Why Smart Homeowners Get A/C Cleaning in April

The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck without a working A/C unit once Summer rolls around.

And everyone wants to save money—especially when it comes to air conditioning.

So, we’ll let you in on a little secret: If you schedule your A/C cleaning in April, you’ll stay comfortable AND save money this summer.

That’s because of these 4 main reasons:

  1. Cleaning help prevent breakdowns
  2. Cleaning lower your monthly energy bill
  3. Annual cleaning increases the life of your A/C unit
  4. Getting a cleaning now saves you the scheduling hassle in the summer

Let’s look at those reasons in more detail:

#1: Check-ups prevent breakdowns

  • A smart homeowner will schedule their A/C cleaning in April to prevent breakdowns in the summer. Summer temperatures can often exceed 100°, you don’t want to be without a working air conditioner!
  • When a trained technician inspects your system, he can catch serious problems before they cause your system to break down.
  • Some of these common air conditioner problems include refrigerant leaks, dirty coils, sensor problems and electric control failure.  
  • And in addition to keeping you comfortable, a serviced air conditioner can also save you money on your energy bills...

  #2: Check-ups lower your monthly energy bill

  • An annual cleaning can lower your monthly energy bill by 15%. A smart homeowner will schedule a cleaning in April, before the cooling season hits in full swing, to maximize their energy savings.
  • Air conditioners are made up of parts—like coils, evaporators, and filters—that become clogged and dirty over time. During a cleaning, these parts are cleaned (and replaced, if necessary) so that your whole A/C system can run efficiently.
  • Regular maintenance makes your system more energy-efficient, but it also extends the life of your system, which saves you money in the long run...

#3: Annual cleaning increase the life of your A/C unit

  • Smart homeowners want their air conditioner to last as long as possible, so they schedule their annual cleaning in the spring (before the heavy cooling season hits) and again in the fall (before the heavy heating season starts).
  • An annual cleaning can extend the life of an A/C unit by several years. Think of it like car maintenance: if you change the oil and rotate the tires, your car will perform better and last longer.
  • And since an air conditioner is an expensive home investment, you want to get your money’s worth out of your existing A/C unit.
  • Most regularly maintained air conditioners last anywhere from 10–15 years, but neglected ones sometimes last only 7–8 years.

#4: Getting a cleaning now saves you the scheduling hassle in the summer

  • Smart homeowners will schedule their cleaning in April so they don’t have to worry about scheduling conflicts in the summer.
  • Summer is the busiest time of year for air conditioning contractors because more people need their A/Cs repaired or upgraded, so their work schedules fill up fast.
  • Because the homeowner needs to be home during the cleaning, we recommend scheduling now to avoid any scheduling hassles in the summer. That way, you won’t run the risk of not having a working A/C when you need it most.

RIGHT NOW during the month of April, we are offering one-time seasonal cleaning for only $90, regularly $149, for one unit. Each additional unit is an additional cost. You just have to call 731-668-7492 before the end of April for the promotional price. 

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Spring

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Spring.jpg

April showers bring May flowers and the onset of spring, which means it's time for "spring cleaning." McCoy's Heating & Air offers these maintenance tips to protect your home against plumbing problems.

Kitchen/Bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Ensure that all drains have strainers to prevent hair, soap, and debris from clogging the drain lines.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, the color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  • Exercise water supply valves under sinks and toilets to prevent them from sticking.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They're inexpensive and you'll notice a lower water bill.
  • Clean mineral deposits from the shower head. Unscrew it and soak in vinegar or fill a plastic baggie with vinegar; place it over the shower head and hold in place with a rubber band. Soak overnight then remove and gently scrub with an old toothbrush to remove deposits.

Appliances

  • Make sure flammables are not stored near the water heater or furnace.
  • Check the temperature setting on the water heater. It should be set no higher than 120°F to prevent scalding and reduce energy use.
  • Carefully drain several gallons from the water heater tank to flush out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. Check your water heater manufacturer 's website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15-year-old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.
  • Check dishwasher, washing machine and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years. Use stainless steel hoses wherever possible. They are more reliable and less prone to bursting than other types.
  • Clean out washing machine lint trap, if equipped, and place a wire trap or a piece of pantyhose over the end of the hose that drains the washer.

