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Heating (34)

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.

Are Leaky Air Ducts Costing You Money?

If you have central heating and cooling system in your home, you probably don't give much thought to the air ducts. However, even the most energy efficient furnace won't operate near its potential of the air ducts are leaking.

In some homes, as much as 40 percent of the conditioned air from the central heating and cooling system does not reach the rooms where it is needed because of leaking air ducts. It's a prime reason that some rooms never feel comfortable and the furnace or AC runs seems to run much longer than it should, wasting energy and inflating your utility bill.

A home's ductwork is a maze of joints, curves and creases, providing many places for air to escape. A professional HVAC technician can find the leaks and offer solutions for providing tighter, improved airflow throughout the home. One option is professional duct sealing. Duct sealing involves measuring the rate of air entering and returning in through the HVAC system, then sealing the ducts from the inside using an advanced polymer spray.

The first step to fixing air duct leaks is to have Air Specialties check the efficiency of your HVAC system. We can identify any problem areas and recommend solutions to reduce air leaks.

The Advantages of Ductless Mini-Split System for Heating and Cooling Your Home

There are many situations where a home with a central heating and cooling system, or radiator heat can benefit from a mini-split ductless system. A mini-split system consists of a small air handler in each room, typically installed into the wall near the ceiling. A small conduit connects a condenser outside the home to all of the indoor air handlers. When used for cooling, they usually offer greater efficiency and improved performance compared to window AC units.

Here are some applications where mini-split systems offer an advantage over traditional central heating and cooling.

1. Mini-split systems can be installed in older homes, attics, or new additions without existing ductwork.
2. They can be used to solve challenging heating situations where the furnace or air conditioner is located too far from certain areas of the home, such a new addition.
3. Ductless heating and cooling is ideal where you need customized control over the temperature of a room for a specific purpose, such as a wine cellar or cold storage.
4. Seasonal spaces like detached garages, 3-season porches, and out buildings are ideal for ductless heating and cooling.

Want to learn more about ductless mini-split systems? Give Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating a call, we offer state-of-the-art Mitsubishi mini-split systems, for high efficiency and precision control.

Smoky Oil Boiler? Here are the Possible Causes

When smoke is visible coming from your oil-fired boiler, you may have what's known as "puffback". Puffback is the explosion of un-burned oil in the combustion chamber. If the quantity of oil is high enough, it can cause damage the boiler, the flue vent and can cause soot to enter the home.

There are several reasons that un-burned heating oil fuel can exist, including:

Leaks in the oil supply line. This is often visible as oil drips that occur when the equipment is not running. Inspect the floor below the burner oil supply piping regularly. If you notice oil pooling on the floor, have the connections serviced immediately.

Oil burner shutdown. Incomplete heating oil combustion can also occur if the "shut-down" phase of oil burner operation is not working properly.

Lack of Maintenance.  A partially blocked burner nozzle will cause incomplete combustion leading to the accumulation of unburned oil in the combustion chamber. This is usually followed by an unusual rumbling or popping sound during boiler operation. Regular maintenance is important to prevent boiler problems such as a dirty oil spray nozzle, which can lead to a build up of unburned heating oil.

Improper boiler installation. In some cases installation problems such as a too-short chimney could cause inadequate draft, leading to sooty burner operation and poor heating.

If you're experiencing problems with your oil-fired boilder, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating, we can help.

What To Do When The Furnace Won't Turn On

As the cold winter weather arrives in Connecticut, some homeowners will find that their furnace won't turn on. Before you call Air Specialties for service, there are a few things you can check yourself.
  1. Ensure That the Power Is On - Even though it's gas powered, a furnace requires electricity to run, so check the power to the unit at the circuit breaker panel. If a circuit is tripped, switch it back to the ON position. Note, if the circuit trips again, DO NOT RESET IT MORE THAN ONCE, this is a safety measure to prevent an electrical fire in the event of a malfunction. Have an electrician inspect the system.
  2. Check the Thermostat Is Turned To the HEAT Position, then try turning the temperature up a couple degrees for testing purposes.
  3. Check the Furnace Condensate Pan (Drain Pan)- During normal operation water will drain from the air conditioner or furnace into a pan. If the drain for the pan is clogged the pan will fill up and trigger a float switch, preventing the operation of the furnace. If the float switch is up (activated), you will need to clear the obstruction to allow water to empty and then reset the switch.
  4. Check the Furnace Filter. An extremely dirty and clogged filter will make the furnace overheat, which will cause it to shut down as a safety precaution. Install a new filter to allow it to breathe easier.
  5. Check the Pilot Light. This only applies to older gas furnaces. Most newer units have electric ignition. If your pilot light is out consult your owner's manual for the correct way to light the pilot.
  6. Check the Fuel Supply. If there are other gas appliances in the home, such a gas range or fireplace, check that they are functioning.
If none of the above steps works and the furnace still won't turn on, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We service all makes and models.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 00:04

Choosing a New Furnace

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Choosing a New Furnace

When it's time to replace your old, inefficient furnace there are a few important things to consider.

