The Importance of Checking your Heating System

Temperatures are slowly starting to cool down and the leaves are starting to change. This means that the cold months are coming and it is time to go through your fall checklist. Not only do you need to rake the leaves and put out the autumn decorations, it is also time to schedule your annual HVAC check up. Here are some reasons why preventative maintenance on your heating system is important:

  • Health – when your heating system runs off fossil fuels there is the potential for a gas leak that could be deadly. The most common problems come from carbon dioxide leaks, but methane and sulfur dioxide are dangerous too. According to the CDC, over 400 Americans die each year, and 20,000 people visit the emergency room due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. It is hard to detect carbon monoxide because it is an odorless, colorless gas which means you can’t see it or smell it if there is a leak. Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, vomiting, chest pain, and a feeling of weakness. By having your heating system checked annually, you can reduce the risk of gas leaks in your home. If the heat exchanger becomes cracked, it could leak gases into the home. Trained specialists will check for any signs of leaks, damage, or faulty parts that could lead to bigger issues in the future. You can also protect your loved ones by installing a carbon monoxide detector next to each bedroom.
  • Lifespan – regular preventative maintenance is the best way to ensure that your heating system lives as long as possible. Replacing your heating system can cost anywhere from about $3,000 to $10,000, so the longer your current system can operate, the more money you are saving. When completing a preventative maintenance visit, technicians will thoroughly check all the parts of the furnace or heat pump and look for any signs of wear and tear. A worn out part could cause damage to the rest of the system, or make things work harder than they should be. This can greatly reduce the lifespan of your heating system, which means you end up spending a lot more money. An $8,000 system that lives 8 years costs you $1,000 a year. The same system that lives 18 years costs you less than $450 a year. The longer a heating system runs efficiently, the less it costs overall. Preventative maintenance may seem like an upfront cost that you don’t want to pay for, but it will save you a significant amount of money in the years to come.
  • Energy Efficiency – keeping your heating system operating as efficiently as possible is great for many reasons. Efficient systems use less energy and don’t put as much stress on the machine as a system that has not been taken care of. Using less energy is great for the environment and great for your wallet. Not only do you save money on your energy bill, you also save money by not having to buy a new heating system.
  • Warranty – many heating systems come with a warranty, but the warranty is only good if you have documented maintenance completed every year. Schedule your annual check up with a certified HVAC specialist and make sure you save the paperwork so that your warranty stays valid.

What does an inspection check?

  • Look for a clean pilot light and ensure that flame sensor works
  • Make sure there is no dust or debris in burner compartment or in other moving parts
  • Inspect blower wheel and check that filters are all in good condition and clean
  • Check size of burner flame and ensure there is a steady flame
  • Check the condition of heat exchanger or combustion chamber, no signs of wear and tear
  • Check for carbon monoxide or other gases in furnace or boiler
  • Ensure exhaust vent is unobstructed and that it is correctly sized
  • Apply oil to motors and provide service to belts as needed

Don’t wait until your heater cuts off in the middle of a particularly cold stretch this winter. Many of the parts and equipment needed to make repairs on heat pumps, furnaces, and other HVAC systems are difficult to get in a timely manner these days because of backups in the supply chain. Waiting until a problem comes up is not a good idea, plan ahead. Schedule an appointment today with Weather Crafters and don’t get left out in the cold this winter!

Time for Fall Maintenance

While many of us aren’t ready for summer to be over, the season is winding down, and cool weather will start to creep in over the next month or so. It is time to begin prepping your home for winter by completing fall maintenance for your heating and air conditioning. Get your HVAC system ready for the switch from air conditioning to heating by following a quick checklist, and by scheduling a tune-up with one of our certified technicians. Here are a few things you can do, on your own.