General

  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Install a backflow valve in the floor drain if you live in an area where sewers sometimes backup into homes. This device will prevent future backups.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter before bedtime. The next morning, without using any water overnight, take another reading. If the reading has changed you have a leak that should be repaired.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.

Outside

  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris.
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

When Spring Cleaning, Don’t Forget Your HVAC Unit

ASTHMA-filter-replacement-technician-maintenance-e1491847841739.jpg

As the weather warms and the world turns green once again, many of us are inspired to tackle some spring cleaning. Freshening up the interior and exterior of a home can make a world of difference, and there is no better motivating factor than the sense of renewal that spring engenders. When making your list of spring cleaning tasks, be sure to remember to give your HVAC unit a seasonal maintenance check.

Your HVAC unit is one of the most underappreciated components of your home. It plugs along all year, keeping your family and home comfortable. Unfortunately, many people fail to give their HVAC unit any attention unless there is a problem. By taking the time to do a seasonal maintenance check, it is possible to extend the life of the unit and avoid costly repair bills. 

Filters

The first step is to check the system’s filter(s). Different systems have different filters, and the replacement schedule can vary widely. That said, there are few among us who check and replace our HVAC filters as frequently as we should. Many systems use fiberglass filters which can simply be replaced, and spring is a good time to ensure that you have a supply of these filters on hand. Other systems have a HEPA filter, which can be cleaned with a standard vacuum cleaner hose. Cleaning the filter helps to keep pollutants, dust, and other particles out of your HVAC equipment, and out of the air that your family breathes.

External Unit

Next, step outside and check the area surrounding your external HVAC unit. The unit and the base upon which it stands should be free of any debris. If leaves or other forms of debris have accumulated around the unit, use a rake or leaf blower to clear the entire area. If debris has fallen onto the unit from the roof, check to ensure that the gutters are working properly, and take any steps needed to direct the flow of water and roof debris away from the HVAC unit.

Condenser Fan/Coils

Begin by turning off the power supply that runs your HVAC unit. Inspect the unit itself, and look for any buildup of dirt on the fan blades or the condenser coils. If there is visible dirt or grime on the fan, remove the external cover and gently clean the blades of the fan. Never attempt to repair bent or damaged fan blades; they must be replaced. Bending a fan blade could result in an improperly balanced fan, which can damage the fan motor or come into contact with the condenser.

Next, inspect the condenser coils for bent fins. These tiny metal fins can be easily damaged by debris that is thrown from a lawnmower, accidental impact during yard work or even careless weedeating. Pressure washing is one of the most common ways that fins become damaged. If a large number of fins are bent, the unit cannot properly “breathe.” If they have become dirty or clogged, it is possible to clean them with a special fin comb. If the fins are simply dirty, they can be cleaned using coil cleaner and a water hose.

These basic HVAC spring cleaning tips can help homeowners ensure that their unit is in optimal condition for the upcoming cooling season. By taking the time to inspect and clean filters, fans, condensers, and the external unit as a whole, it is possible to avoid a wide range of costly repair needs, and to enjoy your system for many more years to come!

If you do not feel comfortable checking and cleaning your HVAC unit and filters give McCoy's Heating & Air a call at 731-668-7492 to schedule your spring cleaning. Right now we have a promotion for one-time spring cleaning for only $90, regularly $149, for one unit. Each additional unit is additional cost.

Spring Plumbing Tips

water-hose-1024x683.jpeg

Spring is a time when many homeowners engage in maintenance tasks like spring cleaning and home renovation. It’s also a good time for homeowners to check up on their plumbing system to protect their home from clogged drains, leaks and water damage. Keeping up with this basic maintenance on a yearly basis can help keep your home functional throughout the year.

Perform a Water Heater Check-Up

You may have turned up the temperature on your water heater when the weather got cold this last winter. As a general rule, professionals recommend keeping your home’s water heater set to 120 degrees. Turning your water heater higher than the recommended setting can result in scalding and may also cut back the service life of your water heater.

