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A Yearly Furnace Tune-Up Is Essential - Here's Why
Posted: Sep 12, 2019 by Andy
As a trusted HVAC company that's been in business since 1999, we've answered thousands of questions from customers. One question we hear often is this one: "Is a furnace tune-up really necessary?"
If you've been reading our blog, you know that we're firm believers in getting a yearly furnace tune-up. Tune-ups are vital to your furnace's overall health and safety. However, we also understand why so many homeowners question the need. Scheduling a tune-up every year can feel inconvenient, like having to get the oil changed in your car. If we weren't 100% sure a tune-up is for the best, we might question it ourselves!
It only takes a few easy minutes to schedule a furnace tune-up, and homeowners definitely shouldn't skip this crucial yearly maintenance. Here are four reasons why a furnace tune-up is necessary for the health and safety of your HVAC system:
1. It prevents future breakdowns.
Getting an annual furnace tune-up is the easiest way to prevent breakdowns. Tune-ups can vary, depending on who you hire, but they usually consist of cleaning your system, lubricating its parts, and verifying its connections are correct. A tune-up technician also keeps an eye out for any other problems, such as weak pilot lights or cracked heat exchangers. By investing a little in yearly maintenance, you won't have to worry about malfunctioning parts, loose connections, or dirty gas valves causing your heater to fail on the coldest night of northeast Ohio's already-frigid winter.
Dust, dirt, and debris naturally build up in your furnace, causing it to work harder than usual to heat your home to your desired temperature. If you don't get a yearly tune-up, this unnecessary strain on your furnace can shorten the life of your unit. As with any device, the harder your furnace's parts have to work, the shorter they're going to last before failing.
The average annual furnace tune-up costs between $80 and $150, but we run specials fairly often - call us today, and you could save a bundle! Even without a coupon, the low cost of a furnace tune-up now is much smarter than paying for a replacement or expensive repairs later on.
2. It lowers your energy bill.
Energy.gov estimates that the average household spends over $2,200 a year on energy bills, and almost half of this cost goes toward heating and cooling costs. A furnace tune-up is an easy way to reduce this cost with very little effort.
As we mentioned above, a neglected furnace has to work harder to heat your home. This not only places extra strain on your unit, but it really hurts your furnace's efficiency, too.
A tune-up can improve your heating system's energy efficiency by as much as 30%. This makes it much easier on your furnace to heat your home, and it also lightens the load on your wallet each month. You like saving money, right?
3. Your warranty may require a furnace tune-up.
A warranty agreement will vary depending on your furnace's manufacturer, but most furnace warranties require a unit to be installed and serviced by a licensed, professional HVAC service provider.
An annual furnace tune-up is an easy way to ensure you're complying with your warranty while keeping your furnace in great shape. Make sure you hang onto every bit of documentation regarding your seasonal furnace tune-ups, since many manufacturers will ask for proof of maintenance when making a warranty claim.
Skipping your yearly tune-up will only cause you financial pain down the road when you're faced with repairs or need to replace your failing unit. It'll cause your family discomfort, too!
4. It helps prevent carbon monoxide (CO) leaks.
Homeowners worry about the possibility of carbon monoxide leaks in their home, and for good reason. According to the CDC, roughly 50,000 people in the USA find themselves in the ER each year because of carbon monoxide poisoning.
While furnaces have safeguards in place to protect homeowners from carbon monoxide, leaks can still happen. A cracked heat exchanger is the usual cause of furnace-related carbon monoxide leaks. The exchanger is the set of coils inside your furnace that create the hot air to heat your home. Heat exchangers usually crack when the coils work too hard, which often happens due to a dirty air filter or an improperly-sized HVAC system.
Our expert HVAC technicians are trained to look for a cracked heat exchanger during a furnace tune-up, and they'll also detect any other problems that can lead to a carbon monoxide leak.
Scheduling a yearly furnace tune-up isn't as exciting as planning a vacation, but it's an essential item on your seasonal to-do list. By having your furnace professionally cleaned and maintained, you're helping prevent a future breakdown, a potential carbon monoxide leak, and astronomical heating bills. Schedule a furnace tune-up today and keep your family safe and warm this winter!