  • Clean your outdoor unit – The condenser unit is the part of your HVAC system that is outside, the big box that blows hot air when the air conditioning is running. Check that it is clear of any obstructions or debris. Leaves, grass clippings, and fallen branches can obstruct the flow of air and this makes the HVAC system work harder to push air out. You should check that the condenser is clear of debris periodically throughout the year, but it is especially important in the fall, when the trees start to lose their leaves.
  • Check thermostat – Give your thermostat a little test by adjusting the temperature and checking to see if the proper temperature is displayed. If you have a programmable thermostat, it is a good time to review what has been programmed and make adjustments. Fall mornings tend to be chilly, so you may want to adjust what temperature has been set for your wake up time.
  • Change filter – you should be changing the filter in your HVAC about every 3 months. It is especially important in the fall because of the increase in allergens in the air. In the mid Atlantic ragweed is one of the most common and most irritating allergens in the autumn. This is because this weed can grow almost anywhere, and when released, it’s pollen can travel for miles through the air. It is hard to get away from. If you or a loved one suffers from seasonal allergies, changing your filter will help improve the air quality in your home. You can also look into purchasing a higher quality filter to remove more irritants from the air. Talk to your HVAC specialist about what type of filter would be best for your home.
  • Adjust ceiling fans – during the summer, your ceiling fans should rotate counter clockwise, to push air down and create a breeze in your home. In the fall, it is the opposite. The fans should rotate clockwise, slowly, to pull cool air upward to reduce heating costs. Most fans have a small, black switch that should be up in the winter and down in the summer. The switch controls the fan’s rotation.
  • Regular maintenance – Most HVAC technicians will recommend that you have regular maintenance completed on your system twice a month – once in the spring, before turning on your air conditioning, and once in the fall, before switching over to heat. The average lifespan of an HVAC system can range from 15 to 25 years. A system that has been well cared for will save you a lot of money over the years, as new HVACs cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000. Having regular tune-ups with a trend technician will ensure that your system is running as efficiently as possible. An efficient system uses less energy and causes less wear and tear – meaning you pay less on your energy bill and your system will live longer. Technicians are also trained to be on the lookout for any warning signs and can fix small issues before they become big problems.

Getting your home ready for fall can be intimidating but having a checklist to follow will help you to know how to get started. Your HVAC system is one of the most important and most expensive parts of your home. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. Give Weather Crafters a call today to schedule a semi-annual HVAC maintenance appointment with one of our highly trained staff.

HVAC Repair Costs on the Rise

HVAC Repair Costs on the Rise

Due to issues caused by the pandemic, the cost of materials are on the rise in almost all areas – manufacturing homes, vehicles, and in the HVAC world. Materials have become harder to find and the wait time for certain items has increased from a few days or weeks to multiple months. The cost of raw materials has gone up, as well as labor rates and transportation and fuel prices to move materials. As a result, over the past few months, HVAC suppliers have raised the prices on new units, parts, and materials – anywhere from 3-9%. The demand for efficient heating and cooling systems have also increased because more people are staying home and opting to work from home when possible. Due to all these factors, buying a new HVAC or having repairs done to your existing system will most likely be more expensive than you anticipated.

How can you combat the rising prices when it comes to your HVAC unit? Give your system a little more TLC. There are many things you can do on your own to help your unit function more efficiently, and an efficient unit leads to a longer lifespan and less repairs in the long run. If you have questions about your HVAC system contact us! Here are some ways you can help your heating and cooling system:

Change the filter

You should change the filter of your HVAC system about every 3 months, depending on what the filter’s label says. The filter is supposed to remove particles from the air to allow you to have cleaner air in your home or office. If a filter becomes too full of particles, it no longer filters things properly. It also causes the system to work harder, trying to push air through a clogged filter. This means the HVAC is not running efficiently and that can decrease its efficiency and put strain on the machine.

Clear out the outdoor condenser unit

The condenser unit is the big box that is usually outside your home, which blows hot air when the air conditioner is on. It moves hot air to the outside. Because it is outside, it can become clogged with debris, such as leaves and sticks. Check to make sure that nothing is blocking air flow around the condenser unit every month or so. If air is not flowing efficiently, this can lead to overwork of the system, and parts may wear out more quickly.

Check your vents

Make sure all the vents are open and clear in your home. You may think that closing a vent in a room you don’t use helps to not waste heated or cooled air. However, that’s not the case. Your HVAC system is made to heat or cool enough air for a specified amount of space. If you live in a 1,500 square foot home your HVAC is rated for that amount of space. If you close off the guest room, then your system is still producing the same amount of hot or cold air. The closed vent prevents air from flowing, and then a back up is caused. So in reality, the system must work harder to push past the air that is becoming backed up from the closed vent. A similar situation can occur if you have a vent blocked by a couch or a curtain.

