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Don’t Forget Humidifier Maintenance

humidifier-maintenance

Humidifier maintenance is just as important as maintenance on your furnace, regular filter changes and annual HVAC inspections. A furnace humidifier or a whole house humidifier is a life saver for many of our best customers. Though not every forced air system includes one, for those complaining that air is too dry, a humidifier is the answer. Still, humidity between 30% and 50% is recommended for most homes and setting your humidifier too high can create serious health and structural problems.

As with any other system in your home, humidifier maintenance is a rather simple series of steps that need to be followed. A whole house humidifier is no more complicated than the other parts of your heating or air conditioning units.

Both a furnace humidifier or a more advanced whole house humidifier need to be cleaned annually.

Hard water or rust can wreak havoc on humidifiers and you’ll want to carefully follow the manufacturers instructions to do a thorough job. Remember, hard water deposits can usually be cleaned with vinegar and distilled water is preferred when it is available. Ironically, most dehumidifiers work as distillers so using this water in your whole house humidifier or furnace humidifier instead of hard water or tap water is preferable.

A water tank or reservoir should be drained and cleaned at least two times per year. You may want to add an antibacterial solution to eliminate any bacteria from the water, and potentially, from the air, too.

Humidifier maintenance normally includes a filter or pad change, and depending on the make and model of your whole house humidifier or furnace humidifier this can be another simple step. Some models will simply require that you rinse and clean the humidifier filter. A furnace humidifier turning a drum will need to be cleaned slightly more frequently. But again, check the manufacturers directions for exact humidifier maintenance instructions.

The difficulty and complexity if your humidifier maintenance can depend in large measure on the “hardness” or mineral content of the water you’re feeding into the system. Hard water will usually present some more problems, but remember, hard water can become system safe distilled water relatively easily with much the same technology that you’re already running. Getting the two systems to work together will save you not only on humidifier maintenance, but on home health and headaches too.

What is a Heat Pump?

what is a heat pumpHeat pumps are relatively new and inventive in a world that’s been burning fuel for heat for the past 100,000 years or so. We meet New York City property owners who have been running a heat pump for better than a decade and still have not even the slightest idea how they work. Normal heat pumps don’t operate by burning anything and that presents something of a puzzle to even experienced fuel burners.

Any heat pump is designed to move heat from one place to another using a little electricity. In the New York City area, they are generally being used to pull heat out of the air or the ground to heat homes, apartment buildings and offices. The same machines will easily switch into reverse and pull the heat out of the same building, exactly the way an air conditioner does.

How often do heat pumps need to be serviced?

The New York City area climate and weather mean that you really need to schedule a maintenance and service visit at least once a year. Proper upkeep and safe operation mean you can’t really skip that visit. Heat pumps that aren’t serviced at least once a year really won’t last but with a yearly visit a heat pump will easily last between 10 and 20 years.

Why is my heat pump steaming ?

Heat pumps defrost when the outdoor coils get cold during winter months. Steam is just that defrost cycle kicking in. It shouldn’t last more than about 15 minutes and it shouldn’t be cycling on and off too often. Blocked air vents might need to be opened but if they are blocked for any length of time they can lead to more serious problems with the compressor and those will need to be serviced.

What’s the most common problem with heat pumps in New York City?

The most common issue we see in the city is with heat pumps that get buried in leaves or snow or similar debris. A yearly maintenance visit to clean the coils and the outdoor unit is as important as anything we do. While keeping the air intakes and the general area clean, a proper cleaning procedure requires some knowledge of the wiring of the heat pump. We’ll be happy to schedule an affordable service visit at your convenience. Contact us today at 646-783-2475.

 

Home heating tips, when followed correctly, should be safe, efficient and affordable. 99% of the problems we encounter with winter home heating are because homeowners simply ignore obvious warning signs and let problems go on far too long. Energy efficiency is not expensive or time consuming, but simply a thoughtful use of home energy that maximizes it’s effective use while minimizing cost.

home heating tipsWinter Home Heating Tips

These winter home heating tips are designed to provide you with basic guide line should reduce your costs and give you a good guideline of when to call in help.

A check up prior to every winter is important for the continued, safe and uninterrupted use of your natural gas furnace or heating oil burning furnace through the winter season.

