3 Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Furnace | TopNotch Heating & Air

THREE SPRING CLEANING TIPS FOR YOUR FURNACE

Furnace maintenance is the last thing most people think about when the weather starts to warm up. After being burrowed inside all winter long, it’s understandable that people want to get out and enjoy springtime weather. If they’re tending to anything, it’s readying the yard for the summer, shopping for their dream grill, planning summer vacation, or figuring out what summer concerts they’d like to attend. If they’re calling an HVAC tech at all, it’s usually to inspect and clean their air conditioner.

But part of your annual spring cleaning could be getting your furnace in shape for next fall or winter.

Regardless of your furnace’s age, make, or model, any HVAC system in your home will feel the brunt of consistently running throughout a long winter. Think of it like putting miles and miles on a car. That car will better withstand the test of time and use if it’s serviced every 3,000 miles. Your furnace is no different and needs regular maintenance.

There are two critical points each year when it’s recommended you “tune-up” your furnace. Pre-fall/winter before there’s any need to turn your heat on and spring as you’re transitioning from furnace use to AC use. Most people service their furnace prior to winter use, which is fine, but many don’t do at all. Even if you’re not calling your HVAC tech for spring servicing, there are still some highly recommended DIY tips. These include:

Checking/Replacing Your Furnace Filter

A furnace filter should be replaced at least every 3 to 4 months if the furnace is running daily. More frequently if you have pets and anyone in the house allergic to dust or dander. To determine whether or not your filter needs to be replaced, check for the following:

  • Look for Visible Dirt or a Clog: If you notice visible dirt, debris, and dust, it’s time to change the filter. If debris and dust is minimal, and you won’t be running the unit for a few months, you can wait it out if need be. But why not just replace the filter in the spring? This way you’re starting fresh when it’s time to run your furnace again in the fall and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to change out the filter.
  • Check Filter Color:  Filters are usually white, cream-colored, or gray. If its color has changed or darkened, you should replace the filter.
  • Always Write Replacement Date: Whenever you’re replacing a filter, write the date you’ve installed a new one in permanent marker. This can be done on the exposed cardboard where the size dimensions are. This way you can make sure you’re replacing your filter every 3 to 4 months like you should be.

If you skip doing all of this in the spring, remember that even a minimally used filter should be replaced if it’s been more than 3 months since the furnace has run.

Pressure Wash Outside Condenser/Heat Pump

Spring is the perfect time of year to do this. You want to wait until the weather has warmed up and you’re sure you won’t need to use your furnace again until the fall. This can be a little tricky in Pittsburgh since the temperature here can fluctuate from 75 degrees to 35 degrees in March or April.

Pressure washing this component of your air conditioner will remove the debris, grime, and bits of gravel that tend to build up during a wet, cold, and slushy Pittsburgh winter. This will also remove or breakup accumulated dead leaves that sometimes get caught in the unit. This leaves you with an AC system that’s clean and running efficiently. Cleaning your system this way will also lessen the likelihood of serious more costly damage incurring as a result of neglect.

Don’t Hesitate to Call an HVAC Pro

Have your furnace serviced by an HVAC professional at least once a year. If you do this in the fall, you don’t necessarily have to do it again in the spring, but stick to a yearly schedule that doesn’t get confusing.

One advantage of doing this in the spring is you can rest easy knowing you can turn on your heat with the first chill of autumn. It’s not uncommon to turn on your heat during the first cold snap of October only to discover your furnace isn’t working. Spring furnace maintenance will ensure your system is ready to go come fall/winter. This way you and your family won’t be sitting around in October in multiple layers of clothing, draped in blankets, while you’re waiting for a furnace part to be ordered and installed.

For this same reason, spring is also the perfect time to replace an older furnace with a new unit. Most people need a few days or sometimes weeks to replace a furnace. Getting this out of the way in the spring means you won’t be without heat later in the year when you really need it.

CALL TOPNOTCH HEATING & AIR FOR PITTSBURGH AC & FURNACE INSPECTIONS & CLEANINGS

If you’re in Pittsburgh or one of its many suburbs, don’t hesitate to call TopNotch Heating & Air for annual AC and furnace inspections/cleanings. Coupons for these services can be found on our website and we can be reached at 412-381-0598.

