Putting the "V" Back into HVAC: Ventilation Strategies and Successes

4 Practical Ways to Save on Your Home’s Heating Oil Costs

Who doesn’t want to save money? Unless you’re taking steps to heat your home more efficiently – you’re not working towards this goal. Fortunately, keeping your home warmer without breaking the budget is something you can accomplish. Here are some tips to get you started.

Sign a Contract

If you’re only purchasing your heating oil on an on-demand basis, consider signing a contract. A contract is a great way to lower your heating oil costs. First, you get the benefit of locking in a fixed rate. The price of oil fluctuates, but when you’re in a fixed contract, any hikes in costs won’t affect you. Second, for your long-term commitment, some providers will offer you additional deals and incentives. Talk to a company like Olympic Energy LLC for more information.

Close Your Doors

You might be able to lower your heating costs by closing some of the doors in your home. For instance, if your basement is draftier than the rest of your home, keep the door to the basement closed. Keeping this cold air confined will keep the rest of your home warmer, allowing you to minimize your dependence on your heating system. You can do this with other areas of your home, including closets and bathrooms.

Arrange Furniture Wisely

Arrange furniture around your home wisely. This is an especially important step if your registers are located on the floor. Take your living room, for instance. Placing a large television cabinet in front of the register will prevent the heat from efficiently flowing through the room. The better arrangement would be to place the couch or other seating pieces near the register. Since this is the area where you will spend most of your time, being closer to the vent will keep you warmer. 

Invest in Good Window Coverings

When you purchase coverings for your windows, the style of the coverings should only be one part of the search process. You also want to ensure you are purchasing coverings that will do a good job at keeping the cold air out and the warm air trapped inside. Shades made from dual layers of fabric, heavyweight drapes, and plantation blinds are just some of the solutions that can minimize heat transfer and help you save on your energy bills.

Remember, it’s your money, spend it wisely on heating. Ensure you are working towards this goal to keep your home warmer and save money at the same time.

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How To Install Extra Insulation On Your Condenser Hose

If you have a condenser unit outside of your home, there are a few things you can do to make sure it is running efficiently. Since the condenser is exposed to the elements, there are quite a few things that could go wrong with it. Usually, these problems are easily fixable. One of the most common problems is that the condenser hose gets knocked loose or somehow gets a hole in it. Luckily, this is usually very easy to fix and prevent. This article not only focuses on how to fix a broken or loose condenser hose, it also explains how to reinforce your hose so it is less likely to have these problems in the long run.

Finding the Problem

The biggest issue with condenser hoses is the fact that most people fail to identify the problem. That is, if you are noticing reduced airflow in your home, you might not immediately check the hose that runs from the back of your condenser to the wall of your house. However, there are surprisingly a lot of things that can go wrong with the condenser hose. Debris can fall from the roof and knock the hose loose. You can accidentally nudge the condenser while walking by or moving things around it, causing one end of the hose to get dislodged. There’s even a good chance that a rodent could chew through your hose. All you need to do is regularly visually check your hose. It is also good idea to run your hand by the hose while your condenser is running. If you feel any air escaping through the hose, there could be holes in the rubber.

Repairing your Hose

In most cases, if there is an actual hole or cut in the rubber, it is easier to just replace the hose completely. Condenser hoses are cheap and easy to change out. You should also inspect the hose clamps at either end. If these are bent, it might be impossible to firmly secure the hose. In fact, when you do replace your hose, you might as well use new clamps as well.

If you want to prevent your hose from getting knocked loose or damaged, you can easily reinforce it. First of all, after you secure the hose clamps, wrap several layers of duct tape around them. You can also get some foam tube insulation to easily wrap around your hose. This will protect your hoses from blunt force and reduce the risk of it getting punctured.

For more information, contact local professionals like A-1 American Services.

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Don’t Let Your HVAC System Make You Sneeze

If you have seasonal allergies or you just tend to be a person who is very sensitive when it comes to dust, then you want to be sure you take extra precautions to prevent your heating and cooling system from irritating your sinuses. Learn about some of the ways you can go about maintaining your central heating and cooling system so it doesn’t cause you to excessively sneeze by reading all of the information provided to you in this article.

Start by keeping your home dusted

You do want to be sure you keep your home well-dusted. Each time you go to turn your heating and cooling system on, the force of air will cause the dust that’s settled on your furniture to make its way into the air of the room where it will float around until it can attack your sinuses and cause you problems.