While you’re turning down the temp, check your water heater for signs of corrosion and leaks. Look for puddles, rust or soot around the control panel. If you see signs of distress, contact a plumber to get a second opinion.

Don’t forget that water heaters may only last around 10 years. If your water heater is an older unit, consider having your heater tuned up annually by a professional.

Watch for Water Leaks Associated with Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets

Outdoor pipes attached to sprinklers and faucets can easily freeze and break over the winter. When temperatures outside have thawed, watch your outdoor pipes for signs of water leaks. If you notice a water leak in your home the first time you turn on your hose or other faucets, this could be a sign that one of your pipes froze and broke over the winter.

Turn the Water Valves

Water valves can get hard to turn over time. Once annually, turn off the water valves in your home, then turn them back on just to keep the parts from becoming sticky.

Check Under Sinks and Supply Hoses

Take a look at your sinks and check the supply hoses that run to your dishwasher, clothes washer and other water-using appliances. Look for moisture, puddles, rust, corrosion and other warning signs of a leak.

Drain the Sediment from Your Water Heater

Sediment can collect in the bottom of your water heater, which reduces the efficiency of the unit. Draining your water heater every year can extend the life of the appliance. 

This chore make take an hour or two, depending on the water heater and whether or not you’ve done it in the past. If you’re not comfortable draining the water heater yourself, get a professional plumber.

Test the Toilets for Leaks

You can test your toilet for leaks by putting food coloring into the tank of your toilet. If the water in the bowl turns the color of the food dye within a half an hour, this is a sign that your toilet has a leak. Replacing the parts in the toilet tank will save you water and money this year.

Clean Gutters and Down Spouts

After a long fall and winter, your gutters and downspouts may be full of pine needles, leaves, twigs and other debris. Clean out your gutters and use a plumber’s auger to clear out your home’s downspouts. This will prevent leaks in your home and prevent water damage during spring showers.

Why you should start your spring cleaning with an HVAC maintenance

Spring cleaning can become an overwhelming chain of tasks, especially when you would rather be outside, enjoying the beautiful weather. An early start is important, and one of the first areas to consider is one that is commonly neglected by homeowners. In fact, many don’t realize that HVAC maintenance should be an annual priority. However, there are three major reasons to place AC and duct cleaning at the top of your list for the season.

1. Hidden Allergens

What you don’t see could hurt you. If you are sensitive to mold, dust or other airborne materials, then you may be surprised to discover that they may be hiding in your HVAC equipment. Your air filter plays a minor role in trapping these materials, but particles still make their way past it. As they settle on the coils in your air handling unit, they combine with moisture in the area. A layer of grime can develop, and it will take more than a feather duster to get rid of it. This is a prime breeding spot for mold and bacteria and left untouched, this dirt can continue to contaminate your air supply summer after summer.

Some airborne particles continue along to your ducts. If you’ve never had duct cleaning performed on your system, you can expect equally dirty conditions. Additionally, ducts can provide harbor to insects, dust mites and rodents when your central heating and cooling system isn’t in use. Dander, droppings and dead insects may be contaminating your air supply, as well. While annual duct service may not be essential, you should consult with your HVAC contractor to establish a maintenance plan based on your home’s unique needs.

2. Hidden Costs

Some homeowners view HVAC maintenance as a needless expense. Those who can afford to spend 50% or more extra on cooling costs may not care. However, budget-minded consumers should note that various elements of this spring cleaning task can contribute to better system performance, resulting in more controlled energy costs.

The layer on your indoor coils and dirt on your outside coils can represent approximately 30% of a cooling bill in an extreme case. Blockages and leaks in your ducts can add 20% or more to your energy usage. The low refrigerant may result in another 20% or more in cooling energy required to keep your home comfortable. You can’t afford to ignore these priority areas included in seasonal maintenance service.

3. Preparedness

Summer weather may be a distant consideration as you begin your spring cleaning. However, it won’t be long before you’re relying on your HVAC system to provide around-the-clock cooling. Preventive care allows issues to be diagnosed before they become serious. While you won’t avoid all potential breakdowns, you can reduce your potential for a malfunction by more than 90%. Additionally, your contractor can help you in planning ahead for an eventual system replacement.