Home Heating: Myth vs. Reality

The thought of winter heating bills is enough to send a shiver up your spine, in addition to the one caused by the chilly air! The good news is that there are many steps you can take to “winterize” your house and help keep your heating costs in check! However, even though your blood might not be circulating, myths about energy cost savings are.

Here are some of the popular ones, and why they are flat-out false:

Boost the thermostat to boost the heat.

Contrary to popular belief, your living space does not get warmer faster if you turn the heat way up. The thermostat does not crank out hotter air in this case the more you turn it up, it just runs for much longer than necessary. If you’re trying to get to that 68-degree sweet spot, turn the thermostat to 68 degrees, not 80! This way, your furnace is not wasting energy by running after the target temperature is reached. Then you won’t have to remember to re-adjust the thermostat and you won’t be paying extra!

Wood fireplaces are cheap and efficient!

Although we wish it were true, for nostalgia and satisfaction’s sake, this is another winterizing myth. As much fun as it is to sit around a fire and stay warm on a winter evening, traditional fireplaces aren’t very efficient at heating an entire living space. Most of the hot air is funneled up the chimney and into the frigid night. If you want to explore the wood-burning route, there are newer, more efficient freestanding stoves certified by the EPA that can save furnace use. Having cheap (or free!) source of firewood doesn’t hurt either.

Space heaters can save a lot of money.

The truth is that space heaters are far less efficient than traditional heating methods. They simply cannot adequately heat a space a well as a furnace or boiler. This is especially true if your furnace runs on gas or propane; electricity is more expensive than gas, which means costs can be amplified in the winter months.

There are instances where a space heater can save money, though. One of which includes using a space heater in smaller rooms and lowering the thermostat for the rest of the house. If you’re using them in larger spaces, then it’s more efficient to keep your thermostat at a normal temperature.

Winterizing my house is too expensive!

While upgrading the heat retaining ability of your home can certainly take a dent out of your wallet, not every winterizing step has to be detrimental to your finances.

For instance, insulating window wraps and rubber door sealers are cheap, effective ways to stop chilling drafts from blowing through your home. You or a friendly handyman can take a caulking gun to seal up any holes in your siding or roof. Heavy curtains over larger windows can keep cold air from reaching your toes, too! For more ideas and energy-saving tips, visit the EPA’s website. Be proactive in guarding your energy bill this winter and you’ll be pleased with the results!

“Help! My furnace smells!”

Most people think to call their local HVAC experts when their furnace stops working, starts making noises, or leaks water. How about unusual smells? That new, funny odor in your basement could be a sign that something is going wrong inside the mechanical workings of your furnace. Here are some fragrances to which you shouldn’t turn up your nose:

 

Sulfur, or Rotten Eggs

It’s one of those smells that you can pinpoint immediately, and usually as a red flag. Whether your eggs are actually rotting in the fridge or worse, it’s never followed by good news. Many gas companies add this smell to their gas intentionally so that homeowners notice immediately and call a technician. If you believe that this smell is coming from your HVAC system, shut off all gas appliances and open all the windows to help disperse the gass. Call a heating and cooling technician as fast as possible to notify them of a potential gas leak.

 

Moldy, or Damp

Air conditioning systems can collect moisture throughout the summer months, which can fester in your ducts and vents, producing mold buildup within your house. If you smell this musty scent when you turn on your heat or AC, call a Top Notch service technician to check for possible mold development. We’ll thoroughly check your duct system for mold and mildew and can eliminate any problem areas. Your lungs and nose will thank you when your household air is back to being fresh and clear.

 

Burning, or Smoldering

If you pick up a burning odor near your heating and air conditioning system, there’s a chance that something could be, well, burning. This should demand your immediate attention and action. If the smell seems to be coming from your furnace, it could be mean that something is overheating as a result of mechanical or structural problems. For example, the wiring may be faulty or the cooling mechanism is broken. Take cautionary steps to ensure safety:  shut off the unit immediately and contact a professional to evaluate the unit and provide an accurate report on what is going wrong.

Are you saving money this winter? Invest it in next year.

By all standards, last winter was very mild. The almanacs predicted colder temperatures this year, but so far it’s not too different from 2016. However, fuel prices are projected to be at historic lows this year, meaning your energy savings could be much higher than anticipated. If these projections hold true, many homeowners will experience big-time savings on their home heating bills. Depending on how much you have budgeted to cover your heating costs, a large chunk of that may still be available come spring. While you may be tempted to invest that money into a spring cleaning project or a summer vacation, consider investing in your home’s energy efficiency instead.

