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  • Preparing your Air Conditioning Unit for Winter

    Believe it or not, your air conditioning unit isn't something to just forget about in the winter. That can cause serious problems for you down the line, which could leave you stuck with a broken unit come summer.

    That is an expensive and very uncomfortable mistake to make. Let's get to it:

    screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-34-03-pmTurn the unit off!

    Find the air conditioner circuit breaker by your unit, shown to the right of the unit in this picture, and turn it off. This is very important. On a relatively warm winter day, if you happen to be baking and you have a space heater running and the sun is shining fully into your windows, you could very well have your AC kick on.

    Why is that bad? Because it can cause moisture to enter your unit. Moisture that will not have time to evaporate before the outside temperature goes below freezing and night and the expansion of freezing water wrecks your unit.

    Wash your unit before temperatures hit freezing in the fall

    You need to make sure that all of the debris of the fall, bird poop, twigs, leaves, and everything else is cleaned out of the unit. Allowing that to build up inside can interfere with moving parts, and if you manage to avoid that fate, it will eventually cause the unit to overheat.

    Overheating can make it shut down, at which point it obviously isn't working, or it could ignite the debris in your unit and cause a fire, so do not ignore this.

    Cover the unit with something

    Once you clean the unit and turn it off, cover it with a vinyl covering or a well secured tarp to prevent any new debris, water, snow, or ice from finding its way into your unit. The covering must be waterproof.

    You can buy specifically designed covers for your air conditioning unit, but you can also make something else work if you're determined.

    Secure your air conditioner cover tightly with bungee cords or other means. If you fail to do this small animals may see it as a safe and cozy place to hide in the winter, and they may not all make it out in the spring. Having a dead mouse in your air conditioning unit is not something you want to have to deal with when you turn on your air conditioner the first time in the spring.

    Be sure to check the unit regularly, especially after storms, to make sure that the cover remains in place all winter.

    Windows Units

    If you have a window unit, the easiest thing to do is simply remove the unit and store it in your house or in a shed.

    Windows units also do not generally provide a good seal, which causes cold air to leak in all winter if they are not removed, which has a significant impact on your heating bill.

    Be kind to the environment and to your wallet by taking it out.

    Follow these tips to prevent damage to your your air conditioning unit and it will last you much longer.

  • 5 Common Heater Fixes

    If your furnace breaks this winter, reading this little article might save you a lot of money. Before you call a professional, you should know that the most common causes for a breakdown in a furnace are actually easy fixes that any average person can attend to.

    Professionals often get called out to attend to problems that only take a few minutes and sometimes no hardware to fix. They then still need to charge you for their driving time, and whatever the minimum service charge is, leaving you out hundreds of dollars for a problem that you could have fixed just as quickly yourself.

    Here are 5 things to check before you call:

    Is it turned on everywhere that it needs to be?

    This is actually the most common problem that a service person gets called out for.

    1. Check your breaker to make sure that the heater has power.
    2. Check for a wall switch that needs to be turned on.
    3. Make sure the front panel of the heater covering the blower motor is fully in place, as heaters have a fail-safe switch that needs to be fully pressed in for the furnace to operate.


    Change your filters

    screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-1-35-38-pmIf your filters are clogged, you will have restricted airflow and it will cause overheating that can trigger a safety shut-off. Heater filters are inexpensive and should be changed every month during heavy use.

    Read your owner's manual to find out where your filter is and how to replace it.

    Warning! : Always make sure that the furnace is shut off before you change the filter.

    Check to see if your gas is on

    You may have forgotten to open the valve to get gas to your furnace. Check the gas lines between your furnace and the meter, you'll find a lever somewhere. Turn it so that it is parallel with the pipe.

    If you have an old furnace, you may also need to make sure that your pilot light is lit.

    Check your ductwork

    screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-1-35-48-pmIf you simply aren't getting heat in one or two rooms, you probably either have a blocked duct, or a hole in your ducts where the warm air is escaping.

    Check the portions you can access, and if you find any holes, patch them up using metallic duct tape. Regular duct tape will deteriorate quickly, so make sure you use the metallic type.

    If you find any blockages, clear them out.

    Check your intake and exhaust vents

    Your heating system draws air from the outside. If those vents are clogged with leaves or debris, your heater will not work properly.

    Check your thermostat

    Believe it or not, many calls also come in from people who simply didn't set their thermostat from cool to heat. Make sure that the thermostat has power, and that the correct settings are entered. This may require changing a battery.

    ____

    With these 5 tips, you may be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars this winter, so take your destiny into your own hands a little bit and make sure your issue isn't something embarrassingly simple that you will regret having to spend money on.

