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Monday, November 29, 2010

6 Furnace Warning Signs

'Tis the season for good food and family in a nice warm house.   A comfortable and healthy home environment requires an efficient and sound heating system.  Now imagine the worst possible time for your furnace to call it quits, because that's probably when it's going to happen.  I've compiled a short list of warning signs that it may be time to consider replacing your furnace:
  1. How old is your furnace?  The average life expectancy of furnaces these days is anywhere between 13 to 20 years.   If your furnace is close to this age or older, you should begin shopping.
  2. Have you noticed a rise in your energy bill?  Furnaces will lose their efficiency as they age, especially if they have not been properly maintained.  As a result, your furnace may run longer to maintain the set temperature.
  3. Are parts starting to go bad?  Furnaces are like cars, as they age parts will begin to give out.  Before you know it, repair costs will start to add up and you will spend a ton just trying to keep that old furnace working!
  4. Is your burner flame yellow instead of blue?  A yellow or flickering flame may be a sign that poisonous carbon monoxide could be created by your furnace.
  5. Is your furnace starting to make strange noises?   Have you heard any banging, popping, rattling, or squealing noises coming from your furnace?  As with most mechanical things, furnaces tend to start making excessive noises while operating as they get older.
  6. Is your furnace struggling to maintain temperature?  When you set your thermostat to a certain temperature, does your furnace have to run constantly to maintain that temperature or does it even reach that temperature?  This is a dead giveaway that something isn't right.
If any of the above things sound like your furnace, give us a call at Environmental and let us help make sure you and your family will stay warm this winter!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Fireplaces and Indoor Air Quality

For those people fortunate enough to have fireplaces in their homes, I'm sure you will be using them to save money on your heating bill and perhaps to set the mood with your significant other.  Either way, there are a few things you should know first to get the most from your fireplaces and how they will affect your indoor air quality.

Remember to turn off gas starters.  Some fireplaces have a gas line running to them to help start the fire. It's not uncommon to forget to turn off the gas line after the wood has started to burn, and this can lead to a surprisingly expensive heating bill!

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are both quintessential tools in controlling humidity problems.  But as it relates to using your fireplace, a good humidifier can greatly reduce issues such as dry skin and the symptoms related to allergies and asthma.  The fixtures and fittings in your home or office, such as hardwood floors, wood furniture, and musical instruments can also be severely and adversely affected by dry air.

 Use ceiling fans to circulate that warm air coming from your fireplace and air vents.  I'm sure you've noticed that little switch located on your ceiling fan, just switch it over so that the fan blades are pulling the air up towards the ceiling instead of the normal down flow of air.

Close off other rooms in your house.  The show Mythbusters proved the theory that lighting a fire in the fireplace actually reduces the temperature in the other rooms of your home. Yes, it's true. Lighting a fire can make the rest of your house colder! One way to save money on your heating bills this winter season is to close off the doors to other rooms of the house as much as possible when burning a fire in the room where you will spend the most time.

These are just a few tips that will hopefully help you out this winter.  Remember, if you have any questions at all about your indoor air quality or any heating questions in general, just give Environmental Heating & Air a call!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Get a job

Obviously, the need for heating and air-conditioning exists all over, as residents in Tucson would suffer from heat exhaustion in the summer without air conditioning while those in Buffalo in the winter would freeze without heating.  The hvac industry in America is absolutely huge, from residential homes all the way up to gigantic industrial complexes, they all have a dire need for conditioned air.  There are technicians that specialize in specific areas of hvac like installations or maintenance and repair, though typically they will be trained in both areas.

Wake Technical Community College offers a great apprenticeship program for those interested in hvac that want to get a solid start for their future career.  Wake Tech covers such areas as:
  • HVAC Electricity and Electrical Equipment
  • HVAC Controls
  • Comfort Cooling Systems
  • Oil, Gas, and Electric Heating Systems
  • Maintenance and Servicing HVAC Equipment
  • Schematics and Diagrams
HVAC technicians are in high demand in all areas these days and with the technology and sophistication of the newer systems being produced, there is no sign of this demand slowing down.  Employment of heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration mechanics and installers is projected to increase 28 percent during the 2008-18 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.  So if you're looking for a job that's in high demand and will remain recession-proof for a long time to come, hvac is a wise choice my friends!



Thursday, November 11, 2010

The significance of UV Lights in your home

Now I know I have touched on this subject in a previous blog, but I can't stress enough the significance of UV lights in your system for the cold and flu season.  Homes with children and/or senior citizens are especially at risk for illnesses during the colder months.  It's in your best interest to do what you can to tip the scales in your favor when combating germs and "bugs" while at home.

