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Tuesday, 27 February 2018 20:15

Solving Uneven Heating Problems in the Home

Do you have rooms in your home that are always cold, regardless of how high you set your thermostat? There are many factors that can cause uneven heating in the home, here are some of the possible causes.

Uneven Heating

The Air Ducts Ductwork Are Leaking Or Are Undersized

If airflow to certain parts of the home is insufficient, you’ll experience uneven heating or cooling in those areas. An airflow imbalance will also cause your heating system to work overtime in order to compensate, which in turn will shorten the unit's lifespan and decrease its efficiency.

In order to create a balanced airflow a qualified HVAC technician will need to inspect and assess the effectiveness of your home’s ductwork by performing an airflow analysis.

Identifying leaks and blockages is also important, as leaks are a major contributor to inefficiency and uneven temperatures. If blockages are identified, they will be removed to restore airflow. Once the underlying causes of the imbalance have been identified, the appropriate repairs or replacement will be made to get your system functioning normally again.

Variable Speed Motors

Variable speed motors provide more even heating and cooling, and allow for more precise control of airflow throughout the home. By moving the air more slowly through the system, variable speed motors can help make a home’s air filtration and moisture control systems more effective. They adjust the system’s output based on the home’s heating or cooling needs. They can also be helpful in situations where uneven heating or cooling is actually desired. If there are rooms in your home that are rarely used, you can save money by keeping them at a slightly higher or lower temperature than the other rooms in your home. This involves “zoning,” which means customizing temperature settings for different areas of the home. In general, variable speed motors are the only systems that allow for zoning within the home.

Ensure Your HVAC System Is The Correct Size

Just as you’re experiencing discomfort due to uneven temperatures, your system is constantly trying to compensate, which means high utility bills and shortened system lifespan.

An improperly sized HVAC system may result in uneven heating or cooling. This could be the result of either an incorrect load calculation at the time of the system’s installation or a home’s heating and cooling needs changing over time. For example, it is common that an extra room is added or an area like an attic or basement is converted into living space. If your HVAC system is too small to properly heat or cool your home, uneven temperatures and system failures could result. To determine whether your HVAC system is properly sized, contact an HVAC professional for an up-to-date load calculation.
Published in Heating
With natural gas costing around 50 percent less than heating oil, many homeowners are finding the initial cost of conversion worth the long term savings in fuel cost.

Connecticut Oil-To-Gas Conversion
While the price advantage of natural gas generally means a new gas system will pay for itself in as little as 5 years, there are other costs to consider:
  • The cost of the new equipment (gas-fired furnaces and boilers generally cost less than oil-fired equipment)
  • Installation cost
  • The cost to run a gas line to the house
  • The cost to dispose of the oil tank and old equipment
Other reasons to consider natural gas over oil include:

Smaller Footprint
Gas equipment typically takes up less space than oil equipment.

Federal and state tax incentives may be available for upgrading to high efficiency heating systems.

No more oil deliveries, gaps in service, negotiating with your oil company, or prepaying. Natural gas is always available.

Domestic Fuel Source
Unlike most heating oil, natural gas is an abundant domestic fuel source.

With a natural gas line you can reduce your utility bill by converting your electric clothes dryer, stove and water heater to less expensive natural gas.

Environmentally Friendly
Natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel and a highly efficient form of energy. Converting from oil to natural gas can reduces CO2 emissions by around 27 percent.

Have questions about converting from oil to natural gas? Give Air Specialties Heating and Air Conditioning a call, we can help answer all your questions.
Published in Heating
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 02:20

Tips to Stay Safe With Space Heaters

Tips to Stay Safe With Space Heaters

Space Heater SafetyDid you know that 80 percent of home heating fire deaths in the U.S. involve space heaters and that 32 percent of home heating fires are caused by space heaters? It is estimated that space heaters cause over 19,000 home fires, 360 deaths, and over 1,000 injuries a year.

Once a house fire starts it is only a matter minutes before it becomes life-threatening. By following a few safety steps when using a space heater you can avoid becoming a statistics.
  • Space heaters should never be closer than 3 feet to upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, bedding and other flammable material.
  • Place the space heater on a hard, level and nonflammable surface
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters
  • Never leave a space heater running when you are away from home.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a grounded wall outlet without adapters or extension cords
  • Choose a model with features like a built-in thermostat that shuts the heater off when the room temperature is met and a thermal cut out switch that shuts the heater off if it gets too hot.
  • If you have kids or pets, a cool touch exterior can prevent accidental burns
  • Ensure there is a working smoke detector on every level of the home and test them monthly
Published in Heating

How Good Is My Furnace Filter For Cleaning the Air In My Home?

