Can you believe it? The first official day of autumn is next month! For the smart people who like to plan ahead, they know that now i...
We get calls from customers often during the winter months asking why their heat pump is suddenly running really loudly. What most people ...
You may have heard the terms split system or package unit before, but do you know exactly what that means? There is actually a big differen...
Probably the most common question we get in the hvac business is this; which is better, gas furnace or heat pump? Well folks, it all prett...
Hot off the news wire this morning, Monday, January 23rd 2012, is the price of R-22 refrigerant will be going up effective immediately! ...
The title of this post is probably one of the most frequently asked questions by customers to their heating and air conditioning service ...
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 i...
At Environmental, we've discovered that the more information a customer is able to provide about their a/c and/or heating system, the...
We are now less than a month away from the first day of autumn! Right now is the best time to take advantage of what we call the "...
A very common concern we get here at Environmental Heating & Air from home owners during the wintertime is "why is my heat pump b...
Monday, December 8, 2014
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!
Environmental Heating & Air of NC
Posted by Nickadeemus at 3:58 PM
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
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!
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
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!
Environmental Heating & Air of NC, Inc.
Posted by Nickadeemus at 2:21 PM
Friday, September 26, 2014
As previously mentioned, now is a great time to to start preparing your home for the upcoming winter season! A typical home is supposed to exhale about 33% of its air every hour, sparing your lungs from mold, dust and other tiny invaders. But realistically it's estimated that most homes, especially older homes, on the average vent approximately 45% - 65% of it's air every hour. Here are a few things you can do around your home to help make it winter-proof:
- a cheap and effective way to target air leaks in your home is to wait for a breezy day outside, light an incense stick, and move it around all your doors, windows and fireplace. You will be able to notice the stream of smoke flowing to wherever the draft is, and then correct as necessary.
- 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 Environmental Heating & Air 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 gas furnace 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.
Posted by Nickadeemus at 4:11 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Proactive maintenance planning means basically exactly what it says. You are planning ahead to make the routine maintenance, that you should be having done to your heating and a/c unit(s), most worth your while. Right now in the heating and air business we are in an in-between time. That means we are currently in between peak seasons. So if you are willing to get your fall Preventative Maintenance done a little early, 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. 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 = high energy bill) or a furnace with a cracked heat exchanger(which produces the deadly gas Carbon Monoxide), 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
Posted by Nickadeemus at 4:31 PM
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Typically, August is the warmest month of the year. This year will probably be no exception. If you are on a maintenance plan then you are already a step ahead and good for you. If not, then cross your fingers your a/c doesn't go out! Here are just a few things you can do around the house to make sure you get the most from your a/c this summer:
- change your air filter(s) every 30 to 90 days. Depending on how quickly your filter(s) get dirty
- keep shades, blinds, windows closed to keep out sunlight as much as possible during the day when you aren't home
- have a Preventative Maintenance Plan with a licensed, fully certified hvac company like Environmental Heating & Air
- keep all bushes, grass, and other debris clear from around your a/c unit outside. A 2 foot minimum clearance is best
- take a quick look at your ductwork. If it looks old and/or appears to be falling apart, have a professional take a look at it. You would be AMAZED how much efficiency is lost because of loose and/or deteriorated ductwork
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Once you've taken the step to have your heating and/or air conditioning unit replaced, you should be aware of some things that are essential to a proper system installation. Even top-of-the-line systems will perform poorly if not installed correctly. At Environmental Heating & Air, we are meticulous with the following items as they ensure that the customer gets the most from their new equipment. Whether it's a new furnace, heat pump, or straight a/c, you need to know what should be covered in a professional and correct install.
- Environmental's employees are certified, highly trained professionals that undergo a thorough background-screening process. This should be true for no matter what company you choose.
- Environmental offers the best products available from industry leading companies like Lennox, Carrier, and Trane. Trustworthy companies you can rely on!
- You can be assured that the work of Environmental's technicians meets and exceeds all local safety and building codes. It's very important that whichever company you choose for your installation, they indeed a legit company. All proper installs require permits from their respective town or county office, along with that comes an inspection from said town or county office.
