Winter Tips for your HVAC

With our coldest winter month approaching we thought we would share some HVAC winter tips to help protect your system, as well as keep those electric bills down! 

  •  Program your thermostat: If you have a programmable thermostat this can be a great way to lower winter electric bills. You can simply set the temperture lower for the times noone will be there during the day. 
  • Protect your home by keeping anything flammable atleast 4 feet away from any heating sources. Be cautious with space heaters if you have to use them. Never plug into an extension cord. 
  • Ensure attic well insulated: This is one of the easiest ways to help your unit work at full effiency. A well insulated attic keeps warm air in the home and prevents it from escaping.
  • Winter maintenance: Have your system maintained for the winter by a proffesional to help prevent inconvient breakdowns & ensure your unit is running efficently. 
  • Clean or Replace filters: Clogged filters will prevent air flow we reccomend checking your filters every 30 days. 

Avoid Carbon Monoxide in Your Home 

When we hear carbon monoxide it's scary, but it's good to know that there are things we can do to prevent this. As a worry wart myself I want to educate you all on where the dangers lie with carbon monoxide leaks and ways to protect your home.


First lets talk about items in our home than can produce the gas. Gas furnances, gas stoves, water heaters, gas dryers, and even improperly vented fireplaces can be a source of carbon monoxide. The number one way to prevent this is to be AWARE. Ensure you have a minuim of one detector in your home and check it every so often to esnure it is in working order. 

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) actually recommends that every home with fuel burning appliances of any kind be equipped with a least one Carbon monoxide detector. You can place your detectors anywhere from 14 inches above the floor to eye level, but never where there is a drafe like near windows & doors. We reccomend having a proffesional out atleast once per year to ensure your detector('s) are working properly as well as your equipment is running properly. These our some signs to watch out for if you ever notice any of these call a proffesional immediatley!

1. A decreasing hot-water supply

2. Scoot collecting on, under, and around any appliance

3. A furnace that runs constatnly but doesnt heat your home

4. A unfamiliar burning odor 

5. A loose or missing furnance panel or vent pipe. 

Is your home well insulated? 
There are a few signs most people tend to notice when their home is poorly insulated. Do you notice your unit constantly running? Has your electric bill been slowly increasing each month? Do you notice that some rooms in your home stay more comfortable? Here are some things you can do yourself to check for poor insulation.

• Touch Test: The interior ceilings, walls, and floors typically should feel warm and dry in your home. If you notice parts of drywall or floors feel damp & cold in your warm house this could be a good indicator you have insulation issues.

• Leak Test: Check for water in your attic as well as around windows. Your attic can be a great indicator on your homes insulation.

• Temperature Check: You will need to open all of the inside doors for a while and let the temperature of your home even out. After you have let it even out take a walk around and check for rooms that seem significantly warmer or colder than other areas.
If you feel you have insulation problems in your home we recommend calling a pro to access the job and help get your home insulated correctly!

80% vs 90% Gas Furnace
Installing a new gas furnace is not a simple or cheap endeavor. They say Knowledge is power but it can also ensure you are getting the right furnace for the correct application. When it comes to a gas furnace you have several options to choose from. Depending on your specific set of circumstances one type of gas furnace may benefit you more than the others. You have two basic types of Gas Furnaces: 80% and 90%

The differences were explained to me a long time ago in a way I found very simple to understand. For every hard earned dollar you spend heating your home with a 80% efficient gas furnace basically 20 cents goes up and out the flue pipe while the other 80 cents is used to actually heat your home. A 96% efficient gas furnace allows you to utilize 96 cents of every dollar to heat your home where only 6 cents is waisted up and out the flue pipe.

Why would I ever install anything but a 96% gas furnace in my home???
The one thing you have to know about a 96% efficient gas furnace is that it produces water in the process of making it so efficient. In the winter time when the gas furnace runs the water being drained from the unit can possibly freeze up depending on where the furnace is located (example in your attic) or where the water is being discharged to example outside of your home again where it may be well below freezing. The other major factor is the cost difference between an 80% gas furnace and one that is 96% efficient. The more efficient the more the cost of the product. There are more parts and technology involved in the higher efficiency furnaces than in the 80% version. Thus the cost difference between the two can be quite different.

My Suggestions
If you live in a two story home I would suggest the main floor of the home be served by a higher efficient gas furnace while the upstairs unit could be an 80% gas furnace. The reasoning behind this is based off of the principle of hot air rises. The air from downstairs will travel up stairs assisting the heat requirements. This typically means the downstairs unit will run more and consume more fuel where as the upstairs will not run as much. If you have a single story home with just one unit I would strongly suggest paying the difference and upgrading to the 96% gas furnace as you will reap the benefits of consuming less fuel monthly.

Protect your system during winter

How to protect your system during the winter
Of course we do not ever want our heat to go out but no one wants to have their heat suddenly go out on a cold winter day. Below are some things you can do to protect your unit during the winter.

• An air conditioner cover can lower the risk of damage to the metal from repeated freezing and thawing, but you have to be careful. We do not recommend just using any old tarp as moisture can accumulate underneath some coverings.

• Regularly change the air filters in your heating and cooling units. Your heating system works harder in the winter, you may even want to change your filters more often than usual. This is a big one we have already seen a few times this winter. Clogged and overused filters WILL cause your heat to stop working. To learn more about how often and what filters to use please check out our December Monthly Tip video all about filters!

• Ensure that water from rain and snowmelt drains away from your home. Gutters can sometimes cause water or ice to fall on your unit so be sure to keep an eye on them!

• This isn’t completely necessary but can help. Create a wind barrier a few feet from your unit. You can use shrubs or even a fence would provide additional protection.

• This one may seem repetitive, but is very crucial when it comes to protecting your heat pump/furnace. Have an HVAC professional inspect and maintain the heating system.

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