The professionals at McCoy's Heating & Air are available to assist in addressing spring cleaning of your AC equipment. You can contact our customer service representatives at 731-668-7492 to schedule a spring cleaning.

Right now we have 1 unit spring cleaning promotion for $50. Regularly $89. Each additional unit is an additional charge. Call today to schedule your spring cleaning!

Pre-Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring cleaning is a given, but what about pre-spring cleaning? Learn what areas of your home need some TLC before spring arrives.

We’ve all heard about spring cleaning, but what about pre-spring cleaning? There are tons of areas in and around your home that might need some TLC before spring arrives. Make sure you are prepared for the warmer months with this pre-spring cleaning checklist! Here is a list of the most important areas to prep before spring is here:

1. Gutters and Roof

It’s not uncommon for snow or ice to do some damage to your gutters and roof. We recommend getting up there to check for any loose tiles/shingles or noticeable issues that might have been caused by winds or harsh weather. It is also a good idea to clean up any sticks, leaves or debris for the overall health of your roof and gutters.

2. Windows and Doors

Now is a good time to look for any leaks in your windows or doors; your weather-stripping may need to be replaced if you see any holes or gaps. This will significantly help with your AC bill in the warmer months! While you’re at it, inspect any window screens for holes bigger than a dime -- it might be time to replace it.

3. Landscaping

If you have a sprinkler system, inspect all valves, lines and sprinkler heads. If anything looks questionable, now is the time to fix it. It might also be helpful to check your outside hose faucets and pipes to ensure nothing is cracked from freeze damage. Lastly, if you have any outdoor lighting, check to see if the sensors are still working properly and look for any bulbs that may need to be replaced. 

4. HVAC Unit

Did you know that servicing your HVAC unit on a regular basis can help its’ overall efficiency and lifespan? Take a few minutes to service your HVAC unit. Clear any debris that may be on or surrounding your unit, and change your air filters. Spend some time making sure that the coils are clean and the fins are straightened out. Our air conditioning maintenance checklist blog should help with more detailed instructions and recommendations.

5. Fire Safety

Test all of your smoke detectors around the house. You might need to replace batteries, then test the alarm to make sure everything is working correctly. Now is a great time to make sure you have a fire extinguisher that works, too.

See these tips on spring home maintenance visually!

Spring Cleaning.jpg

4 Reasons to Love Your HVAC System

Valentine’s Day is all about showing love to those who are always there for you, who never let you down and who can always make you feel better after a long, hard day. Sound like anyone you know? What about your home’s HVAC system?

Here are some reasons why you should show some love to your HVAC system this holiday…

Keeps You Comfortable

Imagine living through a bitterly cold blizzard or scorching hot heat wave without your beloved furnace or AC. How awful would that be! Thankfully, you are able to stay nice and toasty during the winter and fresh and cool during the summer in your climate-controlled home. A comfortable temperature in your home definitely creates a more productive and pleasant environment to live in.

Makes You Smell Good

Thank your air conditioner for preventing you from sweating profusely and making sure you stay dry and feeling fresh on those sweltering summer days. Bonus – by guaranteeing you aren’t drowning in a pool of your own perspiration, you are also lowering your risk of dehydration.

Saves Your Life (In More Drastic Conditions)

Summer temperatures in the south can soar to well over 100 degrees, and in northern areas winter temps can drop below zero. An air conditioner stops you from passing out in high temperatures, while a furnace or heater makes sure you don’t end up with frostbite or hypothermia.

Maintains Your Health

Your HVAC system can reduce the number of allergens, dust, and pollen in the air and improve the overall air quality in your home. Without the filters in your HVAC system, your allergies may be more severe, and sicknesses and germs can linger in the air longer. Your HVAC system provides you with clean, healthy, filtered air.

Basically, your HVAC works for you day and night. Have you ever known anything to be more dedicated to your wellbeing or more deserving of love and admiration? Well, yes, your significant other for sure, but your HVAC system comes in a close second place. Make sure you return your HVAC system’s kindness with continued maintenance and annual check-ups!

