Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Your Energy Efficiency Guide to Spring

There's no doubt about it: spring is in the air. So while right now we are all enjoying the milder temperatures, soon we'll all be cranking up our AC, and relaxing comfortably in our homes on hot days. Until, that is, we get that first cooling bill.

So to help you save money, here is your guide on energy efficiency, and how to save money on your heating and cooling bill.

Keep your thermostat someplace neutral. If your thermostat is in a place that can send a false reading, your HVAC might be running unnecessarily. This is true no matter the season.

Install a timer or programmable thermostat to help limit usage. With a timer installed, you can set it to work when you need it to. For example, if you are at work all day, you can time it to turn on shortly before you arrive home, reducing your energy usage.

Depending on the type of vents you have in your home, aim them so that they hit the ceiling, or are pointed up. This enables natural circulation and a reduction of usage.

If you use window air conditioners, consider replacing them if they aren't Energy Star rated. AC units that have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating, are almost 15% more efficient than older models; money that adds up quickly!

Install ceiling fans to move air and reduce your cooling system use. This is especially true if you use window air conditioners. A ceiling fan uses much less energy, saving you money.

Have a professional come out for an annual service check and tune up. Problems in energy efficiency can be stomped out fast when a professional steps in. Proper, and regular, maintenance goes a long way in saving you money and keeping you cool.

Interested in learning more about air conditoning in Danville, IL? If so, contact Blackie's today to schedule an inspection.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Prepping Your HVAC System for the Cold Season

Your HVAC system is one of the most important aspects of your home come winter time. A well maintained heating system will keep you and your family warm and comfortable through the chilliest months of the year, so it's important to take a few steps to keep your system running efficiently! Here are a few things you should do to prep your HVAC system for the cold season:

Have Your Furnace Inspected: The last thing that you'll want to deal with this winter is an outage in the middle of a blizzard! To ensure that your HVAC system is working efficiently and can carry you through this winter season, it's a good idea to have a professional heating contractor come out to inspect your furnace. They can address concerns that you may have and perform any preventative maintenance that they see fit.

Clean or Replace Filter: It's important to keep the filters in your HVAC system clean throughout the year (we recommend cleaning them monthly) in order to keep clean air flowing through your home. Before it gets too cold, make sure to clean your filter and replace it if necessary. Doing so will help your HVAC system to run efficiently and cost-effectively.

Check Your Vents: If you've moved anything around in your home in the last few months, now is the time to check and make sure that nothing is blocking your air vents! Air should be able to flow freely through each vent in your home. Here's a tip: if you have unused rooms in your home, close those vents so that other rooms may receive more warm air without having to adjust your thermostat!

Check the Thermostat: It's probably been a while since you've adjusted your thermostat, so you'll want to make sure that it is working properly and that the batteries do not need to be replaced anytime soon. If you're still using a dial thermostat, you make want to consider upgrading to a programmable one. They are more accurate and allow you to set your thermostat for when you are sleeping or out of the house.

Interested in learning more about your heating system in Danville, IL? If so, contact Blackie's today to schedule an inspection.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Why Your Air Conditioning Drops the Temperature but Not the Humidity

Humid air is like a sponge that's loaded down with water and simply can't absorb any more moisture. This means the body's natural "AC system" which relies on sweat evaporation for cooling stops working, which leaves you feeling hot and uncomfortable.

Humidity does other things besides cause discomfort. It promotes mold growth and increases the levels of dust mites in your home, which can adversely affect your health, especially if you have allergies or respiratory problems such as asthma. This is why your air conditioning system must remove humidity as well as lower the temperature. But what if you’re otherwise perfectly functioning AC lowers the temperature but not the humidity? Below are two possible reasons why you have a humidity problem with your AC system:

Your Air Conditioner Is Too Large

An oversized air conditioner can quickly cool down your home well before the temperature of its cooling coil (evaporator coil) gets cold enough to remove the humidity in the air. It normally takes 10 to 15 minutes of continuous running for the coil temperature to drop low enough to condense water vapor. An oversized AC never runs long enough for this to happen. Instead, it runs in short bursts. To find out if your AC is short-cycling, pull out a stop watch and time it. If your air conditioner has always run this way, it's probably oversized.

