Save Money on Heating this Winter

Winter is coming, but it doesn't have to bring outsized heating bills with it. Take a tour of your home and check out these problem areas; fixing them up could dramatically reduce how much you need to spend to keep the place warm and toasty.

Decorate with LED Lights for the Holidays: Buy new LED holiday lights, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. In addition to consuming less energy, LED lights don't emit as much heat and are more resistant to breakage, making them a safer alternative. Bonus tip: Always unplug your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house. As with all appliances and electronics, your holiday lights will continue to draw power even when not in use, which adds unnecessary expense to utility bills.

Use the Sun for Free Heat: That bright orb in the sky should be the focus of temperature control in your residence throughout the year. Open the curtains on your south and west facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home. Close your window coverings when the sun goes down to keep the heat inside.

Bundle Up with Warm Accessories: This is one of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill. Instead of turning the heat up, put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor.

Use Ceiling Fans to Your Advantage: Homes that have better ventilation and airflow can be more energy efficient in the summer and winter months. If you have ceiling fans in your home, you have more control over ventilation than you know. Ceiling fans can be used strategically to achieve better airflow: counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer and clockwise will trap heat inside to keep your rooms warmer during cooler months. Turn your ceiling fan on a low setting to gently push hot air back down.

Let Your Thermostat Think for You: Don’t waste money heating an empty home.  Install a programmable thermostat and schedule your home’s heat to lower when you are away or asleep and turn back up when you are returning home or waking-up. When used strategically, programmable thermostats can save you nearly $180 a year and even more during the winter months (larger homes can expect even bigger savings). If a new thermostat isn’t an option, adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10% per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. Consider investing in flannel sheets and a warm comforter for your bed and keeping your home cooler when you sleep.

Invest in Insulation: Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat and cold air in homes without proper insulation. Get some inexpensive insulation from your local home improvement store, and cover up all those areas where heat might escape. Start with foam weather stripping for your doors and windows; it's cheap and is extremely easy to apply.

Plug Leaks and Drafts: Stop throwing money out the window.  Your home loses most of its heat to drafts and air leaks (inside and out). Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors and you can save up to 20 percent on heating costs. Replace worn weatherstripping around doors and windows. If you can see daylight under your front door, then you’re losing the indoor air you’ve paid to heat. Make sure to adjust door threshold so there is no to little light. Also, the door shouldn’t drag on the threshold or it’ll wear out the weatherstripping

Maintain Your HVAC System: Make sure to clean or change your furnace filters regularly. A dirty furnace filter will slow down air flow, making the system work harder to keep you warm and costing you more money. Also, consider getting a winter tune-up.  Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a semi-annual or yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency, saving you money and making your home more comfortable.

Get a Humidifier to Add Moisture to the Air: The air inside your home can become very dry. Moist air feels warmer and holds heat better, so a humidifier can help you feel comfortable when your thermostat is set at a lower temperature. You can also increase the humidity in your apartment with a collection of house plants.

Only Use Exhaust Fans When Necessary: Exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom pull the hot air that rises to the ceiling out of your home. Use exhaust fans sparingly, and shut them off when you are done with them

Tune up the Furnace and Gas Fireplace: The tune-up includes a furnace or fireplace inspection, preventative maintenance, and identifying parts that may need to be repaired or replaced. Our professional plumbers can also find any gas or carbon monoxide leaks to keep your family safe. Some furnace warranties actually require this annual or regular maintenance.

HVAC Tips to Get You Ready for Thanksgiving

With the first holiday of the Holiday season being in 7 days, it’s time to make those final preparation tips to get your home ready for your guests (or make preparations to head elsewhere for the holidays). For those of you hosting guests for the holidays, it’s safe to say that 24 hours before the holiday, it’s time to clean your home from top to bottom! However, did you know that some of your cleaning can also benefit your HVAC system during the holidays as well? We’ve provided a list of Holiday HVAC Tips to help you along this holiday season making sure that your taking measures to ensure your HVAC system is running as efficiently as possible.

Tip #1: Dust, Dust & Dust

One of the best ways to help your home’s HVAC system before the holidays is to simply dust. The more you dust, the less dust particles that travel through your home’s ductwork and spread throughout your home. The best way to dust is to just simply grab a towel that you’re no longer using, lightly wet it, and run it over any exposed surfaces. The dust will be trapped in the towel and all you have to do when you’re finished is throw it in the washer. Also, pay special attention to the vents – and most importantly – the air returns in your home.

Tips #2: Change Your Air Filter

It seems simple enough, but this is often one of the most overlooked maintenance items there is. Changing your air filter is fairly simple as long as you have the right air filter in place. The easiest way to avoid any issues is to bring the used filter to the hardware store and pick up a few for the winter season ahead. Remember, your furnace needs its filter to be replaced monthly.

