When most homeowners are having trouble with their heaters, they tend to think that it is a problem with the furnace or boiler itself. It is important to remember that your home heating system in Frederick, MD consists of a number of individual components, though, and that a subpar or faulty performance from any of these components may disrupt the efficiency of your heater. If you are concerned about poor efficiency, or you’re contemplating heating repairs contact Larry & Sons. A professional service technician will be able to pinpoint the problem with your heater and resolve it. Sometimes the cause of your heating inefficiency can even be the thermostat.
Thermostats & Heating Efficiency
Your thermostat is the central control system of your heating system. In order for the heater to know that more heating output is necessary it must receive that signal from your thermostat. This means that the thermostat must register the temperature in the room to restart the heater should the temperature slip below the target goal. If the thermostat is faulty and reads the temperature wrong it can cause the heater to run too often or short cycle frequently. More energy will be used for a lesser performance and energy efficiency will suffer.
Your thermostat does not need to be working improperly in order for it to affect heating efficiency. Even if it is doing its job perfectly it is still controlled by the homeowner, and many homeowners do not know how to use their thermostats properly. To get the most out of your thermostat it is important to familiarize yourself with the device and its features.
If you have a programmable thermostat, for instance, you can use it to set up heating cycles specifically designed for your personal heating habits and schedule. You can save energy by keeping your home cooler during the work day, but still have a comfortably warm home waiting for you when you return. This means you will not be tempted to crank the heat up when you get home.
Spring has sprung and the weather is definitely warming up. With flowers blooming and the sun out for longer periods, it is the perfect time to go around your home or office and implement some spring saving tips.
10 Tips & Tricks for Spring Savings
1. Inspect doors and windows for damage and air leaks. Replace screens and bent frames if necessary. For air leaks smaller than a ¼ inch, use weatherproof caulk. Any gaps or openings larger than a ¼ inch, use expandable foam spray.
2. Consider purchasing solar screens to block out more of the sun’s rays.
3. Close your windows during the day and shut the blinds/curtains when the sun is out. Conversely, if the temperature drops at night, consider opening up a few windows to take advantage of nature’s free cooling. Just remember to close them again when you wake up.
4. If your screens are still functional, but dirty, you can clean them with mild detergent, water, and a soft bristle brush.
5.Inspect you home for water leaks. You can do this by turning off all water-using appliances and then going to your water meter box to see if the water dial continues to move. The best resource we have found for finding and fixing water leaks is smarthomewaterguide.org. Water meters have a leak detection dial, indicated below:
9. Seal you air ducts! Watch this video to learn how. Ironically, don’t use duct tape. Use either mastic sealant or aluminum foil tape.
If you are in need of duct sealing services, we can help. Larry & Sons has been offering duct sealing services for many years throughout Hagerstown, Frederick, MD, and the surrounding areas. Our technicians are highly trained and we have the most state-of-the-art equipment available.
10. Schedule you annual air conditioning tune-up! In addition to increased energy efficiency (up to 15%), regular maintenance is usually required to keep your manufacturer’s warranty in effect. In addition to remembering to check and/or change your filter every month, the most important thing a homeowner can do to ensure optimum levels of HVAC efficiency is to schedule annual HVAC maintenance. Call Larry & Sons to schedule your appointment. Sign up for our maintenance plan and you will receive FREE ANNUAL HVAC TUNE-UPS!
Looking for more ways to save money and energy this spring?
Did your furnace give out? It’s understandable given all of the overtime work it’s been putting in. But before assuming the worst and calling in a professional, learn some basic furnace troubleshooting tips to get your heat running again.
Breaker Box – Check to see if your furnace threw the breaker switch. If you don’t have your breaker panel labeled, now is a good time to do so. After locating the correct breaker switch, simply flip the switch all the way to the “off” position (opposite direction of all the other switches) and then flip it back on (same direction as all the other switches).
Furnace Filter – If your power is on, you should check your furnace’s air filter. Sometimes, your furnace will actually shut itself off if the filter is dirty and clogged enough. This is done as a precautionary measure since an overloaded heat exchanger can be dangerous and lead to costly repairs.
If you don’t remember the last time you replaced the filter, then it is probably due for one. To make sure that you remember to check and/or change the furnace filter every 30-90 days, you should set a reminder on your phone or calendar for the first of every month to check the filter.
Blower Panel – Like with the furnace filter, sometimes a furnace won’t turn on as a precautionary measure if the blower panel is ajar. This prevents the blower from turning on while someone is working on the furnace. If your furnace won’t start, make sure the door that houses your blower motor is fully closed.
Thermostat – The next thing you want to check is your thermostat. Make sure that it is set to “heat” and that the thermostat is set above the room temperature. Also, check to see if you need to change the batteries. Here is a good video for learning how to change your thermostat’s batteries if you have never done so before:
Gas Valve & Pilot Light – If the previous steps did not solve your problem, the issue may be with your gas valve or pilot light. The gas valve may have inadvertently been closed or forgotten to be turned back on when someone was working on the furnace. If the gas valve, your furnace won’t have the fuel necessary to run.