Furnace Air Filter

If you want to find out how effective your air filter is at removing contaminants from the air, check the filter's MERV rating. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV is a standard that rates the effectiveness of air filters. A higher numeric rating means the filter will remove finer particulate matter from the air.

Filters are tested for for their ability to trap pollen, dust mites, mold spores, dust, pet dander, bacteria and tobacco smoke. Here are how effective the different MERV ratings are at removing various contaminants from the air.

1-4 : Filters out pollen and dust mites.

5-8 : Removes mold and dust.

9-12 : Traps lead dust and most bacteria

12+ : Filters out all bacteria and tobacco smoke

When choosing an air filter for your HVAC system it may seem like a good idea to buy the filter with the highest MERV rating, since you want to have the cleanest air possible, right? In most cases, you should use a filter in the 5-8 range. The reason is that filters with a high MERV rating will have the smallest pores for air to pass through. This can make it harder for the HVAC system to push air through the filter, reducing system performance. To avoid restricting the air flow, filters with a higher MERV rating should be changed more frequently (at least every three months) to prevent damage to the HVAC system.

Ultimately, if your home's air is dirty enough to require a higher MERV rating, or you're changing air filters more than once a month, you may be better served by having a whole home air filtration system. A furnace air filter is really just designed to keep your HVAC equipment clean to prevent wear and tear. A whole house air filtration system is designed to actually clean the air inside the home.

Have questions about air filters? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We can help answer all your questions.
Published in Indoor Air Quality

Learning Thermostats - the Smart Way To Save On Heating and Cooling

Learning ThermostatLearning Thermostats, or smart thermostats, have been around for a while now, and they keep getting smarter. Here are some of the features you will find that can help keep your home more comfortable while also reducing your energy usage.
  1. Learns your routine. Built-in sensors track activity in the home and use algorithms a custom, auto-adjusting temperature schedule based on those movements in the home. If you turn down the heat before bed, the thermostat learns this routine.
  2. It knows when you're away. Using your smartphone's location and sensors in the home, a learning thermostat can switch to economy mode to save energy.
  3. Tracks energy usage. Knowing your energy usage history can help you better manage your heating and cooling schedule and save on your utility bill.
  4. Early warning of an emergency. If the temperature drops unexpectedly when it's below freezing because your furnace is not working, you will be warned before pipes freeze and your home is damaged.
Upgrading to a learning thermostat is easy, and can make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.
Published in Heating

The Causes and Cures For the Most Common Oil Boiler Problems

Oil Boiler Service West Haven Connecticut1. The Burner Is Not Operating
There are several reasons the burner may not operate, they include a lack of fuel, a thermostat that is set too low or no electrical power to the unit. If there is sufficient fuel, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit. Next, turn the thermostat up higher by a few degrees. Also check that the filter and ductwork are not blocked or restricted and that the blower motor is operating. If the burner still won't turn on, call Air Specialties for service.

2. The Burner Will Not Fire
If the burner is working, but will not fire, it could be a fuel supply problem. This can be caused by a failed oil pump or a clogged nozzle filter or oil line. Your heating technician can diagnose the cause and recommend solutions for repair.

3. Smoking Burner
Smoking burners are often caused by an out of adjustment burner, a dirty or wrong type of nozzle or end cone. Other causes include a defective heat exchanger, incorrect oil pressure or an obstructed chimney. Because this is a potential safety issue, call Air Specialties to inspect the system to ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks or other hazards.

4. High Fuel Consumption
When an oil boiler is consuming too much fuel it if often because off lack of maintenance or a system that is out of adjustment. An improperly sized boiler can also cause inefficient operation and high fuel consumption. 

5. Heating System Odors
Many of the same problems that can lead to a smoking boiler can cause unusual odors, including a clogged nozzle, broken heat exchanger or a burner that is out of adjustment. The chimney may also need to be cleaned. Call Air Specialties to have the heating system inspected.

Have oil boiler problems? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. From maintenance and repairs to boiler replacement, we can help keep your oil boiler running in top condition.
Published in Heating
Tuesday, 19 September 2017 22:28

How Long Does a Furnace Last?

How Long Does a Furnace Last?

