Happy New Years! We hope you have a great time tonight welcoming in the New Year and saying goodbye to the old. Forty-five percent of people make New Year’s resolutions; ours is to serve our customers even better than we did last year! If one of your resolutions is to make your home more green, remember that improving your insulation, sealing up any air leaks, and upgrading your HVAC system can have a big impact on your energy usage. A makeover for your house is great way to start off the year; it will make your home more comfortable and more environmentally friendly!
Archive for December, 2011
If you want to lower the energy costs for your Marcus Hook home, the water heater might not be the first place you’d think to save energy. However, when you add up the savings from a few easy steps that can improve your water heater’s efficiency, it can make a significant difference in your utility bills.
Here are some of the ways you can reduce the use of hot water in the home and increase your energy savings.
Saving Energy by Using Less Hot Water
Even if you own an energy-efficient, tankless water heater, and you try to conserve water as much as possible, hot water usage can always be reduced in other areas. Installing low flow faucets and fixtures can provide up to 60% in water savings because they reduce the flow rate (gallons per minute) for each fixture. Tankless water heaters are also more efficient when they are used with any application with a lower flow rate.
Replacing older appliances that require a lot of hot water with more energy-efficient models is worth the money and effort because of the energy savings you will get in the end. Make sure you fix any leaks on older hot water faucet or fixtures. A leak that costs a dollar or two extra per month doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up over time.
Lower the Temperature on Your Hot Water Heater
For every 10°F that you lower the water temperature on your hot water heater, you save between 3% to 5% in energy costs. The manufactured setting for most water heaters is 140°F, but most homes only require a maximum temperature of 120°F. Check your owner’s manual before you lower the temperature on your water heater to find out what the recommended settings are and how to change them.
Insulate Your Water Heater Tank and Water Pipes
Whether you have a gas or electric hot water heater, you can find fairly inexpensive and easy-to-install insulators or “jackets” for your water heater tank. Every tank has an R-value that determines how much heat it loses, so unless it is a high value, your water heater tank needs insulation. Call a professional or check your owner’s manual for the R-value of your hot water heater, but the general rule is that if the tank is warm when you touch it, you need more insulation.
You can reduce emissions and your energy costs simply by paying more attention to how much hot water you are using in your Marcus Hook home. For more tips and expert advice, call Cool It Heating and Air Conditioningto speak with one of our technicians.
The risks of carbon monoxide have been well documented for years. It can be fatal at high concentrations, but even in low levels in your Concordville home it can be poisonous enough to make you sick.
What you may not know is that there are many sources of carbon monoxide, also known as CO. This poisonous gas is formed by any incomplete combustion process. Since combustion is not 100% efficient, that means carbon monoxide is released any time something burns.
To be more specific, here are some examples of carbon monoxide sources you might encounter around your house:
- A furnace or chimney can leak exhaust gases, including CO, into the home if it has been improperly sealed or vented. For example, if the chimney has a small crack in the flue that goes unnoticed, CO from the fireplace can be vented back into the house.
- A furnace supplied by an under-sized gas line will often burn the gas at a sub-optimum temperature. The result is incomplete combustion of the gas, which means a source of CO.
- Old, dilapidated or poorly maintained heating systems are a big culprit. Often the seals or fittings are loose on these units, causing CO to leak out of them and into your house. Or they may not burn fuel as efficiently as they used to, so carbon monoxide is more readily released.
- Using machinery, like a propane generator or a gas-powered saw, in a poorly vented garage can be very dangerous. Sometimes people don’t think about this one because the garage is large enough that it seems to be ventilated better than it is.
- There’s a reason that barbeque grills are labeled for outdoor use only: they release a lot of carbon monoxide. Both charcoal and propane grills should only be used outdoors, and you should avoid the smoke from charcoal in particular as much as possible.
- Smoking tobacco releases carbon monoxide into the air, along with other potentially dangerous gases.
There are plenty of other sources, as well, but those are some common ones. To protect yourself and your family, make sure any areas where combustion occurs are well-ventilated, keep your HVAC equipment well-maintained and in good repair and invest in a home CO detector. They are inexpensive, and many are combined with a smoke detector, so you only need to buy one unit.
Everyone at Cool It Heating and Air Conditioning wishes you a very Merry Christmas! We hope you all have an amazing day tomorrow full of wonderful presents and great food. The holidays are a time be thankful for everything you have, we are grateful for all of our customers who make our business possible. Have a great weekend with your friends and family! Here is a recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Cookies to make your Christmas a little sweeter:
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
“These cookies have a sweet peanut butter cup center.”
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut
butter cups, unwrapped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.
- Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.
For more details, go to allrecipes.com.
