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.
Summer is over and autumn is quickly approaching, but is your home ready for the cooler temperatures? At our Oliver, we’ve put together nine ways to get your home ready for the fall (including calling our experts!):
Check for Drafts
Check your windows and doors for drafts so that your home doesn’t take on cold air when you don’t want it to. You can check them by lighting a candle and holding it near the area. If it flickers, there’s a draft. You’ll want to replace the weather stripping and/or caulking to get a nice, strong seal before the cold sets in.
Prep Your Washer & Dryer
All of those loads of summer laundry mean your washing machine and dryer have gotten a lot of use. Be sure to check your washing machine hose – one that’s too worn can burst and spill gallons of water very quickly. Also make sure that lint hasn’t built up in your dryer – too much lint can catch fire from the dryer’s heat.
Replace Your HVAC Filter
Summer comes with a lot of dirt, dust, pollen, grass, and other airborne contaminants. Start fall with a fresh, clean HVAC filter and you’ll be breathing easy as the temperatures get cooler.
Seal Your Walkway/Patio
If you have a paver walkway or a paver patio, take some time to seal it before the ice, snow, and cold temperatures hit. You’ll protect it all winter long and will love the way it looks come springtime.
Schedule a Furnace Check-Up
Make an appointment with one of our heating service experts to do a thorough check of your heater. We’ll make sure it’s working properly and ready to use once the temperature drops so you don’t experience any unwanted and inconvenient problems.
Fertilize Your Lawn
Grass roots will continue to grow until the ground temperature gets down to 40 degrees, so feed your grass a fresh helping of fertilizer to keep it growing strong through the fall and ready for winter.
Install Outdoor Lights
As it gets cooler, the days get shorter and there are fewer hours of sunlight, so why not install a few outdoor lights on your garage or ones that lead to your front door? You’ll light the way not only for yourself, but for your guests, too.
Test Your Detectors
Put fresh batteries in your smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector and test them to make sure that they are working properly. This is a good thing to do every few months.
Insulate Your Pipes
When colder temperatures hit, your plumbing pipes could freeze and burst, causing big plumbing problems. Our plumbing experts can make sure your pipes are prepared for the fall and winter – just give us a call.
Enjoy Fresh Air on a Regular Basis
When it comes to air ducts, there’s no set amount of time you should leave between cleanings; duct cleaning should be done on an “as-needed” basis and in general, is good to do every couple years.
How dirty your ducts get depends on many factors including: your home’s location, the size of your home, how many people live there, if family members smoke, if you have pets, etc.
The warm or cool air that blows out through your vents travels around your home and picks up airborne particles like dust, dirt, dander, mold, pollen, allergens, tar and nicotine (if members of your family smoke cigarettes). The air is then pulled back into your HVAC system and is recirculated over and over. As these particles travel through your home’s ducts, some get trapped and build up. Over time, the traveling air picks these particles up and before you know it, you’re breathing in more and more particles that could harm your health.
By cleaning your home’s ductwork, you’ll not only reduce your chances of illness, you’ll also improve the lifespan of your HVAC system and reduce your energy costs. In addition, to keep your home’s air even more clean, be sure to change your HVAC filter every one to three months (depending on the type).
At Oliver, we have a team of air duct cleaners that can remove harmful buildup and have you and your family breathing clean air in no time. If you’re not sure if your ducts need cleaning, give us a call today for a free over-the-phone estimate or schedule an appointment.
What to Know About Both
At Oliver Heating and Cooling, we’re already thinking about summer vacation plans, and we know you are too. If you’re thinking about taking a road trip, you can save money by knowing when to use your air conditioning and when not to use it.
Car Air Conditioning
Car air conditioners and rolled-down windows can both help you save money while you drive – you just have to know when to use which cooling method. If your road trip consists of highway driving (we’re assuming it does), keep your windows rolled up and your air conditioner on when you’re going above 50 miles per hour. Traveling with your windows down at high speeds will actually reduce the efficiency of your vehicle (by up to 20%), which means you’ll use more gas to maintain your highway speed.
On the other hand, if you’re driving around town (or under 50 miles per hour), opt to roll down your windows instead of use your air conditioning. Because there’s less wind force than when traveling at higher speeds, you won’t decrease your vehicle’s efficiency, and if you do use your air conditioner, you’ll be using more fuel to run it.
As a general note, if you get into your parked car and it’s hot, you may be tempted to cool it down with the air conditioning. If you do this, roll down your windows to let some of the heat out – the car will cool off quicker.
Home Air Conditioning
Summer road trips also mean time away from your home, and you may be wondering whether you should turn your air conditioning off or simply turn it down. The truth is, it doesn’t hurt to turn your air conditioning off – in fact, you’ll save a lot more money than if you keep it at a higher temperature.
In addition, air conditioners actually run more efficiently when they’re running at full power, which means they’re more efficient when cooling a room down from 80 to 75 than when they’re working in short spurts to keep the room at a constant 80 degrees. We know that during winter months, it’s important to keep your home warm to avoid freezing your pipes, but in the summer months, it’s perfectly safe to turn off your air conditioning.
If you’re having trouble with your air conditioner, call our air conditioning repair company before you leave and we’ll have it fixed for you as soon as possible.