  • Summer Energy Efficiency Tips for Your HVAC System

    As the dog days of summer are rapidly approaching, there is little doubt that you have been keeping cool by running your hvac system pretty much day and night.

    HVAC systems come with a host of great benefits for homeowners, but one complaint that we hear quite often is about energy efficiency. While newer units are Energy Star or SEER rated, some older, less efficient models aren't very energy-friendly.

    So to help you save some money this summer, money that you can put into a new heating and cooling system later down the line, here are some summer HVAC efficiency tips.

    Ensure the air filters are clean and are allowing a good air flow. Dirty air filters are horrible for the system, and the extra strain they cause leads to inefficient operation, costing you money.

    Keep vegetation and debris clear of the outdoor unit. While well-kept landscaping rarely causes an issue, dense, over-grown vegetation can bog a unit down and cause it to run poorly, even killing it completely.

    Get a programmable thermostat. The benefits that come along with a programmable thermostat are numerous, but chief among them is the ability to control the temperature in your home... at the times you want, which can save you literally thousands of dollars.

    Seal ducts and pipes connected to your HVAC system with approved tapes. Further, to ensure your HVAC system is operating at peak level, it's always wise to thoroughly insulate windows and doors too. The less air that is allowed to escape, helps your system remain efficient and operating as intended.

    Keep your unit programmed to a set number. Setting the unit to a colder temperature in hopes that your home will cool down faster won't work. It just causes the unit to work harder longer, costing you money that you could have saved.

    Keeping you HVAC system operating at less cost takes a bit of extra effort. But once you get the hang of it, your savings will start adding up in no time.

    Need more information on how we can assist you? Please don't hesitate to contact us any time.

  • The Most Common Reason for HVAC System Breakdowns & Tips to Avoid Them

    Having your air conditioner or heating system breakdown at any time of the year is never fun. Often times it can be a simple fix that you local technician can repair quickly. But neglect of your HVAC system is often a leading cause of damage that can lead to costly repairs and premature failure of your HVAC system.

    The best thing to do in order to prevent breakdowns is to perform routine yearly inspections and tune ups to keep your system in top shape for years to come. Check out our infographic below for more information on the most common reasons for HVAC system breakdowns along with some maintenance and money saving tips!

    5 Most Common Reasons for HVAC Breakdowns InfographicIf you like this infographic and want to share it on your website, you can do so with the included code below. Simply copy and paste it where you would like to include the infographic.

    If you have any questions or would like to chat with someone regarding your HVAC system you can contact National Air Warehouse for more information. Know of a common reason for breakdowns that was not included in the infographic? Please share your thoughts on the comments below.

  • Summer Furnace Maintenance Tips for Optimal Operation

    The warmer months are perhaps the last time of the year you are thinking about furnace maintenance and upkeep, for obvious reasons. But we believe on the contrary, because it's never too early to ensure that your furnace is functioning at peak levels before the cold arrives, and by then, it's too late.

    So to keep your furnace working properly and as designed, here are some excellent summer maintenance tips for you or a trained professional to complete.Furnace maintenance

    - Inspect your filter. Perhaps the easiest step in maintaining your furnace is to replace your filter about once every three months during peak operation. Begin each warming season with a new furnace.

    - Clean the dirt from all places, not just in obvious spots. Dirt can clog your furnace and stop it from functioning.

    - Check ducts for proper air flow. Look for leaks in duct-work in between connection points and where duct tape is present.

    - Test your pilot light and burner to make sure that they are working.

    - Lubricate all moving parts, and apply oil where needed. Some moving parts require annual lubrication. If possible, check your user manual for more information.

    - Check your furnace exhaust port. If your furnace is connected to your chimney, check your flue for debris. Clean accordingly.

    - Perform, or have a carbon monoxide test done. Or better yet, install a carbon monoxide meter in the area where your furnace resides.

    - Turn on the unit and listen for any odd noises that aren't typical for your furnace. A strange noise is a sign that something worse is going on mechanically.

    This type of maintenance is not only important for older furnaces, but also for new models as well. If you have a warranty, and you believe that your furnace is faulty, refer to your warranty about replacement or parts. Following the tips above should help to increase the lifespan of your furnace and and keep you for having to buy a replacement furnace sooner than you need to.

    For additional information on how we can help you, please don't hesitate to National Air Warehouse any time for help.