Your High-Efficiency AC Unit Can't Handle the High Humidity in Your Area

According to the Consumer Protection Division of the Comfort Institute, some of the high-efficiency air conditioners cut cooling bills by trading off the unit's ability to remove humidity. That is, they can drop the temperature but can't remove humidity like the old units could.

If you live in a dry area such as Arizona, then this won't affect you. However, consumers living in areas with high humidity will find that their air conditioners fail to remove enough of it. The humidity can get high enough to even promote mold growth. The manufacturers of these units failed to understand that there's more to comfort than air temperature. The consumer is also forced to buy a separate dehumidifying system which consumes the energy saved by these high efficiency air conditioners.

If the above doesn't apply to you, then your air conditioner in Danville, IL may have issues requiring adjustment or repair. If so, give Blackie's a call today!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Can Your Furnace Pass the “Confidence” Test?

Is your furnace good for one more season, or can you expect a collapse at the most inopportune (AKA coldest) moment possible? This is what a lot of homeowners wonder when they’ve been patching the same system for several years now. But here’s another question to consider: what could you expect if you made the decision to upgrade to a new furnace now?

Confidence is the main answer. There’s just something very “worry-free” about feeling that chill in the air and knowing that your thermostat is about to trigger all those wonderful operational sounds you’ve come to recognize as heat on its way. And pretty soon you’re wrapped in warmth and comfort.

You’ve also got the confidence that hidden problems in an old furnace aren’t about to create very real trouble in your indoor air – especially through dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.

Then there’s improved energy efficiency. Instead of cautiously keeping your thermostat set just outside your comfort range – in order to save energy dollars – a new system keeps you comfortable and saves on your energy bills.

Time takes a toll on our household systems. If you’d like to know how to make a good decision on when to upgrade, take a look at this report.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Making Sense of Maintenance

Being the intelligent reader that you are, I know you know that it makes sense to maintain a piece of equipment that represents a sizeable investment on your part. You wouldn’t let anything you value sit idle, untouched, uncared for – and then expect it to perform for you year after year.

That’s why maintenance of your furnace or heater makes so much sense. It preserves your investment, increases comfort and improves safety. And the way maintenance makes the very most sense is to tie the energy-saving, repair-reducing perks of a tune-up with the priority service and discounts that come from being part of a regular maintenance agreement program.

Hope you’ll find out more about how you can save year after year on regular maintenance (and lots of other things). Start by taking a look at this report, The Mechanics of Furnace Maintenance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Is a Clean House Bad for Your Health?

Keeping air pollution out of your home is not just a matter of cleanliness. Just think about it. You could scrub your floors and countertops, light a perfumed candle – even add a new coat of paint and new carpeting – and while the look will improve, your indoor air could actually be even more compromised.

Household cleaners, perfumes, paint, new carpeting, some types of furniture… any of these can contain chemicals known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that enter your air and, as a result, could soon enter your family’s respiratory system.

There are a number of other very ordinary, common sources of indoor air pollution. You’ll see more about them if you’ll take a moment to read this report, Sources of Air Pollution in Your Home.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What About My Warranty

Most heating and cooling systems will come with a warranty whenever you purchase a new system. The length of coverage ranges depending on the system and you can even extend them sometimes when your coverage is almost up. Warranties are great for those unforeseen repair needs, especially if your system is only a few years old.

But did you know that your warranty could be voided if the manufacturer determines that neglect of maintenance was the cause? Just like you would get an oil change or tune-up on your car, your heating and cooling system needs this same attention. You don’t want your car’s transmission to blow up just like you don’t want your heater to stop working this fall. Especially if you’ll be stuck with the full bill because it could have been prevented with a tune-up.

Unfortunately sometimes, we’ve just got to learn, but we have come up with a few ways to help you avoid this trouble with “The Importance of Your Annual Tune Up.” Take a look; it could save you a lot of money in the future.