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Monthly Archives

February 2015

Tips for Picking an HVAC Contractor

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Ready to hire an HVAC contractor? Not so fast! Finding a skill, experienced contractor is especially important when it comes to advanced HVAC repairs and replacement. Remember these key points when making a decision. Certification Is a Must Any contractor or technician that you hire should be certified and have a license to work in your area — and should show evidence of that licensing. Licensing shows both good intent and access to insurance. Certification shows training in specific types of repair or installation, and both are important. The Better Business Bureau may have more information about the business you are examining, and you can also find out the history of reviews the business has. Know a Little About Your System It’s wise not to walk into a contractor relationship totally blind. Try looking up the basics of your heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit and how it operates. Even a very basic level of knowledge will help you spot frauds and allow you to understand explanations and estimates much better than before. Thanks to the Internet, the basics of heating and cooling equipment are easy to learn in a very short time, and knowing where your furnace box, coils and fan units are will help you when introducing the contractor to your system, too. Start by finding out what model you have. Look for Brand-Specific Experience It’s always better to find a contractor who has experience in your particular brand. Brands often differ in how they manufacture units and…

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Save Money With a Programmable Thermostat

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At times we may wonder: why use programmable thermostats? They save money through temperature settings and time when we forget to turn our thermostat down before leaving. The thermostats work by simply programming the temperature we want for any given time of day. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save money by using a programmable thermostat, resetting it for times when away or asleep. Because a person using such a thermostat can adjust timing of the heating according to a pre-set schedule, comfort isn’t sacrificed. A programmable thermostat can repeat and store multiple settings daily (up to six) and can override without affecting the remainder of the weekly or daily program. How Programmable Thermostats Save You Money By adjusting the thermostat for 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours, a user can save 5% to 15% annually on his heating bill. The savings are greater in mild climates than in severe climates. According to Consumer Reports, programmable thermostats can save money, if they are set correctly. They can actually cost more money if not used correctly. If we want to decide which one of the three kinds is best for our needs, we need to consider our schedule and determine how often we are away from home for an extended period. According to the government’s Energy Star program, these are the things to consider: 7-day models are best for those whose schedule changes daily. They are flexible and allow users to set a different program daily while…

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Spring Checklist

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Winter hasn’t breathed its last, but spring is almost in sight. For many of us, that means the spring-cleaning bug has already bitten us, and we’re making lists of all the things we need to do before the warm months come. If those lists don’t include these steps for putting our heating systems to bed for the summer, they should. Here’s why. Change the Filters While we probably change or clean the furnace filters routinely during the winter, it’s a good idea to change them one last time before shutting down for the year. Check the Carbon Monoxide Detector Gas furnaces produce carbon monoxide. This odorless but dangerous gas exits through the venting. While newer furnaces only produce small amounts, older, less efficient furnaces can sometimes emit dangerous levels. It’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector installed near the furnace and to check it regularly. Clean the Heating Ducts Heating ducts get dirty over time, and dust and other particulates in the air can irritate allergies. This can be a particularly serious problem for houses that have mice or mold. Cleaning the ducts also ensures that they are in good working order with no leaks, cracks or holes that allow heat to escape and raise our heating bills. Clean the Area around the Furnace The furnace area can gather a significant amount of dust, dirt and cobwebs during the winter months. This can become a fire hazard and can also be very attractive to rodents and insects. Have a Full Inspection…

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