 

“Nothing gold can stay”

Next year is a big maybe, which means you can’t count on natural gas prices to remain this low long-term. Just like any other commodity, natural gas prices are volatile. Additionally, next winter has the opportunity to be drastically different from previous years, which means that there is no way to guarantee another year of savings.

With a presumed surplus of cash, a smart homeowner can begin taking steps to improve their home’s energy efficiency, which can translate to lower heating costs in the future, regardless of gas or electric prices. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • With your extra budget money, upgrade the insulation in your walls and crawl spaces, so that your hard-earned heated air can stay inside the house for you to enjoy. In terms of scale of investment, insulation is rather modest.
  • Upgrade to a programmable thermostat, one that lets you adjust the temperature at all times of the day with the push of a few buttons. For maximum savings, the EPA recommends lowering your thermostat at night and during the day when nobody may be active in the house. With a new thermostat, you have control over every degree and can cut costs up to 10% annually.
  • Install a heat pump. Heat pumps are a 100% gas and oil-free ventilation system that pulls heat from the cold air and cycles it through your home, without losing the heat that is already indoors.
  • Landscape your yard and plant trees. Yes, trees! Trees and shrubs can block those biting winds, while still allowing sunlight to reach your windows, and can even create small pockets of air to help with insulation.
  • Upgrade your furnace to a new, high-efficiency model. There may even be tax credits in it for you, making that dollar stretch even farther.
  • Hire an HVAC expert to perform an energy audit on your home to discover even more ways your can save.

When Should You Replace Your Boiler or Furnace?

Why is it so important to make certain that your home heat system is working efficiently?

For starters, if your home runs on oil or gas, the Energy Saving Trust believes it is responsible for 50% of your energy bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2009, the average PA home spent approximately 1,250 dollars annually on oil and gas in the home. The cost of your heat depends largely on the efficiency of your boiler or furnace. That is why it is important to replace your heating system when it is outdated, or not working properly.

In Western Pennsylvania, we use our heat about 5-7 months out of the year. And given the limited amount of sun we get in the Pittsburgh area, it’s probable that we use heat closer to 7 months of the year. Do you want to run a system the majority of the year that wastes gas or oil and raises your energy bills? We think not!
When to Replace your Boiler

*Tip: Ensure the longest lifespan for your heating system by keeping it maintained. Get your boiler or furnace serviced annually to make sure it is safe, and repair problems before they become too expensive to fix.

Find out if your boiler needs to be replaced by determining how efficient it is.

Every boiler and furnace has a rating associated with it. This rating is based on its energy efficiency or annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). Both the age and type of heat system you have affects how efficient it is. However, AFUE percentages are hypothetical numbers based on calculations. Read below for a simple way to find out if your boiler or furnace has a low, middle, or high efficiency rating based on how it functions, and the components it has.

Low-efficiency heating systems:

  • Natural draft that creates a flow of combustion gases
  • Continuous pilot light
  • Heavy heat exchanger

These systems tend to be older, as some of these functions, like the continuous pilot light, are no longer allowed in modern boilers. On average, these systems have between a 56% to 70% AFUE rating.

Mid-efficiency heating systems:

  • Exhaust fan controls the flow of combustion air and combustion gases more precisely
  • Electronic ignition (no pilot light)
  • Compact size and lighter weight to reduce cycling losses
  • Small-diameter flue pipe

In general, these systems have between a 80% to 83% AFUE rating.

High-efficiency heating systems:

  • Condensing flue gases in a second heat exchanger for extra efficiency
  • Sealed combustion
  • Temperature control devices

High-efficiency heating systems with the above components usually have between a 90% to 98.5% AFUE rating. Temperature control devices make it so you can be exact with how and when you heat every area in your home.

Why You Should Have a Home Humidifier in Western PA

A healthy level of humidity in your home will make you healthier while making you home more comfortable. In Western PA, we turn on the heat in our homes for 5-7 months of the year. That’s a lot of time spent with the windows closed, and hot air coming out of our vents. A whole home humidifier is one of the most effective ways to add the proper amount of humidity to your home.

