Here in the Northeast, heat is an essential element for the winter season and we know there are some families that simply can’t afford a reliable heating system. That’s why each year around the holidays, Oliver Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, & Electrical likes to help those in need by donating heaters.
Here at Oliver, we want you to have an HVAC system that’s perfect for your home, but we know it can be a big investment. That’s why we’ve created a variety of HVAC maintenance plans. On a regular basis, our experts will inspect your system and make sure that it’s running smoothly. Here are the top 10 reasons to have an Oliver maintenance plan:
As a maintenance plan member, you’ll automatically get a 10% (or more) discount on diagnostic fees and any repairs our experts may need to make.
9. Filter Replacement
A clean filter traps dust, dirt, and other allergens better than a dirty filter, so we’ll replace your standard filter to keep your air clean. We can also supply specialty filters to meet your family’s needs.
With our variety of maintenance plans, you can enjoy a precision heating and/or cooling tune-up that will test your thermostat operation, motor, wiring connections, drainage system, and more.
No matter what goes wrong, we stand behind our work with a two year Parts & Labor Warranty on every repair.
6. Priority Service
As a maintenance service client, you’ll get priority service over those who don’t have a plan – which means faster repairs.
5. Free Estimates
Need some work done? Our experts will give you a free estimate for equipment replacement and kitchen or bath renovations so you know exactly what you’ll be paying.
4. Equipment Replacement Program
Become a member of our VIP Loyalty Club and you could earn up to $100 every year toward the purchase of a new HVAC system from Oliver.
3. Emergency Service
If you discover a problem with your HVAC system, simply call us. We’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make any repairs or replacements you may need.
2. Annual Inspections
Each year, our experts perform a 21-point heating inspection and 21-point cooling inspection, then make necessary adjustments to ensure everything is running smoothly.
1. Peace of Mind
The #1 reason to have an Oliver HVAC maintenance plan is peace of mind. You’ll be able to sit back and relax, knowing that your system is running at its best and that if anything goes wrong, we’re always here to help.
Unfortunately, heating systems only last so long and there comes a time when you’ll need to replace yours. If your system falls under one of these “if”s, it may be time to call our heating installation experts:
If it’s old and inefficient
Take a moment to determine how old your heating system is. If it’s between 15 and 20 years old, our Oliver heating service experts recommend replacing it. Over time, the efficiency of a system deteriorates and you could actually be paying more money than you need to to heat your home.
If you have humidity problems
Have you noticed that your home’s air is too humid in the summer or too dry in the winter? If so, the problem could be an inadequate heating system. Schedule an appointment with one of our experts. We can tell you whether you should replace your system or not.
If it needs frequent repairs
A heating system that is constantly in need of repairs should be a red flag to homeowners. Constant repairs not only cost you money, but they often mean that your system isn’t doing the best job of heating your home and you’re better off upgrading to a newer one.
If your heating bills are rising
If the price of your heating has stayed relatively the same but your bills have gone up, your heating system is using more energy than it should be. Switch to a more energy efficient system and you’ll be able to save your money.
If some rooms are cold and others are hot
Have you ever walked from one room in your home to another and wondered why the second room is so different in temperature? This is a sign that your heating system isn’t operating at its best and can’t properly distribute warm air to your home’s rooms.
If your heating system is making weird noises
One of the most obvious signs of a heating system that’s on it’s way to failure is one that makes weird noises like pops, rattles, squeals, and more. If you hear weird noises coming from your system, call our heating installation experts today.
If any of these scenarios apply to your heating system, you’re most likely better off upgrading it to a newer model. At Oliver, we carry a wide array of systems and can help you pick the right one to heat your home efficiently and help you save money on your bills.
Scams can be found in nearly any industry, and HVAC is no different. At Oliver, we’ve heard many different horror stories from homeowners about how they paid for faulty parts, sub-par workmanship, or simply too much. Here are some popular HVAC scams to be on the lookout for:
The “Buy Right Now”
Be wary of HVAC contractors who try to rush your decision to buy. If they give you a quote and then tell you that you’ll pay less by acting immediately and pay more if they have to come back, they’re likely not as reputable as you think. A good contractor will give you time to think about your installation or repair and will be willing to come back a second time to do the job. If the contractor offers another service while they’re there, however, don’t be too alarmed – they’re likely just trying to save you both time.
“The Larger the Better”
If you’re in need of a new heater or air conditioner, bigger isn’t always better. In fact, a bigger unit will not only cost you more upfront, but it will cost more to install and cost more to operate over time, leaving you with higher bills than you want. If a contractor tells you your home should have a large HVAC unit, get a second opinion – your home may be perfectly fine with a smaller one.
