How to Choose An Expert HVAC Technician

Your HVAC system is like your car. Your car needs routine maintenance to keep it running well through the years. Your heating and air conditioning system needs routine maintenance to keep it running through the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter. You also need a qualified HVAC contractor if you are…

Your HVAC system is like your car. Your car needs routine maintenance to keep it running well through the years. Your heating and air conditioning system needs routine maintenance to keep it running through the heat of the summer and the cold of the winter.

You also need a qualified HVAC contractor if you are installing a new central heating or air conditioning system. Central HVAC installations are generally out of the realm of do-it-yourself projects for the average person.

So you go online and your soon find two dozen contractors that service and install air conditioners and heating systems.

How do you find the right HVAC tech for your job?

Homework

Generally speaking, every state will have specific requirements regarding licensing for HVAC Technicians and Contractors. For instance, in California, if you service, install, and / or repair air conditioning and heating systems you have to be licensed with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB).

Make sure that an HVAC technician is properly licensed by your state and meets all the basic requirements for doing business in your state. For instance, most states in the US will require an AC and Heating Company to be licensed and bonded.

Ask for References and References

In the age of Yelp reviews, people tend to forget about the good ole experienced referral, but referrals are one of the strongest ways to find a good service company. Chances are your neighbors, your co-workers, and your family all have Central AC and Central Heating Systems. And all of them have used an air conditioning and heating technician to repair or service their system.

So ask them for a referral.

When you are calling prospective air conditioning and heating companies, be sure to ask for references. Asking for references is standard operating practice when dealing with any type of service company. That goes for construction, plumbing, or HVAC.

If a company does not want to, or can not provide references? Do not use them.

If a company gives you references? Make sure you call them. Sounds obvious but many people ask for references and then fail to follow up to make sure those references are valid.

Get Estimates in Writing

For larger jobs, like a major heating system overhaul or new air conditioner install be sure to get a couple estimates from a couple different companies.

The general rule says, Get 3 Estimates. For major jobs you may want to get more than three. Make sure every estimate is written and itemized. If a company gives you an estimate for a central air conditioner installation and it consists of a single item “AC Install” and a flat rate with no accounting for labor time, parts, etc then you probably do not want to deal with them.

What if you just need a routine AC and heating maintenance? An in person estimate may be a bit extreme. References, homework, and phone estimates may suffice. But you'll still want to get any service agreements in writing.

Most HVAC companies offer annual service plans or service contracts where a technician will come out twice a year to service your air condition and heating system (ie furnace) for a flat fee. Those fees usually range from $ 50 to $ 100 a year.

Do not Be Swayed By Brand Names

Air Conditioner and furnace makers put a lot of money and time into marketing. Marketing that is largely designed to give you the impression that Furnace Y is better than Furnace X. The truth of the matter is that brand name matters a lot less when it comes to HVAC.

What makes a difference? The competency and experience of your HVAC company and their technicians.

The Pros and Cons of Infrared Fireplace Inserts

I first noticed the inclusion of quartz infrared heaters into the design of electric fireplaces and inserts at the beginning of the 2012 heating season. From a marketing perspective, expanding into the electric fireplace product line is a no brainer given the popularity of quartz infrared heaters in general. But are infrared inserts just a…

I first noticed the inclusion of quartz infrared heaters into the design of electric fireplaces and inserts at the beginning of the 2012 heating season.

From a marketing perspective, expanding into the electric fireplace product line is a no brainer given the popularity of quartz infrared heaters in general.

But are infrared inserts just a gimmick, or do they provide additional benefits not found in conventional inserts?

Pros:

Superior Heat Quality

If you already own an infrared heater you do not need to be convinced that its moist, even heat creates a more comfortable environment than the harsh, arid heat that comes from an electric coil heater.

And if you've never experienced the difference you'll be pleasantly surprised when you do.

More Powerful Heater

The typical electric insert comes equipped with a standard electric coil heater rated at 4,600 BTUs, or the equivalent of 1,350 watts.

A quartz infrared heater, by comparison, is rated at 5,200 BTUs, or 1,500 watts which works out to 10% more heating power.

And, since it has a radiant heat source that directs its warmth to inanimate objects such as funiture, which retain heat, it uses less energy to maintain the room temperature.

Flame Display

The identical flame display is used for both infrared and non-infrared inserts of similar sized models within a brand name's product line. For example, the same SpectraFire flame display is used in all of Classic Flame's 28 “models.

Although the flame display quality is not an issue for the purposes of this article, it's understandable why it would be more important than the type of heater for some consumers

By the way, the reviews I've read for the Classic Flame SpectraFire flame display have been good to outstanding.

Cons:

Heating Coverage Area

I do not know why everyone who sells infrared heaters claims they will heat 1.000 square feet, but they persist in doing so. I know my 1,500 watt DR Heater will comfortably heat around 600 square feet of my Boston condo, but that's about it. There are just too many obstacles (doors, walls) that prevent a heater of this size from reaching every corner of a home's layout.