Cold winter air brought into your home and heated likely has less than ideal Relative Humidity (RH) levels. This is due to the fact that colder air is less capable of holding moisture, making it so the colder the air is outside, the less humidity it has the capacity to hold. This is why homes in Western PA that undergo 5-7 months of cold weather should have a humidifier. A humidifier allows you to combat the dry air coming into your home, and add the proper amount of moisture to it, helping to keep your home comfortable.

Make Your Home More Comfortable.

By putting the correct level of humidity back into the air of your home, you prevent problems that can occur from dry air, such as:Recommended Indorr Humdity Levels Relative to Outdoor Temperature

Dry air increases likelihood of getting sick. Viruses causing colds and the flu prosper in low humidity. Dry air has also been proven in studies to make you more susceptible to infection. Dry air can also exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms.
Dry air causes home damage. Just like dry air causes your skin to crack, it also can cause walls, woodwork, and hardwood floors to crack as well.
Dry air can cause bigger energy bills. Low humidity often makes us feel more cold than you would with the proper amount of humidity, causing you to turn up the thermostat.
• Dry air makes you feel uncomfortable. From bloody noses, to dry

mouth and itchy eyes, sore throat, cracked, itchy skin, and static shocks, dry air is no fun for anyone.

Prevent the problems caused by dry air with a Home Humidifier installed by Top Notch, created by AprilaireAprilaire Humidifier Display Screen

Aprilaire makes the best Home Humidifiers on the market. Top Notch has been installing and maintaining Aprilaire Humidifiers into homes in the Western PA region for over 25 years. We stand by the brand because of its reliability as a humidifier manufacturer, and its top notch features. For example, only Aprilaire Humidifiers offers Fully Automatic Digital Humidifier Control. These humidifiers make it easy to maintain the correct RH for your home, ensuring that you always have the optimal indoor relative humidity in your home.

We supply compact units like the 65-pint unit for townhomes, condominiums, and homes with closet HVAC systems, up to 135-oint units, for very large homes, 4,000 square feet and up. If you live in the following counties and are looking for a top-notch home humidifier, look no further than Top Notch Heating and Cooling:

  • Allegheny County
  • Butler County
  • Somerset County
  • Armstrong County
  • Fayette County
  • Washington County
  • Beaver County
  • Greene County
  • Westmoreland County

Learn more about the humidifiers we carry on our website here: Aprilaire Products in Pittsburgh.

 

Now is the Time to Prep Your Furnace in Western PA

Professional Inspecting Furnace
Prep your home’s furnace or heat pump for winter soon because Winter Is Coming!! And it comes especially quickly in Western PA.  In November 2014, temperatures dropped down to 14 degrees! Make sure your home furnace is prepped for the inevitable dropping temperatures by getting your systems inspected and prepped sooner – rather than later!

Prepare for colder months before winter, and ensure your systems are up to par and working at full capacity by scheduling an appointment with Top Notch before the cold months occur. By getting your inspection and prep done now when we’re less busy, you will get more availability, rather than right before the first frost when we’re in our peak season and hustling all around the Pittsburgh area, from South Fayette, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Upper Saint Clair, Mount Lebanon, and more.

The first step you should take in preparing your furnace for winter months, is having a professional come in to inspect and clean it. The small fee of an inspection, will more than outweigh the cost increase an inefficient furnace could collect through sky high, wasteful energy bills.

Replace Furnace Air Filter

We suggest replacing your air filter, or rinsing your reusable filter. Next time you buy a filter, you might want to look into reusable filters, which don’t require replacing, but instead just rinsing. Some filters need to be replaced once a month, others, every three months. This depends on the quality of the filter, as well as other factors such as geographical location. For Top Notch customers located in Allegheny, Washington, Butler, Somerset, Armstrong, Fayette, Beaver, Greene, and Westmoreland Counties, we suggest checking your air filters monthly, and changing them when they look dirty.

Another item in your furnace or heat pump that we will review and potentially recommend replacing, is the humidifier pad. Your furnace’s humidifier pad should be replaced at least once a year.

