask for homework help, give them the tools they need to find the answer, which will be much more helpful for them in the long-run. Direct your child to online homework help sites like the following:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dominion Virginia Power - Energy Conservation Programs

Dominion Virginia Power has released several energy efficiency programs designed to meet the needs of their customers and help them meet the state’s 10 percent voluntary energy conservation goal enacted by the Virginia General Assembly and the governor in 2007.  (Click to find out more information.)

What does this mean to you?  This translates into real savings for Dominion Virginia Power Customers.  They have released several programs to help homeowners.

Residential Heat Pump Tune Up Program-rebate for maintenance tune up of existing units.
     a.  Are you a Dominion Virginia Power Customer?
     b.  Do you heat/cool your home with a heat pump with no gas or oil fired supplementary heat?
     c.  Is your heat pump 5 years old or older?
     d.  Residential customer in a single family metered home?

If you answered yes to the above questions you could receive a one-time financial incentive of $90.00 per heat pump unit.  

Residential Duct Testing and Sealing-rebate for having poorly performing duct and air distribution systems tested and repaired.
     a.  Is your home at least five years old?
     b.  Do you heat/cool your home with a heat pump?
     c.  Residential customer in single family metered home?
     d.  Apartments, geothermal systems and homes with fossil fuel heat are not eligible for this program.

If you answered yes to the above questions you could receive a one-time financial incentive of $125.00 per system for this program.

Residential Home Energy Check-Up-easy and low cost audit with rebates for direct install measures.
     a.  Single family home?
     b.  Home must at least five years old?
     c.  Apartments, mobile homes, geothermal systems and homes with fossil fuel heat are not eligible for this program.

If you answered yes to the above two questions you could receive a one-time financial incentive estimated to average $230 for this program.

Residential Heat Pump Upgrade-rebate for upgrading to more efficient heat pump unit.
     a.  Single Family home?
     b.  Need an old Heat Pump replaced with a new higher efficiency heat pump system?

If you answered yes to the above question you could receive a one-time financial incentive from $200.00-250.00 based on the new systems SEER rating for this program.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Which Air Filter Should I Buy and Does It Matter?

There are many choices when it comes to replacing your heating and cooling system return air filters. With that said; there are many filters that can cause more harm than good! 

Excuse me, what did you just say?

Yes, there are many filters that can cause more harm than good!

If you choose a filter just because the label on the box says it is “High Efficiency or High MERV Value" doesn't mean it is a good choice for YOUR system. (MERV is an efficiency rating for filters. The higher the Merv rating; the more efficient the filter.)

Some filters have a high static resistance and that can harm your heating and cooling system. Static pressure is the pressure exerted against the duct walls in your duct system. The goal is to have a total static air pressure of .5 in your ducts. Without getting technical, ( and most folks could care less); you don’t want to have high static pressure because it harms your system by making your compressor and blower motor work much harder. This will drastically shorten the life and efficiency of your system. It can also cause higher utility bills and noise.

Okay good to know right? How do you know which filter is right for your system? All systems and duct work are different due to design. Some are definitely better designed than others. The simple method to “test” your filter of choice is to follow the steps below:

Step #1
Take out all return air filters (where the air goes in) in your system. They are located in the ceiling, walls, or in the indoor unit.

Step #2
Go to your thermostat and turn the system to off, BUT, turn the fan selector to “ON” from “AUTO” position. This will run only the inside fan.

Step #3
Go to a couple of supply air registers (where the air comes out). Now feel the strength of the air coming out of the vent. Step away approximately 5 or 6 feet from the register. Now feel the strength of the air flow. Remember this feeling.

Step #4
Install (put) in your new filter/s (you may have more than one in some cases for that system)

Step #5
Go back to the same registers as before. Now feel the air flow strength form the same distance as before (5 or 6 feet). If the air flow strength feels about the same; that/those filters will work fine for you. If the air flow feels significantly less; DO NOT use that filter. It creates to much resistance for your duct system and may cause harm.  You may have to purchase a less efficient filter with less resistance.

Step #6
If you are still not sure which filter to use or want to be sure; please contact us to perform a static air test and air flow measurement using our special testing instruments. This will take the guess work out of your choice and we will also inspect your duct work and make recommendations (if needed) that will help you feel more comfortable and help your system last longer while operating more efficiently.

Thanks for reading and we hope this helps you make a smarter choice on which air filter you should buy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ducts?? Why Should I Care??

We should all care to know a little about the duct-work within our homes. Most of us don’t know anything about ducts because they are located in our attics, crawlspaces or in the walls or between the floors.