Window AC Units Can Be Dangerous!
Posted: Aug 29, 2019 by Andy
Though window air conditioning units may be convenient and cheaper initially than installing central AC, they present many dangers to your family. Be safe!
Window AC dangers
• Mold - A window AC unit is an ideal breeding ground for mold due to the humidity that the unit pulls from the air and condenses to sit stagnant in its bottom pan. This can aggravate allergies and even make you or one of your family members sick.
• Home safety - While window AC units provide cool air to your room, they also make the home more vulnerable to burglary. If the unit isn't installed correctly, it provides an easy entry point for a burglar to get into your home.
• Fire hazard - If there's a fire in your home, a window unit can become dislodged and fall, causing further damage or injury. Also, if the unit is installed in the room's only window, and there's a fire, it's far more difficult for you and your loved ones to escape through the window.
• Outdoor air infiltration - A leaky seal between the air conditioner and the unit will allow outdoor air (and all the pollutants in it) to enter your home. This can adversely affect your home's indoor air quality, not to mention your cooling efficiency!
Window AC safety tips
If you absolutely must use a window air conditioner, it's essential to follow these tips:
• Always have a certified professional install your window unit(s).
• Burglar-proof your window AC unit by ensuring it's secured with the proper support and equipment.
• Be sure your unit is the proper size. Before purchasing the unit, measure the window it'll reside in and review the power outlet closest to the window.
• Be sure your unit remains motionless when someone opens the window, or keep the window from being opened at all.
• Clean your window AC unit's filter monthly the filter by removing its front panel, and don't forget to press the filter-alert reset button when you're done.
• Don't leave the unit in your window during the winter as it can cause drafts, and the cold weather can damage the parts of the unit that are exposed to the elements. Don't store the unused unit in your garage, as it'll make it easier for rodents to get into the unit. Instead, store your unit in your basement or attic.
Window AC alternatives
Hands down, the best alternative to a window AC unit is to have central air conditioning installed in your home. While its initial cost may be higher, the long-term benefits are significantly better, especially your family's comfort. Call us today to explore your air conditioning comfort options!
Prevent Summer Weather From Damaging Your Home
Posted: Aug 15, 2019 by Andy
We all know how winter weather causes damage to our homes. Pipes can freeze, heavy snow will make a roof collapse, and high winds can topple trees. But, did you know summer weather causes damage your home too?
Hot, humid weather doesn't affect homes the same way as cold weather does. Heat damage is more unpredictable, and every region of the country has different levels of heat and humidity throughout the summer season. In northeast Ohio, we experience hot, humid, rainy summers every year, with temperatures that average in the 80s.
While winter or rainy weather damage can happen suddenly, heat damage usually occurs over time. However, even though the effects of high heat on your home may not be apparent right away, that doesn't mean you should ignore the issue. It's essential to stay aware of the different kinds of damage that heat can do to your home and learn how to protect against them.
If you wear rings on your fingers, you're familiar with the way rings fit tighter in the summer and get loose in the winter. This is because your skin expands and contracts according to the temperature's effect on your body.
Hardwood floors are influenced by changes in the weather in much the same way, growing and shrinking as the temperature rises and falls. When it's hot and humid, your floors expand and swell, filling the gaps left purposefully under the baseboards to allow for the expansion. When extreme temperature swings occur, as is often the case with Ohio's unpredictable summers, your floorboards can expand too much, and your floor will begin to buckle.
A slightly buckling floor can be repaired if discovered and dealt with immediately, but more extensive damage can be permanent. Even when your floorboards shrink back down, the edges will be damaged, and you'll likely have to replace them.
Probably the best way to protect your hardwood floors is to begin using your AC as soon as the humidity outside starts to increase - in Ohio, that's usually mid-March or so. Air conditioning systems remove moisture from the air to more effectively cool your home. Waiting to turn on your AC until the heat becomes unbearable might save you a bit on your energy bill, but you could be harming your floorboards in the long term.