Or, if you have an open floor plan, it's impossible for any 1,500 watt heating appliance, quartz or otherwise, to keep up with the demand.

So the answer is yes, a radiant heater will do a better job at heating larger areas than most conventional heaters, but it's not going to heat 1,000 square feet without it's a self contained room in a home built to LEED standards.

Price

Although the additional cost of an infrared heater is not mentioned as a drawback by people who have purchased and reviewed them, it might be a deterrent to some.

Fireplace Inserts Are Versatile

Electric fireplace inserts are popular with RV owners as an after market installation. They can also be used as a stand alone heating unit or, if you're into woodworking, you could custom build a mantle and surround to suit your taste.

7 Distinguishing Signs That Your Heating and Cooling Equipment Is Failing

If your HVAC system fails, you have two choices. You can continue putting more money into the current system. Or you can acquire a new (hopefully more cost-effective) heating and air conditioning system. Often, this can be a difficult choice to make, as knowing what to do from a financial point of view is usually…

If your HVAC system fails, you have two choices. You can continue putting more money into the current system. Or you can acquire a new (hopefully more cost-effective) heating and air conditioning system. Often, this can be a difficult choice to make, as knowing what to do from a financial point of view is usually complicated.

The fact is, if you hold on too long, inferior performance and expensive maintenance can lead to much higher costs. At the same instance, you would like to know you have obtained the most from your current heating and air cooling equipment in order to make a further financial commitment.

A malfunctioning system will not strictly produce a hole in your personal bank account; it can also create a harmful and miserable residence. In other words, if the system is clogged or cracked it may possibly create a fire risk and aid in the growth of unsafe toxic gases inside your home.

Do not despairs too much. These issues are preventable as long as you are proactive and address these challenges before they develop.

Edmonton HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technicians aid homeowners to identify the ultimate climate control systems that fit your needs.

So, just when is it the optimum time to replace your tired old heating and cooling system? Well, one obvious reply is the moment that the furnace begins to fail. But, is that not too late? How much cash have you already lost in repair and maintenance costs and high power and fuel bills due to an inefficient heating system?

It is frequently good that you call an expert on the front line if:

1. Appliances are aged

In the event the HVAC system is older than 15 (fifteen) years old, then you need to think about modernizing your system. Setting up a whole new, cost-effective version before the old one breaks-down could prevent needless discomfort.

At the same time, even when the system is greater than 15 years old and you simply feel it still has some years left, it is likely not to be performing at its peak performance. The best plan is usually to buy a new one with a unit that features the ENERGY STAR label. This specific label is very important considering that when properly installed, these systems may save about twenty percent on heating and cooling charges.

2. A less than enjoyable smell is coming out of your equipment

Always readily on your sense of smell if it says to you something is wrong. If you smell something foul originating from your heating and air conditioning system, it could be one of a number of issues.

The most common issue is noxious gasses staying in the chimney. Beyond just the disagreeable odor, these toxic gases could be deadly to people as well as pets. For this reason, if you become aware of a foul odor, contact a heating and air cooling service provider without delay.

3. Escalating energy charges

Given that power and fuel continues to get more costly, the last thing you need is higher energy costs due to your aging appliances. A service provider can review your monthly utility bills to determine if the air conditioning and heating equipment is becoming increasingly more to run.

The heating and air conditioning equipment released nowdays are more than 60% more efficient compared to systems built ten years ago. On top of that, infrequent maintenance and ordinary wear and tear can lower the effectiveness of the air conditioning appliance. So, if you're faced with a pricey repair or anxious about higher energy fees, you may wish to go ahead and replace your heating and cooling equipment to save money down the road.

The money saved on fuel and power charges will provide you with a fine return on your initial investment. Also, in case you finance the acquisition, be certain that the money saved on your utility bill monthly is considered in the purchase.

Anytime you replace an appliance, look out for an ENERGY STAR product. With the exception of boilers, they're up to 15% more efficient in comparison with non-ENERGY STAR products. ENERGY STAR boilers are over 5% more cost-effective than other models.

4. Regular maintenance

Chances are if your heating and air conditioning system has experienced problems during the past 24 months, this could be a sign of an aging system and it might be the perfect time to get a new one. It will not take very long for you to appreciate a return on your investment decision for acquiring a more cost-effective equipment once you begin saving cash on power and fuel costs and maintenance.

5. Alien noises originating from inside

Any types of disciplinary noises coming out of the air conditioning and heating equipment needs to be inspected by an expert. Pertaining to noises, something to watch for is an exceptionally running blower fan. Just keep in mind that all machinery make their own very characteristic and quirky noises, so pay any attention for noises that are not standard.