To locate your gas valve, trace the gas line to your furnace until you see a handle on the pipe. If the handle is perpendicular, turn it until it is parallel with the pipe. Sometimes there will be a separate gas valve located on or around your furnace. Look around to ensure the gas is “on.”
If you have an older furnace, you should check the pilot light to see if it is lit. If the gas is on, but still no flame, you will want to turn the gas “off” again in order to relight the pilot light. Once the gas is off and all the fumes have disappeared, now it is safe to light the pilot light. Make sure you double check your model’s specific manufacturer instructions, but it is safe to say that you either have an ignitor button or will have to manually light it with a long match or lighter. For most furnaces, this how-to video should do the trick:
Hopefully, these 5 Furnace Troubleshooting Tips were able to solve your heating problem. If not, don’t hesitate to call the HVAC professionals at Larry & Sons.
With the winter weather and subfreezing temperatures in your Hagerstown-area, you’ve probably been spending more time indoors, which is reflected in your utility bill every month. Learn how to lower your heating bill.
To help you curb those rising costs, here are 5 easy and effective ways to maximize the efficiency of your heating system and lower your heating bill by a significant amount:
1. Check and/or change your air filter every 30 days
With all of our smart phones, calendars, and to-do lists, it should be easy to set a reminder to check your furnace filter every 30 days. Sometimes dirty air filters can block so much air flow that your furnace will struggle to even turn on. Make sure you insert the filter in the right way and follow the manufacturer instructions. Some filters just need to be hosed down for instance, rather than needing to be replaced.
The other essential maintenance you need to keep your heating system at optimum performance and efficiency is to schedule furnace and air conditioning maintenance every year. Most manufacturer warranties even require this regular maintenance for the warranty to remain valid. This is because HVAC systems, like cars, need regular check-ups and tune-ups to remain effective. Signing up for a maintenance plan ensures that you will receive the care for your heating and cooling systems necessary for warranty eligibility. These plans also offer priority service, huge discounts, and will contact you for service so you don’t have to remember. Your HVAC technician will also make sure that you have a clean air filter before they leave!
If you do not have a programmable thermostat, consider keeping your thermostat setting at 68 degrees during the winter and lower while you are away from your home or asleep. You can save up to 1% on your heating bill for every 1 degree you turn down the thermostat (if it remains at that setting for 8 hours or more).
For more information on thermostats and maintaining an energy efficient home, visit energy.gov.
3. Open blinds when it is sunny and close them when it’s not
Take advantage of the natural heat the sun provides to give your heating system some support. You’ll be surprised by how much this makes a difference. Remember to close the at night to prevent heat from escaping through your windows. Also, consider purchasing insulating or “thermal” curtains/blinds as seen on this Bed Bath & Beyond page.
The more insulation and sealed air leaks that you have, the more your precious conditioned air stays where it is supposed to. The areas of your home that could benefit most from insulation is your attic, basement, crawl spaces, and walls. Insulating your home is no small task. You may want to hire a professional to do it. If, however, you are the DIY type, visit this Family Handyman page for all the information you need for professionally adding attic insulation to your home. From there you can find out more about insulating the other areas in your home.
Our energy audits can help address the following issues:
Inefficient heating system
Drafty areas or cold spots
Need for better ventilation
Moisture control issues
If you are interested in a home energy audit in Hagerstown, call Larry & Sons. We can schedule an appointment with you at your earliest convenience.
5. Seal air leaks
Remember that caulking can go along way. Tubes typically cost less than $8 and will save you huge amounts on your heating bill. If you want to lower your heating bill on the cheap, a great place to start is weatherstripping your doors and windows and caulking your any gaps near your windows, ceilings, doors, attic, basement, wiring, piping, or other areas where utilities enter or leave your home. Use an incense or smoke stick and hold it up to areas where you suspect an air leak. If the smoke moves, you have an air leak. You can also use a sheet of toilet paper.
For cracks and gaps smaller than a quarter of an inch, use weatherproof caulk. For gaps greater than a quarter of an inch, use expandable foam spray.
For over 55 years, Larry & Sons has been serving your home heating and cooling needs in the great Hagerstown, Maryland area. Contact us for an expert able perform nearly any home service you need. We offer installation, repair and maintenance of heating, air conditioning, geothermal, solar and indoor air quality systems. We service all makes and models, even if we didn’t install your system to begin with.
We are also full–service plumbers, offering water heater repair and installation, sewer and drain services and water treatment systems.
For more information on how to lower your heating bill, give us a call at 301-733-5428. We’d be glad to answer all of your questions.
With our maintenance plan, we’ll remind you of your annual tune-up, provide 15 % off all repairs, and much more!Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more useful information and how-to’s.