Clean or replace the filter

You more than likely know that you are supposed to clean or replace the filter at the start of the season, before you turn your unit on for the first time. However, you should really be checking your filter much more than this, especially if you live in an area where there tends to be more than the normal amount of dust and/or pollen. Also, owning pets or having someone in the household who smokes inside can affect how often the filter should be cleaned or replaced.

Dust off all of the registers in the house

Each time air isn’t blowing out of the registers, dust and other particles can make their way to the register. When you turn the unit on, all of this debris will be blown into the room where it will ride on the air currents like sinus ninjas. Finally, these particles will make their way into your sinuses where they will irritate you and cause you to experience an onset of sneezing, as well as other allergy symptoms.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better idea of how to cut down on the amount of dust, pollen and other particles that can wreak havoc on your sinuses, you can keep your house at a comfortable temperature while you feel healthy. You should also have your system serviced by a professional annually, so you know it is working efficiently. Regular maintenance prevents problems from arising that will keep your unit from working the way that it should when you turn it on. For more information or assistance, contact companies like I C E Heating & Cooling.

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How To Insulate Your Exposed Ducts

Is your furnace in the basement or out in the garage? If so, you could be losing a lot of valuable heat through your ducts. This is a huge concern if you live in freezing climate. Basically, your furnace will be much less efficient and more expensive to run if your exposed ducts are not insulated. The ducts that run from your furnace into the walls of your home can vary in length. Obviously, the longer they are, the more heat loss you need to worry about. This article explains how you can insulate your ducts, no matter how long they are.

Using the Right Products

First, you need a few rolls of wool insulation. You should measure the circumference of the ducts to see how many feet you need to buy. You might want to double wrap your ducts, so keep this in mind. Also, you need to calculate how much need based on the width of the rolls. 16″ is a common width that works well with ducts. It is wide enough that it can be wrapped around bends and L-corners in the ducting. You also want some normal duct tape to secure the insulation. Wool insulation is very itchy so wear a long sleeve shirt, protective gloves and eyewear.

Tape the Duct Seams First

Before you apply the insulation, you should tape the seams between the individual duct sections. Air can leak through these seams, even after the ducts are insulated. In fact, once the ducts are insulated, you will not be able to find leaks or loose seams. So taping beforehand is a great precaution.

Applying the Insulation

Applying the insulation is relatively straightforward. You can wrap it around the duct in continuing, spiraling sections. But you should probably wrap and tape one section at a time. That is, wrap one piece all the way around the circumference of the duct, and then cut it and tape it down. Pull the insulation tight, but don’t stretch it out. If the wool fibers are stretched apart, they will not insulate as well. You should tape the edges of the insulation sections together. Basically, you don’t want any part of the ducting to be visible. If it’s covered by the wool, it will be protected from the cold air and heat loss.

This is a very cheap and simple way to make your furnace more efficient. Over the course of a couple hours, you can increase the efficiency of your system. Contact a company like Absolute Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning for more tips.

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Reducing Your Budget This Winter Through HVAC Mainteance

If you want to lower your heating costs during the cold months of the year, you should evaluate your HVAC system. The HVAC is used very often during the winter, especially if there is no other heating source in the home. These electrical systems can use a lot of power and be the source of high energy bills. The following are some things you can do to help keep your bills lower while also keeping your home nice and toasty.

Seal Air Leaks

Leaks that are left unsealed can decrease the temperature in a home. During the coldest part of the year, this can significantly cool your home, forcing the HVAC to work overtime. A simple leak can often be mistaken as a major defect in the entire system, which can result in an unneeded repair. When checking for leaks, look around the ceilings, doorframes, and around the chimney. Also look around the windows, in the doors, and any other opening to the home that may have some damage that led to a leak of exterior air into the home. To seal the leaks, use vinyl caulk to fill in any visible cracks.

Move the Thermostat

If your thermostat is located in a large open room in your home, it could be turning off and on more often than necessary to heat the home. The central location will struggle to remain heated while the other rooms in the house get overly warm. Instead, have your thermostat moved to a smaller room so that you can better regulate the heat in the home and decrease the stress on the HVAC.

Lower The Thermostat At Bedtime

While it may seem counter intuitive, reducing the thermostat at night while you sleep can be a very good way to save. There are less expensive ways to keep warm at night with the use of thermal sheets and electric blankets. This will help keep the heating use lower throughout much of the cold winter months. 