Tips #3: Turn Down Your Thermostat

If you’re cooking for the holidays, you are guaranteed to have your oven on for extended periods of time. Because your oven will be running so much, it will actually be providing some heat to your home. This means that your furnace won’t be needed to run as much, so feel free to turn your furnace down a few degrees since your oven can make up for the extra heat needed.

Family and employees of McCoy’s Heating, Air, & Plumbing want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! We hope our short list of holiday HVAC Tips will help you out this holiday season and keep your HVAC system running smoothly! If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call us at (731) 668-7492!

How to Avoid a Plumbing Issue on Thanksgiving

Only 8 more days until Thanksgiving!!!  A great holiday filled with food, family, and fellowship but a lot of preparation work goes into a great Thanksgiving celebration every year.  The warmth of good food, a clean home, and welcome warmth from the cold outside all work in show for an amazing occasion. Unfortunately, the dread of an oncoming disaster can add unneeded stress to an otherwise great celebration.

Holiday problems aren’t always nice enough to wait until after your guests have had their fill and gone home.  Problems may strike both before and during your party.  While you can’t prepare yourself for all of them, there are a few really simple things you can do to ensure that your party is ready to deal with major issues before they arrive.

Don’t treat your garbage disposal like a trash can.

People, especially those with a garbage disposal, tend to treat their kitchen sinks as a waste basket for cleaning up kitchen scraps.  But this mistreatment leaves many of them with clogged or smelly drains, usually just in time to be a problem.

Never pour fats, cooking oil, or excess grease down your drain.  They’re liquids while cooking but they congeal and solidify in your pipes quickly.

Fibrous and starchy foods, such as peels or turkey skins, can hang or collect inside your drains in much the same way that hair does in any other drain.  Stringy items like these should be thrown away with regular trash or composted outdoors.

Always run cold water when you turn your garbage disposal on. Turn it on before you start pushing non-fatty or stringy food down into it. Filling it full and then turning it on is a great day to break your disposal before Thanksgiving even starts.

Keep your garbage disposal clean by pouring a small amount of dish soap inside and run it with some cold water. You can even use a few slices of lemon peel for a fresh scent.

If your garbage disposal is broken, don’t try to fix it yourself. This type of project is not DIY — give us a call before attempting the fix yourself.

What to Do for Clogged Thanksgiving Drains

Do not fix a clogged sink drain, especially one with a disposal, using liquid decloggers or solvents.  While these works for hair traps and some other issues, they are not rated for foods and oils which have been flushed down the sink.  To solve these clogs, use a plumbing snake to clear the clog.  If you’re unfamiliar with how to use a snake, or you don’t own one and simply want a fast-fix before the party starts, call McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing

The only thing that should be flushed down your toilet is toilet paper and human waste!

Clogged toilets area common occurrence, but not by any more of a margin than normal.  For one thing, they’re easy to prevent.  Many of the problems we see with toilets every year are due to improper use of low-flow toilets.  You should never flush anything other than human waste or toilet paper.  Other items, even wet-wipes labeled “flushable” have a high chance of clogging your drains.  If you want to prevent a disaster scenario before it ever starts, be careful of what gets flushed. So, make sure your guests know that the only 2 things that should be flushed down a toilet are toilet paper and human waste.

Guest Staying Overnight

If you have overnight guests make sure to schedule at least 15 minutes between showers in order for the hot water to replenish! Also, this will allow your drains to clear

Fix the existing plumbing issues BEFORE Thanksgiving and before your guests arrive. 

If you have leaky faucet, clogged or slow running drain, a water heater on its last leg, or you’re having garbage disposal issues, give us a call to fix those problems TODAY! Plus, if you’re in need of our services during the holiday, give us a call at 731-668-7492 or schedule on our app! Happy Thanksgiving from McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing!

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Test Out the Furnace

The First Cycle of the Season

Before turning on your furnace for the first time in months, it’s a good idea to check the area of your furnace unit for any flammable materials. Sometimes these things get left behind during the summer months when the furnace is cool, and they could present a fire hazard during the cold, dry winter.

Next, open a few windows throughout your home, because the first cycle is liable to spread a somewhat foul odor. This is usually harmless, however -- dust and lint settle on furnace heating elements all summer long, and when the furnace finally gets fired up, those particles burn quickly. The result is usually a burning smell that clears after a few minutes.

After the furnace kicks on, let it run for at least ten minutes. You’ll want to make sure any initial burning smell goes away -- if not, there may be a problem with your furnace and you should shut it down immediately before calling for service. You should also listen carefully for any new or troubling sounds coming from your furnace, as these are also common signs of trouble.