After that, we’ll check other items, like your blower blades, blower belt, and potentially oil the blower motor (given it is an unsealed blower motor). We will look for loose belts, which can increase furnace operation time, and also frayed or cracked belts, which can stop your furnace from operating altogether. We also review your heat pumps’ return duct, condensation drain, filter, filter slot, and internal pieces within it to make sure everything is running well, and clean. We also may suggest cleaning the heating ducts, depending upon how they look, when you had renovations last, the last time you had them cleaned, etc. We change your humidistat from off to about 40-50% room humidity. We make sure that your blower doors are replaced properly to keep carbon monoxide away from the air that circulates throughout your Pittsburgh Home.

All in all, our thorough inspection of your system will ensure that it is in optimal shape to heat your home this winter, safeguarding your home and your family against dust, toxins, and other safety hazards. Save money on your energy bills and keep your home safe and comfortable by getting your furnace inspected and cleaned before use this year.

Installing a Furnace in Pittsburgh – When Installing a Furnace Remember that Sizing Matters

Before installing a furnace in your home, make sure the furnace has been properly sized for its space. Finding an appropriately sized furnace for your home or property can be challenging. Individual furnaces come in a wide range of sizes and can be either too small or too large for a particular space.

The home’s size is the first determining factor of what size furnace will be needed. However, it’s not the only factor to consider. The “heat load” of the space to be heated must also be taken into consideration. This means knowing the required amount of heat needed for a desirable comfort level. Things that factor in here are whether or not the home is an open space with a few large rooms or a closed space with many small rooms.

Another consideration is the home’s build and construction. If the home is brick, it will be more insulated more than a home with siding. The home’s orientation must also be considered – for example, if the home faces south it will generally get more heat from the sun in winter months. A townhome nestled between neighboring properties with little space between each house will be better protected from winter winds.

Properly sizing your furnace will make a substantial difference in how effectively it works. Balance is needed.

If Your Furnace is Too Small…
Obviously, if a furnace is undersized, it won’t properly heat the space. Certain rooms will be colder than others since an inadequate level of heat is being supplied. To reach the chosen thermostat setting, the furnace will practically have to run constantly, which doesn’t necessarily make an undersized furnace cost-effective.

If Your Furnace is Too Large…
Going big isn’t the solution to everything. While it may be preposterous to think you could have “too much” heat, a furnace that is too large will elevate the interior temperature so rapidly that the unit will shut down before it completes a full heating cycle. This is known as short cycling. A furnace that short cycles is overstressed and will generally have a much shorter lifespan, incur more repairs, and raise electric bills since it will drain more power seeing as furnaces use the most energy when they first kick-on.

Why You Need a Pittsburgh HVAC Company…

Avoiding this Goldilocks dilemma is easy when you work with a reputable Pittsburgh HVAC company with professional installers that will size your furnace utilizing a procedure known as a heat load calculation. Through this method, the HVAC technician will determine your home’s heat load and match it to an appropriately sized furnace. They’ll then swiftly and effectively complete the furnace installation while you relax.

Let TopNotch Heating and Cooling be your dependable heating service provider in Pittsburgh, PA. Pittsburgh-area residents have trusted Bill Reilly and his team of HVAC professionals for over 20 years and we have an A+ rating on Angie’s List. Contact us at 412-381-0598 or 724-693-0598 today.

Start Breathing Better By Improving Indoor Air Quality

Start Breathing Better By Improving Indoor Air Quality

We can’t see it, but it’s all around us. It’s a critical component to our day-to-day lives, yet it’s all too easy to never think of it or completely take it for granted. We’re talking about the air we breathe – both outside and indoors.

The air we breathe impacts both our health and overall quality of life. We feel better and healthier when we’re breathing in air that is pure and clean. Nobody gets any relief when they step outside for a breath of fresh air only to be smacked in the face by emissions from a passing truck, bus, or a nearby factory. Yuck.

Nobody knows this more than life-long Pittsburgh residents who still remember a time when today’s “Most Livable City” had the dubious distinction of being known as the “Smoky City.” And, if you’re new here, or too young to understand, all it takes is one look at an old black-and-white photo of a downtown Pittsburgh street so smoky that its street lights are on in the middle of daylight. Need further proof? Look at the still soot-stained old buildings in downtown Pittsburgh for further evidence.

But air quality isn’t something that only affects us when we step outside. It’s also something we have to consider when we’re at home or our workplace. Newer buildings today are airtight because they’re built to be energy efficient. This means fresh air outside can’t get in and bad air indoors stays inside. This is why it’s important to consider the quality of our indoor air, too. There are a number of air filters and cleaners available that significantly reduce pollutants and improve indoor air quality.

