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6 Questions to Ask Before A Furnace Replacement

Furnace replacement may not be something on your to-do list of fun activities, but it needs to be done if your current furnace is not working up to par anymore. Your current furnace may have provided you with high-efficiency heat for years, but it won’t last forever. You may notice your furnace start breaking down frequently, cost you more money on energy bills, and altogether be the source of more headaches than you anticipated or wanted. It can be costly just to keep it running in your home, especially when the United States Department of Energy reports that heating makes up more than half of your home’s energy budget. However, while getting a new furnace should be treated like an urgent matter, you should not purchase any random furnace for replacement. Instead, you need to make sure you are getting the system for your home. Installing the wrong system can lead to even more trouble including: poor system efficiency, shortened furnace lifespan, increased safety risks, and even more inconsistent heat for the colder months. These troubles will lead to an unpleasant next few months, and you need to make sure you avoid them at all costs.

How Can Approved Comfort Help You?

Approved Comfort is here to provide high-quality heating service this fall and winter to ensure you get heat in your home for the whole family. We can replace your heating system with the latest furnace on the market from the hottest brands. Before we make any replacements, however, we will make sure you get the right system for you. Once we help you land the right system, you will experience all sorts of benefits that will make these next few months go by much more comfortably. Perhaps the most important benefit is that you are guaranteed to have a furnace keeping your safety in check. When furnaces malfunction, and especially if there is a crack in the heat exchanger, it may risk leaking out smoke or carbon monoxide, putting the well-being of your family at risk. However, with the right heating system, this risk will be at an all-time time low, ensuring you can enjoy the fall and winter without worrying when the next home heating fire or gas leak will break out. A safer home means a more enjoyable fall and winter, especially when you have reliable heating to boot.

What Should You Ask Before You Replace?

The next time you are looking to replace your furnace, you should be asking yourself these 6 questions before you finalize your decision:

  1. How Have Your Heating Needs Changed? Since it’s probably been more than 10 years since you last replaced your furnace, your heating needs have definitely changed. This is especially important if you have since welcomed children into your family or have older relatives now living in your home, which means you will need the upmost comfort to look out for their well-being. Also take into consideration any home additions done in between now and your last furnace purchase.
  2. What Do You Want Other Than “Warm Air”? Though you are primarily installing a new furnace to stay warm, the system can provide. If you want zoning capabilities, for example, a newer furnace is able to be programmed to heat specific rooms or areas so you’re not wasting heat in areas currently not in use. 
  3. What Brands Are Available? The most popular furnace brands include Trane, Lennox, Goodman, Rheem, York and Carrier. You should also conduct Internet research to find customer reviews and news on product recalls. Some of the top brands in the country have churned out faulty products before, so be on the lookout for any concerning reports that would put your safety at risk.
  4. How Much Space Do You Have in Your Home? An improperly-sized furnace will result in poor system efficiency and frequent furnace breakdowns that will only cost you more on heating repair. Make sure a heating contractor measures and inspects your home to determine the area of installation to ensure your furnace is the perfect fit.
  5. What Fuel Type Should You Choose? The three main furnace fuel types are gas, electric or solar. Choose the fuel type based on your needs at the moment. Solar furnaces will not use fuel and instead rely on pure solar power, which will prove friendlier to the environment and reduce your carbon footprint. Gas furnaces are known their energy-efficiency, you can’t risk experiencing a gas leak. Electric furnaces are safer than gas units, but may not be so kind to your energy bills.
  6. What is the Age of Your Current Furnace? You should replace your furnace if it is older than 15 years. Though it may continue to work after 15 years, you will be much better off replacing and save yourself the future headaches of an older, faulty system. Keeping an older furnace in your home will guarantee you spend more on energy and repair bills.

Don’t Let Your Furnace Problems Keep You Cold This Winter – Schedule A Furnace Replacement Today

Contact Approved Comfort today if you want to learn more on how you can get the heating system you need with our high-quality furnace replacement!