Did you know that your ducts are responsible for delivering conditioned air to each of the rooms in your house? Probably you do. What you may not know is that if your duct-work was not designed or installed correctly (this is a true fact in the majority of homes), you may be experiencing uneven and uncomfortable temperatures, excessively dusty rooms, health issues, higher than normal utility bills, and shorter equipment life.  This is not a good thing.

The good news is duct-work issues can be solved. Some issues such as leaky ducts can be repaired by the homeowner with a gallon or so of mastic paste and a couple of brushes to seal the air leaks. Other issues need to be addressed by an expert in air system distribution systems.

A duct design should be evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. They will perform a static air pressure test to determine if the ducts are causing harm to the heating and cooling system. The HVAC expert can find the leaks using specialized instruments. There are many duct systems that have undersized supply and return air ducts. This causes the homeowner discomfort, high utility bills, and shorter equipment life.

If you are experiencing any of the issues mentioned above, please contact your HVAC company to evaluate your ducts and perform any necessary repairs. You will be glad you did and wonder why you waited so long.

Remember that not all HVAC companies are trained well in this area. All Seasons Heating and Cooling can help you with your duct concerns.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why did my AC just stop working after a thunderstorm?

Have you had your AC just stop working suddenly and usually after a thunderstorm? You say it was working fine yesterday and now the outdoor unit doesn’t operate/come on. The indoor unit works fine though, but no cold air. Hmmm, call a service guy! We need our AC!

Your wires should not be burnt as above.
Sound familiar? This happens quite a bit and usually after storms and occasionally for no explained reason.

What may have happened is the motor/compressor start assist device (sometimes called a capacitor) has failed. When the device that looks like a small silver can has had a power surge delivered to it; it has an internal short and fails to operate  The top of the “can” looks like a “Jiffy Pop container that has popped up”. It has a noticeable bulge on top where the terminals are located. This device stores energy and helps the compressor and the fan motor start. When it fails, the motor and compressor may not have enough immediate power to start and will just hum. Over a short period of time; this can be harmful to the compressor and outdoor fan motor and cause them to overheat and fail permanently. Sometimes there is no visible damage and must be tested electrically by a professional HVAC technician or electrician. The capacitors can also weaken after time and become ineffective and need replacement.
This capacitor is showing the signs of being pitted and burnt.

These devices should last at least five years or more if they are a high quality part. Unfortunately, most of these devices (capacitors) that come from the manufacturers are of a low cost and quality variety and fail frequently.

What to do? If your HVAC professional tells you that the failed part is a motor starting device/capacitor, ask (if your technician does not suggest it) for an Amrad Turbo-200 device and or a surge protector. The Amard capacitors are more expensive, but are of a very high quality, are made in the USA, and have a 5-year replacement warranty. The surge protector adds another layer of protection against the unwanted electrical surge that may do damage to any of your electrical components within the outdoor unit.

A word of note: If you have an AC system that is less than 10 years old, check to see if you have a limited part warranty that will cover the part or a manufacturer’s part and labor warranty to cover the cost of the repair. If you just have the limited part warranty only, you will still be responsible for the dispatch, labor, acquisition, and processing fees associated with “free” part.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DID YOU KNOW….You Can Control Your Thermostat Remotely?

Aren’t you glad you live in a time when modern technology gives us the option of climate control? It makes you wonder how people a hundred years ago survived the intense summer heat without an air conditioner to cool them down, doesn’t it?

People are crafty creatures, though and since time immemorial, we’ve thought up new and clever ways to keep warm in winter and cool in summer. In the future, who knows what kind of climate control gadgets we’ll have.

But for now we’ve got Internet thermostats, and boy, are they incredible! 

Did you know that you can control your thermostat from your iPhone? This is a great option if you’re away from your home and need to control the temperature. Internet and smartphone-friendly thermostats are gaining recognition as a convenient way to control your home’s comfort level remotely. They provide an incredible way to be worry free during your time away from home!

Some thermostats even have programs to allow you to track usage and control your heating/cooling schedule in your Internet browser. The best part about this? Most of these thermostats are fully compatible with your home’s existing HVAC units! Internet thermostats are great for vacation, or those who travel constantly.

Forgot to adjust the temperature before leaving your home for several weeks? Not a problem with an Internet thermostat! Increase your comfort level remotely, right before you arrive at a new destination, and save money on your electric bill.

