Adding heat & air to your basement?

Are you or have you considered finishing your basement? Maybe you want to make a game room or even a guest space? Whether you’ll be using a general contractor or doing it yourself, you will need to consider if your current heating and air conditioning systems can accommodate the additional space and if not how it will be cooled and heated. We evaluate this by considering the system your home has and how many square feet it covers as well as other factors. If your home’s existing heating and air conditioning systems are not at the capacity needed you then need to decide whether to upgrade your existing heating and cooling system to a larger capacity system, or add a second heating and cooling system for your basement. This question to me can only be answered on a case by case situation depending on how old your unit is, how efficient your current unit is etc. If you do decide to add a separate system for the downstairs I typically recommend a ductless mini-split system. These heat pump systems do not require ducts to be ran therefore saving time and money. If you’re ready to move forward in this process call your local HVAC professional to evaluate the job and they can talk you though your different options.

Space Heater Safety Tips

Space heaters can be great for temporary use or to help with heating certain rooms with airflow issues, although we do not recommend using them as your main source of heat. They can be dangerous below we have listed some safety tips to utilize when your space heater is in use.

• First off read and follow all manufacturer’s directions for your space heater. All models are different.
• Keep anything that can burn at least 5 feet from the heater including but not limited to curtains, blankets, and clothes.
• NEVER leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play near a space heater.
• Never put a space heater on a countertop unless it’s specifically designed for it.
• Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and test monthly.
• Don’t use gas- or oil-burning space heaters indoors, only outdoors.
• Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and potentially result in a fire.

Tankless Hot Water Heaters vs Standard

Have you considered switching? In my professional opinion this is really based on what your homes needs are as well as your expectations. This blog will help you learn more about each as well as some pros and cons. As always if you have any specific questions feel free to reach out and I will help in anyway I can. Let’s get started. Tankless water heaters instantly heat water as it flows through the device, and do not retain any water internally except for what is in the heat exchanger coil unlike the standard which heats water stored in a tank. That’s right this means no more running out of hot water! You wouldn’t have to wait thirty minutes in between showers or have to use cold water. Tankless heaters have been around for quite some time, but they haven’t gained popularity until recently in the United States. Efficiently is another big plus for a tankless water heater. It only heats water on demand. It’s a compact system that heats water when you need it, and turns off as soon as you turn off the water source. They are also better for the environment and will reduce greenhouse gases. Studies also show the life span is greater on the tankless systems, and they typically offer a longer warranty. On the downside they are more than double the cost of a typical water heater and may not be as beneficial for a smaller household and home. Not all homes are ready to support tankless water heaters. For homeowners with electric-only utilities your electrical system may needed to be upgraded, which could possibly add more cost. We do offer free estimates if this is something your interested in give us a call to schedule your free quote!

Maintenance Tips for Pet owners


We all love our fur babies so not only do we want to ensure there safe, but also that your keeping your home safe. Everyone should have regular maintenance done at their home but if you are a pet owner you will need to do some extra things to ensure proper air quality and safety.

Regularly check your HVAC filters & change them
In a home without pets and a standard disposable filter we recommend changing your filters every 60 to 90 days depending on various factors. In a home with pets we recommend checking your filter every 30 days. Clogged filters cause less efficiency and in turn higher utility bills. It can also cause breakdowns and shorten the overall life of your unit.
Brush & Bathe Pets Regularly
Pet dander is the common cause of many allergies. Regular brushing and bathing will decrease the amount of loose hair which in turn will mean less will end up in your filters and air ducts. Vacuuming loose hair regularly will help this as well!
Protect Your Outdoor Unit
We recommend enclosing your outdoor unit if your pets have access to its location. You can use fencing or any kind of barrier if it allows airflow. If they claw at the condenser they can hurt themselves as well as the unit. Also, them “marking their territory” it can cause corrosion and other issues.

These things can and will help keep your home and pets safe. If you have allergies or other issues and air filtration becomes an issue there is always more you can do such as an air filtration system. If you would like more information give us a call anytime.


Avoid Carbon Monoxide in your home

I think when we hear carbon monoxide it’s scary, but it’s good to know that there are things we can do to prevent this. As a worry wart myself I want to educate everyone on where the dangers lie with Carbon Monoxide leaks and ways to protect your home. First let’s talk about items in our home than can produce it. Gas furnaces, gas stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, and even improperly vented fireplaces can be a source of carbon monoxide. The number one thing to prevent this is to be aware. Ensure you have at least one detector in your home and ensure it is in working order. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) actually recommends that every home with fuel-burning appliances of any kind be equipped with a least one Carbon Monoxide detector. You can place your detectors anywhere from 14 inches above the floor to eye level, but never where there is a draft like near windows and doors. You should at the very least have a professional out once a year to ensure your detector as well as your equipment is running properly. If you have HVAC maintenance this is usually part of it, but always ask to be sure! There are also some signs to look out for if you notice any of these things in your home call a professional immediately! A noticeably decreasing hot-water supply, Soot collecting on, under, and around any appliance, a furnace that runs constantly but doesn’t heat your house, an unfamiliar burning odor, or a loose or missing furnace panel or vent pipe.