Five Reasons Why Winter Is Actually the Best Time to Get Your AC Serviced

If you’ve been meaning to get your air conditioner serviced for weeks and you suddenly realize the first snowflakes are starting to fall outside, then there’s no reason to panic. Because contrary to what many people believe, the best time of year to get your AC serviced is during the winter. Here’s why:

  1. It’s much easier to get an appointment than during the summer. In the summertime, HVAC technicians are booked solid. People are running their ACs all day and night, so they need maintenance and emergency visits. Oftentimes, you’re lucky if you can get an appointment within two weeks—and then you’re usually working within the technician’s schedule, not your own. During the winter, scheduling isn’t a problem, since most homeowners typically don’t give their ACs much thought until it’s time to use them again. You’ll be able to schedule a maintenance call at a time that’s convenient for you.
  2. Your home doesn’t need cooling. This might seem like a no-brainer, but the truth is that few people realize how uncomfortable it can be if their AC is off for even a couple of hours in the heat of the summer. Of course, in an ideal world, the technician will be done in an hour or so, but it can always take longer. During the winter, this isn’t a problem, since your home won’t need cooling.
  3. You won’t run up your energy bills if you need to wait for parts. If your air conditioner is an older model and needs repairs, you might have to wait for parts to be ordered. However, without repairs, the appliance becomes less energy efficient, which means that every minute you use it is more expensive compared to when it’s in good shape. During the summer, you’ll have to run the AC anyway, which results in higher energy bills until the AC is repaired. In the winter, however, you’re not using your AC at all, so its energy efficiency won’t affect your energy bills.
  4. If your AC is beyond repairs, you’ll have plenty of time to shop for a replacement. In the unfortunate event that your air conditioner isn’t worth repairing, the technician will advise you to replace it. If this happens during the summer, you’ll be in a rush to get a new AC installed as soon as possible, which means you won’t have a lot of time to shop around and find the best deals. But during the cold months, you’ll have plenty of time to look into your options; plus, you’re more likely to get a good deal on a replacement model.
  5. Many HVAC contractors offer special winter deals and savings. Since winter is a slow time for AC maintenance, you can often find special deals on maintenance and installation that you don’t find when it’s 90° Fahrenheit outside.

Now you know why it’s best to get your AC serviced in winter, it’s still important to make sure you hire an HVAC technician with a proven track record of satisfied customers. So before you schedule an appointment, check the contractor’s reviews and Better Business Bureau listing, and only move forward if you’re confident this person will do a good job.

Call the experts at Approved Comfort to schedule your AC service today!

Heating System Failure in the Dead of Winter… What Do You Do Next?

Heating system failure in the midst of winter and it’s miserably cold. The cold can get in your house in a short period of time. So you make the call for emergency heating repair and get help on its way. In the meantime, you still need to stay warm while your home slowly tries to turn into an ice castle around you. Fortunately, there are several different things you can do to keep your home warm while you’re waiting patiently for the professionals to arrive. While you may not be as comfortable as you otherwise would, you can at least feel a little better while you wait.

Don’t Wait on Heating System Failure or It Could Get Worse

When your heat goes out, make the call right away to get a professional headed to your home for heating system failure repairs. If you leave things alone for too long, you could end up with frozen pipes and other problems. You also won’t be comfortable, and that could increase the chances of feeling depressed, unhappy or even getting sick. Rather than make you and your home suffer, take comfort in knowing that a service technician has been contacted and is on their way to you as soon as they can get there. If they have a lot of service calls, that could be a few hours. What do you do in the meantime?

Be Proactive for Big Benefits

If you take a proactive stance on your home heating needs, you can find that staying comfortable is more easily achieved. Even when your heating system is struggling, or when it is not working at all, there are ways you can protect yourself and your home against the worst of the chill until a heating technician arrives to get your system up and working again. That can help you eliminate stress and ensure that you will not be spending your time without at least some source of heating that can help you feel better while you are waiting.

Follow These Tips to Stay Warmer While Waiting:

  • Close all doors and windows – When a heating system breaks down, the first thing you want to do is make sure every window and door in your home is tightly shut. That way you reduce the amount of cold air that comes inside and the heat that is already in your house will last longer.
  • Sealing air leaks in duct systems – If there are any air leaks in your duct systems, seal them off. It is better to have this done beforehand, but that is not always possible. If you can feel air moving, there is a leak somewhere. Finding and blocking it will protect your home and your body temperature.
  • Keep candles handy – Having candles on hand can be very beneficial if your heating is out due to a power outage. But they can also be a good choice when it comes to a heating breakdown. They can easily warm your hands and having them nearby puts off some much-needed heat for space.
  • Insulate windows – Putting builder’s plastic or another extra surface up in your windows can mean that the cold air from outside does not seep in so much and the warm air in your home is not able to escape as easily. Even double pane windows do not offer complete protection, so add those extra layers.
  • Use your fireplace – If you have a fireplace, either gas, electric, or wood-burning, make use of it. While it will not heat your whole house like your heating system will, it can keep at least one room warm enough to be comfortable while you wait. Then you can avoid the worst of the cold until a heating technician arrives.
  • Use the sun for heat – If the sun is out, make use of it. Open your curtains and blinds on the side of the house where the sun is shining. Allowing the sun to come in the (closed) windows can warm your house up, and make things feel better during a heating system breakdown. Just be sure to keep the blinds or curtains closed if there is not any sunlight, to help hold the heat in as much as possible.
  • Wear layers of clothing – Dressing warmly is one of the best things you can do if your heating system fails. By dressing in layers you not only have more clothing to keep you warm, but layers also trap heat and hold it against your body. That will reduce the chances of you getting too cold, and can make your wait to have heat restored much easier to get through.

Call Approved Comfort to avoid heating system failure!

Ways to Prepare Air Conditioners for the Fall and Winter

Air conditioners like other things in your home require preparation for the seasons ahead. As the fall and winter seasons approach, preparation begins in anticipation of the cold weather that they bring with them. As a homeowner, you are likely scheduling your heating systems routine maintenance, making sure your doors and windows aren’t letting in cold air, and taking all of the other necessary precautions that will help keep you and your family cozy! While unpacking your scarves, hats, and gloves, it’s possible that one important aspect of your home has slipped your mind: your air conditioner.

Even though you don’t use your air conditioner at this time of year, it needs to be prepared for cold weather along with every other system in your home.   While an AC may keep you cool in the warmer months, it’s not equipped to deal with freezing temperatures. Here are a few ways to prepare your air conditioner for the cold weather this fall and winter will bring.

Knowing Air Conditioners

To properly care for any aspect of your home, you should know the specific system and how it works. Here are the three most common types of air conditioning methods, and how they work to keep your home cool in the warmer months.

  • Central air conditioners and heat pumps are the most common system in newer homes. Because they are often used to heat or cool entire houses, they are an important fixture that requires maintenance and care. Typically, they are made up of an outdoor compressor that serves as a power source, and indoor coils that deliver cool air into the home through ducts. This system works similarly for heating as well, and both air temperatures are pushed through by an internal fan system.
  • Room air conditioners are another common cooling method in many homes. You can typically find them in windows, or situated in an opening in a wall or ceiling. They are similar to the central air conditioning in function, but they are smaller, typically portable units designed to cool a single room or small floors, such as a bedroom or small apartment.
  • Ductless mini-split air conditioners are quickly rising as one of the most common types of air cooling systems used in the U.S., along with their popularity outside of the country. They are similar size and shape to room AC’s; they are typically portable and are used to cool smaller areas. They tend to be more efficient, however, because they waste less energy. They also improve your air quality; they are less likely to develop cracks where contaminants can build up and release into your air supply.

How to Prepare Air Conditioners for Cold Weather

Now that you are familiar with the most common types of air conditioning systems, it’s time to go over how to properly prepare them for the colder months. Here are ways you can winterize your specific equipment, so it will be ready to keep you cool when spring and summer return.

Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Because these systems dually cool and heat your house, routine maintenance is important. Experts say that your system should be inspected and tested twice a year, specifically those that do both. Because your heat should be checked before the colder months have arrived in full force, a professional will be able to check and see if your ducts and vents will be in top shape for spring and summer. Because the air compressor is located outdoors, you can winterize it yourself by following these steps:

  1. Remove debris on or around the unit. Leaves, grass, sticks; nothing should be left behind. You can rinse the compressor off with a hose to remove any materials that may be stuck or hardened.
  2. After allowing the unit to dry completely, find the electrical circuit. This is typically covered by a lid, and when uncovered, reveals a switch to cut off the power supply. This will keep the compressor from turning on in unseasonably warm weather and it will keep water out.
  3. Insulate around the pipes. Foam or rubber installation can be cut to fit appropriately and will prevent the pipes from freezing.
  4. Once the unit is insulated, it should be covered with a waterproof cover or sturdy tarp. These can be secured with bungee cords, bricks, or wood, as long as the cover stays firmly in place during windy rain or snow.
  5. When it snows, you should remove any build up from the top of your compressor. Adjust the cover as needed.