Some of the most technologically advanced devices can save you up to 30% on your heating and cooling bill every month. These top-of-the-line devices learn your behavior over time, and adjust their settings according to your habits. Imagine, it’s almost like living in a science fiction story!

These thermostats are simple to use, but should be installed by a pro. All Seasons Heating and Cooling is happy to deal with all of those wires so that you can sit back, relax, and enjoy comfort in your home without worrying about your energy bill. Bring a little bit of the future into your home, and enjoy the savings and comfort an Internet thermostat can give you!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Energize Your Wallet With SUMMER SAVINGS

Check out these easy and effective tips for reducing your energy costs!

Spring has sprung, and that means lots of time outdoors: long walks with the dog, picnics in the park, and countless hours in the yard and garden. Spending time to spruce up the outside of your home is a great way to take advantage of the fair weather, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect the inside!

While you’re outside soaking up rays of sunshine, your utility bills may be getting more expensive due to inefficiency in your home. Warm weather can be tough on your wallet, but you can fight back. Check out these easy and effective tips for reducing your energy costs!

Your Home, Unplugged
You’ve been huddled up inside all winter in front of the television and computer. Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to unplug those electronics and get your family outside. Even when off, televisions, DVD players, computers, printers, stereos, and other electronics can draw surprisingly large amounts of power, which translates to higher energy costs. This is called “vampire power” because it sucks energy. Do your budget a favor by unplugging these machines or using a “smart” power strip, which shuts off power to electronics that go on standby.  Why should you continue to pay for the power to run these machines when you’re not using them?  Unplug your energy-suckers and spend the extra cash at the ice cream truck.
Your Home, Re-plugged
Nothing feels better than stepping into a cool, air-conditioned house after a hard day’s work in the garden. But while you were pulling weeds and planting bulbs, that precious cool air may have been escaping out of various leaks and holes in your home. Sealing air ducts, upgrading insulation, and plugging up leaks in your attic and basement will regulate the cool, refreshing climate that you strive for while plugging up financial leaks in your energy bills. Air conditioning is expensive — don’t let it slip through the cracks!

Stay Cool as Temperatures Rise
As outdoor temperatures go up, you may be tempted to cool down by turning your thermostat down. However, there are other ways to stay cool indoors while leaving that thermostat setting where it is. Reward yourself with a refreshing cool shower after playing baseball in the park and you’ll be less inclined to kick up the air conditioning when you’re done. 

You can also use the spring and summer as perfect opportunities to ignore your oven and fire up your outdoor grill and cook delicious meals for your family. Heating up the oven can drastically increase the temperature in your kitchen and your home, which means you’ll be forced to blast the air conditioning just to stay comfortable!  Besides, there’s nothing better than chicken or a burger pulled right off the grill — nothing, that is, except saving money on your utility bills.

Regular Tune-Ups
And don’t forget to schedule regular tune-ups! Keeping your system maintained and running efficiently will also help reduce those pesky energy bills. Your Air conditioner is like a car in that it runs best when properly maintained. Regular tune-ups can also prevent your system from failing at an inconvenient time. And don’t worry, the savings from regular tune-ups will offset the cost of the service.

Employing even one of these cost-cutting tips can dramatically reduce your energy costs and the impact of your home on the environment, which gives you the peace-of-mind you need to truly enjoy the season.

You can rest assured that your home is running as efficiently as possible.  So, conserve your energy — you’re going to need it! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

When Is It Time?

We get asked this question a lot, “When is it time to replace my heating and cooling system?

The best time to replace your heating and cooling system is when it is a planned replacement and you have time to do your research. The worst time to replace your system is when it breaks down during the worst of weather conditions that may leave you very uncomfortable for days and you have to make a rushed decision which may not be in your best interests.

In our industry; we have a general rule of thumb about replacing equipment. We call it The 4K Rule. If you have a repair that is needed; take the cost of the repair/s and multiply the cost of the repair times the age of your system. If the number is greater than 4000 (4K), then you may want to consider replacing the system versus paying for the expensive repair. If the system is in good overall condition, under 15 years old, and the number is less than 4000, consider repairing instead of replacing the system.

Anytime a system has multiple repairs in a year and is over 12 years old, seriously consider replacing it. The average life of a heating and air-conditioning system in our area is 12-15 years. You should get this life (use) out of a system or more, if it has been installed correctly and has been maintained with routine professional maintenance each year.

Something else thing to consider is what is the system costing you each month to operate? Is your operating cost excessively high during the heating and cooling seasons?  This could be a reason to replace a system. Lower your operating costs.