  • Why Bigger HVAC Systems are Not Necessarily Better

    Is Bigger Really Better
    Doubtless, you have heard that today's residential HVAC systems are so much more energy-efficient than their counterparts from just a decade ago, so it stands to reason that the bigger the system, the more money you will save in the long run.  That is not necessarily the case. While figures such as SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) for  air conditioning and AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) definitely play into energy efficiency, HVAC units must be properly sized for your home in order to run at peak efficiency levels. Systems that are too big for your home will waste energy and money, while the same goes for systems that are too small.

    HVAC systems that are too large or too small for your home will cycle frequently, meaning they will turn on and turn off a lot, leading to a waste in energy, even if the new system is more efficient than the one you had. A cooling system that is too big cools down the temperature very quickly, but it does not run long enough to remove sufficient moisture from the air. Many people turn down the thermostat to make the air conditioner run longer to remove the moisture, increasing the utility bill.

    Yet, how do you know if your HVAC system is properly sized for your home? The answer comes from a residential load calculation. When shopping for a new system, your contractor should perform these calculations based on the square footage of your home. These calculations go beyond square footage, however, as size doesn't tell the entire story. Load J calculations consider factors such as number, size, and placement of rooms; number, size, and placement of windows and doors; types of windows and doors; number and arrangement of floors; and your local climate. The formulas used to make these calculations have been computerized so they are quick and accurate. To ensure that your system operates at peak efficiency, also ask for a Load D calculation. This mathematical formula makes sure that your existing ductwork is sufficient to handle airflow properly.

    For any questions about sizing systems, Rheem heat pump or any other facet of heating and air conditioning equipment, don't hesitate to contact us at National Air Warehouse for more information.

  • Could Mylar Curtains Help You Put a Little Less Strain on Your AC Condensers?

    As summer approaches, if you are like most people, you start to casually wonder if there are ways to reduce your cooling bill. (Actually, if you are like most people, you do the same thing as winter approaches too).

    Well, there might be an option that might help you in both seasons. In addition, if you can't afford to buy the item outright, if you're willing to get a little crafty, you can make something just as effective.

    Mylar is a material that reflects heat. "The Simple Dollar," Blogger, Trent Hamm, published a letter one of his readers wrote about making her own Mylar curtains. She lives in Central Florida in a poorly insulated older home. Her summer air conditioning bill was always quite high, and when she priced Mylar curtains, she found she couldn't afford them.

    She goes on to describe the simple method she used to make Mylar curtains for 6 windows in her home and if you follow her instructions, it's almost impossible to pay more than $5 per 36" curtain. She shared that she saved $75 during the hottest summer months using this method, but she takes her curtains down in the winter.

    However, when you shop for ready-made Mylar curtains online, retailers state that they will keep your home both cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. You might achieve this same effect with your handmade curtains by simply turning them around in the winter to reflect the internal heat. Since the blog reader lives in Central Florida, there's a chance that her winters are extremely mild, so coming up with a winter solution might not have been a major issue for her.

    Ready-made Mylar curtains will run you about $50+ per 36" window and look quite attractive. Retailers state that their benefits include that they:

    • Offer reduced heat and glare in the summer, and increased heat in the winter
    • Fit into traditional roller shade or standard blind mounts
    • Offer UV ray protection of up to 99.9%
    • Offer Transparency, (handmade Mylar shades will make your rooms darker), and
    • Provide privacy level control

    Hopefully, these tips can save you money and keep your home and office air conditioners and your AC condensers from working too hard, so that they can keep working for you and your family for many years to come! Contact a team member from National Air Warehouse to learn more about the best air control product line in the business.

  • Benefits of Using a Heat Pump

    The new generation of cold-climate heat pumps could cut energy costs drastically. The savings over oil heat are substantial — as much as 40 percent for residents of the Northeast, according to a 2013 report from the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado think tank that focuses on energy. Are you considering whether you should buy a heat pump? what are the benefits to you and your home? Let's find out. The following are simply a few of the benefits you can achieve by switching to a heat pump.

    -Can be used for heating. With the simple touch of a button, either mounted on the wall or by using a remote, it extracts heat energy from outside and brings this into your home or business.heat pump system
    -Can be used for cooling. The "reverse cycle" refers to its ability to work backwards. In fact, it works in exactly the same way as a fridge works. This means it can also extract heat from inside your building and transfers it outside.
    -Safety. There are no flames or hot surfaces that children or pets can touch and burn themselves on.
    -Climate control. The single most important feature of the heat pump is your comfort. You are able to control and maintain your climate to meet your own needs and desires.
    -Safe for the environment. Heat pumps don't create smoke, ashes, moisture, or any other waste material for you to remove.
    -Reduces running costs. Because they move heat rather than creating it by burning oil or gas, they are much more efficient with average savings of over 60% for ground source heat Pumps and 40% for air source heat pumps.