Routine Maintenance

When testing your furnace at the beginning of cold weather season, it’s also the perfect time to conduct a little maintenance, starting with your HVAC filter. This should be changed regularly, usually every 30 days. If you’re not sure where your filter is located or what size to use, contact your local HVAC service professional.

You should also test your thermostat to make sure it’s controlling your furnace and detecting temperatures accurately. Be sure to try the always-on fan setting to make sure it’s working, as well. If you have a programmable thermostat, this is a good time to update your heating schedule, if needed.

Finally, test and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This goes hand-in-hand with furnace testing, because malfunctioning home heating equipment is a leading cause of both household fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. If any of these detectors have expired, replace them before home heating season gets into full swing.

It’s tempting to keep the furnace turned off for as long as possible, but the longer you wait to test your system, the less time you’ll have for repairs if something is wrong. Call McCoy’s Heating & Air right away if you need a tune-up or repair before winter rolls in!

 See more at: http://www.onehourheatandair.com/blog/dont-wait-until-the-last-minute-to-run-the-furnace#sthash.6eejd4K7.dpuf

 

National Stress Awareness Day

Wednesday was National Stress Awareness Day! Sorry we didn't post this is on Wednesday, our marketing coordinator got the days wrong.  National Stress Awareness Day was created by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA) in the UK to raise an awareness about stress, how to reduce stress in your life, support groups and the negative affects it has.

We have all felt or look like the guy in the picture above. Life is stressful between work, family, daily tasks, and everything moving at a fast pace it’s hard to relax and enjoy life.  

Stress Awareness Day is your opportunity to start looking after yourself and your life, and break down the individual stressors in your life. Failure to deal with stress in your life effectively can lead to serious health problems, including increased blood pressure, susceptibility to heart disease, and a decline in your immune system. Once you start experiencing these symptoms they can landslide into each other, resulting in growing sickness, and by extension, more stress. Plus, too much stress can cause depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems. It’s truly a self-feeding problem, and a cycle that is necessary to control to enjoy our lives.

The best way to celebrate Stress Awareness Day is to take the opportunity to remove the stress from your life for the day. Take the time to examine your life and find out where all the stressors lie, and start looking into taking steps to remove them or find ways to mitigate them. Plus just taking a few minutes out of each day to do something for you can help reduce stress. Below is yoga positions to relieve stress, activities to do (but you can make it your own),  and food to eat and avoid when stress.

Here are the top 5 daily stress reliever poses! Plus here is a link for yoga poses to try at work: http://www.doyouyoga.com/7-yoga-poses-you-can-do-at-your-work-desk-to-relieve-stress-68712/

What you put in your body can also affect your stress. Some foods will help reduce stress while other will increase it!

10 Best Food to Eat for Stress

  1. Green leafy vegetables
  2. Organic turkey breast 
  3. Fermented food
  4. Wild-Caught Alaskan salmon
  5. Blueberries
  6. Avocados
  7. Pistachios
  8. Dark chocolate
  9. Seeds like pumpkin or sunflower
  10. Sunshine

Worst Food to Eat when Stress

  1. Sugar
  2. Gluten
  3. Processed Foods

For more information: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/04/27/10-stress-relieving-superfoods.aspx

 

 

House Fires

Are you thinking about turning on your furnace for the cold weather ahead? Do you wonder if turning on your furnace will cause a fire that could cost you over a million dollars in property loss/damages? Well you should cause heating a home is the second leading cause of house fires. Before turning on your furnace call us at 731-668-7492 to set up an appointment for an inspection & cleaning of your furnace.

Why You Should Avoid Chemical Cleaners

What is the first thing you grab when you a drain problem? The plunger? Great first choice! Chemical drain cleaner? Bad choice like more harmful than good bad choice. Chemical drain cleaners are dangerous to use, harmful to your pipes, and pollute the environment. We recommend using only a plunger or call McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing.

Never pair chemical drain cleaner and plungers! If you have a failed attempt to unclog your pipes with a chemical drain opener, be aware: the chemicals are sitting in your pipes. If you then try a plunger, you may draw the chemical back toward you, causing serious burns to your hands, face, and any exposed skin. You can’t put a price on your family’s safety, and this is a problem you want to avoid at all costs.

Chemical Drain Cleaners are Bad for Your Health: The chemicals used to clean your drain are extremely harsh.  Even if you're not combining the chemical with water (which you should never do), the chemicals still release extremely harsh fumes that can be harmful for your health - not to mention the fact that these chemicals can cause major pain (and irreversible damage) if you accidentally splash them on your skin or eyes.