6. Inadequate quality of air as well as acute dryness

If you can not keep airborne dirt and dust around your house under control, you may want to change your heating and air conditioning filters more regularly. What's more, it may also be an indicator that the equipment is simply too small for the air exchange or that the system is growing older.

If you experience serious dryness or moisture inside your home, you'll in all likelihood take pleasure in an upgraded heating and air conditioning system that also includes more advanced bells and whistles.

7. Some rooms are far too cold or hot

Is your dwelling comfy in each room? An efficient air conditioning and heating system will keep your family cozy throughout the house. When you see levels of discomfort, have a look at updating or repairing your HVAC system. Watch out for rooms that are not as comfortable as before, increased dust, or indications of moisture that could cause mold.

Pros and Cons of 3 Popular Heating Systems Used by Edmonton Homeowners

Home heating, in the mid of a frozen Edmonton, Alberta winter, will cost a king's ransom. Given that Edmonton home owners utilize 80% of their total monthly fuel and power for space and water heating alone, it's a good idea to discover your alternatives, in addition to the benefits and alternatives, before selecting a heating…

Home heating, in the mid of a frozen Edmonton, Alberta winter, will cost a king's ransom. Given that Edmonton home owners utilize 80% of their total monthly fuel and power for space and water heating alone, it's a good idea to discover your alternatives, in addition to the benefits and alternatives, before selecting a heating system. By seeking the home heating system that best suits your unique needs, you'll be in a position to achieve an economic price while ensuring your comfort level is of the highest quality.

Standard equipment for a heating unit (eg, furnace or boiler), consistants of an instrument intended for circulating the heat (eg, ducts, regulators, pipes), and thermostats that control the indoor climate. In aa small number of cases, space heating units such as electric base heating does not demand costly duct work.

It is no secret that energy-efficient heating and air conditioning systems use a lot less energy and are much better for the atmosphere. In addition, the sort of energy your heating system uses has a direct effect on how much it will cost you to heat your house. For instance, just about 95% of gas-rich Alberta households heat with natural gas. According to Statistics Canada, Alberta homeowners shell out around 30% less for natural gas than other families staying in other provinces.

Selecting the Exact Sized Edmonton Heating System

Making a decision on the right size of heating and air conditioning equipment for your home is not an easy job. The combination of multifaceted heating equipment and well insulated homes means that a boiler or furnace does not demand as much fuel and electricity as previous ones. To decide the precise size, you need a trained HVAC contractor to assess the heat / loss in your residence.

Below are some choices for residence heating systems …

1. Forced Air Heating System

Forced air is by far the most preferred heating equipment in Edmonton. Approximately 90% of Edmonton houses use a central forced air system to distribute warm air. Forced-air systems consist of a furnace with a fan to heat and distribute air, supply ductwork to take temperate air to each room, return ductwork to pull cool air back to the furnace, and a centrally placed thermostat for controlling the operation of the furnace .

Advantages of forced air heating systems include their lower price and fast heating aptitude in the wintry weather and cooling execution in the summer months. In addition, with a forced-air system, a / c is easy using the same ducts, and it's simple to humidify and filter residence air.

Drawbacks range from the vast space required for the ductwork and, because of the air blowing out from the vents, it can at times feel drapty, and the moving air can include allergens. As well as, the loud furnace fan can be irritating.

If your furnace is 10 to fifteen years old, the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) is probably only 60 to 65 percent. This means that you are squandering up to forty pennies for every loonie spent on fuel. Even if your present furnace is still operating sound, it may be time to have a look at stepping up to a high-efficiency component.

If you are really considering a furnace replacement, high efficiency or condensing furnaces achieve a ninety to 98 percent AFUE. Through the method of transforming fuel into heat (combustion process), the condensing furnace removals so much heat that you could actually touch the vent / flue without burning your hand.

On December 31, 2009, the Canadian government implemented a minimum energy performance standard for gas furnaces. All furnaces put on the market as of that date have to be high efficiency furnaces. It does not affect your current furnace.

2. Electric powered Heating system

While electric heat is the next common choice in Canada, not many Edmonton homes use them due to the greater electricity costs in relation to natural gas.

Electric baseboards rarely on the movement of warm air, referred to as convection, to circulate heat while ceiling heating equipment depend upon heat waves, also referred to as radiation. Since electric heating fully eradicates burning problems and chimney losses, they are considered as 100-percent efficient.

For house owners, the chief attraction to this sort of heating system is the low initial cost of the equipment, which makes them a preferred alternative for supplementary heating. Having said that, they use a lot of electricity, plus they may be a fire hazard if not implemented right.

3. Hydronic (Liquid) Heating Equipment

Hydronic home heating appliances heat fluid (water together with glycol) in a boiler fueled by natural gas, oil, electricity, propane or solid fuel. Soon after heated, the liquid circulates through loops of plastic piping underneath the floor, along baseboard heating units, or through radiators to heat your house.