These are simple checks that you can do on your own. For a more in depth analysis of your system, you should schedule an appointment with a certified HVAC specialist. We recommend that you schedule twice a year, once before turning on the air conditioning, and once before switching over to heat. By working with an HVAC specialist, they can help you by recommending changes that will help your system run more efficiently and be on the lookout for any warning signs of upcoming issues. By catching a problem early, a small repair could solve the issue, before it becomes a bigger, more expensive fix. Call Weather Crafters today to schedule your next maintenance visit!

Why Won’t My House Get Cool

Why Won’t My House Get Cool

Summer’s heat has arrived and keeping cool is important for your health and comfort. Do you ever wonder, “Why doesn’t my house feel cool?”, even after you’ve lowered your thermostat multiple times. There are many reasons why your home may not be able to keep in the air cooled by your air conditioning system. Some are simple fixes that you can do on your own, and others are bigger, long term projects that require some help. Listed below are a few reasons why your home isn’t cooling off as much as it could, and how to fix those issues. If these quick fixes don’t solve your problems you can contact us!

Old home

The age of a home can be an issue in keeping cool in the summer. Older homes often have less efficient systems, and more areas where air can leak through. If a home was built before air conditioning was created, and then an a/c unit was installed, the design may not work as well. Get in touch with an energy auditor to inspect where you can improve your home’s energy efficiency, and how to contain the cooled air on a hot day.

Insulation

Where you have insulation, how old it is, and the quality of it are all important details of note when talking about staying cool. Most people think of insulation in terms of heating a home in winter, but it also applies to cool air in the summer. Standard insulation lasts about 15 years, but it can degrade sooner if damaged or exposed to moisture. Not only should you insulate your attic, but also your crawl space (if you have one). The insulation works to keep indoor air inside, so air cooled by the air conditioner isn’t leaking out of your home, and so that hot air from outside isn’t finding it’s way in. There are many different options when selecting insulation – from the traditional batt (looks like cotton candy) to newer spray foams, panels, and foam blocks. Get in touch with a professional to see if your insulation is in need of replacement, and what option might be right for your budget and space.

Windows and doors

Imagine your home as a fish tank, but instead of water, it is filled with cooled air. Now imagine that there are multiple small leaks in the tank. The water isn’t pouring out, but left untreated, the tank will empty – wasting water. Your home is similar when you run your air conditioning. You are paying to cool the air in your home, but if you have old, inefficient doors and windows, those tiny cracks are allowing air to leak outside. Upgrading the doors and windows of your home will ensure that there are no leaks, and allow your home to stay cool more efficiently.

Landscaping

If you are considering adding landscaping to your home, it can help keep you cool as well. Adding shade trees or bushes in strategic spots can help lower the nearby temperature between 2 and 9 degrees. Not only does it block direct sunlight from hitting your home, it also cools the air through evapotranspiration. While shade trees do take time to grow, they are a good investment for the future. Contact a landscaper to help you plan what types of shade plants would work for your home.

HVAC system

If your home doesn’t seem to cool off, regardless of what the thermostat is set to, you probably need to take a look at your HVAC unit. A well-maintained unit can run efficiently and maintain a comfortable temperature rather easily. However, if you don’t take care of the system, that’s when problems can occur. You should be changing the filter in your HVAC about every 3 months to allow air to flow smoothly, and to keep breathing air clean. You can also check your outdoor condenser unit (the big box outside that blows hot air when it’s on) and make sure that it is free from any debris that might hinder air flow. Have an HVAC specialist come out for a check up twice a year – once before turning on the air conditioner, and once in the fall, before switching over to heat. They will be able to diagnose any problems that your system may have, and be on the lookout for any warning signs of upcoming issues. A well-maintained HVAC system can live for 20+ years, but a neglected one lasts anywhere from 10-15 years. Having regular check ups with a trained specialist will ensure that your HVAC is running efficiently at all times, so you can stay cool.

There are many ways that you can help your HVAC run efficiently. Give Weather Crafters a call today to schedule your HVAC’s next maintenance appointment. Our highly-trained staff will get to the bottom of your cooling problems.