If you haven’t already had your heating system tune-up, we recommend you do so soon. A well maintained system will need fewer repairs over time and work much more efficiently. Not to mention the peace of mind that you will get from knowing that your equipment is functioning safely. Annual maintenance of your heating system will help keep your house warm and safe this winter!
If you have an older furnace with a gas pilot light and it keeps going out, heating your Folsom home can become a frustrating process. Not only are you forced to trudge downstairs to light it every time you need heat, but you’re probably starting to worry that there is something wrong – either with your furnace or with your gas supply. Here are some possible reasons for your pilot light shutting off and what you can do about them.
- Thermocouple – The thermocouple is used to generate electricity from the gas being burned by the pilot light to power the sensor that keeps the pilot light running. So, if the thermocouple goes bad or gets blocked in some way, the sensor won’t work properly and your pilot light won’t remain lit. Even a small problem with the thermocouple can lead to the valve closing and the pilot light going out.
- Gas Pressure – If the gas pressure going to your furnace is too low, due to a leak, pipe problem or another appliance, the pilot light may not have enough gas to stay lit. While it is possible that the problem is not related to gas pressure, anything that affects the flow of gas into your home should be inspected by a professional. If you smell gas, leave the house and call your gas company immediately.
- Mercury Sensor – The sensor in your pilot light that maintains the flow of gas to keep it lit can go bad. Keep in mind that these sensors almost always used to contain mercury (and often still do), so you should be careful with them. It’s best to call a professional who can replace and dispose of it properly.
- Dirty Burners – Excess dust, lint, rust or sulfur build up can result in blockage of the burner holes. When this happens, gas will flood into the chamber but not light right away. When it does finally light, it will create a small boom or banging sound that will often put out the pilot light. Not only is this inconvenient, it is very dangerous. Fortunately, it can be avoided with annual cleanings of your furnace.
The best way to keep your pilot light lit at all times is to have someone inspect it once a year. If something happens in between, you can usually rule out cleanliness issues and call in a professional to check the thermocouple and sensor.
Everyone at Cool It Heating and Air Conditioning wishes you a Happy Hanukkah! Have a great holiday with your friends and family. This time of year is all about being thankful for what you have, and we want to thank you all for making our business possible! Enjoy celebrating eight days of gift giving! Here is a great recipe for Vegetable and Feta Latkes that will make your Hanukkah even better:
Vegetable and Feta Latkes
“Try this colorful take on traditional potato pancakes. Stir shredded zucchini, potatoes and carrots into a batter of eggs, matzo meal, parsley and feta cheese. Fry until golden brown. You’ll love the creamy bite of feta with the tender veggie crunch.”
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup peeled and shredded potatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup matzo meal
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Place the zucchini, potato and carrots in a colander, place paper towels or a cheesecloth over the top and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and let them drain for 15 minutes. Squeeze vegetable again in paper towels.
- In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, vegetables, salt and pepper. Mix well. Stir in matzo meal or flour, parsley and feta.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Place vegetable mixture, formed into pancake sized cakes in hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. (Cook two to three minutes per side). Add more oil as needed to keep cakes frying up well. Drain fried latkes on paper towels.
For more details, visit allrecipes.com.
When it comes time to install a new heating system in your Glenolden home, there are a lot of options to consider. Many people get overwhelmed when confronted with all of the furnaces, boilers and heat pumps on the market these days. So, to help you get a handle on what each has to offer and which will offer you the best benefits, here is an overview of the modern heating system market.
Furnaces are the core of a forced air heating system and use gas, oil or electricity to heat air which is then circulated through your home by a blower in your air handler. Furnaces are among the most fuel efficient heating systems on the market today with options available at up to 95% AFUE (meaning it uses up to 95% of the fuel consumed to produce heat). They are also inexpensive to install and while they don’t last quite as long as boilers, they are highly efficient when well cared for.
Boilers use gas, oil or electricity to heat water or steam which is then circulated through your home into radiators or baseboard heaters. The heated water or steam releases heat into your home and heats it in turn. While not quite as energy efficient as a high efficiency furnace, boiler heat is perfect for homes with existing radiators and no room for vents and ductwork. It also has less of an impact on indoor air quality since there is no air movement and boilers tend to last a very long time when well maintained.
Heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, especially in milder climates where it rarely gets below 40 degrees F. A heat pump uses the same technology as an air conditioner to extract heat from outside using a compressor, evaporator coils, and condenser coils with refrigerant.
It is most efficient in the spring and fall when temperatures are mild, but it uses much less energy than either a boiler or furnace and it can be used in the summer to cool your home. When properly maintained, a heat pump will last 10-20 years and save quite a bit of money, though it is recommended that you have an emergency heat source for days when the temperature outside gets below 40 degrees F.