- The technicians at Environmental will ensure that the job is completed in a timely manner and that the customer is satisfied with the completion of the work.
- Environmental also offers very affordable finance options to meet your specific needs!
Posted by Nickadeemus at 3:29 PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
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 also when supply/demand dictates. For example, right now! The between seasons period is the most sluggish period sales-wise, and in an effort to keep products moving along, manufacturers are forced to lower their prices on new systems. 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 weather, 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 the weather changes 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!
Posted by Nickadeemus at 4:15 PM
Monday, February 24, 2014
Just wanted to do a quick post in regards to installing thermostats. At Environmental, we do not recommend attempting to install a brand new thermostat yourself. It is always best left to a certified professional as they are able to ensure that you are putting up the right thermostat for your particular system and that it is installed correctly. However, there's probably a lot of you out there who will still do it yourself to save some money, which is completely understandable.
Well, for all you do it yourselfers out there and anybody who would just like some great general knowledge about the process, we have a youtube channel that you can check out at http://www.youtube.com/user/Environc. There's also a couple more videos on there with some great general knowledge stuff, so just subscribe for free to the Environmental youtube channel and stay in the know! As always, thanks for reading!
Posted by Nickadeemus at 4:22 PM
Monday, February 17, 2014
Where does one draw the line on repair costs? How long should a heating and a/c unit last these days? Well, the general rule of thumb is no major repairs(compressor replacement, evaporator / condenser coil replacement, blower motor assy. replacement, etc...) after about 8 - 10 years from the date of install. That comes from all across the nation, not just from Environmental Heating & Air of NC. Most of the major manufacturers state that the life expectancy of units today is around 11-13 years.
Nowadays, 5 - 10 year parts warranties come standard on new systems. HUGE factors that will determine the life of a new heating and air conditioning system are the quality of install and regular maintenance. As I've stated before, it doesn't matter if you purchase the best, most efficient unit possible, it will mean nothing if not installed properly and then maintained at regular intervals. These units will only give back the quality you put in to their upkeep and care. That means, on your part, at least keeping filters changed and hedges trimmed back from your outdoor a/c condensing unit(s) for proper air flow. The best possible thing to do is to sign up for a Preventative Maintenance program, like the one offered from Environmental Heating & Air of NC. That being said, a minor service call here or there over the years may be expected. No matter what, they are mechanical items and slight malfunctions are possible like with any car or appliance. We've anticipated as much, Environmental Heating & Air of NC has included in the Preventative Maintenance plan a 10% discount on service calls for the contract year. Hopefully, this will give you a little bit better idea when pondering what to do with your home's heating and a/c system(s). Please give us a call if you have any questions and/or are in need of a service, thanks!
Environmental Heating & Air of NC, Inc.
Posted by Nickadeemus at 3:19 PM
Thursday, January 23, 2014
If you're one of those people who decided to take advantage of purchasing a high efficiency heating and air conditioning system, these freezing cold days and nights must be making you glad you did! Did you know that if you upgrade to a high efficiency heating and a/c system, you could reduce your home's energy consumption by up to 30 - 40%? Not to mention, most local utility companies offer special incentives to their customers who purchase Energy Star qualified heating and a/c equipment!
While it is more money up front to purchase one of these systems, you more than make your money back in energy usage. With heating and air conditioning accounting for approximately 56% of the energy usage in your home, purchasing a high efficiency system is truly a wise investment.
Always remember, just because you purchase high efficiency equipment, it means nothing if the equipment isn't properly installed. Qualified professionals from a reputable company should be the only ones tasked with installing your new high efficiency heating and a/c equipment. These certified technicians will also be able to spot other key factors in your home that can lead to poor efficiency: outdated insulation, window and door air leaks, unsealed ductwork, etc...
Bottom line is, if you're serious about saving money and using less energy, a high efficiency heating and air system is what you need! Ask anyone who has one, right now they are sitting comfortably while saving money!
Environmental Heating & Air of NC, Inc.
Posted by Nickadeemus at 2:36 PM