Connecticut Furnace ServiceAs cold weather arrives in Connecticut area and you get ready to turn on your trusted old gas furnace, you may be wondering just how many heating seasons the furnace has left. The average lifespan of a gas furnace is approximately 20 years. There are several factors that determine how long your furnace will last, including whether it is a lower cost or more expensive higher end model. If it's a lower cost furnace it may be ready for replacement in as little as 8 years.

Thankfully, many of the factors that determine how long a furnace will last are under your control. The most important thing you can do is have your furnace professionally maintained every year. This will not only make the furnace last longer, it will help it operate more efficiently and reduce the cost of unexpected repairs.

Because most gas furnace parts can be replaced as they wear out, it's usually a good idea to repair the unit as parts wear out. The one part that usually ends the life of a furnace is the heat exchanger. Constant heating and cooling will eventually cause the heat exchanger to rust out or crack, leading to failure. With new gas furnaces operating at much higher efficiency than units made just 10 years ago, replacing the furnace may be more cost effective in the long run when compared to the repair cost of keeping a 10-15 year old furnace running.

Have questions about your furnace? Give Air Specialties a call, we're here to help.
Published in Heating

Ductless Heating - The Solution For Difficult To Heat Rooms

Connecticut Ductless Home HeatingIf your home has forced-air heating or a gas or oil boiler, you may have rooms that are difficult to heat because they are not accessible to install air ducts or radiators. Attics, additions, garages, sunrooms and enclosed porches can present special challenges for heating and cooling. In many cases it would be too cost prohibitive to add air ducts or plumbing for radiators. 

Ductless Heating Systems

A ductless, or mini-split system, consists of a small air handler in each room, often installed on a wall near the ceiling. A small conduit connects a condenser outside the home to the indoor air handlers. When used for cooling, they usually offer greater efficiency and improved performance compared to window AC units. When used for heating, ductless systems can provide just the right amount of heat where it is needed, providing an energy savings advantage over radiators and forced-air heating systems.

Air Specialties installs state-of-the art Mitsubishi Ductless Heating and Cooling Systems which offer advanced comfort and efficiency for any room in your house. All systems include a remote control and an optional smart phone app to custom program the unit.

Want to learn more about ductless mini-split systems? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call today.
Published in Heating

Nest Thermostat ConnecticutHow Smart Thermostats Improve Comfort and Safety

A traditional home thermostat works by reading the temperature in the room and sending a signal through wires to the home's heating or cooling system to turn up or down when the temperature goes above or below the preset temperature.

By comparison, a smart thermostat consists of a control panel that connects wirelessly to a home's HVAC system. To control the thermostat you can either use the interface on the wall mounted unit, or an app for your wireless device, like a smartphone. One advantage of a smart thermostat is you can monitor and control your home's thermostat from any location. Alerts can also be set up to notify you if the temperature drops to an unsafe level during the winter... providing additional peace of mind while you're away from home on vacation during our cold Connecticut winters.

Another key benefit of smart thermostats is their ability to learn your household's routine and adjust the temperature accordingly to maximize comfort and reduce energy waste. When the thermostat senses that no one is home, the temperature is adjusted to maximized energy savings over comfort. When the thermostat detects that a room is occupied, it sends conditioned air into the space.

Have questions about smart thermostats or other heating and cooling technology? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, we can answer all your questions.
Published in Air Conditioning

Will Closing Off Rooms Save On Your Heating and Cooling Bill?

If you have rooms that go unused for long periods of time such as guest rooms, bedrooms or basements, you may have thought: if the room is unused, why not close the doors and air registers to save energy? While this seems like common sense, it can actually waste energy and shorten the life of your heating and cooling system. It can also making the remaining occupied rooms less comfortable.

When a central heating and cooling system is installed, the HVAC technician carefully measures the volume of air in the entire home. The furnace and air conditioner are then sized to provide the best performance, efficiency and comfort. When the air volume is reduced by closing air vents, rather than making your air conditioner cool less or the furnace heat less, they simply send the same amount of air to the open air ducts and vents throughout the home. During normal operation a home's ductwork will lose 20-30% of the air though leaks, so closing vents increases this loss of conditioned air, wasting energy. Closing air vents will also increase the pressure inside the ductwork, which in turn will make the blower fan work harder to force the air through. The result is an increased risk of the evaporator coil freezing or the heat exchanger overheating.

Of course, closing one or two air vents is not going to cause major issues, but for each vent that is closed the performance of your central heating and cooling system will be diminished. If you have questions about your heating, cooling or ventilation system, give Air Specialties a call. We can help answer all your questions.
Published in Heating
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