Your thermostat should be set to 68 degrees during the day and 55-60 degrees at night. Modern programmable thermostats will do this automatically, raising the temperature in the morning and reducing it overnight. They’ll automatically regulate the use of home energy when you need it and reduce it when you don’t. We do a fair amount of business setting customers up with programmable thermostats for just this reason. The savings and increased energy efficiency make the initial cost well worth it in savings.

We can also deliver enough furnace filters for your natural gas furnace or whatever model you happen to be using. You’ll want to mark a calendar or remember to change your furnace filter on the first of every other month through the winter home heating season. Some natural gas furnace models will need to have the filters replaced monthly. We can let you know what’s best for yours or check the manual that should have come with your natural gas furnace or what ever type of furnace you’re using.

In most cases, furnace filter replacements are the only cleaning that needs to be done. But you should review the condition of baseboards and vents. Home energy use can also be affected by blockages and build ups of debris that occur normally during the course of the year.

The fall season is a good time to consider adding extra insulation in your basement or attic crawl spaces and in any outside walls to increase energy efficiency and simply to keep more home energy inside. At the same time, review the window caulking and weather stripping on all the doors and windows. Make sure everything is clean and that caulking or weather stripping is pliable and providing a good air seal. If not, you’ll need to replace it.

It’s also a good time of year to thoroughly review the energy efficiency of your entire home, and not just your natural gas furnace, and the elements of your home heating system. If there’s any kind of fireplace, for example, you should be sure the damper is in good working order and closed whenever it’s not in use.

You should also be able to easily open drapes or curtains to let the sun in during the day and close them at night to keep heat inside. These are some of the easiest steps that can be taken to increase home energy efficiency.

Move furniture away from all of your heating vents and review what furniture or other obstacles were moved during the summer months. Make sure all of your vents are unobstructed and you’re already a good way toward achieving energy efficiency without doing anything else.

Lastly, when your home is sealed up for the winter home heating season, you should test your home for radon with one of the widely available home test kits. Immediate steps to address dangerous levels can prevent serious threats to health. We’ll be happy to provide resources to that will help to address the situation.

If you have you’d like more home heating tips, please call on of our certified HVAC technicians at 646-783-2475

Heating and air conditioning work together, usually in the same system to keep a space warmer or cooler than the outside air. All of them depend on a good source of clean outdoor air, whether for heating or for cooling. But depending on the size, shape and use of the space you’re heating or cooling, very often a professional is needed to advise on the technology doing the job.

heating and air conditioningHeating and air conditioning has gotten much more scientific, efficient and technologically challenging than in the past. Fine tuning, installing and servicing some of today’s equipment simply calls for much more technically sophisticated personnel.

For example, many buildings today are actually bringing too much air from outside into their heating and air conditioning systems. We always calculate heat load as a part of a good heating and air conditioning service. A thorough inspection of the existing heating and air conditioning systems is done with respect to the building and the overall ventilation system – and all air sources.

Making sure that existing heating and air conditioning systems are operating well is one of the chief concerns of your heating and air conditioning service. So a thorough inspection of the facility needs to include all air flow sources including, windows, doors and cracks that will let air in. Remember, older but well maintained heating and air conditioning systems can often perform better than much newer heating and air conditioning units that are badly installed or too big for your home or building.

Although we see it more than we’d like to, reactive maintenance is neither the cheapest nor the most effective way to go. The best heating and air conditioning service is done with foresight and planning.

Heating and Air Conditioning Service

While a major retrofit to your heating and air conditioning systems can seem like the only answer, far more often you’ll see a major retrofit to your door and window seals. Many of these solutions will be affordable too.

Slightly more expensive, but far less common is a duct work issue. Most heating and air conditioning service is retrofitted to work with existing ducts and vents.

In the rare cases where ducts need to be replaced they are sized properly to maximize energy-efficient delivery of heated and cooled air to your home. Too small and they’ll run noisy with the sound of wind or white noise. Too big and the pressure can be too low to keep the system moving. But in most cases, heating and air conditioning systems can be serviced at the intake valve and at a few other key points, so you don’t need to replace all the ducts.

Remember, heating and air conditioning service is advancing with the rest of the world of technology and increased energy efficiency. We’ll be happy to consult with you on your home or business need, no matter how large or small. Call today 646-782-2475.

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