Happy Valentine’s Day from the McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning team, and always let us know how we can make your life more comfortable!

Valentine’s Day Heating Tips

iStock_000043922456_Large-2.jpg

What’s worse than coming home to a frigid house or apartment after a nice night out? Not much if you ask us – and not to mention, a cold place won’t impress your date! Follow the tips below to keep your sweetheart warm this Valentine’s Day!

Curtains: Open or Closed?

During the daytime, it’s important to keep your curtains or shades open. This will allow sunlight to enter and heat your home naturally. Close them at night to reduce the chill. You can also add tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades to your windows to improve energy efficiency.

The Lower The Better

When you are home, set the thermostat to the lowest temperature without sacrificing too much comfort. When you go to sleep or leave the house, turn it down 10 to 15 degrees. This proactive measure can save you around 10% per year on your heating bills.

Maintain Your Heating System

We can’t stress the importance of maintenance enough! Clean or replace your furnace’s filter once a month and make sure it is kept clean. If you haven’t done so already, schedule an appointment with McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ll come by to make sure your system is operating at peak performance.

McCoy's Heating & Air Conditioning is your go-to choice for protecting your family’s safety and your home’s comfort. Need service or repairs? Give us a call at (731)  668-7492. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter. When you do, you’ll have all of the heating tips you’ll need to get you through the winter!

Plumbing Tips for Valentine's Day

valentines_day_cheap_ideas_12.jpg

With Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, now is the perfect time to show your plumbing system some love. Here are a few maintenance tips from BlueFrog to help keep your plumbing system in good shape.

Home Plumbing Tips:

  1. Locate Your Water Shut Off Valve – Knowing where your main water shut off valve is located will help prevent water damage in an emergency. If you ever experience a plumbing leak, you will be able to quickly turn off the water to your home to prevent flooding and damage until our plumbing technicians arrive.
  2. Insulate Plumbing Pipes – Adding pipe insulation can help you prevent frozen pipes, especially in cold parts of your house like the garage, basement and crawl space.
  3. Correct Small Leaks – If you notice a leak, don’t let it go uncorrected. Even a small leak can make pipes corrode more quickly. This can lead to water damage and mold.

If you experience any plumbing problems, give us a call. Our professional plumbing technicians can help you get your bathroom back up and running. Call us today at 668-7492!

To read the original article or find more like it click HERE

6 Signs it’s Time to Replace Your Air Conditioner

york_hero.jpg

As a homeowner, one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make about your air conditioner is when it’s time for a new unit. Although a new air conditioner can be a big investment, so can the costs of continuing to repair and operate an old, inefficient unit. So how are you supposed to know when it’s time to replace your air conditioner? The six tell-tale signs we’ve listed below are sure to help you make your decision!

6 signs it’s time to replace your air conditioner

1. Air conditioner is more than 10 years old. In general, you can expect a well-maintained air conditioner to last about 15 years. However, if you’re in need of expensive repairs and your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it will often make more sense to replace it. This is especially true when you consider the advancements in efficiency we’ve seen with air conditioners in the past decade alone.

2. Air conditioner is inefficient. If your air conditioner has a low SEER rating, it can cost you a lot of money to operate it. Currently, newly manufactured air conditioners must have a SEER rating of at least 13. If your air conditioner’s SEER rating is below 13, you can cut back on your energy costs by replacing it with a new, more efficient unit.

3. You’re facing expensive repairs. Any time you’re facing an expensive repair, you’ll want to weigh the costs of the repair against the costs of a new unit. If the cost of the repair would cover a large part of a new system, and especially if your air conditioner is showing any of the other signs in this list, it will likely make more financial sense to replace it.

4. Frequent breakdowns. Does it seem like your air conditioner is constantly breaking down? Are you calling Hyde’s every month because of a new problem with your unit? These repair costs can really add up, and it doesn’t make sense to keep making them on older units. Save yourself the headaches and the money by investing in a new unit.