Room Air Conditioners

The steps to winterize a room air conditioner that is situated in a window, wall, or ceiling, are similar to those that apply to a central air compressor. Some window units can be removed and stored until the warm weather returns, but for larger models that can’t be removed, you will need to clean and cover them properly.

  1. Turn off the power, whether it’s inside or outside of your home.
  2. Remove or wash any debris, like sticks or bug droppings.
  3. Since some of these models are raised to fit into a wall or ceiling, they may require extra coverage. Secure them with waterproof tarps, and tie off any exposed sides with bungee cords or string.

Ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners

Because these are often portable, just be sure to cut off the power source and store in a dry place with a moderate temperature, such as a closet or attic.

Now that you know how important it is to winterize your AC, you should add it to your routine maintenance list this fall. Preparing it for the cold will only extend the lifespan of your equipment, possibly prevent future repairs,  keep it functioning properly, and delay the time of replacement.

Call Approved Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning today for more information on air conditioners!

Fall Seasonal Furnace Maintenance: What To Do and Why

Furnace maintenance is paramount to you having a warm winter! In order to maximize the efficiency and performance of the furnace in your home, routine maintenance should be completed. No matter the age, make, or model of your furnace, consistent service of your equipment can help to extend its life and prevent further malfunctions. As the cold weather approaches, the last thing anyone wants is to be caught in a situation where their furnace stops functioning. You are then left in the cold until an HVAC contractor can make his way to your house, which may not be for some time depending on the amount of calls coming in. By getting your furnace maintained and checked by a professional, you significantly reduce the risk of an event like this occurring, and you can spend the plethora of frigid days to come in the solace of a toasty and cozy abode.

Energy Costs

One major benefit of routine service is the impact that a full-functioning furnace will have on your energy bill. Professionals will suggest small changes to keep things running smoothly, such as changing your air filter. A switch is recommended every three months to prevent restriction of air flow throughout your home. Another common step to save money on your energy bill is using a programmable thermostat. Simply setting the dial down a mere seven or eight degrees can save you up to 10 percent. These changes, along with routine service, can reduce your bill annually by 30%.

It may not seem like a lot preliminarily, but over time these totals really start to add up. Switching out your filters and reducing the expenditure of heat by your furnace will also help extend the life of the furnace. As filters grow old and the furnace is used often, corrosion and degradation tend to take their toll on the system much quicker. By conserving just a small amount of energy, you’ll be saving your money in the short term and the long term by lowering your energy bill now and reducing the risk of any expensive repairs later on down the road.

How Often and Why

Your furnace should be checked once a year for heating, as well as once a year for cooling. Depending on the work needed, the average service cost can range anywhere from $60-$85. You may think that you don’t need to check your equipment annually, or you may not want to pay a fee once or twice a year, but you may regret your decision if you and your family are left without heat this winter! HVAC experts claim that up to 75% of no-heat calls each winter are due to lack of maintenance. A proper inspection will help to prevent you and your loved ones from being stuck in a cold house. There is also no guarantee that your service provider will be able to reach you immediately, due to an influx of service calls or inclement weather that is preventing him/her from reaching you. It may be hours before they can get to you, or worst-case scenario a few days. Not only is this affecting the comfort of your home, but it is also putting the safety of you and any family at risk in case temperatures decide to dip even further.

Furnace Maintenance and Safety

Perhaps the most important aspect of yearly furnace maintenance links directly to your safety. Controls, burners, and wires are checked for damage. The vent system, as well as all air intake and blower systems, are checked for blockages. Air pressure is tested, and combustion gases are analyzed to meet unit specifications. Your equipment will also be thoroughly looked over for carbon monoxide leaks. This is especially important, due to the fact that carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless. Exposure is an HVAC emergency and can cause harm, injury, or even death if left undetected. Two liquids that could potentially be pooling around your furnace are water and gas. Pooling water can lead to corrosion, rust, mold, or injury if exposed to an open electrical current or slipped on, and damage to your property. Pooling gasoline is, for lack of better words, much worse because if it goes unattended and unnoticed, your entire home could be at risk. Then the problem escalates from getting heat back into your home to finding any temporary home that can protect you from the elements and severe cold weather.