Limiting indoor pollutants is especially important if anyone in your home suffers from respiratory ailments, allergies, or similar illnesses that complicate breathing. Make sure any air conditioning or furnace unit has good filters. There are even UV lights that can be installed that purify indoor air, improving indoor air quality tremendously.

Call TopNotch Heating and Cooling at 412-381-0598 or 724-693-0598 if you’d like to hear about our solutions for improving indoor air quality.

6 Simple Steps to Prepare Your HVAC System for the Winter Season

6 Simple Steps to Prepare Your HVAC System for the Winter Season

heating-feature

During the winter season, Pittsburgh is a winter wonderland. Just last month, we were gripped with sub-zero temperatures and the cold weather conditions continue. With temperatures still on the low, many of us find our utility bills going way up. This is mostly because of heating costs. But if you were able to prepare your HVAC system early on and maintained it properly, you can bring down your energy usage plus make your HVAC system last longer.

The winter season may  be almost over (we dearly hope that it won’t extend even for a day) but winter comes every year. If you were not able to prepare your HVAC system this year, here are some tips on how you can prepare it for the next winter season.

How to Prepare Your HVAC Unit for the Colder Months

Perform Checks on Your HVAC System

Many HVAC systems can last for as long as 2 decades before needing replacement. You should closely examine your HVAC unit to see if it is still efficient and properly functioning. If you find that it is no longer functioning as it should, give a Pittsburgh HVAC company a call and have it replaced with an HVAC unit that suits your home’s needs. For sure this will seem like a large cost initially but in the long run, an HVAC unit that is functioning properly and efficiently will save you money plus it will make your home warmer and safer.

And Get the Checks Done Ahead of the Winter Season

See to it that you give your HVAC system a check ahead of the winter season. You would want to avoid finding out that you need a new unit during the winter season. Remember that the winter season is the busiest for most Pittsburgh HVAC companies. You can end up waiting for days in your home trying to bear the freezing temperatures before you get someone to install a new HVAC unit in your home.

Remember to Clean Or Change Your Filter When Needed

Cleaning the filter every month will help keep your HVAC unit functioning at optimum level. Your HVAC unit will at one point need a new filter. Sometimes all your HVAC unit needs to start working properly again is a new filter. You might want to consider getting a reusable filter as with just a good rinse you can use it again just like new.

Say Goodbye to Your Old Thermostat

Older thermostat models that use mercury can give inaccurate readings. You may think that you have set your home temperature to what you think is warm enough but with a mercury thermostat it usually means that the heat is more than the temperature you were aiming for. This means that you are using unnecessary electricity which in money language translates to higher bills. A digital thermostat is more ideal since it reads temperature levels accurately. You can also program it so the heating is turned on before you get back home and turned off automatically when you leave your  home.

Don’t Forget to Clean and Inspect the Heating Ducts

For your HVAC unit to function efficiently and give your home a fresh, clean air, don’t forget to regularly clean the heating ducts. You should also make sure that you check the ducts for punctures, dents, and disconnected parts. Any damage in the ducts can raise your bills up. You would not like the idea of wasted warm air blowing away most of your hard-earned money. You should also see to it that your heating ducts are properly insulated to avoid air from escaping.

Consult a Pittsburgh HVAC Company or Contractor

If you don’t know how to perform the necessary checks for your HVAC unit or you’re having a  hard time doing these checks on your own, or perhaps you just don’t have the time for it, it is best to consult a Pittsburgh HVAC company or contractor for this job. Aside from performing these maintenance checks, these professionals can also inspect the belts, motors and electrical switches of your HVAC system.  It is best to schedule an appointment with them before the cold winds start blowing as most  companies have busy schedules during the winter season.

Before Pittsburgh becomes a winter wonderland next year, remember to get your HVAC system ready!

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Call 412.381.0598 to get a free, expert estimate today!
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The Most Common Culprits of Costly Heating Repairs

The Most Common Culprits of Costly Heating Repairs

BWF-Web-Photo

Come winter time, Pittsburgh experiences sub freezing temperatures. But thanks to properly functioning heating systems, many homes and offices are kept warm and toasty. However, here’s one thing to keep in mind – Your heating system is not immortal. Just like any other equipment, it is bound to wear out and stop functioning properly. There are hundreds of reasons as to why a home or office heating system breaks down and most of these reasons are very common to both home and office owners. Good thing is there are professional Pittsburgh heating repair companies or contractors that can fix this problem.

