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Heating (45)

How Many Years Will a Furnace Last?

As the cold weather arrives in Connecticut and you fire up your trusted old furnace you may be wondering just how many winters it will keep heating. The short answer for a gas furnace is approximately 20 years. But it's really more complicated than that and depends on many conditions. Some of these conditions include how well made the furnace is and whether it is a budget model or a higher end model. If it's a lower cost furnace it may be ready for replacement in as little as 8 years. Newer, variable speed units can last considerably longer.

Fortunately, how long a furnace lasts has a lot to do with how well you take care of it. 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 likelihood 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 eventually causes the heat exchanger to perforate or crack, leading to failure. Since new gas furnaces operate 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 gas furnace? Give Air Specialties a call we're here to help.

Winter Heating Checklist For The Home

Winter is here and our heating systems are working away to keep our homes warm. To keep your heating system working reliably and efficiently Air Specialties recommends checking that the following tasks are performed for the winter.

1. Schedule a furnace tune-up. Keeping your furnace maintained will keep it running longer while helping it operate more efficiently.

2. Replace your furnace filter. A dirty filter makes your furnace work harder and can reduce its lifespan.

3. Turn down your thermostat to 68 degrees. For every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs.

4. Program your thermostat. If you're on a regular schedule, set your thermostat to turn the temperature down when you're not at home.

5. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans to direct the warm air downward towards the living space.

6. Check your smoke and CO detectors. Replace the batteries as needed.

7. Ensure that air ducts are not covered or restricted by rugs or furniture.

8. Seal air leaks around windows and doors.

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning.

Tips For Heating a Basement

As the lowest space in the home, heating a basement can be a challenge. When finishing a basement a common heating option is to simply use the existing central heating unit, by expanding the home's ductwork and ventilation system.

Another option for homeowners looking to provide heating as well as ambiance is to install a gas fireplace. If an existing chimney is available it's a straightforward installation process. Otherwise, a ventless gas fireplace is another option.

Other basement heating options include mini-split system (also called ductless systems) and radiant baseboard heating. Keep in mind that while electric baseboard heat can be less expensive to install, depending on how much volume you're heating, it can cost more to heat with electric heat than natural gas.

Have questions about heating your basement? Give Air Specialties a call, we can help.

What to Consider When Choosing a New Heating or Cooling System For Your Home

If your home's heating and cooling system is getting on in years and it’s time to replace your furnace or air conditioner, here are a few things to consider when it comes to new systems.

1. Reliability - A furnace or air conditioner is a major investment. Do your research and go with a proven brand and you'll reduce the chances of having problems down the road.

2. Efficiency - By choosing an EnergyStar rated system you'll save you up to 30% on your annual heating and cooling costs.

3. Professional Installation - The most important day in the life of your air conditioner or furnace is the day it's installed. Proper sizing and correct installation is critical. Choose a heating and cooling company with experience and one that stands behind their work, now and down the road.

4. Air Quality - To reduce indoor pollution consider attaching a whole house air cleaner to your furnace or air handler. You can have peace of mind knowing your new system is capturing small contaminants that can cause health problems.

Have questions about heating and cooling your home? Call Air Specialties, we can help.

Options for Heating and Cooling a New Addition to Your Home

One of the most important design challenges when adding a new addition on to your home is how you are going to heat and cool the new space. Sometimes an existing furnace and/or air conditioner simply isn't large enough to handle the requirements of the additional air volume.

Even if you replace the central heating and cooling unit with a larger system, expanding existing ducts into the new space can create problems with maintaining even temperatures throughout the rest of the house if the air handler is too far away from the new room.

Split HVAC Systems

One option for heating a new addition is to install a split heating and cooling system, also known as a ductless heat pump. A heat pump not only heats in the winter, it provides cooling in the summer.

Because a split system works independently from the main HVAC system – in most cases having it's own hand-held remote – it eliminates the air balancing problems that attempting to expand an existing HVAC system can cause.

Have questions about heating and cooling a new addition to your home? Give us a call.

11 Ways To Save On Your Heating Bill This Winter

With the arrival of cold weather in Connecticut  comes the inevitable rise in home utility bills. Air Specialties has come up with some easy ways to save energy this winter and keep that heating and electric bill in check.

Check For Peak Utility Hours

Your local electric utility may have peak hours when rates are higher as well as hours when they are be lower.  If so, change when you use major appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and hot water.  You may be getting charged extra for electricity at certain times of day and not even know it.