Perform Proper HVAC Maintenance

To keep your ultimate costs low, you should always perform regular maintenance on your HVAC system. Have your technician come evaluate the system before you need to use the system heavily. Not doing so can cause the system to work harder than necessary due to clogged filters, leaking ductwork, and so on.

Paying attention to your home’s heating use is a great way to reduce your budget. Be sure your system remains clean and healthy to avoid a loss of heat due to a damaged system this winter.

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What Health Issues Are Growing In Your Home’s Air Ducts?

One of the most potentially dangerous areas of your home is the air ducts. While you will probably never be in them, there are a number of health hazards that can hide out and live there. While there is no solid proof that general cleaning of air ducts to get out normal household dust will prevent diseases, you should consider having it done if there is anyone in the home with allergies, or if your family seems to be getting ill more frequently. Here are a few of the not-so-normal things that your air ducts may be harboring that can cause people to get sick.

Mold

Air ducts can provide the ideal environment for mold spores to grow, especially when humidity is high. While some mold spores only pose a problem to those allergic to it, there are also some that affect everyone. Black mold can cause headaches, fatigue, a chronic cough, and problems with the respiratory system. If your family has the symptoms of a bad cold but can’t seem to get rid of it, you should have your home checked for mold. You may need to have two different inspections, one for the house and everything in it and one for the air ducts and HVAC system.

Rodents

Even if you have no problem with pet mice or rats, having wild ones running around in the duct work can put your family at risk of getting a Hantavirus infection. The excrement and urine from the rodents living in your air ducts can cause this very serious disease. If anyone is exhibiting the symptoms of the flu, and keeps getting it after it appears to be gone, it could be Hantavirus. The virus can be picked up by the air going through the ducts and pushed out into the house where everyone can inhale it.

Allergens

Dust, dander and pet hair in the house will be pulled into the HVAC system through the return air vent. They will then be dispersed through the house when the air is pushed through the HVAC system. This will not affect those lucky enough to be allergy-free, but can be deadly to anyone with allergies.

If you notice dust particles shooting out of the air vents in your home, you cannot be sure it is not carrying some type of germ too. Contact a company that does professional air duct cleaning, such as Dick  Kearsley Service Center. The technician will be able to let you know if there is something hiding out in there that can hurt you. 

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Three Ways Your Pets Might Be Damaging Your Air Conditioning Unit

If your air conditioning unit hasn’t been working as well as you would like, there is a chance that your pets might be the culprit. Pets can inadvertently do damage or cause your AC unit to work overtime. Here are three things your pet might be doing that are causing damage to your AC unit and how to avoid them.

1. Shedding Fur and Dander

If your cat or dog sheds quite a bit, this can make your AC unit less efficient by blocking vents and filling up air filters. Pets tend to shed more when the weather heats up, right when you will be cranking up the AC the most. Change air filters more often than recommended if you have furry friends. Another way to clear unwanted fur is to add vacuuming AC vents to your cleaning routine. If you can have your pets groomed or their fur clipped more often, this will help them track in less fur that leads to clogged vents.

2. Urinating on External AC Unit

Not all AC problems stem inside of the home. If your dog or cat is urinating on the AC unit outside of your home, this can do both superficial and real damage to your AC unit’s overall efficiency. Urine can leave unsightly stains on your exterior unit. Over time this can corrode through to the inner workings of your AC unit and cause damages that will need to be looked at by an air conditioning repair specialist. Dogs and cats both want to lay claim to their territory, so be sure to hose down the area around your AC unit. This will keep this area clear of continued markings from your pets and other animal visitors.

3. AC Overuse in Summer for Furry Guys

If you have pets that really feel the heat in the summer, you might be more apt to leave your AC unit on at lower temperatures during the day just for them. Leaving your AC unit on throughout the day and night during heat waves can cause your air conditioning unit to need maintenance more often, especially with an older unit. You might also have an industrious pet that lies on air conditioning vents, leading to disrupted airflow efficiency throughout the house. Try to think of alternatives that can help an overheated dog or cat. Get your pet’s fur trimmed, install fans, or invest in cooling mats for your pets in the summer to give your AC unit a break.

If your pet might be causing your AC unit to work inefficiently, just remember that your pets don’t know any better. It is up to you to take steps to ensure that your pet doesn’t inadvertently cause damage to your AC unit. You can co-exist with your pet and your AC in the summer if you are proactive about their needs.

For more information about making your AC unit last, see Tropic Air Conditioning INC or your local AC specialist.

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