Your Narberth home’s heat pump is designed to keep you comfortable. Warm weather, cold weather – it doesn’t matter. It should turn on when you need it and turn off when you don’t. So, when the device starts turning on and off without reason or when you need it to stay on, what exactly is the problem and how can you fix that problem without losing the heating or cooling capacity of your device.
Common Causes of the Problem
There are a number of reasons why your heat pump would turn off shortly after turning on, and most of the time this occurs in heating mode. If it occurs in cooling mode, you should have the device inspected immediately because there is likely something wrong with a core component like the compressor. For heating mode issues, here are some common problems:
- Dirty Coils – If the coils are dirty, the device won’t be able to properly operate, especially if it has been some time since the last cleaning. Both sets of coils need to be cleaned at least once a year to avoid this becoming a problem.
- Low Refrigerant Charge – If the refrigerant gets low, you’ll need to have it recharged because the pressure in the device will drop and it will therefore turn off after a few minutes of use.
- Defrost Timer – If the defrost timer is forcing the device into a defrost cycle too often (usually it is set to 30, 60, or 90 minutes), the fan might turn off every few minutes after turning on. This is a common problem and is usually due to a thermostat or switch issue which can be fixed relatively easily.
Another thing to ask yourself when this problem occurs is whether the device is heating properly when on. Defrost timer issues don’t usually impinge on the heating ability of the device, while low refrigerant can. You want to make sure the device is working properly when on and not just cycling on and off without heating capacity.
Based on what you find, you’ll need a technician to take a closer look and ensure everything is working properly. Most repairs for this type of problem are relatively simple.
It’s very common for heat pumps to ice over in the winter time in Springfield. It can be due to freezing temperatures and icing outside or it could be due to constant running of the heat pump or excess moisture on the coils. However, while a bit of ice on the heat pump is relatively normal, the entire unit should never be covered in ice – such a thing is not only hard on the machinery; it can result in no heat for your home.
How to Handle Ice and Snow on the Heat Pump
Should your heat pump become covered in ice or snow in the winter time, there are a few things you can do and some things you should not do. First, check to make sure the problem isn’t related to a broken defrost cycle timer. The heat pump should go into a defrost cycle every 30-90 minutes to keep excess ice from building up. If this doesn’t happen, it should be inspected for a thermostat or sensor problem.
To actually remove the ice from the unit, never use a sharp object to pick the ice clear. You can easily damage the coils or another part of the unit and leave it permanently broken. The best way to remove ice from your heat pump is to rinse it off with a hose – even cold water will remove ice. Just be sure the defrost cycle is ready to come back on so the water used to rinse away the ice doesn’t freeze.
Remember to check your emergency heating source and make sure it is switched on while this is happening. Your heat pump likely won’t work properly while iced over and if it is left in the on position, excess stress on the device will cause damage.
To avoid this kind of damage, turn off the heat pump and turn on your emergency heating source, then clear away the ice and check the defrost timer. If everything works properly, turn the heat pump back on, but if you find any problems, call a heating contractor to do a more thorough inspection of the device before you use it again.
Everyone wants an effective heating system in Thornton – one that will provide steady, reliable heat without you having to spend hundreds of dollars each month on gas, oil or electricity. And while the best way to improve the efficiency of your heating system in most cases is to upgrade it, there are some simple things you can do around the house to boost its effectiveness. Here are some of the best:
- Rearrange Furniture – Just having the heat on doesn’t necessarily ensure the heat entering your room is being distributed evenly. Move your furniture in such a way that there is a clear, unimpeded path from the registers and radiators to the rest of the room. Done properly, this will make it much easier to and faster to heat every room of your house.
- Maximize Air Flow – Air flow can be maximized in a number of ways. Make sure you close any windows near a register or radiator and that you remove any large objects that might block air flow. You should also install things that can help move air like fans and always call someone in for changes to the arrangement of your vents or radiators.
- Clean Registers or Radiators – The cleaner your radiators or dust registers are, the more efficiently they release their heat. Not only have that, but clean radiators and registers resulted in better indoor air quality. Weekly cleaning of each room’s heating source is highly recommended.
- Install Ceiling Fans – Ceiling fans switched to blow down are incredibly effective for distributing air throughout the room. This will keep push warm air down and keeps cold air up – in effect, reducing the need for constant running of your furnace or boiler.
Effective heating is important to keep your home comfortable, reduce the cost of heating and prolong the lifespan of your furnace or boiler. You should also make sure your heating system is properly maintained throughout the year. Skipping maintenance visits (which are highly recommended annually) will put unnecessary stress on your system and shorten its lifespan substantially, not to mention the decrease in efficiency when heating your home.