Safer & More Effective Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaners: To avoid bringing this dangerous and toxic chemical into your home, there are plenty of environmentally safe alternatives for you to try:

  • Boiling water - This works especially well for flushing out grease clogs in the kitchen sink
  • Baking soda and lemon juice - 1 cup of each, following with plenty of hot water
  • Vinegar, salt, and borax - 1/2 vinegar, 1/4 salt, 1/4 borax followed by hot water
  • Baking soda and cider vinegar - 1 cup of each on your drain, following with plenty of hot water

 Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Damage Your Pipes: Chemical drain cleaners are designed to eat away at whatever is obstructing your pipe. While this can clear away the debris that is contributing to your clog, the chemical drain cleaner can't distinguish between debris and pipe. This means the harsh chemicals are eating away at your pipes!  And sometimes the homeowner doesn't realize his pipe is leaking because it's in a wall or under a sink. Then you'll end up with a stinky mess or damage to the structure. Therefore, it will cause your plumbing system to be fix or even repipe which will be a pricey bill.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Simply Don't Work That Well: The truth of the matter is, most chemical drain cleaners don't really work that well for most clogs.  They may help a small clog, sure, but anything too large for a plunger or drain snake most likely requires the professional attention of a plumber, not a chemical bath. Save yourself the headache and the hassle and call a plumber: It will most likely save you money in the long run.

If your drain pipe is clogged, and the plunger doesn't get it out, we recommend you call us. Have any questions about keeping your drains flowing? Need a plumber to provide an estimate or come out to you? That's what we're here for! Call McCoy’s Heating, Air, & Plumbing and we'll help you out! 

Furnace Maintenance Tips

When fall starts to settle in and you know cooler temperatures are on the way, it’s time to start thinking about furnace repair and service. Proper maintenance will help make sure that your furnace is up to the task of keeping you and your loved ones warm this winter. Before that familiar chill hits, take some time to inspect your heating system to make sure it is working properly.

Ensuring that your furnace is working properly is the key to keeping energy costs low. Here are some steps you should take every fall to make sure your furnace is running as efficiently and as safely as possible:

Check for Gas Leaks: Gas appliances can strike anytime, ensure you exercise safety measures. Before you begin cleaning and checking your gas furnace and turn it off. Ensure the power system and any circuits connecting to the furnace are off. Check for gas leaks before you begin cleaning. Gas leaks can be very dangerous and can cause fatal accidents. If there are leaks, request a professional to fix the problem. Also, make sure connections do not look worn or damaged, if so call a professional for repair. Stay far away from the gas until it is fixed.

Check the thermostat: Are you setting your thermostat but still feel uncomfortable around the room? If yes, know that there is a problem with your thermostat especially if it has been working for many years. Chances are your thermostat has stopped working and needs to be replaced. Check the thermostat and ensure it’s in proper condition and replace it when need be.

Clean and Replace Filter: The filter system is one major part of a furnace because it prevents dirt from entering the furnace. It is recommended that every furnace owner replace or clean the filter at the beginning of the season, and then every month when your furnace is in use. This is because it filters and traps dust, dirt and other debris. Check the filter and see if it has accumulated lots of dirt. If it is completely clogged, consider doing a replacement. Change the air filter and prevent your furnace from malfunctioning. If you have an electronic air cleaner, clean the air filter every other month.

Check & Clean the Vents: Furnaces are hooked with a venting system. This ventilation at some point can block due to large amounts of dust and debris. Blocked ventilation is dangerous and can cause lots of hazards to the users. Using a large brush, clean all the vents begin by removing the vent cover and clean the inside using the vacuum cleaner. Blockages will cause the furnace to run inefficiently.

Clean the blower: When cleaning the filter system, the blower assembly should be next on line. The blower is located right after the air filter. The little dust, dirt and debris that penetrates through the air filter goes to the blower. You will have to clean the blower, pulleys and belts in order to remove the accumulated dirt. Remove the panels that cover the filter to access the blower assembly. Use a damp cloth while cleaning the blower.

Clean or repair furnace ducts: Furnace ducts are prone to damages especially when using a forced-air furnace. In such a case, one is required to clean ducts frequently using a high-powered vacuum cleaner. Once you have finished, cover all ducts to prevent air from leaking into the furnace.

Fan inspection: To avoid experiencing problems with your gas furnace, a thorough inspection will be helpful. Inspection done by professionals at McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing will save you all the costs to spend on repairing parts of the furnace. Besides a general inspection, its fan components should also be checked. An inspection will reveal whether there are dust and other components on it. Make it a routine to take your gas furnace for a thorough inspection yearly.

Schedule an annual tune-up with McCoy’s Heating, Air & Plumbing.