Maintain HVAC

Maintain your HVAC to Save Money

Over the past year, people have been staying home more because of the pandemic. More people are working from home, many students have turned to completing school online, and most of our social activities were canceled for a period of time. Because of this, many homeowners decided to invest in their homes and their comfort by upgrading to a better HVAC system. It makes sense – if you are home for the majority of your day, you want to be comfortable. Demand for newer, more efficient HVAC systems has risen and so have the costs of materials, labor, and fuel. Most HVAC manufacturers have announced price increases anywhere from 3 to 9% to handle the increased cost of materials, labor, and transportation of goods. So if you were thinking of purchasing a new HVAC system, now might not be the best time. By taking care of your system and completing routine maintenance, you can save yourself a lot. The average lifespan of an HVAC is about 15 years, but that can be increased to 20 or more with some TLC. A new system averages anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 (add a few hundred dollars more these days). Here are a few quick tips to maintain your HVAC system and extend its life for as long as possible.

Professional Help

The number one thing you can do to maintain your HVAC unit is to schedule regular maintenance with a certified company. Specialists recommend that you make an appointment with your HVAC company twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. This will ensure that your system is ready when you switch from heating to cooling, and then from cooling to heating. Trained specialists will keep your HVAC unit in great shape, allowing it to run as efficiently as possible. An efficient system means you will have a lower energy bill to pay, and it will put less strain on the machine. A system that can run smoothly will last longer. Specialists can also diagnose any issues they come across – big or small. By fixing a problem in its beginning stages, it reduces the wear and tear put on your system, allowing your system to live longer. Help your HVAC system stretch its lifespan for as long as possible, so you can save money, by scheduling routine maintenance with Weather Crafters today.

Filters

The easiest thing you can do for your HVAC, by yourself, is to change the filters regularly. Filters help remove particles from circulating through the air in your home. From pollen and pet dander, to bacteria and mold spores, the filter helps keep the air clean and fresh. According to the EPA, indoor air is actually between 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air because it doesn’t have the natural filtration of rain, trees, and clouds to clean it. If you live with someone with asthma or respiratory issues, upgrading to a high-quality filter can help. Regardless of the quality of your filter, it should be changed regularly, usually about every 3 months. By changing the filter, not only are you increasing the cleanliness of the air in your home, you are also helping your HVAC system run more efficiently. When a filter becomes full, it starts to clog and air can’t move through the filter as easily. In turn, the HVAC has to work harder to push air through the clog, and the harder a system works, the shorter its lifespan usually is. Changing a filter is really easy, and if you aren’t sure, ask your specialist to show you how on their next visit. You can also sign up for an automatic delivery service so you don’t have to remember when to change the filter. When the new filter arrives, you know it’s time to change it.

Outdoor Cleaning

During the summer, heat is removed from your home and dispersed outside through the outdoor condenser unit. It’s the big box that sits outside of your home, with a fan in it. Keeping this clean and clear is key in helping your system run efficiently. During the fall and winter, twigs, leaves, and other debris can create blockage and prevent air from flowing freely. In the spring, before you turn on the air conditioning, clear away anything that is on top of or around the unit. When planting landscaping, make sure you leave adequate room around the condenser. You can also use a hose to rinse off any pollen or build up, but don’t use a pressure washer because that could cause permanent damage.

Check the Evaporator Coil’s Drainage

During the summer, your air conditioner is going to have condensation on the outside of it. Drip pans are installed under the unit to catch the dripping condensation and to prevent any water damage. There is also a drain pipe to prevent any overflow. Before turning on your air conditioning for the summer, check for any blockages that will prevent water from draining properly, such as algae or mold. Check to ensure proper drainage is happening every few weeks throughout the warm weather. If you aren’t sure where to find your evaporator coil, ask your HVAC technician to show you.

Costs are on the rise due to shortages in raw material, labor, and transportation. If you are able to extend the life of your HVAC unit even just a few years, you are saving yourself money. Checking the condenser unit and the evaporator coil drainage cost you nothing except a few minutes of your time. The cost of a good quality filter and regular maintenance seem like nothing when compared to the cost of a new system. Give your HVAC a little TLC and it will save you money.