Zone Off Your Rooms

Instead of using your home's central heating system and furnace all day long, opt for room heaters that you can use to heat just one room at a time.  This works great if you spend most of your your day in a home office or for night time when your're only in the bedroom.

Switch To Energy Star Appliances

By choosing to replace your older appliances with Energy Star rated appliances you can become 15 to 30% more energy efficient. Energy Star rated appliances will also increase your home’s market value considerably.

Let The Sunshine In

On sunny days open your blinds all day long so your home can soak in the free heat of the sun.  Close them at night to keep heat from escaping.

Install Energy Efficient Curtains

Putting up energy efficient curtains to seal in heat can make a very big difference in the amount of energy you use for heating your home.

Use a Programmable Thermostat

You'll never forget to turn down the heat when you leave for work or go to sleep.

Change Your Furnace Filter Regularly

As furnace filters get dirty it gets harder to push air through, meaning more energy consumed.  Change your furnace once a month to keep your furnace running efficiently.

Turn Your Hot Water Heater Temperature Down

Many water heaters are set to 140 degrees but most homeowners can easily turn it down to 120 degrees and not even feel the difference.

Seal Off Your Chimney If Its Not Being Used

If your chimney is just for show, than make sure to seal it up.  Otherwise it's a large hole taking the heat right out of your home.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Change your ceiling fans to the reverse setting to circulate the hot air back down to where you want it.

Close Off Unused Rooms

If you aren’t spending time in them, seal them off for the winter and reduce the volume of air that you're heating.

Five Oil Furnace Maintenance Tips

While there aren't too many fixes homeowners can undertake themselves on oil furnaces, regular maintenance can help prevent many common problems. Here are a some oil furnace maintenance tips:

  • During the winter heating season, check the exhaust smoke from your chimney. If the smoke is mostly black, the furnace is not burning the oil thoroughly and energy is being wasted. Call a Air Specialties Heating & Air Conditioning and we will adjust the burners as needed.
  • Clean the blower before the heating season and again around the middle of the heating season.
  • Clean soot from the stack control about halfway through the heating season.
  • If the blower motor has grease or oil fittings, lubricate the fittings midway through the heating season with grease or 10-weight non-detergent motor oil (not all-purpose oil), found at most hardware stores.
  • Clean the thermostat before each heating season.

Air Specialties Blog

Getting Your Furnace Ready For The Heating Season

September 2012

Furnace MaintenanceIf your home has a gas furnace, it’s important to learn how to check your unit for potential problems to prevent unexpected breakdowns or inefficient operation.  Troubleshooting your gas furnace can help you to avoid costly repair bills that may arise if potential issues are left undiscovered.

Turning On Your Gas Furnace

Typically, a gas furnace is operated through the same thermostat as the air conditioner.  This means that when the weather turns cold, you can simply turn your thermostat to the 'warm’ or 'heat’ setting and then adjust the temperature to your liking.

Inspecting and Replacing Your Furnace Filter

Before beginning, it's important to turn the power off to the unit. Many furnaces have electrical components near the filter. Open the cover of the unit and then remove the filter.  You can use a vacuum to clean the surface dust from a plastic filter, then simply wash it and dry it before replacing it.  Always operate the furnace with a filter in place. You will need to replace a cardboard filter every few months, or as recommended by the filter manufacturer.

Testing Airflow

Check every room in your home by feeling for the airflow that comes from the vents.  If airflow is insufficient to areas of your home, you should have a Air Specialties check your ducts to ensure they are properly sized for air delivery throughout your home.

If Your Gas Furnace Will Not Ignite

A inoperable pilot light is one of the main reasons that a gas furnace will fail to ignite.  To ignite the pilot, turn the gas cock off and then push the pilot reset button while turning the cock to 'pilot’.  Get a match and light it, then hold it near the furnace pilot to relight it.

Furnace Troubleshooting Checklist

Cleaning the system every couple of years helps the unit to run more efficiently and last longer.  During an annual heating system inspection your technician will lubricate the furnace ports and bearings, reducing the amount of energy the unit needs to operate.  Your technician will also clean the furnace burners if they appear dirty.

Vent Blockages

Cleaning the vents and ducts will remove blockages that can interfere with heat flow in the home. In the winter, ice can block the outdoor vents. Make sure to turn off the unit before you attempt to remove the ice.

Sealing Air Leaks To Prevent Heat Loss

If you notice air leaks emanating from your system, use caulk to seal off any gaps. In addition, placing weather stripping around doors and windows will keep your home from losing heat, which makes your furnace run more often.