    According to the Department of Energy, for climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners.  In fact, if you heat with electricity, a heat pump can trim the amount of electricity you use for heating by as much as 30% to 40%. Of course actual energy savings depend on the relative costs of the combustion fuel relative to electricity.

    The above are simply a few of the benefits of utilizing heat pumps for your buildings. While heat pumps work best in colder climates, a backup source of heat will be required of the temperature drops below 30 degrees. You could use electric heat strips to supplement heat as well. Have you switched over to a heat pump systems and noticed the cost savings benefits? If so, share your comments below.

  • Furnace Repair or Replacement? What to Consider and Top Mainteance Tips

    The colder seasons have arrived and so has the need to heat your place. Your current furnace still functions but just barely, so you’re wondering if it’s times to replace it. Here are a few signs to help make that decision.

    • You've been repairing your furnace a lot. Do you need to have this appliance repaired at the start of every heating season plus one or two times more before summer? Have you been doing this for a few year now? Add how much it's been costing you for repairs all this time and see if that's close to or less than the cost of a new furnace.
    • How old is your current furnace? The average life expectancy for a furnace is about 16-20 year. If your home was built more than 20 years ago, you should begin the process of shopping for a replacement furnace. It is recommended to start looking for a replacement well before your current furnace goes out as having to replace it in an emergency situation might not allow you to make the best decision. If you are unsure of the age of the furnace, start by checking if it has a pilot light, if so, it is almost certain that it is at least 25 years old.
    • Your furnace makes weird noises. A bit of sound when your heater starts up for the first time is normal and shouldn't cause concern. But if you keep hearing banging, rattling, or other weird sounds, your appliance is in its death throes. Don't wait until it finally dies before you take action or you'll be stuck in a cold house.
    • Gas or electric bills keep rising. Look at the cost of your heating bills over time and see if you can spot a rising pattern. As your furnace ages, the efficiency of the furnace and its ability to heat your home dissipates slowly. This is especially true if the home was furnace was not being maintained properly. By proactively replacing your furnace, you could be putting the extra fund being spent on higher electric bills towards the cost of a new furnace instead.
    • The thermostat setting does nothing. You keep fiddling with the thermostat but your home doesn't seem to get any warmer. That's because your furnace is less able to distribute heat efficiently as it gets older. In addition, your appliance may be using up more electricity as its parts begin to wear out. A spike in your heating bill is another bad sign, especially considering that the energy efficiency of modern furnaces can reduce your heating expenses.
    Furnace-Maintenance-Infographic Infograph Courtesy of AAA Heating and Cooling Inc

    Whether you are looking for a replacement air handler or gas furnace, your best line of defense is to be proactive in making a plan for replacement. Make sure to take your time and shop for the option that best suits your needs and budget. By carefully selecting the option that best suits your home ahead of time and not waiting until the last moment, you will be much happier with your decision in the long run.

  • How to Protect Your Central Air Conditioner From Theives

    Even with the recent upturn in the economy, some people still have it quite hard out there. In fact, there has been a spike in the number of central air conditioners that have been stolen due to rising scrap metal prices.

    Of course, your central air conditioner isn’t the only metal that thieves are stealing. There have been cases of cars being stripped of parts, and even manhole covers being lifted out of the street for the metal content. So this begs the question, what’s a homeowner to do?

    You need to protect yourself from potential thieves. The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from having to spend several thousands of dollars to keep your home’s temperature conditioned:

    -Hiding your unit with some shrubbery is the most obvious way to tackle this issue. The idea here, is that if the thieves can’t see your unit, they can’t steal it and will move on to the next house.

    -Adding a motion sensor light can make thieves feel wary about stealing your unit. After all, it is a lot harder to steal something during the day because everyone can see what’s going on. A bright light is an awesome way of keeping your unit safe.

    -One low tech option that is still effective is to have a guard dog. Guard dogs are a great at preventing a break in by being able to sound off their built in alarms that are sure to scare away any possible intruders.

    -Boxing the unit in with a cage may be more expensive than the other tips, but could prove to be the most effective way to protect your unit. You can usually find items like this at your local HVAC supply house or maybe even a hardware store. Any potential thieves could see the cage, and not want to take the extra steps to get the copper and aluminum out.

    Click the image to enlarge

    copper-theft-infographic copper-theft-infographic Image Courtesy of Super Circuits

    These tips are costly. However, the last thing you want is to have your unit stolen. So it may be a better idea to be proactive now, instead of reactive later on down the road. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how to protect a central air conditioner system? Share your thoughts in comments section below.

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