Hydronic in-floor radiant heating systems supply even and regular heat from the floor across all rooms. Even if the system turns off, it continues to produce warmth. (Note: radiant home heating is the effect you feel from the warmth of the hot sun.)

Another advantage of radiant home heating is that it uses up considerably less space than forced air equipment. Forced-air equipment distribute warm air through ducts, which are much larger than the pipes necessary to move around liquid. As well, hydronic home heating equipment may be used to heat water for cooking food, washing and showering.

Alongside warm floors, hydronic equipment is less noisy than forced air systems as there is no fan or blowing air. There could also be better quality of air as they simply never blow particles and contaminants in the air around in your home. This really is the reason why infrequent changing of filters in forced-air equipment can be detrimental for your loved ones.

Main trouble with radiant heating is that it's not a full heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Should you need central ac or ventilation, you will have to install additional equipment, which adds to the total price.

Canadian residential gas boilers available nowdays absolutely need an AFUE rating of at least 80 percent. To qualify for the ENERGY STAR symbol, boilers require an AFUE rating of 85% or higher. Condensing boilers having a secondary heat exchanger have an AFUE of up to ninety five percent.

How Regular Maintenance of Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems Could Help Benefit You And Your Home

If you are currently living in an area that has extreme weather, you may be affecting your heating and air-conditioning system in a negative way in which could also increase your savings towards those systems. If you are not too familiar with how heating and air-conditioning systems work, there is no need to worry. Thanks…

If you are currently living in an area that has extreme weather, you may be affecting your heating and air-conditioning system in a negative way in which could also increase your savings towards those systems. If you are not too familiar with how heating and air-conditioning systems work, there is no need to worry. Thanks to the internet, you could instantly research about any of those two topics. You could find pretty much anything that you need to know about these two systems which will be an advantage for you.

In this specific articles, find out how your area's weather could possibly affect your heating and cooling system and in turn could also have you spending way more than you really should. This guide could help you understand how the weather around you could cause certain issues in your home.

Why is regular maintenance and repair recommended for heating and air-conditioning systems?

Do you think that doing regular check-ups for your hvac will cost you more? If you do, well you should really reconseider. The truth is, getting regular maintenance services for your systems could actually save you more money in the long run. A regular monthly check-up by a professional could save you the hassle of experiencing more serious and costly repairs that might come up. If you live in an area that is extremely cold or extremely hot, you may be overworking your heating and / or air conditioning system to its maximum potential. For that reason, the systems may start accumulating all kinds of problems if not checked regularly. Doing check-ups monthly could also help lower your energy bills which will definitely save you some extra bucks along the way.

What tips could also help in saving some money on your heating and cooling units?

Since your goal is to have regular maintenance done on your hvac systems, you should be aware of a couple tips when it comes to regular maintenance. Here are a few steps to help you out:

  • Hire a licensed professional that specializes on heating and air-conditioning systems. Do you need research in finding the right professional for you and your services
  • Ask your licensed professional to teach about how to adjust the thermostat so that it is set properly so that you do not increase your energy bills
  • Try to have the professional work on all repairs that needs fixing. Have them replace everything that needs to be replaced (as long as it fits into your budget). The small problems tend to build up and can cause you to pay more for those major repairs in the future
  • Another advantage of getting regular maintenance is that those parts repaired are still under warranty which could definitely save you a lot of money if something goes wrong

With all that advantages that regular maintenance could give you and your home, you should actually actually consider on doing this task monthly. Save yourself extra dollars with this method and prevent the hassle of having your heating and air-conditioning systems malfunction.

Factors For Energy Efficiency When It Comes To Air Conditioning

Energy efficiency is always high on the agenda in the modern world. Businesses and individuals alike can make a great difference towards saving while using air conditioning systems. For the purpose it is worth delving into facts to find out the factors which contribute to achieving higher energy efficiency. There are a number of factors…

Energy efficiency is always high on the agenda in the modern world. Businesses and individuals alike can make a great difference towards saving while using air conditioning systems. For the purpose it is worth delving into facts to find out the factors which contribute to achieving higher energy efficiency. There are a number of factors which can contribute to the saving of energy and ensuring high energy efficiency. They are now in the spotlight for homes and especially for businesses.

The right size of air conditioning equipment and the updating of the systems are very important. With the right size of equipment for household or commercial purposes the basis for achieving higher efficiency is laid. The type of refrigerant which is used is also a factor which should be taken into account. These are special factors which should be considered together with specialists. They can advise on the right size, the type of refrigerant, etc. It is better to start the preparation for installing air conditioning equipment with consultations with specialists, to be able to make the right choice for the most auspicious efficiency when the air conditioning equipment starts to function.

