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!

Fixing Your Air Ducts During the Winter

Much like any other system in your home, your air duct can experience a series of problems. These problems include the following:

  • Air Leaks: This means, simply, in which the ductwork is not properly sealed leading to a leak. Signs of a leak include uneven room temperature, stifling rooms and high-energy bills.
  • Contaminated Ducts: While air filters can prevent certain contaminants from entering your air ducts, it is not entirely foolproof.
  • Improper Design: Unfortunately, there is no universal design when it comes to HVAC systems. Depending on the size of your home or living space indicates the required HVAC capacity. If the system is inadequately designed, there can be inefficiency as well as potential energy loss
  • Restricted Air Flow: Airflow is essential for efficient HVAC performance. When airflow is restricted, the unit will have to work harder. The result: higher energy bills, repeated breakdowns, and shortened HVAC lifespan.

Locate the Source of the Leak

When attempting to locate the source of the leak, turn on the HVAC fan and feel along the ducts for drafts that indicate that air is escaping from the duct. It’s best to call a professional because they will be able to find the precise location of the leak.

Seal the Leak

Once you have located the source of the leak, turn off the fan. Once the fan is turned off, apply special metallic foil tape made for repairing ducts. Make sure to use this specific type of tape and not duct tape. If you use duct tape to seal the leak, the adhesive element will gradually become loose. Once this is done, use a brush to apply duct mastic over the tape to improve the stability of the seal.

While this is one of the numerous problems that face air ducts, there are others that you might notice.

Cleaning Your Air Ducts

A clean duct is a happy duct. If you manage to clean these ducts, you can benefit extensively.

  • Elimination of Winter Allergens: There are a number of allergens that are present during the winter months. These include mold, pet dander, and dust mites. Dust mites can circulate through your HVAC system and can accumulate. If you have pets in your home, they might not shed as much during the months of winter in order to preserve their own body heat. However, the pets will still have dander that finds a way into your HVAC system.
  • Combat Extra Time Spent Indoors: During the cold months of the year, most people spend a significant amount of time indoors resulting in an increase of allergens. If you run the heating system more often, allergens will tend to recirculate.
  • Fresh Air: With the drop in temperatures and increase in inclement weather, there is an increase of germs that lead to illnesses. By breathing in this contaminated air, you are exposing yourself to these series of germs. If you clean your ducts prior to the beginning of winter, you reduce the chances of experiencing the flu and other airborne ailments.

Restricted Air Flow

Again, restricted airflow can place a heightened workload on your HVAC system. To remedy this problem, be sure that your ductwork is installed by a reputable and experienced professional. On another note, during roofing or electrical work, make sure that contractors are visually conscious of where ductwork exists and to avoid these spots to prevent further damage.

Six Benefits of Forced Air Temperature Control

Forced air temperature control is one of the most popular forms of heating for smart homeowners. And that’s not surprising because it offers considerable benefits. Before investing in this type of heating system, however, it’s advisable to understand how it works and exactly what its benefits are so you can make an informed decision. Here’s what you need to know.

How a Forced Air Heating System Works

In a forced air heating system, cold air is drawn into the system and directed to a heat source, which is usually a heat pump or a furnace. The heat source heats the air, and then the warm air is guided into ducts that disperse it throughout the home. The entire system is controlled by a thermostat that activates and deactivates it as needed depending on the indoor air temperature.

Benefits of a Forced Air Heating System

A well-maintained forced air heating system offers the following six advantages:

  1. Improved comfort: You can control the indoor air temperature with a pre-programmed thermostat, which ensures that a comfortable temperature is maintained at all times. For example, if you’ve set the temperature at 67 and the air temperature drops below that, the thermostat will automatically switch on and start heating the air.
  2. Relatively fast heating: These types of heating systems work much faster than, for example, radiant heating systems because they heat the air directly and deliver the warm air throughout the home. So, if you come home to a cold house and you turn the heating up, you’ll start feeling the warm air within minutes.
  3. Improved indoor air quality: There are filters at the heat source that trap indoor air pollutants and dust to filter them out of the air. In addition, you can get forced air heating systems with humidifiers or dehumidifiers, which can further improve the air quality in your home.
  4. Low installment costs: Compared to other heating systems, these types of heating systems are relatively affordable to install. Moreover, a furnace or heat pump will last between 15 and 20 years, so if you maintain your system properly, the installation costs will deliver a good ROI.
  5. Energy efficiency and lower energy bills: Modern forced air heating systems are extremely energy-efficient, which means they can heat more air with less input. That’s good for the environment, as they require less power to function. And because they require less power, they can significantly lower your energy bills — particularly when you choose a system that has an ENERGY STAR® furnace or heat pump.
  6. Combined heating and cooling: You can choose a forced air system that combines both heating and cooling in one single system. This offers more convenience when it comes to maintenance and operation; plus, it can be a more affordable investment when compared to installing two separate systems.

If you’re ready to invest in a forced air heating system, make sure to speak with a qualified HVAC technician about your options. And once your new heating is installed, you’ll enjoy a healthier, warmer home, as well as lower energy bills!

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!