What To Do If You Smell Gas

If you ever smell gas coming from the furnace, leave the area and call your gas company right away.  Avoid lighting matches or using any electrical appliances until you are safely away from the area.

Air Specialties Blog

What You Need To Know About Your Home's Furnace Filter

October 2012

Proper air filtration is an important for many reasons. We usually only think about our furnace filter when we're dusting around the house or sneezing from the airborne particles that appear when the furnace turns on in the winter.

How Often Should I Replace My Air Filter?

Furnace FilterFilter replacement frequency varies by filter type, by the size of your home and the overall air quality. A furnace in a larger home will move more air and clog the filter faster. If you have pets you’ll probably need to change your filter twice as often. Not only are pet dander and hair a leading cause of allergens, they also clog air filters quickly!

Start with every two months for a pleated 1” filter and double the frequency if you have a large home or if you have pets. Costlier filters may claim to last 90 days, but, in our experience, these filters are so restrictive that they should be changed monthly. Your furnace and air conditioner will breathe easier and so will you!

Choosing An Air Filter

If you’re really interested in cleaning the air in your home, we can install a whole-house air cleaner in place of your furnace filter. These filters clean the air better that any of the standard filters and they often only need changed annually.

Buy your air filters by the case (usually 6 to 12) and keep them near your furnace. This will lessen the tendency to procrastinate about your air filter change. Buying by the case can also reduce the cost of each filter change.

Never run your system with an incorrectly sized filter. An poor-fitting furnace filter will allow dust and other contaminates to sneak around the filter and into your home. This is also the primary cause of clogged air conditioner coils. Clogged a/c coils reduce efficiency and compressor life, and can cause expensive problems down the road.

Always turn off your furnace at the breaker panel or disconnect (not just the thermostat) before replacing your filter. Some furnaces have electrical wiring close to the filter location which could shock you if the power is not disconnected first. furnace air filters

If you're uncertain about where your furnace filter goes, what direction to install it, or what size or type to use, give us a call. We're always happy to help.

For improved filtration and healthier indoor air quality, we offer whole-house air cleaners and other Indoor Air Quality systems. Our technicians can recommend the best solution based on your needs and your home.

Inspecting Your Home's Heating and Cooling System for Post-Hurricane Sandy Damage

Flooding from Hurricane Sandy may have damaged your home heating or cooling system. Don't wait the warm weather arrives to find out your cooling system is damaged and needs service.

Saltwater Damage To Your Home's Heating & Cooling System

The exposure of home cooling and heating equipment components to saltwater can have both immediate and long-term effects. While the immediate effects of saltwater damage are similar to those of freshwater (shorting of electrical components, washing out of critical lubricants, etc.) the salt and other contaminants left behind can lead to longer term issues after the water is gone due to the conductive and corrosive nature of the salt residue. This has led to some manufacturers no longer covering any equipment damaged by saltwater or polluted water under warranty and recommending replacement.

If you had salt water flooding or other damage from Hurricane Sandy, which may have corroded or rusted vital components of your home air conditioning system's compressor, it is important to have the unit inspected to ensure long term reliability and safety of the system.

If you've been impacted by flooding from Hurricane Sandy and are having Air Specialties visit your home for service, ask your technician to inspect your air conditioner and furnace for damage. If your condenser or other components are damaged, we can replace them to ensure it's working properly to keep you comfortable when the warm weather arrives.

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Why Choose Air Specialties Air Conditioning and Heating?

  • NATE Certified Technicians
  • We Accept Visa, Mastercard & Discover
  • Planned Maintenance Agreements
  • Extended Service Agreements
  • Same Day Service On Most Units
  • Free Estimates On Replacement Units
  • Family Owned and Operated For Over 60 Years
  • Carrier Factory Authorized Dealer
  • Heat Pump Specialists
  • We Service All Makes & Models
  • 24 Hour Live Operator Answering Service for Emergency Repair
  • Indoor Air Quality Specialists (Humidification & Air Purification)
  • Puron® Refrigerant Specialists
  • All Employees Are Background Screened For Your Protection

Call Us Today!

Getting the right furnace maintenance is about more than just checking the boxes on your home maintenance list; it’s about having the support of professionals who can help you and your family breathe easy — literally!

Are you looking for seasoned professionals to do your furnace maintenance and get the job done right the first time around? If so, our crew would love to hear from you! To get in touch with the leading AC and heating company in your neck of the woods, don’t hesitate to give our team at Air Specialties a call today!

The team at Air Specialties understands hot water boiler installation and hot water boiler maintenance, so don’t bother trying to wrap your head around all the technical stuff — leave that to us!

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