To avoid costly heating repairs and keep your heating system functioning properly preventative maintenance is your best weapon. In addition to this, being able to identify and spot common heating problems, can save you a hefty amount of money in the long run.

Here are some of the more common culprits of heating  problems.

  • Airflow trouble – Improper air flow is caused by bearing, belts, and fan motors that are already worn out. If your furnace is overheating or you are experiencing improper heating controls, this can indicate that your unit has air flow problems,

  • Basic mechanical wear and tear – Your furnace or your heating system relies on numerous mechanical components that are essential for it to function properly. Wear and tear on any of these mechanical components can cause your heating system to perform poorly. Poor airflow, overheating of the furnace, and improper heating controls are telltale signs of this heating repair problem.

  • Dirty or clogged air filters – This is perhaps the culprit that results to more heating problems than any other issue. If you do not clean your filters regularly or haven’t changed them at all, you are bound to run into some heating issues. The irony here is this issue is the cheapest and easiest to fix. Clogged and dirty filters causes your heating system to work harder as it should since airflow is restricted. You end up having to bear the not so toasty temperatures in your home and a higher electricity bill. If you want to avoid this, make it a point to clean your filters at least once a month or have them replaced when needed. It’s a very simple solution that will save you a lot of trouble.

  • Not enough heating – Here’s one thing that all homeowners or office owners must not fail to do. Monitor your heating system from the very first day you use it. If you don’t regularly  monitor your heating system it can cut down your system’s general life expectancy or worse breakdown really early on. Clogged filters, faulty thermostats, and musty odors coming from the system are early signs of neglect that can lead to insufficient heating or worse.

  • Thermostat malfunction – Your thermostat is what controls and determines how much heat is produced by the heating system and when heat is needed. If your thermostat is malfunctioning it can cause intermittent heating, not enough warm air circulating throughout your home or office or worse, no heat at all.

  • No preventative maintenance – As mentioned earlier, you can save yourself a lot of heating problems and hefty costs of heating repairs by doing preventative maintenance. However, not many homeowners give importance to this. Most of us only react when there is already a problem. We can put the blame on our “reactive thinking on many things such as a busy schedule, forgetfulness, or we can even say we are just born this way, programmed to react, but we can change this. You can put reminders on your calendar or your smart phone for preventative maintenance of your heating system. By constantly practicing preventive maintenance you’ll get used to the idea and  it will become a part of your regular routine. If you don’t  have the knowledge, time or you want to make sure that everything is done properly, you can call on a professional Pittsburgh heating repair company or contractor to take care  of the preventative maintenance of your heating unit.

Keep your home or office warm all winter long and avoid costly heating repair bills by ensuring that your heating system is functioning properly. Call on a professional Pittsburgh heating repair company or contractor to fix heating issues before the cold season starts. And don’t forget to schedule a preventative maintenance on your heating system.

Ready To Get Started?
Call 412.381.0598 to get a free, expert estimate today!
24/7 Service That You Can Count On

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How to Keep Your Home Warm for the Winter

How to Keep Your Home Warm for the Winter

Pittsburgh HVAC

With our winter season getting colder and colder keeping warm will remain our biggest concern. So how can you make your feel home warmer this cold (and still getting colder) season? The obvious answer is to crank up your heater. But this would also mean your bills climbing up the roof. Here are some winterization tips that would keep your home warm without drilling a hole in your pocket.

Tips for Keeping Your Home Warm During Winter

1. Cover Door Drafts

Did you know that drafts can actually waste 5% to 30% of your energy use? That is a staggering figure and this figure comes from the U.S. Department of Energy. So imagine cranking up your heater only to lose 5% -30% of the heat. Your drafty doors can be the very reason that you need to keep on turning up your heater in the first place. So how do you do this? Here’s a simple solution that comes from the Great Depression times – the draft snake. Simply roll up some towels and place one under each of your drafty doors.