How to tell if your home is well insulated

There are a few signs most people tend to notice when their home is poorly insulated. Do you notice your unit constantly running? Has your electric bill been slowly increasing each month? Do you notice that some rooms in your home stay more comfortable? Here are some things you can do yourself to check for poor insulation.

  • Touch Test: The interior ceilings, walls, and floors typically should feel warm and dry in your home. If you notice parts of drywall or floors feel damp & cold in your warm house this could be a good indicator you have insulation issues.
  • Leak Test: Check for water in your attic as well as around windows. Your attic can be a great indicator on your homes insulation.
  • Temperature Check: You will need to open all of the inside doors for a while and let the temperature of your home even out. After you have let it even out take a walk around and check for rooms that seem significantly warmer or colder than other areas.

If you feel you have insulation problems in your home we recommend calling a pro to access the job and help get your home insulated correctly!

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How to protect your system during the winter

No one ever want their heat to go out but we really don’t want it to suddenly go out on a cold winter day. Below are some things you can do to protect your unit during the winter.
• An air conditioner cover can lower the risk of damage to the metal from repeated freezing and thawing, but you have to be careful. We do not recommend just using any old tarp as moisture can accumulate underneath some coverings.
• Regularly change the air filters in your heating and cooling units. Your heating system works harder in the winter, you may even want to change your filters more often than usual. This is a big one we have already seen a few times this winter. Clogged and overused filters WILL cause your heat to stop working. To learn more about how often and what filters to use please check out our December Monthly Tip video all about filters!
• Ensure that water from rain and snowmelt drains away from your home. Gutters can sometimes cause water or ice to fall on your unit so be sure to keep an eye on them!
• This isn’t completely necessary but can help. Create a wind barrier a few feet from your unit. You can use shrubs or even a fence would provide additional protection.
• This one may seem repetitive, but is very crucial when it comes to protecting your heat pump/furnace. Have an HVAC professional inspect and maintain the heating system.


Troubleshooting For Your Heat Pump

It’s never fun having heat issues in the colder months and if you have a problem we always recommend calling a professional, but here are some general issues and possible solutions.

 Iced-Over Heat Pump: Frost buildup on your heat pump during the winter is somewhat normal, your heat pump will signal a defrosting cycle to remove ice from the unit. However if you are having issues and notice your heat pump may be covered in a thicker layer of ice that the defrosting cycle cannot address that signifies something is wrong. If your heat pump is covered in ice, turn the unit to the off position or to the emergency heat position. This will continue to give you heat but will stop the outdoor unit from running. We recommend calling a professional in this situation because excessive ice buildup can cause damage to your unit. When attempting to remove ice yourself we urge you to use caution and not use any sharp objects as you may puncture and damage the coil. However when the unit is in the off position you can attempt to pour warm water over it to eliminate ice. If possible call a professional to avoid more damage.

 Heat Pump Won’t Activate: If your heat pump fails to come on it could be a number of different issues. Usually this is not something you can fix yourself unless it is a thermostat issue. Check to ensure your thermostat is set to heat and it is set two degrees above room temperature. Another quick way to check operation is to turn your indoor fan from the auto to the on position. If the circuit breaker is not tripped it is time to call in a professional.

 Heat pump running continuously: Your heat pump should never run continually without stopping over the course of the day. If this occurs check that your thermostat has not been set to an excessively high temperature and. Heat pumps that run continually could have a refrigerant leak, compressor issue, or a variety of other problems. We recommend calling a professional technician to diagnose and preform any necessary repairs.

Will a Programmable Thermostat Really Save Money?

The concept of the programmable thermostat is that you are able to control your thermostat by formulating a program based off of time, therefore able to save on energy when you are not home. This means saving money with your thermostat is really up to you. If you use it for its purpose and have it set back or off when you are not home you will encounter a change in your energy consumption. Many people fear that new thermostats may be too complicated to operate. While we can’t speak for all of them because manufactures are continually coming out with new models, the latest technology has made operating them more simplistic. A good service company will walk you through how to operate the thermostat at installation. There are many different options there are basic thermostats that allow you to set a specific temperature for certain time periods, or more advanced models that allow you to control if from your phone. There are other things you can do that may even be more effective in saving you energy. According to the Energy Information Administration, about 42% of home energy costs go to heating and cooling. Preventive Maintenance which we have talked about in a previous blog is a big one. It actually ensures your unit is running at maximum efficiency and could save you hundreds of dollars in electric each year. Check out our Facebook as well as our other blogs to find more energy saving tips!

Why is Preventive Maintenance Important?