Did you know your roof is susceptible to high heat damage over time? It's true, but unlike heavy snow damage, heat damage to your rooftop isn't as visible. Significant structural damage can accumulate inside your roof over the years without proper precautions.
Your home likely has an attic, and you're probably aware of how absurdly hot that space can get during the daytime, even if you don't store anything in it. Attics tend to lack adequate airflow, which means that heat and humidity build up inside and has no way to escape. This cache of heat and moisture contained directly under your roof will cause it to deteriorate more rapidly than it might otherwise.
Similar to your floorboards, the wood in your rooftop will expand due to high heat and humidity, cracking wood shingles and dislodging asphalt ones. Also, roof caulking will dry out in the sun and eventually cause leaks.
Making sure your air ducts are properly ventilating your home can help keep your attic from getting too hot in the summer. You should also consider coating or sealing your roof to protect against moisture and sunlight infiltration. Roof damage doesn't occur overnight, but it definitely shouldn't be ignored.
Furniture and interior decor
Wooden furniture, whether fine antiques or self-assembled pressboard from a big-box store, are affected by your home's temperature and humidity changes. As we talked about above, wood shrinks and dries out during our frigid winters and expands during our humid summers. Heat and humidity also affect other wooden objects in your home, including decorations like picture frames and shelves.
Home decor is also affected by humidity in other ways. Paintings and artwork are susceptible to mold growth, decay, and flaking in humid environments. Photos, books, musical instruments, electronics, and many other common household items are all adversely affected by the muggy summer weather here in Ohio.
Just like museums control their indoor temperature and humidity to protect the precious artwork, you can protect your valued belongings by managing your home's humidity level.
Most homeowners don't think about their home's crawlspace unless a plumbing disaster happens or a storm causes it to flood. But, did you know that high heat and humidity can damage your crawlspace just as much as a leaky pipe can?
Air trapped inside your crawlspace becomes stagnant, and the humidity level inside builds up over time. When condensation forms from the hot and humid air, your crawlspace becomes vulnerable to mold, mildew, and rot. Vented and unvented crawlspaces alike can suffer from humidity issues, so adding vents doesn't always help.
Arguably the best way to prevent crawlspace damage in humid climates is to hire a professional to encapsulate the area. By applying spray foam and installing heavy plastic, a contractor can completely isolate your home's foundation from the dirt below it, thus preventing any moisture penetration from the ground. This prevents humidity from damaging your home's foundation.
Summer's high temperatures and humidity can affect your home from top to bottom. Their effects might not be apparent at first, but they'll cause serious damage to your home over time. Without proper prevention, a heatwave today could cost you a fortune in repair costs down the road.
A cost-effective and straightforward way to keep your home - and your family - safe during high temperatures is with our comprehensive AC tuneup! By taking care of your AC, you'll ensure both the heat and humidity in your home remain at comfortable levels all summer long.
Why Is My Air Conditioner So Loud?
Posted: Aug 1, 2019 by Andy
As a machine with many moving parts, your home's central air conditioning system is sure to make some noises here and there. However, it should be relatively quiet and not unobtrusive. If your AC is becoming so loud that you're cranking up the volume on your TV, you might have a problem. Here are a few reasons why your air conditioner may be unacceptably loud.
Issues with your ductwork
Sometimes, the noise isn't coming from the AC itself, but instead from your ductwork. If air pressure builds up inside your ducts, the force of it can cause popping noises every time your air conditioner starts running. If your ductwork has any unsealed joints or splits, air can leak out and make a hissing noise.
You should have your ductwork regularly inspected to prevent these issues from occurring - or, if they do occur, to have them fixed right away.
If you notice rattling or clunking sounds whenever your air conditioner runs, there may be a loose part inside that is causing the noise. Since loose parts can easily become detached and create much bigger problems, it's crucial to have them tightened, repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Your system is old
Central AC systems typically last roughly 10 to 15 years, and newer units are much quieter than older ones. If you've had your AC for longer than you can remember, all that noise may be the result of a worn-out system. If this is your situation, it's probably best to replace the system entirely with a newer, quieter unit. Your new unit will save you money on your utility bill too!