You will save money and gain much more comfort by replacing an older system before it stops operating or starts costing you time, money, and inconvenience. Newer technology has many comfort and air quality benefits over decades old equipment. Newer systems can achieve efficiency ratings over 20 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating). The SEER rating starts at 13 SEER and goes up from there. The higher the rating, the more efficient the system is. You will have to pay more for the higher efficient systems; but they will pay you back in lower utility bills and increased comfort in most cases.

Bottom Line:  Nobody wants to pay to replace their systems anymore than they want pay for a new roof, but everything has a shelf life and needs to be replaced. When the time is approaching (over 10 years old), start planning and saving for a new system so it won’t be a shock and an unpleasant surprise when you least expect it during the hottest or coldest of weather. Always consult a professional HVAC expert and have them evaluate your system. This includes your equipment, duct work and the tightness, insulation and construction of your house.  Your Professional will perform a heat/cool load calculation to correctly determine the air condition and heating sizing capacity of your home for the new equipment.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Do I really need maintenance on my heating and air conditioning system?

The answer is YES you do. Even new systems need routine maintenance to keep the operating at peak efficiency.  

Some items that should be checked routinely:

1.    The refrigerant coils need to be cleaned thoroughly at least every six months to keep their heat transfer at an optimum performance.
2.    The refrigerant level needs to be exact and checked twice a year. An under-charge or over-charge can cause harm to the system and raise utility bills and lower comfort.
3.    Electrical connections need to be inspected for tightness and wear to prevent over-heating which will lead to equipment failure.
4.    Duct work needs to be tested and inspected for leaks and performance. Poor duct work can cause equipment failure, poor customer comfort, and high utility bills.
5.    Thermostats need to be inspected for correct installation. If the hole in the wall behind the thermostat is not sealed; the thermostat will read the wrong temperature and cause comfort issues.
6.    The condensate drain pans and drain lines need to be inspected and clear for proper drainage or severer water damage can occur.
7.    All components such as safety devices, heat exchangers, fan motors, wheels, and blades, compressor and reversing valves and relays need to be inspected for proper operation.
8.    Keep your return air filters changed or clean every 30 days of operation. Sometimes more often depending where and how you live.

As you can see; there are many items that need to be professionally inspected and cleaned by professionals to keep your heating and air conditioning systems in top shape. Failure to routinely tune-up your equipment can lead to very expensive repair bills, high utility bills, and poor health and comfort.

A quality tune-up usually takes at least and hour or more to perform and will pay for itself.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Surge Protectors

Spring time brings April showers and the summer brings thunder storms and power surges! First a FLASH, then THUNDER, then BANG! Your air conditioner just Blew Up!

We receive calls from concerned homeowners when their home AC system stops working after a storm passes their home. Lightening is the most obvious source of a power surge, but not the only cause. Utility events such as a transformer going offline, local construction, cycling of air conditioners, generators, and appliances can also produce damaging surges.

If your home experiences a power outage, power surge or lightning strike, some items in your home might be damaged or fail to turn on, such as the air conditioning. If the air conditioning fails to turn off, the cause is most likely a safety feature preventing excess electricity from entering the air conditioner compressor. Keep your equipment operating during the summer storms by protecting your equipment with a Surge Protector.

Are you protected? Did you know there are many different types of surge protectors? Some are cheap and not worth having and some are more expensive and offer you another layer of protection for your electronic products such as TV’s, stoves, washing machines, computers, and your HVAC system.

Many homeowners already use surge protection everyday, for example with personal computers. With the proven instability of the national electrical grid, the addition of surge protection for an HVAC system is a logical, low-cost solution that helps keep air conditioning systems up and running and prevents unwanted damage.

By getting this protection from an HVAC contractor, you get professional installation and reliable operation. In addition, some surge protectors handle up to 100,000 amps of surge current, offer a lifetime warranty, and include a $1,000 connected equipment warranty.

Be sure the surge protection device is UL approved for safety purposes. Do not buy it if not.

A question that comes up is that if power surges are a regular occurrence, unavoidable with our current system of providing electricity to homes and offices, why didn't we need surge protectors in our homes 50 years ago?

The answer is that a lot of the components in sophisticated modern electronic devices (such as computers, microwave ovens, DVD players etc.) are much smaller and more delicate than components in older machines, and are therefore more sensitive to current increases. Microprocessors which are an integral part of all computers as well as many home appliances, and today’s HVAC equipment are particularly sensitive to surges. They only function properly when they receive stable current at the right voltage. When a surge occurs beyond what is acceptable in tolerances, they fail.

Get protected today if you are not already.