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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Routine Maintenance Time



It's that time of year again!  The weather is mild, not too cool, not too warm.  In other words, we are in between peak seasons of heating and a/c usage.  So, if you are willing to get your spring Preventative Maintenance done a little early this year, the chances of getting any replacement parts you may need or any other service done that you may require as identified by your Preventative Maintenance technician, you will receive the fastest service available!  That often means same day parts replacement appointments.  Turn around time on these appointments is the fastest during this time of year.

A Preventative Maintenance Contract can more than pay for itself in fewer emergency repairs and lower utility bills alone.  As with your vehicle or really any mechanical item, routine maintenance is a must!  There are a multitude of things that can cause your heating and a/c unit to fail as well as take years off it's life, and most of these things can't be found unless you are proactive and have someone with a trained eye who can spot the immediate warning signs.  Whether it's low refrigerant in your heat pump(which can cause your heat strips to stay on all the time during the winter and/or your a/c to run continuously during the summer = high energy bill) or a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger(which produces the deadly gas Carbon Monoxide), or just all around dirt and grime(which greatly decreases efficiency), there really is no downside to signing up for a Preventative Maintenance Contract.  If nothing else, it will be to have the peace of mind knowing that you don't have to worry about your heating and a/c, as we keep a detailed record of your system's specifications and tendencies.  To learn more about Environmental's Preventative Maintenance Plan or if you have any questions about anything else we can help you with, please visit our website or give us a call!

Environmental Heating & Air of NC
919-535-8422
enviro-nc.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Installation Importance


When homeowners need to upgrade their air conditioning / heating system(s), they expect the newly installed system(s) to perform as advertised. However, poor installation methods can lead to a significant drop in efficiency as well as negatively affecting comfort, too. In fact, Energy Star, a government-funded energy-efficiency website, reports that up to half of all air conditioning / heating system installations are compromised, meaning poor installation practices have led to countless homeowners spending more money over the life of their systems to keep them operating well and efficiently. If you’re looking at purchasing a new system, you should know that it's installation counts for a lot, perhaps more than you think. Here are a few things you should expect from a quality air conditioning / heating system installation:

  •  Careful sizing. Expert sizing methods are critical during any system installation. Factors that affect sizing include heat gain from the sun through windows, insulation levels and the home’s square footage. Without taking into account all factors that affect sizing, you could end up with a system that’s either too big or too small for your space. And that means your new system won’t operate efficiently or create a comfortable home.
  • Well-maintained ductwork. Of all of the factors that affect efficiency, ductwork leaks generally contribute to the largest energy losses. Before installing the new system, your ductwork should be looked at to determine it's efficiency status. If the ductwork is saggy and/or needs to be resealed, these items will be addressed and the recommendation will be made for the repair prior or during new system installation.
  • Precisely measured refrigerant. With an a/c, efficiency rests on the refrigerant’s ability to cool. Improper refrigerant charges can greatly affect your cooling bills, comfort and equipment life span. Proper methods are to be taken so as to achieve the optimal level of efficiency.

As I've stated in a previous blog, even the most efficient top of the line air conditioning / heating system means nothing if it isn't installed correctly. At Environmental, our heating & air system installation expert, John Van Orden, strictly follows the above mentioned steps as well as any additional steps that may need to be taken into account to satisfy you, the customer. John will ensure that you are happy with your new system's performance, rest assured that he isn't the type to go missing once the money is collected. With your new, efficient system in place, you can expect to see a dip in your energy bills, better comfort and long-lasting equipment. So give us a call if you have any questions at all about getting a new system, FREE ESTIMATES on all system replacements!

-Nick
Environmental Heating & Air of NC, Inc.
919-535-8422

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Heat Pumps In The Wintertime


A very common concern we get here at Environmental Heating & Air from home owners during the wintertime is "why is my heat pump blowing out cool air in heat mode?"  Well, there's a good chance your body is actually playing a trick on you.  Think about it, your body temperature is approximately 98 degrees at any given time, so when you run your hand or foot across that air register, odds are it's going to feel somewhat cool.  The key is to keep an eye on your thermostat.  If the heat pump is maintaining whatever temperature you are setting the heat at, then it's doing its job and there is likely nothing wrong with the heat pump.  The discharge air temperature on a heat pump isn't as warm as a gas furnace's.  When the outdoor temperature starts to get down into the mid thirties, heat pumps begin losing their efficiency and the auxiliary heat will then become the main source of heat.

If your heat pump system is having trouble maintaining the temperature you have set on the thermostat, then you probably have a legit problem such as low refrigerant, dirty air filter(s), dirty/restricted outdoor unit, etc.  As with any system, a regular maintenance plan from a licensed company can help identify and prevent problems before they happen at the worst of times.  At Environmental Heating & Air, our certified technicians are always willing to answer any questions you may have about your heating and a/c unit as well as inform you on what to expect.  Give us a call today!