When you need service, call on our expert team! For over 20 years, we've been the trusted name in heating and air conditioning in Northeast Ohio, offering an exceptional level of service. We're here to help - that's how neighbors should treat neighbors!™
Keeping Cool In Hot Weather
Posted: Jul 18, 2019 by Andy
We're not all about selling you quality service and HVAC equipment here. We genuinely want our customers to stay comfortable and safe during the extreme temperatures that Ohio can bring during the summer and winter months. So, today, we're taking a break from providing heating and cooling tips, and spending a little time talking about hot weather safety. Have fun out in the sun, but stay safe out there too!
It's a sad fact that high temperatures kill hundreds of people each summer. Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, and yet, more than 600 people die due to extreme heat every year.
It's wise to take steps to stay well-informed, remain hydrated, and keep cool. Getting overheated can make you sick. You'll become ill from the heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you down. The main factors affecting your body's essential ability to cool itself in sweltering weather are:
Personal factors. Age, weight, fever, dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, mental illness, sunburn, and drug and alcohol use all play roles in whether or not a person can cool off adequately in the heat of summer.
High humidity. When the humidity increases, sweat won't evaporate as quickly, keeping your body from releasing heat as fast as it needs to.
Those at highest risk include people ages 65 and older, children younger than two, and people with mental illness or chronic diseases.
Keep a close eye on people who depend on you for their well-being and ask these questions:
• Do they need help staying cool?
• Are they drinking enough to stay hydrated?
• Are they in a temperature-controlled environment (AC, fans, etc.)?
People at risk for heat-related illness should take the following protective actions to prevent illness or even death:
• Air conditioning is the very best way to protect yourself against heat-related illness and death, so take advantage of air-conditioned buildings wherever possible. Your local health department can help with locating air-conditioned shelters in your area. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk by spending time in public facilities with AC and using air conditioning in vehicles.
• Don't rely on the air movement that a fan provides as your only means of cooling during an extreme heat event. Combine it with other methods, such as relocating to the basement temporarily, where the temperature is naturally far cooler.
• Drink more water or sports drinks than usual and don't wait until you're thirsty to start drinking.
• Check on friends and neighbors and have folks do the same for you.
• Don't cook indoors - it will only make your home - and you - hotter.
Even young, healthy people can get heat-sick if they participate in strenuous physical activities in hot weather:
• Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated, and be sure it has an adequate SPF rating to provide sufficient protection.
• Limit the length of your outdoor activities, especially midday, when the sun is hottest. If outdoor exertion is unavoidable, seek shade often.
• Likewise, pace your activities. Begin slowly and gently pick up the pace. Stop (or at least take a short break) at the first sign of overheating - don't overdo it.
• As we said before, drink more than usual and don't wait until you're thirsty. Muscle cramping is an early sign of heat-related distress and inadequate hydration.
• Wear light-colored, loose, and lightweight clothing. Black absorbs the sun's heat, and it also absorbs energy from the body instead of reflecting it.
If you play a sport that practices outside during hot weather, look out for your teammates and protect yourself:
• Schedule workouts and practices at cooler times of day, no mid-day when the temperature is at its hottest.
• Monitor a teammate's condition, and have them monitor yours.
• Seek medical care if you or a teammate has heat-related illness symptoms.
Take these additional steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and even death during hot weather:
• Take cold showers or baths to help you cool down.
• Never leave children or pets in cars - not even with the windows cracked. The temperature inside an enclosed vehicle can exceed safe limits within a few minutes of turning off the ignition.
• Check the local news often for the current weather forecast, and health and safety updates.
As the old saying goes - knowledge is power, but when we're talking about hot weather, staying informed might mean the difference between life and death. Stay aware and stay safe and cool this summer!
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... and all points in-between!
We expertly service many furnace and air conditioning types, accessories and brands:
Central Air Systems - Electric Heaters - Gas Furnaces - Heat Pump Systems - Mobile Home Furnaces - Mobile Home Air Conditioners - Propane Furnaces
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