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.
Trying to service or understand your HVAC system on your own can be hard, which is why the experts at Oliver receive a lot of questions. We’ve compiled a few frequently asked questions and their answers for you to learn more:
Q: How often should I service my HVAC system?
A: To keep your HVAC system running in tip-top shape, we recommend a maintenance appointment twice a year (once for heat, once for air conditioning). This way, an Oliver technician can check your filters, coils, wiring, housing, motor, and more to make sure you’re getting the most out of your system.
Q: What happens when I need a repair on a holiday or weekend?
A: Don’t worry! Whether your problem happens at three in the morning or on the 4th of July, our HVAC service experts are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get your system back up and running. Just call 1-877-757-1141.
Q: What’s the warranty like on a new HVAC system?
A: At Oliver, most of our HVAC systems come with a 10-year warranty, so you can enjoy your system for years to come. We also have great maintenance plans to help you lower your utility bills and extend the life of your equipment.
Q: Which HVAC System is right for my Home?
A: To answer that, you’ll need an appointment with one of our HVAC service experts. We’ll come to your home and evaluate its size, heating and cooling needs, environment, and the work we’ll need to do. Then, we can recommend the best system for you and install it quickly.
Q: What can I do to lower my energy bills?
A: There are plenty of things, such as:
- Install a programmable thermostat so you don’t waste air conditioning or heat while you’re not at home.
- Switch your incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient light bulbs like compact fluorescents (CFLs) or LEDs.
- Install ceiling fans and, when you can, use them instead of your air conditioning to cool you down.
- Unplug any appliance that you’re not using. While it may not be turned on, it will still use power from your electrical outlet.
- Make sure your windows and doors are sealed properly so that they don’t let air in and make your HVAC system work harder.
Q: How do I know if I need a new heater or air conditioner?
A: If your HVAC system requires constant repairs, is 15 years or older, or can’t heat or cool your home properly, we recommend you replace it. When an HVAC system ages, it doesn’t operate as efficiently and could actually end up costing you more money than it should.
Q: What kind of filter do I need for my HVAC system?
A: We wrote a great blog on how to choose the right HVAC filter. Check it out!
Q: How do I choose a good HVAC service company?
A: When looking for the perfect company, ask your friends and family members for recommendations. Then, make sure the company has the proper license and insurance. After that, get a written estimate for the work they’re going to do (a good company should have no problem giving you a written estimate).
It’s a new year, so why not make it one where you save money on water, heat, electricity, and more? At our heating and cooling company, we have a few easy suggestions on how to just that (and save energy, as well!):
One of the easiest ways to save water is to use less of it. Here are three ways to do that:
- Install low-flow shower heads and faucets so you don’t use as much water when you take showers, wash your hands, and do the dishes.
- If you have a dripping faucet, get it fixed as soon as possible – even a slow drip can waste more water than you think.
- Before you start your dishwasher or washing machine, make sure you have a full load ready to go. If not, you’ll just waste water on fewer items.
- Make sure your doors and windows are sealed well and don’t emit any drafts that can increase your heat use and in turn, your heating bills.
- Use a programmable thermostat to reduce your heat use when you’re sleeping or not at home.
- Make sure your attic is thoroughly insulated – if not, it could be letting in drafts and forcing you to use your heater more than you need to.
On Air Conditioning
- Invest in thick curtains that block out the sun to help keep your home cooler and in turn, lower your air conditioning bills.
- At night, use overhead fans, box fans, and open your windows to generate the flow of cool air instead of relying on your air conditioning.
- Change your HVAC unit’s filter after each season to make sure the airflow isn’t restricted
- If you’re not using something, turn it off. This includes lights, the television, fans, and more.
- Install energy-efficient light bulbs like CFLs or LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs and you could save up to 80% on your electric bill.
- Limit your use of things that use a lot of electricity such as hair dryers, dishwashers, coffee makers, toaster ovens, and more.
On Everyday Items
- Instead of spending money on all brand-name things, you can save anywhere from $50-$500/month money by buying generic.
- Save some money by making your own household cleaning products (that clean just as well!). For example: mix a lemon with borax to get a powerful cleaner that can remove rust stains.
- Check the internet for coupon codes before you buy anything online.
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.
As 2016 comes to a close, we at Oliver want to remind you – if you haven’t gotten your HVAC unit inspected this year, now is the time to do it. There’s a lot that goes on within your HVAC system and in order to keep it running smoothly, we recommend an inspection at least once per year.
During your inspection, we’ll thoroughly examine your unit and test out its functions to make sure everything is operating correctly. If we find there’s something wrong, we’ll let you know what it is and what your options are. If it’s just a small fix, we can repair it on-site or schedule a repair for the future. If it’s a major issue, however, you may need a new HVAC installation.
If a new installation is the case, we’ll discuss the different types of systems we offer and what your best are for the size of your home, your heating or cooling needs, and your budget.
At Oliver, we know your HVAC system is an investment and you’d like it to last you as long as possible. With yearly inspections, you’ll extend the lifespan of your system and in turn, save money on repair costs. If you still haven’t had your unit inspected, give us a call today to schedule one with an HVAC expert.