5. Air conditioner uses R 22 Freon. Freon is being phased out by the federal government in order to conserve energy nationwide. As a result, the costs of Freon are rising exponentially. If your air conditioner uses Freon, you’ll have to replace it eventually in order to switch over to the new refrigerant (R410A). If you’re having major problems with your air conditioner, especially if they involve the need for more Freon, it’s probably a good time to replace your unit.

6. Your home isn’t comfortable. Do you have a hard time keeping your home cool? This could be the sign of an aging air conditioner or even an incorrectly sized system. Regardless of the cause, you want your air conditioner to do its job! If it’s not going to keep your home cool, you’ll want to replace it with a unit that will.

If you have any questions about when to replace your air conditioner, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact McCoy's Heating & Air at 731-668-7492 or on the contact page. We have FREE estimate plus right now we are offering 18 months 0% interest new unit installations.

Help yourself!

vent.jpg

"The filters in your HVAC system are the first and most effective measure in protecting your heating and cooling system. Any HVAC specialist or home improvement guru will tell you, change your filters often. Keeping your system in fresh filters will greatly extend its life expectancy and this small bit of preventative maintenance can save you money on repairs down the road, not to mention help keep up the air quality in your home.

Although some products claim to be effective for ninety days or even longer, most industry experts recommend changing your filters every thirty days. In any case, you should inspect your filters regularly, as often as once a week, as the age of your HVAC system and the level of usage will determine how much wear and tear a filter suffers.

You know it is time to change your filters when it is coated in thick dust, usually gray or black. When a filter is clogged up like that, not only is it no longer doing its job, it is decreasing the efficiency of your heating system as the trapped dust absorbs heat. Plus, it also creates a serious fire hazard."

Source: http://hvactips.net/air-ducts/have-your-hvacs-back-and-change-those-filters/#

Electric Bill Blues?

"One of the issues that many of us are constantly concerned with today are ways to lower our monthly utility bills especially the cost of our air conditioning during warm weather. Our comfort is extremely important to us, but it seems highly improbable that we could actually stay cooler during the hot weather months without breaking the bank in the process. With record setting heat waves becoming more common every summer, even cheapskates aren’t left with much of choice where cranking up the air conditioning is concerned.

Cutting Utility Bill Costs Without Suffering In The Process

When you do need to run your air conditioning more frequently to keep the house cooler, the following tips could help you reduce those inflated A/C costs on your monthly utility bills while not sacrificing any comfort in the process..."

Source: http://hvactips.net/money-savers/tips-for-reducing-ac-costs-on-your-electric-bill/

Optimize Your Programmable Thermostat Settings For Winter

There’s no denying it — colder temperatures have arrived throughout the country. It’s time to change your programmable thermostat settings to account for the changing seasons. Make the most of your thermostat this season by incorporating settings that will optimize your heating system efficiency.

Setting your programmable thermostat for winter will keep your family comfortable without adjusting temperatures manually. Take the time to program your thermostat to reduce the temptation to touch it, cranking temperatures up and forgetting about it, which raises your heating bills. Overriding your settings regularly will keep your programmable thermostat from helping your family reduce energy use, defeating one of its main purposes.

Use Efficient Settings When at Home

Set your thermostat for 68° for the hours your home will be occupied. 68° has been found to be the most energy efficient set point for heating use in most cases. At this temperature, your indoor spaces will still feel warm and you’ll save money compared to raising your thermostat’s settings into the 70s.

Set Back for Savings

The U.S. Department of Energy advises that setting back your thermostat 10° to 15° for 8 or more hours will help you save as much as 15 percent on your heating bills this season. It’s easy to apply these settings during the work or school day, when the home will be unoccupied. If you arrive home around the same time each day, schedule your thermostat to return to occupied heating temperatures about 15 minutes before you arrive home, and your house will be comfortable when you return.

While you sleep is another ideal time to set back your thermostat to achieve these savings. When you are asleep, you aren’t likely to notice the change in temperature. If you find that you are sensitive to colder indoor temperatures at night, use an extra blanket on the bed to keep comfortable without using more energy. Adjust your thermostat settings to raise your indoor temperature about 15 minutes before you wake so the house will be comfortable as you get ready for the day.