Environmental Heating & Air of NC, Inc.
919-535-8422

Friday, January 23, 2015

Cracked Heat Exchangers and Furnace Safety



If you have a furnace in your home that's more than a few years old, you need to have a trained and certified professional inspect it and provide you with an overall assessment of your heat exchanger and burners.  You and your family's lives may depend on it!  If a crack or pinhole in the heat exchanger is found by a technician, they will then inform you of this find and advise you on how to proceed. 

Cracked heat exchangers produce the odorless gas Carbon Monoxide, the silent killer.  Carbon Monoxide has no smell, color, or taste and can only be detected by CO detectors and specialized equipment.  There is only really two possible options after a crack is found, 1) replace the heat exchanger, or 2) replace the entire furnace.  Depending on how old the furnace is will determine the wisest path to take.  Most major brands of furnaces now offer 10 - 20 year heat exchanger warranties, in which case you should only be charged labor by the company you use to replace it.  At Environmental, we always work with the customer to figure out the most sensible option based on the age of the unit and your financial situation.

Remember, a cracked heat exchanger and/or deteriorating burners are a recipe for disaster!  Carbon Monoxide is very dangerous and at the very least you should have one CO detector present for every floor of your home.  Signing up for a Preventative Maintenance Plan will catch these dangers early and can also prevent them from happening in the first place, thus extending the life of your system.  Just give us a call and we would be glad to answer your questions and get you signed up today!

-Nickadeemus
www.enviro-nc.com
919-535-8422

Monday, December 8, 2014

2015 SEER Rating Changes Notice



Coming up this new year 2015 will be some interesting changes to the U.S. Dept. of Energy's requirements for SEER(Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings.  The new requirements state:

"Starting January 1, 2015, split system central air conditioners installed in the Southeastern Region of the United States of America must be at least 14 SEER. The Southeastern Region includes the following states:  Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Similarly, split system central air conditioners installed in the Southwestern Region must be a minimum 14 SEER and 12.2 EER beginning on January 1, 2015. The Southwestern Region consists of the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico. Split system central air conditioners installed in all other states outside of the Southeastern and Southwestern regions must continue to be a minimum of 13 SEER, which is the current national requirement."

These new requirements are already being challenged by industry trade groups.  If you would like to learn more about SEER ratings and what they mean, just check out some of my earlier blogs on the subject.

The R-22 refrigerant phase out schedule is still on track for complete phase out by 2020.  Here is a link to the official EPA website with all the facts you need to know about this phase out and what it means for you, the consumer:  http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/22phaseout.html

Hope this info helps you out!

-Nickadeemus
Environmental Heating & Air of NC
919-535-8422

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Equipment Costs Are Now At Their Lowest!



At certain times of the year, the price of purchasing a new heating and air conditioning unit is at it's absolute lowest.  Those times take place most often at the end of the year and when supply/demand dictates. You can always count on the lowest equipment costs in the month of December.  Manufacturers have to sell a certain amount of units by the end of the year in order to make room for the newer equipment.  Which in turn is very beneficial to the customer, that kinda goes without saying.

Not only during these times does the cost of a new system go down, but also the interest rate that goes along with financing that new system!  It's a well known fact that the economy is bad right now and couple that with the above mentioned closeouts, and you've got yourself a perfect time to purchase that new system that you've had in the back of your mind that you know will need purchasing soon.  So I'm just trying to help you folks out by filling you in on the best times of the year to get that new system!  Trust me, you don't want to wait until after first of the year and demand goes back up, because so will the prices and interest rates!  At Environmental, we offer free quotes on system replacements with no pressure or hassle.  Our quotes are good for 30 days, so if you're even thinking you might need a new system before too long, strike now while the iron is hot!  Give us a call! 

-Nickadeemus
919-535-8422
www.enviro-nc.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

80% vs 95% Furnaces



Which furnace is right for you?  Do you know the difference between an 80% and 95% furnace?  In order to figure out the answer to the first question, you must first understand the answer to the second question.  Let's break it down further so you can be equipped to make the most cost efficient decision possible!

The best model furnaces to go with, efficiency wise, are Energy Star qualified.  The efficiency of new furnaces is measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency(AFUE), which is a measure of seasonal performance.  Furnaces today are rated between 80% AFUE and 98% AFUE.  Above 90% AFUE, a unit is considered to be "condensing", which means it recaptures some of the heat that would be wasted in traditional systems by condensing the escaping water vapor.  80-89% AFUE furnaces are still good furnaces, they are much better and more efficient than older style furnaces and are more affordable up front than the 90-98% high efficiency furnaces.  However, the 80-89% furnaces do not qualify for Energy Star programs.  The 90%-98% high efficiency furnaces are more expensive, but they do qualify for rebate programs which can earn you some nice cash in return.  Not to mention, your gas/utility bill(s) will take a noticeable dip in usage.  At Environmental, we offer great financing on all of the furnaces and systems we sell.  Which in turn can make the 90-98% Energy Star rated furnaces much more affordable.  Just give us a call or your trusted heating and air company in your area a call and take advantage of the great costs and efficiencies before the actual cold season gets here.  You will be amazed at the results you see in the form of energy savings!

-Nickadeemus
Environmental Heating & Air of NC, Inc.
919-535-8422