When air conditioning systems start functioning, their filters have to be cleaned regularly. The cleaning should also be performed in the best way, and as often as prescribed by specialists. It should also be noted that electronic air cleaners are much more efficient for the removal of particles from the air, and therefore contribute more towards achieving energy efficiency.

Variable speed heat pumps are also great factors for getting more efficiency. When used, they can cut energy costs by a hefty 40 percent, and so are important for the energy efficiency of different systems. This type of pumps is efficient for the reduction of cycling losses in air conditioning systems. The reason is that heat pumps will lose their efficiency as they encounter the home or commercial building heating loads or cooling loads. Then the refrigerant pressures are equalized in the whole of the system. The temperatures get back to the ambient temperatures for the inner spaces and for the outdoors, respectively. Then after heat pumps start operating back, the compressor has the task of dealing with the pressure differences. That is a process which requires a lot of energy. Variable speed heat pumps help to ensure higher efficiency.

Of course, the efficiency of air conditioning systems installed in all types of buildings is bound to be much higher when the correct insulation has been fitted. The matter of insulating building walls is getting more and more attention and is a must for modern buildings which have to strive to achieve as much energy economy as possible. Together with the dealing with leaks which typically occur around opening such doors and windows, insulation contributes to the economy of energy. Thus air conditioning systems can operate at lower loads, which both leads to energy savings and hence greater efficiency, and it also helps such systems to avoid operating under strained conditions.

Improve Your Fireplace’s Efficiency With An Electric Fireplace Insert

Nothing beats kicking back in front of a roaring fire with an adult pregnancy and your favorite pet or human, and watching 90% of the heat go up the chimney. Beside, after four martinis who really cares? Well folks, with an electric fireplace insert, you can now drink as much as you like secure in…

Nothing beats kicking back in front of a roaring fire with an adult pregnancy and your favorite pet or human, and watching 90% of the heat go up the chimney.

Beside, after four martinis who really cares?

Well folks, with an electric fireplace insert, you can now drink as much as you like secure in the knowledge that 100% of the heat is radiating into the room and not going up in smoke.

All kidding side, the typical wood burning fireplace is only 10% -15% efficient. And when the fire dies down the fireplace actually works in reverse and sucks the heated air out of the room and up the flue.

By contrast, an electric fireplace insert (also called a plug-in firebox) is 100% efficient, eliminates the hassle of dealing with firewood, and keeps your family room free of harmful airborn particulates and ash residue.

Getting Started

Measure the width and height of the fireplace opening.
Inserts are available in many different widths ranging from 18 “to 33”. The width measurement refers to the viewing area. The actual width of the firebox is 1 “wider than the viewing area due to the flange that runs along the vertical edge on either side of the insert.

Some models also include a trim kit to cover the space between the insert and the fireplace opening. Other model types come with a flush mount kit for in-the-wall installations.

Choose Your Options
Once you've chosen the appropriate size firebox, the available options are usually limited to what the manufacturer offers for that particular size. Here are some of the choices that are usually offered.

Heating Unit
Most models come equipped with a conventional electric space heater rated at 4,600 BTUs, or the equivalent of 1,350 watts. A popular alternative to the conventional heater is the radiant type powered by quartz infra-tubes. The infrared models generate 10% more heat with a rating of 5,200 BTUs, or 1,500 watts.

Flame Display
The realistic quality of the flame display and log sets has really improved across the board. Each manufacturer gives their flame display a brand name such as the Classic Flame Spectrafire or Dimplex Multifire.

The flame display itself can emanate from either a log set or a bed of glass pebbles for a contemporary look. Most flame displays offer multiple settings to shape the color and brightness effect to suit your mood.

Standard Features
All units come with a glass enclosure and a remote that lets you control all fireplace functions from the comfort of your easy chair.

The Advantages of Gas Fire Logs

Gas fireplace logs are great for homeowners who would prefer to have a cleaner-burning and safer option for their fireplace. A fireplace can be configured to use a gas burner to burn logs that are meant to produce heat without being engulfed by the flames. These gas logs vent free options offer homeowner a chance…

Gas fireplace logs are great for homeowners who would prefer to have a cleaner-burning and safer option for their fireplace. A fireplace can be configured to use a gas burner to burn logs that are meant to produce heat without being engulfed by the flames.

These gas logs vent free options offer homeowner a chance to use logs in their fireplace without all of the worry about sparks getting out of the fireplace and causing a fire in the house. Also, these logs are easy to turn on and off. This makes them much safer and more energy-efficient. When the family wants the logs turned off, they go off immediately.

Gas fire logs are a great investment for the family that has grown tired of chopping wood and having wood in the house all through the year. Plus, the family that must chop wood must have a place to store the wood so that it does not get wet. Without storage, a family could waste a good deal of wood in a rainstorm. With gas fireplace logs, the family has a chance to use their gas line to produce heat without the need to worry about chopping or storing.