Looking for a programmable thermostat which will benefit you this winter? Check out these options.

4 Steps to Preventing a Holiday Plumbing Disaster

4 Steps to Preventing a Holiday Plumbing Disaster

Insulate pipes that may be exposed to colder temperatures. This includes those located in garages, basements or crawl spaces and don’t forget the ones that run along exterior walls. Pipe insulation can be purchased from most home improvement stores.

Home Heating Tips

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, home heating accounts for approximately 40% of our entire energy consumption. And over 95% is done with non-renewable fossil fuels; such as oil, natural gas or electricity from coal plants.

With environmental impacts increasing and energy costs on the rise, home heating alternatives are at the forefront of our minds. Not only can these energy-efficient ideas lessen our impact on the environment, they will save money too.

Much of our effort to warm our home is lost through improper or inadequate insulation and drafts. To start the list are the many ways to insulate your home and keep accumulated heat from escaping. Following those imperative measures are ideas to keep your home warm, use less energy in keeping warm and acclimate to the seasons.

Insulation:

  • Increase wall insulation.
    Probably not the simplest job but certainly the most effective, adding insulation to your walls makes an enormous difference in your home heating bill.
  • Increase attic insulation.
    To determine how much is enough or how much more you need, check out the Department of Energy's Zip-Code Insulation Program.
  • Use recycled insulation.
    In the form of recycled paper or old blue jeans, this eco-friendly insulation can be blown into the walls or attic. You'll have to ask around your local service providers to find a company who offers it.

Drafts:

  • How to find drafts:
    On a windy day, use a stick of incense, a small candle or tea light or a strand of hair or string and slowly "trace" around all windowsills, door jams, vents etc looking for the flame to flicker or the smoke or hair to be blown away.
  • Seal all drafts.
    Silicone caulking or foam sealant works for drafts in non-movable sources, such as window frames, and these draft gaskets work well for electrical outlets and switches. For movable sources, like windows or doors, use weather-stripping. Using a door draft stopper (like a rolled up towel) and heavy currents can also stop drafts.
  • Don't forget pet doors.
    Drafts from a pet door can't be avoided completely but can be protected against with weather-stripping or even a heavy curtain on either side of the door. If your pet door is within a removable pane for sliding glass doors, be sure to weather-strip around it as well.

Home Heating Conservation:

  • Passive solar heating.
    Utilize the low winter positioning of the sun to warm your home by opening curtains on south and west-facing windows during the day, and removing solar shade screens until warmer weather returns.
  • Perform regular maintenance on your home heating system(s).
    Efficiency is lost with poorly maintained units. Get regular service done and keep exhaust filters clean.
  • Avoid using exhaust fans.
    Running a bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan for one hour can deplete your home of its warm air. Minimize their use by not using them or turning them off as soon as possible.
  • "Reuse" oven heat.
    When you've finished in the oven, leave the door open to warm the kitchen further.
  • Skip the gas fireplace.
    A gas fireplace will use more energy to heat a room than central home heating.
  • Utilize the wood fireplace.
    Wood-burning fireplaces or wood-burning stoves give off more heat than a gas fireplace and can burn scrap wood, fallen trees or branches or wood pellets, which are made from sawdust and are one of the most cost-effective forms of home heating.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans.
    Most, if not all, ceiling fans have a reverse setting for winter. By reversing your fan blades to rotate clockwise you draw down the risen heat from the ceiling and prevent it from dissipating through the roof or walls.
  • Keep the thermostat low.
    Challenge yourself to set the temperature one or two degrees lower each year. Keeping it at 55 degrees at night and 6o during the day is a common energy-efficient setting. Beware not to turn it off completely or set it too low, as this can burst pipes or cause hypothermia.
  • Keep the temps steady.
    Turning the heat off while you leave or more than 5-8 degrees lower at night than during the day can cause your unit to work harder when trying to warm the place up again. Pick a nice steady range instead.
  • Use a programmable thermostat.
    Using a programmable thermostat to turn the temp lower while you sleep or work can decrease your energy consumption up to 25% without your needing to remember.
  • Consider a space heater.
    In some, not all, cases a space heater may be more efficient to heat a small room than running a central home heating system.