Now that we have gone over the benefits of furnace maintenance, here’s what you can expect at the time of service. Routine inspections include a full inspection, as well as a pilot and gas pressure evaluation. There will be lubrication to the equipment, as well as an air filter change. At the end, your service provider will give you a written assessment, and explain their findings directly to you. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

HVAC specialists can often be seen as villains out to scam you for all of your money by taking advantage of your lack of knowledge to throw in additional fees, but this is truly an unfair assessment. The reason furnace maintenance is recommended biyearly is because these contractors care about your safety and well-being, and understand how important certain appliances are to your home.

Call Approved Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning today if you need furnace maintenance!

How to Choose the Best HVAC Company For The Job

How to Choose the Best HVAC Company For the Job

 

Home maintenance and can be overwhelming and unfortunately, a lot can wrong inside your house, including your air conditioning and heating. Whether it’s combating the sweltering heat or fighting the frigid chill, homeowners rely heavily on HVAC systems to stay comfortable. Eventually, all appliances are in need of a repair, and your HVAC system is no exception. Your air conditioning and heating systems, however, are complicated to work with, and sometimes even hazardous depending on the problem. It’s best to have a professional HVAC company, as they will have the right tools and training to fix the problem for you.

 

How to Do Your Research

 

There is another problem besides your HVAC system in need of a repair, and that’s deciding which HVAC will work right for you. HVAC repairs and replacements can be costly. It’s even worse to call someone in to fix your HVAC system, just to call someone else shortly after due to an improper installation. The best way to avoid any problems, and ensure you get the best service possible, is by doing some research. Here are a few things to consider.

 

  • Read online reviews. A good place to start is by seeing what other people think about their experiences with a HVAC company. Take your time, and make sure to fully read each review, as sometimes there can be a good reason for a low or high rating. The date of the review is another important fact, as companies can sometimes change depending on their customer feedback. It’s also important to be a little selective about where you read your reviews. For example, Google doesn’t filter their reviews and makes it difficult to write fake reviews. But sometimes it’s just a matter of common sense. If you notice an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, chances are that HVAC company is doing something wrong.
  • Be cautious about the lowest bidder. It’s tempting to pick the HVAC company that offers the cheapest services, but it can also cost you more money in the long run. You may be paying more upfront, but it’s always best to go with a reputable HVAC company. One of the best ways to get HVAC services at a reasonable price is by comparing bids, as this can tell you multiple things. By comparing costs, you can tell who is undercharging you, and who is overcharging you. If you know what the problem is, trying researching the average cost to repair and compare that to your bids.
  • Educate yourself. The more you know about your HVAC system, the more you know how to properly maintain it. Knowing the ins and outs of your HVAC system can also help you to determine a good HVAC company, as you can compare options and better determine what needs maintenance.
  • Check references. They say the proof is in the pudding. So on top of reading online reviews, it’s also a good idea to check a HVAC company’s customer references. Call their references and ask about their experiences with the HVAC company, if the job was completed on time and stayed within budget.
  • Expect a home evaluation. A good HVAC company will send someone over to thoroughly inspect your home. Whether it is a HVAC repair or replacement, the contractor should take considerable time to make sure their services fit your needs. A contractor will need to size your new HVAC system based on the size of your home, level of insulation, and windows. They should also check your air ducts for air leaks and insulation, as well as the airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.
  • Always get a written contract. A reputable HVAC company means your contractor will include all their services in writing. This contract should list everything that is being done as well as price. It’s also important to make sure your contractor is licensed. You should be able to see their license number on the HVAC company’s website, as well as any of their literature, which includes the contract. An unlicensed contractor means there is no insurance that the repair will be done properly.
  • Ask questions. When in doubt, ask some questions. Sometimes the best way to determine if a HVAC company is right for you is to have an open conversation. Make sure to ask the important questions such as what sort of license and insurance they carry, their estimates, and what brands they carry. The more you know directly from them, the better.

 

It Shouldn’t Be Impossible to Find the Right HVAC Company

 

Finding the best contractor for you does take some research, but properly maintaining your HVAC system is important. Finding the right HVAC company means prompt, thorough repairs, and a replacement done right the first time.

Call Approved Comfort today for more information on HVAC!