Also, Gas Fire Logs are perfect for the family that simply does not have the time to chop wood or does not live in the house full-time. If the family comes to a cabin for the holidays or is only in the house half the year, gas logs make heating the house very convenient. This also means that the family does not have to waste time preparing to light a fire.

The family can travel to the cabin or house, turn on the gas logs and immediately have a fire and heat going all through the house. Without this major innovation, many people with vacation cabins and part-time homes would find that they simply can not get warm until it is time for them to leave.

Using gas fireplace logs is something that changes the way every family approaches the heating of their house. The heat produced by gas logs is more consistent and warm than the fire produced by matches and firewood. Also, these flames are far safer and easier to put out. With the turn of a key or flip of a switch, these flames can be turned on and off.

An investment in gas logs is an investment in safety and convenience that every family can use to their advantage in their home or cabin.

Top Reasons Why AC Maintenance Is Essential

In order for any appliance to work at its best, there is always the need to ensure it is kept in good working condition. Anything that receives regular servicing is illegally to give you unexpected problems. Things that go wrong when there is a lack of proper maintenance The AC units require regular cleaning and…

In order for any appliance to work at its best, there is always the need to ensure it is kept in good working condition. Anything that receives regular servicing is illegally to give you unexpected problems.

Things that go wrong when there is a lack of proper maintenance

The AC units require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure that your heating and ventilation system is operating at its best. Also, there will be much less risk of it failing, and leaving you in the middle of nowhere.With a proper maintenance routine, the personnel in charge of maintaining your air conditioning unit are the right persons to recommend you on essential maintenance services.

An air conditioning unit that is functioning well, keeps the cost of operating the unit much lower when compared to units that are not well-maintained. In some cases the savings made can be as much as 30% and when you have a few units in operation, this can add up to a lot of savings.

Regular maintenance and servicing will also ensure that the filtration system in the unit is in prime condition. A faulty filter will contribute to a host of problems which would eventually translate into unnecessary added costs. Unhealthy airflow because of the particles and debris build up, can lead to unhealthy air quality. This would inevitably lead to poor breathing conditions, which in turn could result in ill-health.

More on the merits of regular maintenance

Sealing any leaks located within the frame that keeps the filter in place also helps to avoid drawing unfiltered air into the environment. This is a major cause for dirty air handlers and ducts.

Indoor coils within the air conditioning unit can become damp and this can ever attract bits of dirt and mound build up. Other contaminating substances may also build up if regular maintenance is not conducted. With all this negative build up, the unit will need more energy to work, so incurring higher energy bills. There is also the health hazard issue to face when these coils and blower fan blades are not cleaned regularly.

Included in the normal maintenance program, is the exercise of checking for duct leakage. This is important as any leakage in the ducts can stretch out to areas like the attic and can cause other cost related problems as well. Unsightly stains which are often hard to remove once left to see into the surrounding area are also common.

With all the possible problems that are likely to unfold with poor maintenance, it is always better to have the services of a professionally run company that have years of experience to their credit. You can easily find experts on the internet highway as well.

Burning Firewood In The Home

Softwood and hardwood are the perfect sustainable fuel sources for wood burning stoves and agars in the home. This type of firewood is not 'dirty' and it does not take much effort either, also, it is an instant source of heat for the home and can be really useful if there is a power outage…

Softwood and hardwood are the perfect sustainable fuel sources for wood burning stoves and agars in the home. This type of firewood is not 'dirty' and it does not take much effort either, also, it is an instant source of heat for the home and can be really useful if there is a power outage too.

This ability to burn firewood in the home gives you the option whether or not to use a fuel source from the energy utilities, furthermore, buying wood logs locally that you will be supporting the local economy which is worthwhile in today's financial climate.

Wood Log Sources

There are plenty of suppliers across the north of Scotland to choose from. Some typically deliver five cubic metres of seasoned firewood logs directly to your door. You will be able to chose from hardwood, softwood and the most popular being a mixture of the two. With moisture contents around 20 percent this allows for perfect wood log burning in the home.

Advice can also be bought from your chosen supplier with regards to the best wood burning stoves and wood fueled burners for heating the entire home.

What is seasoned wood?

It is the end goal of turning normal wood into a more suitable moisture content for burning, ie reducing the water content within the logs (ultimately the lower the moisture content the better as this will be cleaner and provide an improved heat output). This can be achieved by allowing the wood to dry out by time in an environment that is best suited, generally the warmer the quicker the drying time. Typically, freshly cut trees consist of almost 50 percent water! Whereas, what you would burn in the home it would be somewhere 20 to 30 percent less water. Therefore it makes the firewood much easier to light, burns cleaner (without extra soot) and also produces more heat.