You may be asking yourself, “Why are regularly scheduled preventive maintenance inspections so important?” The answer is quite simple! Just like your vehicle, your HVAC system requires service and regular checkups to ensure maximum efficiency and avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Regular checkups will also prolong the life of your unit and keep it running at full efficiently. An efficiently running unit saves you money on your energy bills. Preventive Maintenance is typically conducted during the Spring & Fall time of year. This is something you typically would have done in the spring and in the fall each year. You should have your AC maintained in the spring before it gets hot to ensure a worry free summer. Then you would need maintenance on your furnace during your fall visit before the cold winter months.

You may be asking yourself what is typically done during these visits. During your spring visit for your AC an HVAC professional will check to ensure the unit is running properly by checking refrigerate levels, cleaning coils, and checking to ensure filters are clean. All of these things greatly impact the way your unit functions and you want to ensure your AC is running smoothly before the summer.
During the fall visit the technician will check numerous things involved with the furnace including but not limited to the heat exchanger, draft induced assembly, flame sensor, safety switches, and more. These things are very important and some could even be a safety concern. While there is more steps involved this is just a brief overview to give you an idea of what a technician during maintenance visits. If you would like more information or if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us.

How Often to Change Filters and What Type?

Most people do not completely understand the importance of changing filters and the impact it will have on energy consumption and the life of your equipment. That brings us to the first question “why it’s important to change your air filters regularly?” Everyone knows changing the oil in your car is important and if you do not it can be hard on your engine. This can be a great example to compare to. Did you know one of the most common reasons a system breaks down is because of a dirty/clogged filter. When dirt accumulates the air cannot pass through and in turn can cause your gas furnace to overheat and can force your AC to work harder to maintain its set temperature. Besides the effects dirty filters have on your unit and can also cause health issues. This is especially important for those that have asthma and allergies. A dirty filter is blowing dirt and dust into your home and if you have pets this can be even worse. Let’s go back to what I mentioned before a dirty filter will be hard on your unit because it makes it work harder. If your unit is having to run more this will also cause increases in your electric bill each month.
Now that we have covered why to change your filters lets discuss how often. This obviously varies based on factors in your home. How many people are living in your home, do you have pets, what type of filter etc.. Typically for a family home with pets I recommend changing your filter every 60 days. If you do have pets in your home you should change your filter once a month. If you’re living in a one person home with no pets then your filters will last longer. In this case you should only need to change your filter every 90 -120 days. It’s always a great idea to at least do a visual check on your filters monthly to verify their condition.
You will find many HVAC professionals have different opinions on what type of filter and even what brand they recommend. Every home is different based on conditions that we listed above, therefore what I recommend would be on a case by case basis. I have listed some different options below.
• Fiberglass Filters – This is the throwaway air filters and tend to be the most common type used. They are made of layered fiberglass fibers are laid over each other to form the filter. These are the cheapest option and are disposable. However they do not last as long and clog up faster which in turn decreases your unit’s efficiency. They are also not as effective at getting smaller particles. I would not recommend these for those with asthma and allergy issues.
• Disposable pleated paper or polyester filters – These filters are much better at trapping the dirt and dust particles. They do cost more than the spun fiberglass filters but do a much better filtering job.
• High efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters – As the name states these filters are very efficient. They actually filter 99.97 percent of all particles. However these filters are quite more expensive.
• Washable air filters – These filters do not tend to be as common as the others. They actually rely on the build-up of dust along the cloth. These do cost more than the other filters but they also last a lot longer. On the other hand they are not good to help with air contaminants like smoke and pet dander. They also increase your chances of getting mold if they are not fully dried each time.

Why is my Furnace not coming on?

Why is my Furnace not coming on?

Your furnace not coming on during the winter can be a scary thing. I know this can be alarming especially if it occurs during a cold night. Remember preventive maintenance can greatly reduce your chance for these stressful break downs. If you are a part of our preventive maintenance program we typically will come out in the Fall months to ensure your furnace is prepared for the cold before it even arrives. Things do happen so if you find yourself in this situation I always recommend calling a professional. If that’s not an option at the time here are some potential causes and ways to fix it.

  • Check your thermostat: Open the thermostat and gently blow out any dust or debris. Ensure it’s level and firmly attached, and that all wires are connected and secure. Then set the temperature five degrees higher than the room temperature and see if the furnace turns back on.
  • Check your Filters: Most people do not realize dirty filters can cause furnace problems. Excess dust and dirt can restrict airflow. If the filter becomes to clogged it can cause the heat exchanger to overheat and shut off too quickly. You will find this is most likely the issue if the blower is running but no heat is coming out.
  • Faulty or dirty ignitor/sensor: I find this is typically the most common cause when your furnace is not working. Normally the furnace is notified by the thermostat to click on, the ignitor then will get hot. This then triggers the process of igniting the gas and blowing hot air. If you have a faulty or dirty sensor the furnace will not be able to go through this process. If this is the issue it is best to call a licensed HVAC professional.