The “Calling on Behalf Of”
Sometimes, non-reputable contractors will call homeowners posing as a contractor for a larger, more popular company. They’ll often offer a free inspection or free maintenance and if you decide to set up an appointment, pay attention to the van or truck they arrive in and what they’re wearing. If there’s no company logo that’s clearly visible, it’s likely a scam.
The “I Have a Used One”
If a contractor comes to your home to inspect your HVAC unit and finds a faulty part, they may tell you that they have a used replacement part that they can install that will save you money. Used parts may cause strain on other parts, may reduce efficiency, or may not last and an honest, trustworthy contractor won’t offer them.
Once it starts to get cold outside, it seems as though everyone suffers from some sort of winter cold. If you’re someone who tends to get sick once the temperature drops, follow these easy ways to prevent those feelings of a cold:
Improve your air quality
If you’re living with indoor air that’s dusty, dirty, and full of airborne particles, you could easily increase your chances of a cold. Low indoor air quality can cause respiratory infections, worsened asthma symptoms, and common ailments like headaches and sleep problems. Call up our indoor air quality experts and set up an appointment for an air quality test today.
Wash your hands
It’s always a good idea to keep your hands clean, and this couldn’t be more true once it gets cold. The winter months are full of cold, flu, and infection germs and they’re easily transferred from humans to surfaces. Make sure you wash your hands as much as you can to prevent these germs from making you sick.
Clean your ducts
Keeping your ducts clean is another way to improve your indoor air quality. Every time your heat or air conditioning kicks on, it can pull dust, dirt, pollen, mildew, fungi, bacteria and smoke into your duct system and spread them around the house. Don’t let dirty ducts be the cause of your winter cold – let us clean them for you so you can breathe easier.
Drink, drink drink
Doctors recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water every day in order to keep your immune system in good shape and your bodily defenses ready, so drink as much as you can to keep everything functioning properly.
During the summer months, it’s easy to stay active with activities like swimming, biking, hiking, and more, but once it starts to get cold, many people cut their activity drastically. Make it a point to stay active this winter and keep your heart pumping – a hard-working heart strengthens your immune system and can help combat cold and flu germs.
When you’re cold, you depress your immune system and increase your chances for a cold, the flu, a cough, and more. Stay warm this winter by dressing warmly (especially on your head and feet where you lose a lot of your body heat) and making sure your heating system is in proper working order.
According to ACCUWeather and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this year’s winter is set to be colder and longer than past winters (especially if you live east of the Rocky Mountains). In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the Northeast will be 17% colder than it was last year, although the colder temperatures may be slow to start.
With colder temperatures in the forecast, homeowners will be turning to their heaters on a more regular basis during the winter months. According to the EIA’s Energy and Winter Fuels Outlook, heating oil users will use the most energy (a 38% increase) while electricity users will use the least (a 5% increase) compared to last year. Propane users and natural gas users are predicted for similar increases, at 26% and 22% respectively.
Even though all types of homeowners will be using more energy this year, only natural gas users (about half of all Americans), will have to cope with higher prices. The cost of natural gas is predicted to be 11% higher than last winter, making it at its highest since the winter of 2010-2011.
In an article by npr.org, Jeff Brady says, “Your overall bill will depend on where you live. The agency reports that an entire winter’s worth of natural gas heating for the average home will be $635. In the Northeast it will be nearly $900 [because] pipeline bottlenecks have pushed up prices in the region.”
If you’re in need of a new natural gas heater, talk to one of our heating experts today. We can help you choose an energy efficient model to save you as much as possible this winter.
Have you ever been shopping for a new HVAC system and noticed acronyms like “EER,” “SEER,” “AFUE,” or “HSPF” in the unit details? If you don’t know what they mean, you should – all of these acronyms are rating systems that are used to score HVAC units on their efficiency. Here are more details from our HVAC contractors:
EER ratings, or “energy efficient ratio” ratings, were introduced in 1975 by the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Institute (ACRI) and are applied to room air conditioners. To get the rating, experts calculate the cooling output of the unit (in BTU’s per hour) divided by the amount of electricity it uses. The higher the number rating, the more efficient the HVAC unit.
SEER ratings stem from EER ratings, however, they’re “seasonal” (hence the “S”). SEER ratings were introduced in 1978 after the ACRI realized that there are different seasonal conditions throughout the country. SEER ratings are applied to central HVAC units, but are calculated the same way EER ratings are. Again, the higher the number rating, the more efficient the HVAC unit.