The process involved in drying out the logs for use as firewood starts off simply by cutting the tree log into shorter pieces so that it fits into wood burning stoves and open fires. The tree consists of several thousand microscopic pres which contain water and transports it from the roots up to the leaves; this is the water that needs to be discharged out through evaporation.

These shorter logs are then split via an industrial heavy duty log splitter which again increases the exposure of the wood to the air and reduces the drying time.

If the process is large in scale, the drying time of the logs can be further reduced by the use of kilns, which are essentially giant ovens that quickly dry out the logs which make them perfect for firewood. Kiln dried logs will usually always have moisture content well below 20%, which as mentioned previously will provide better heat output and are cleaner.

Kiln dried firewood logs will be more expensive however this small cost will be far outweighed by the benefits in heat output, cleanliness and will burn for longer compared to higher moisture content seasoned logs.

Therefore, I would recommend only purchasing kiln fired firewood logs for use in the home.

The 5 Best Selling Space Heaters For 2014

The 5 best selling space heaters for 2014 represent a noticeable departure from previous years. Conspicuous by their absence are the Lasko ceramic heaters that had dominated the list for years. As a matter of fact, the only holdover from last year is the Dr Infrared Heater. One trend that really got my attention this…

The 5 best selling space heaters for 2014 represent a noticeable departure from previous years. Conspicuous by their absence are the Lasko ceramic heaters that had dominated the list for years. As a matter of fact, the only holdover from last year is the Dr Infrared Heater.

One trend that really got my attention this year was a major shift in pricing. The traditionally more expensive heaters like the Vornado and Dr Heater cost about 20% less this year, while the formerly “cheap” space heaters like the Impress have almost doubled in price over the last two years.

Here then are the top 5 selling space heaters (so far) for 2014 according to Amazon.com:

5. DeLonghi TRN0812T

Coming in at # 5 is the Delonghi oil filled radiator heater. Still the only space heater I know of that's allowed in college dorm rooms.

The new contemporary style, compact design is 7 “shorter and 5” wider than what you're used to seeing in a radiator type heater.

The DeLonghi is equipped with a GFI (ground fault interrupter) plug to prevent electric shocks which makes it suitable for bathroom use.

Energy-saving timer with 96 settings allows you to heat rooms for any desired amount of time and lets you select different time periods throughout the day and night. Best suited for smaller rooms 100 – 150 sq ft. Takes a while to heat larger rooms because it has no fan to distribute the heat. One year warranty. Lowest price: $ 69.

4. Vornado PVH Whole Room Vortex Heater

The space saving Vornado PVH quickly heats larger rooms and basements with its patented Vortex technology.

The most effective way to use this heater is to place it at one end of the room with unobstructed air space between it and the opposite wall. When the powerful stream of heated air hits the opposite wall it splits and curls back along the walls to spread the heat evenly through the room.

Has 2 heating settings and an adjustable thermostat. Safety features include over heat and tip-over protection. Currently sells for around $ 60 which is a good deal for this heater. 5 year warranty.

3. Dr Infrared Quartz + Ceramic Portable Space Heater

The Dr Heater easily heats large rooms 400+ sq ft quickly due to a dual heating system. First, the PTC ceramic heater quickly warms the air with fan forced convection heat. While this is going on, the infrared quartz tubes provide radiant heat that warms the objects in the room which in turn store the heat and radiate it back into the room.

Listed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) USA and (ETL) Canada ensuring the highest safety standards. Perfectly safe around the children and pets with no exposed heating elements. Overheat cut off and tip-over protection. Around $ 150 with a 3 year warranty.

2. Holmes HFH111T-U Desktop Heater Fan with Thermostat

It must be the $ 32 price tag that's attractive all the buyers because it sure is not this warning from the manufacturer:

“This heater is hot when in use. To avoid burns, do not let bare skin touch hot surfaces. If provided, use handles when moving this heater.”

Yikes! This is the first time I've encountered a space heater that requires oven mitts to safely move it around. Needless to say, you do not want this heater anywhere near kids, pets or the forgetful.

1. Impress 1500 Watt Space Heater with Quiet Fan

Drum roll please! Are you Impressed? Truth be told, the # 1 spot has always been occupied by an inexpensive heater. But at $ 30 this heater is not really much of a bargain. Especially when you consider it sold for about half as much two years ago.

Although this 1500 watt appliance has the same power as the larger oscillating tower heaters, it will not heat as much space as a tower heater because of the small grill area and uni-directional air flow ..

Features include: Fan forced heat for faster warm up. Dual heat settings (750W – 1500W) with adjustable thermostat control. And 3 fan settings – fan only, low heat, high heat. Overheat protection circuit. Carrying handle. 1 year warranty.