UV lights have actually been used to destroy airborne pathogens since the early 1900s.  Common uses were in food processing plants, butcher shops and slaughterhouses. It’s only been in the last ten years that UV systems have been developed to operate effectively in environments such as HVAC systems where cold moving air passes over the lamp.  Simply put, every HVAC system is a mold factory…with no exemptions.  This is caused by the condensation that occurs at the cooling coil. This dark damp environment is the perfect breeding ground for mold and other harmful microorganisms; they don’t stop reproducing until you do something about it!  Studies have shown a significant reduction in allergy symptoms, sinus problems, and related upper respiratory problems once a UV light has been installed in the household's hvac system.  So don't delay, get one of these lights installed today or you're sure to have a long stuffy winter season!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Some quick info about hvac brands

When it comes to your household heating and air system, selecting the right brand can be a real hassle if you don't know exactly what you're looking for.  FYI, almost every major manufacturer makes multiple brands - and in almost every case, different brands of equipment made by the same manufacturer are identical except for the color and/or the logo sticker.  The list of major brands is as follows:

1. American Standard also makes Trane.
2. Carrier also makes Bryant, Payne, Day & Night, ICP, Heil, Tempstar, Comfortmaker, Arcoaire, Keeprite
3. York makes Luxaire, Coleman, Evcon.
4. Nordyne also makes Philco, Gibson, Westinghouse, Frigidaire, Tappan, Gibson, Intertherm, Miller.
5. Rheem also makes Ruud.
7. Goodman also makes Amana.

Perhaps what is actually more important than the brand you choose is who you get to do the installation.  There is a very thorough process that any good hvac business worth its salt will do to make sure it is the right system for your home and that it is installed correctly.  Here at Environmental, we employ NATE certified technicians and installers to ensure that you get the most knowledgeable and technically proficient service possible. Environmental has a one year labor warranty on all new installations, at additional cost you may purchase up to  ten years of labor warranty for your new system.  Most major brands come with a ten year parts warranty on all their new units.  Whatever business you decide to go with for your new system installation, just make sure they have the experience and certifications needed to give you the proper service and reliability you deserve when purchasing a new system. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Reaching Out To The Community

Ask any small business owner anywhere and they will all tell you the same thing, without loyal customers their business could not exist.  Providing quality products and service will gain the trust of the customer and will keep them coming back.  But to really drive home the point that Environmental is all about our local community, we went out and got involved!

Environmental Heating & Air sponsors a Rookie League softball team and a Rookie League baseball team right here in Cary through the Town of Cary Parks & Recreation Office.  Both of Environmental's teams are doing really well and we are behind them all the way!  Co-owner Ryan Profitt is a board member of the Wake County Chapter of First in Families of North Carolina.  The goal of First in Families of NC is to support people with developmental disabilities and their families to create the lives they want now and in the future.  Co-owner Chris Montana is a volunteer and constant contributor to the Best Friend Pet Adoption agency located right here in Cary.  BFPA is a no-kill animal rescue organization committed to helping dogs and cats in need of homes.  Environmental salesman John Van Orden is a volunteer and member of his Raleigh church outreach program which volunteers at the local homeless shelter and partakes in local charity fundraisers.  Enviro NC is also a member of the National Federation of Independent Business, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents the consensus views of its members in Washington and all 50 state capitals.  Environmental Heating & Air owes all of it's success to it's local community and the outstanding citizens who rely on them 24/7 for great service and peace of mind about their home's heating and air needs, and for that we say thank you!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tips on keeping your home warm and safe

It's that time of year already, Halloween just ended and the Christmas advertisements have already started!  I remember a time when the Christmas stuff didn't make an appearance until right after Thanksgiving, the times they're a changin'.  I digress, the following are some tips from us here at Enviro NC to remind you of some ways you can stay warm and perhaps save a few bucks in the process this winter.

  • first and foremost, there is nothing better you can do than have a professional service come and check out your furnace or heat pump system to make sure it is fit to handle the upcoming cold temperatures
  • perhaps the most valuable thing you can have done by the aforementioned professional service is have them inspect your heat exchanger for cracks. A cracked heat exchanger is dangerous in that it is a leading cause of carbon monoxide in the home.  This is one of the first things that our technicians here at Enviro NC check when we inspect your system
  • make sure there are no items that are flammable located anywhere near your furnace
  • change your filters regularly
  • when you first turn on your heat there will probably be a fairly strong odor which is completely normal, but if strange smells continue to arise, shut down your system immediately and notify the professionals
  • your ceiling fan, believe it or not, is one of the best heat distributors you can use in your home.  Just flip the switch on your ceiling fan so that it pushes air up instead of the normal down airflow.  This is great because it will force the warm air that rises to your ceiling to keep moving about the room.  This can save on heating costs and it cuts down on the condensation that occurs on windows and glass doors
  • no matter how old or new your heating system is, BUY A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR!  It could save you and your family's lives
  • your nice, new heating system won't make much of a difference if your insulation isn't up to par!  A well insulated home can save you a ton of money on heating costs.  Generally, R-30 insulation is the minimum a home should have.  Of course this depends on the location and age of your home, newer homes will have R-30 or better insulation while older homes might not, it's a good idea to check.
  • finally, it would also be a good idea to check the weather stripping on all of your windows and doors.  You'll want to replace it if it looks old and cracked or there is an abundance of gaps

Remember, common sense is your best tool for safety and fighting high energy costs in your home due to your heating system.  If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to give us a call or ask a question in the comment section below and it will be answered the same day.  Until next time, stay warm!