If you’re shopping for a gas-fired or oil-fired furnace, water heater, or boiler, you’ll see an AFUE (“average fuel utilization efficiency”) rating. This rating is calculated in percentages using the division of BTU output by how much energy the unit uses. The higher the percentage, the more efficient the unit is.
When it comes to air-source heat pumps, look for the “heating seasonal performance factor” rating, or HSPF rating. Like the other ratings, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by the ratio of BTU’s output per hour to the amount of electricity used. Higher numbers equals higher efficiency. In fact, heat pumps with very high efficiency (usually rated an 8 or higher) may even be considered for an energy tax credit.
If you have any other questions about HVAC ratings or about which type of unit is best for your home or business, give our HVAC contractors a call today.
*Photo credit: missionac.com
This past weekend, winter storm Jonas dropped well over two feet of snow in much of the Northeast and at Oliver, we were getting calls left and right because of it. One of the most popular issues in the area was a heater that simply stopped working, which can happen during a snowstorm. Here are four ways the snow can affect your heater:
Block Air Intakes
Our on-call managers fielded many questions about shut-down heaters due to snow that had piled up and blocked their fresh air intakes. When your heater’s intake is blocked due to snow or ice, it causes the unit to shut down.
While heaters need to take in fresh air in order to operate properly, they also need to expel air through an exhaust. If their exhaust gets blocked due to snow or ice, it can also cause the unit to shut down.
Gas furnaces and boilers both have controls that can be susceptible to water damage, especially during heavy rains or when snow starts to melt. If these elements experience enough water, they’ll begin to corrode and could cause reliability issues.
On some occasions, snow and ice could build up on your unit’s aluminum fan and coil fins. When this happens, the weight of the build-up could cause them to bend and eventually break. If you notice a loud sound while your heater is on, bent fins could be why.
How to Prevent Damage
If you know you’re going to get a snowstorm, be sure to include clearing the air intakes, exhaust, and space around outdoor heat pump units in your snow removal plan. Also make sure that after bad weather, there isn’t snow or ice accumulated on the top of the outdoor unit of your heat pump or air conditioner. If there is, turn off the unit and use warm water to melt it away. After it’s clear, turn it back on.
Even though we made it through November without snow, that doesn’t mean it’s not right around the corner – and with it, freezing cold temperatures. Our heater installation company has heard plenty of heating myths over the years, so we thought we’d bust some of them:
1. A fire is a good way to warm your home
While we can’t argue that a fire is a great way to stay warm, it’s actually not a very efficient way to warm your whole house. When you open the flue in your fireplace, you essentially open up a vacuum for air to escape. While this escape is great for smoke and gasses, it’s not great for the rest of the warm air in your home. Many people find that when they have a fire, the other rooms in their home are colder, and that’s because the flue is sending all of your heat up and out of the chimney.
2. Ceiling fans are only good in the summer
Ceiling fans are a great way to cool down in the heat of the summer, but they can also be used in the winter to circulate warm air. Warm air rises, and if you have an adjustment switch on your fan that reverses the way the blades spin, you can reverse them in the winter. They’ll push the warm air that’s collected on the ceiling down to the rest of the room.
3. Space heaters are better than a gas heating system
Instead of heating their whole house with a gas heating system, some homeowners opt to heat certain rooms with space heaters instead. While the idea is that heating less space means costing less money, that’s not always the case. Electricity can actually cost anywhere from three to five times more than natural gas, so it’s often more efficient to simply use your gas heating system to warm your home instead of space heaters.
4. Keeping your home the same temperature is better than adjusting it
At Oliver, we love programmable thermostats because they can lower the temperature of your home when you’re not there and raise it back up when you are. Some people don’t believe that this helps save energy, however, and instead, keep their home at one temperature all day. When your heater clicks on less often, you’ll use less energy, which means keeping your home cooler for long periods of time can help save you money.
5. Closing off vents will lower your energy bill
Many homeowners believe that if they close off HVAC vents in rooms they don’t use, they’ll use less heat and lower their energy bill. However, your heater doesn’t adjust the amount of heat it pumps out based on closed vents. If you close off certain “release” areas in your home, you’ll throw the pressure load off balance and actually make your heater work harder. This, in turn, will cost you more money.
6. Cranking the heat will warm your home faster
If you come back from a trip and your home is cold, your first thought may be to crank up the heat to 85 in order to warm it up faster. However, heaters don’t work like that. Instead of having “high” and “low” settings, they really only have an “on” and “off” setting. Once you turn your heat on, it will take just as long to reach 78 if you set it to 85 than it would if you just set it to 78.