Winterize Your Home:

  • Hang curtains over windows.
    Heavy curtains or blankets hung over windows will add an exterior barrier to the cold, especially if you don't have double-paned windows.
  • Hang curtains around your bed.
    Hanging heavy curtains or blankets around the bed (from the ceiling if you don't have a four-poster bed) will help insulate you during the night by trapping body heat.
  • Place rugs in high-traffic areas.
    Placing rugs on tile, linoleum, concrete or hardwood flooring will assist in insulation efforts.

Winterize Yourself:

  • Allow yourself to acclimate.
    Turn the AC off as soon as possible and/or keep the windows open as the weather changes to allow your body to acclimate naturally to the changing weather.
  • Keep yourself acclimated.
    Avoid using too much heat while driving and keep the office slightly cooler at work so that your body remains adjusted to the idea that it's winter.
  • Dress for the season.
    If you're wearing a t-shirt and jeans indoors, your thermostat is too high. Try flannel pajamas for the nighttime with thick socks, dress in warm layers during the day, invest in some wool socks and sweaters and turn that thermostat lower.
  • Stick to warm foods.
    Colder foods will leave you running colder, but hot foods, like soup or spicy things, will increase your sense of warmth.
  • Use extra blankets.
    Pile down comforters and wool blankets on the couches and beds and use several layers to stay warm.

Easy, Common Heating Repairs!

"There are literally hundreds of reasons that a home furnace or heating system will need to be repaired or replaced, several of which are extremely common among home or office owners and can cause your system to break down. Whether you are keeping your home or office warm during the winter or preparing it for the cold weather season, the secret to avoiding costly repair bills and keeping your system operating properly is preventative maintenance. Additionally, identifying or spotting the more common heating problems can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run.

  • Air flow problems - one of the more common heating repair problems, improper air flow results from worn out bearings, belts, and fan motors. A good indication of these issues is a furnace that is overheating or improper heating controls.

  • Basic mechanical wear and tear - there are a number of essential mechanical components that the operation of your furnace and heating system relies on. Your unit's performance can be negatively impacted by normal wear and tear of these different components. This will result in poor air flow, furnace overheating, and improper heating controls.

  • Clogged or dirty air filters - one issue that causes more heating problems than any other is having a clogged or dirty air filters and not changing them on a regular basis. Ironically, this is the cheapest issue to fix. Regular replacement of your air filters should be done on a monthly basis in order to improve the efficiency and extend the life of your furnace or heating system. A dirty filter can severely restrict the flow of air so the system must work considerably harder to keep warm air circulating throughout the home. You will not be as comfortable and your system will not work efficiently and properly."

To continue reading, please click the link below! 

http://hvactips.net/heating-repair/how-to-spot-common-heating-repair-problems/

All About Gas Fireplaces

Wood is good, but you can't beat the ease of a fire that lights with the push of a button. The experts at This Old House explain what it takes to put a gas-fueled hearth in your home

There's only one thing better than a roaring fire on a wintry night: a roaring fire that needs no tending, requires minimal cleanup, and doesn't leave the rest of the house freezing cold. That's what you get with today's gas fireplaces. Long gone are the anemic blue flames and unconvincing "logs." Modern versions burn much more realistically, with glowing red embers and tall orange-yellow flames that dance and flicker around ceramic-fiber logs molded from the real thing.

Gas fireplaces come in three types: inserts, for folks who want to retrofit a wood-burning firebox with something more convenient and efficient; built-ins, for those who want a fireplace where there isn't one now; and log sets, basic burners that sit in existing, open fireplaces. Both inserts and built-in fireplaces are reliable heat producers, filling your room with a mix of warm air and radiant heat. Log sets are usually more for looks than warmth. With each type, you have a choice between models that vent the flames' fumes outside or vent-free versions that discharge all their heat, and exhaust, into the house.

Read more about pros/cons, cost, and types of gas fireplaces at https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/all-about-gas-fireplaces