2. Remember to Clean (or Change) Furnace Filters

Many of us forget about cleaning (or even replacing those that need replacing) furnace filters at least once a month during the winter season. Here’s why cleaning furnace filters is very important. Filters filled with dirt and debris block off airflow therefore restricting the furnace’s heating capability which in turn increases energy demand.  To avoid forgetting about your furnace filters, mark a day in your calendar for cleaning them or set up an alarm on your smartphone.

3. Install Storm Doors and Windows

Storm doors can seal drafts and bring down air flow which brings up energy efficiency to 45%. Another great benefit of storm doors is that they allow light and ventilation to come in your home. When choosing your storm doors, it is best to opt for Energy Star-certified models.

When the cold, cold winds start huffing and puffing, you will be thankful (not to mention all warm)  that you had your storm windows out of your shed or attic and already installed. See to it that each of your storm windows are safely shut as they won’t help that much in keeping your home warm if you left them in their up position.

4. Regular Tune-up of Your Heating System is a Must

To make sure that your heating system is running without a hitch, a regular tune-up is in order. You need to make sure that your furnace is kept clean, well-lubricated and adjusted properly. Not only will a regular tune-up ensure that your home is a warm haven during the colder months, it will also cut down energy use and give you up to 5% savings on heating costs.

Here’s the great news. Most utilities actually offer a free yearly check-ups done by skilled and qualified technicians. The trick is to set up an appointment early on as HVAC crews are in high demand once the colder months start.

Remember these tips so your home stays warm and toasty when the weather gets icy.

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Tips to Stay Warm During the Cold

Tips to Stay Warm During the Cold

Warm Pittsburgh Living Room

When is this cold weather going to let up? Many of us are wishing for the spring season already. We all could use some warmth. But with temperatures still dipping low, we would have to think of ways to keep ourselves warm.

Here are 9 simple tips on how you can keep warm this cold season.

Nine Tips to Keep Warm This Winter

1. Wear layers of dry clothing. Layers and layers of dry clothing will help keep your body warm. Wearing several thin layers of clothing does a better job in keeping you warm than just having one thick layer as the layers trap in warm air.

2. Wear mittens. Mittens actually provide more protection from the cold than gloves. You can however, wear mittens and then cover them up with a pair of gloves.

3. Go inside if you get wet. Don’t delay going inside and changing into dry clothes when you get wet. By wearing wet clothes, your body temperature will drop (and therefore, make you feel cold). If you anticipate getting wet, or even sweating, we highly recommend carrying extra dry clothes through your day.

4. Cover all body parts when heading outdoors. Before you turn the knob and bolt out the door, make sure that all your body parts are well-covered. Remember that wind chills of 15 – 30 below can get your exposed skin frostbitten in just a matter of minutes (which during this winter, is not far off!). So before you run outside, be sure to cover up as much as possible.

5. Keep moving. Don’t just sit still or lie around in bed. It is rather tempting. But to keep your body warm, try to keep on moving when you are indoors. Avoid sitting still for more than 1 hour. If you are having difficulties walking around your home, doing chair-based exercises is a good idea. The simple act of moving your arms and legs and even getting your toes to wiggle can rev up circulation.

6. Wear warm clothes for bed. With the temperatures continuing to drop, thermal underwear, socks, and a hat can keep you warm as you sleep in. A hat in bed? The cold weather calls for some unconventional yet functional fashion. Did you know that you lose a lot of heat via your head? A hat can keep that heat in. So a hat in bed? With the freezing temperatures continuing to rage, we say “Oh yes”!

7.  Eat well. Make sure that you are eating enough during the cold days of winter. Hot meals and hot drinks should be in order. Soup up and drink up hot drinks to keep warm. Make it a point to have at least one hot meal each day and drink lots of hot drinks throughout the day. Make sure that your meals include a wide range of fruits and vegetables so that your body is receiving essential nutrients.

8. Have a hot drink before putting the night cap on. It will also be a good idea to have a hot drink in  a flask by your bedside. Remember that as you sleep, your body temperature drops and you might wake up feeling cold. So the flask in your bedside with a hot drink can be handy.

9. Keep your home warm. Cover all drafty doors and install storm doors and windows to keep your home all warm and toasty. Make sure that your home heating system is properly running. A regular tune-up can ensure this.

Stay warm in this freezing weather with these simple tips!

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Call 412.381.0598 to get a free, expert estimate today!
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