1. Furnace Size

Choosing the right size furnace for your home is critial to ensurring your family's comfort and the efficient operation of your heating system. If the furnace is too small, it will run more often and use more energy to heat the same space that a larger furnace will.

2. Efficiency

The EnergyStar rating system is designed to help consumers make smart choices about how much energy a gas furnace will use during the heating season. While more efficient systems typically cost more initially, they will often pay for themselves in just a few years by using less energy to heat your home.

3. Noise

Todays furnace's are quieter than ever thanks to advanced engineering and features like two-stage fans, which allow the unit to distribute heat at lower fan speeds when less heat is needed.

4. Reliability

Being without heat during a cold Chicago winter is a real hassle. By choosing a furnace with a good record of reliabilty you will reduce the odds of a furnace breakdown and ensure your investment will provide reliable heat for years to come.

Have questions about buying a new furnace? The experts at Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating can answer all your home heating questions.

Heat Pump or Gas Furnace? What Are the Differences?

With the increasing popularity of heat pumps in some areas of the U.S., many homeowners are asking if a heat pump is a good option for their Connecticut area home. Here is an overview of how heat pumps differ from traditional gas furnaces.

The main difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that a heat pump can be reversed to either heat or cool a home. A heat pump consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit that is similar to a central air conditioner – called a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

Depending on the season a heat pump exchanges the cool air with warm air, or the other way around. Even air that's seems cold can have heat energy. When it's cold outside the heat pump extracts the heat and transfers into the home. When it’s hot outside, it reverses the flow to work like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

When considering a heat pump it's important to understand that, unlike a gas furnace which creates heat, a heat pump can only exchange heat, and will be unable to deliver a high level of warm air that is required to heat homes in the colder climate of Connecticut.

Have home heating questions? Call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating. We're here to help.

The Most Efficient Gas Furnaces for 2014

The government's ENERGY STAR rating is designed to help consumers make smart choices when choosing an appliance for the home. ENERGYSTAR's rating of Most Efficient 2014, represents the leading edge in energy efficient gas furnaces this year.

Included in the list is Carrier's Infinity® 98 Series with Infinity® Control, which achieves AFUE of up to 97.4%. Using Greenspeed™ intelligence, which adjusts modulating gas valve output from 40% to 100% of capacity in one-percentage-point increments for precise comfort. Variable-speed ECM blower and inducer motors operate at quieter, lower speeds.

Depending on the size of the unit, the Infinity® 98 Series can save as much 23% over a standard gas furnace. This can add up to significant savings in the long run.

For the full list of most efficient gas furnaces for 2014, visit

For all your home heating and furnace questions, call Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating we're always here to help.

Early November before the cold weather sets in and the snow begins to fall, is a good time to ensure your home's HVAC system is ready for the long Chicagoland winter ahead. The experts at Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating recommend that homeowners perform some simple fall heating and air conditioning maintenance tasks.

Fall Heating System Maintenance Tips

Furnace Air Filters

One of the simplest ways to keep your furnace running at peak efficiency is to ensure that you change your air filter regularly. Your furnace will breathe easier, and so will you!

Check Your Thermostat Settings

If you have a programmable thermostat, check the timer function to ensure it's set to turn on and off at the proper time. A properly set thermostat will keep you comfortable and

Cleaning Your Furnace and Air Conditioner

Before covering your central air conditioner, vacuum up debris that may be clinging to the cooling fins.

Clean around your furnace and check that there is nothing obstructing the vents around the blower compartment.

Air Vents

Check your home's supply and return air vents to ensure there are no obstructions and that the air is flowing freely.


Consider adding more insulation to your attic in order to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Weather stripping is another relatively inexpensive way to keep the cold weather at bay this winter.

Moving Into a New Home? Remember To Check the Heating System

When moving into a new house there are many things to inspect to ensure there are no hidden surprises. One of the most important is the home's heating system. Taking the time to ask questions and inspect the furnace or boiler can save you potential headaches down the road.

Here are some things to look for:

1. Turn on the furnace and listen for unusual noises. Squeaks and rattles could indicate a mechanical problem, lack of maintenance or just indicate an older furnace that is showing its age.

2. Ask the real estate agent for the age of the furnace or boiler. A gas furnace will typically last 15-20 years. Also, keep in mind that older heating systems can be more costly to operate.

3. Check the unit's EnergySTAR® rating. If you're lucky the label will still be attached to the unit. If not, the unit's serial number can be used to contact the manufacturer for efficiency information.

Finally, for your peace of mind, it's always a good idea to have the home's heating and cooling system inspected by a professional to identify any potential problems that could end up costing you money in repairs or higher utility bills.

Have questions about heating and cooling systems? Call Air Specialties. We're here to help.

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