Wood Stove Catalyst Helps Keep The Environment Safe

Having a wood stove catalyst is very important. There are many different conditions that it could be exposed to. Using catalysts, the environment can be protected. Many gases that are produced when something burns is harmful to many types of living things. Metallic or ceramic substrates are going to be used for ensuring a person's…

Having a wood stove catalyst is very important. There are many different conditions that it could be exposed to. Using catalysts, the environment can be protected. Many gases that are produced when something burns is harmful to many types of living things.

Metallic or ceramic substrates are going to be used for ensuring a person's safety. There is a manufacturing process used to make these that is going to be superior to other methods. There is very low back pressure metallic substrates used for this process.

This is going to create a high-performance catalytic converter. These after-market catalysts are going to be something that is extraordinary. These pieces are used in many different applications.

They are used for OEM applications involving automobiles. The engineers are able to develop the best catalysts using their experience. Aftermarket and replacement catalysts are going to be manufactured.

The results of the manufacturing process is going to be consistent too. Raw materials that are of OEM quality is utilized. The MIL light will be kept off by achieving a product that is used in aftermarket products.

The government regulations are going to be exceeded as well. All of the requirements will be met using the best designed catalysts. It does not matter if metallic or ceramic catalysts are being used.

Many experienced engineers will prefer to use the metallic substrates. These can be used in a lot of places. Underground or open pit mining are made possible using these.

Tunneling can also be done for many different reasons. In today's industry, it is important to be able to move cargo. It may across town or across the world.

Power needs to be safely transferred to businesses. It may be for industrial buildings or to stationary power stations used for general applications. There are many different things that people are going to need these catalysts for.

Wood stoves are used for heat. They are used to power different types of vehicles and energy plants. Every application will be a very important part of the manufacturing process.

Engineers need to produce a quality productive product that will ensure their health and safety around the equipment that uses these catalysts. Emissions from the wood stoves can cause many respiratory and heart problems. It is important to use catalytic converters to control the release of carbon monoxide.

Some of them are going to be used in light applications. Others are going to be used for more heavy duty applications. Whatever the use of them are, it is important that they are able to hold up to the application.

Even though a school bus does not have a wood stove on it, there are catalysts used on these as well. It is important to keep the children safe from the harmful emissions of the diesel engines. These can be used for on-road fleets as well as off-road fleets. Urban transport is going to need to be filtered out as well.

There are many things that catalysts will do for every application. The type of gas that is being filtered out will be different for each application. While a lot of people will burn wood, they do not realize that the toxins that are released from this can cause medical issues.

It has been done for many years in many different societies. The education that engineers and scientists have now helps to make products, like the wood stove catalysts, that will ensure the safety of a lot of people around it. Not only does it help now, but it helps future generations as well. Keeping everyone safe is one of the main goals behind the production of this type of product.

Why You Need A Humidifier During the Winter Months

Cold, dry winter weather hits us all hard outside, but in your own home you should be able to be comfortable, warm and cozy. One household appliance that can help this happen is a humidifier. Humidifiers come in handy in cold, dry winter months. Dry air can cause breathing issues, chapped lips, dry skin and…

Cold, dry winter weather hits us all hard outside, but in your own home you should be able to be comfortable, warm and cozy. One household appliance that can help this happen is a humidifier.

Humidifiers come in handy in cold, dry winter months. Dry air can cause breathing issues, chapped lips, dry skin and coughing in human inhabitants; as well as can crack your wooden furniture and musical instruments.

Ask your local HVAC professional for the correct seasonal range in your area. A neat little tool that measures relative moisture is called a hygrometer; it's inexpensive, portable, and will tell you if you need to invest in a humidifier. Depending on the size of your house you can either add a humidifier to your central heating system or you can put free-standing humidifiers in areas that are higher traffic or exceptionally dry.

Furnace Humidifiers

The simplest way to keep your house from becoming too dry is to have a humidifier attached to your home furnace. This humidifier runs automatically with your furnace when humidity levels fall below a certain point. It will also draw water directly from a water line in your home, a low maintenance way to have a humidifier on an ongoing basis. Furnace humidifiers are designed for specific moisture outputs, rated in gallons per day (GPD).

Here is a good reference for what you'll need in GPD for your square footage:

• 500 sq. ft. and under = 1.5 to 2.0 GPD
• 700-800 sq. ft. = 3.0 to 3.5 GPD
• 1,000-2,000 sq. ft. = 7.0 to 9.0 GPD
• 2,000+ sq. ft. = 10.0 or higher GPD

There are varying kinds of furnace humidifiers and if you are installing one after the home is built make sure to do your research on which type of model will work best for your home according to drainage needs, existing ductwork, and how your furnace is powered. Also keep in mind, no matter what type of furnace humidifier you choose, you'll have to routinely replace the filter to keep the humidifier running optimally.

Portable Humidifiers

This may be the way to go if you have a smaller living space, or if you spend most of your time in only a few rooms. For instance, many people enjoy having a portable humidifier running in their bedroom overnight to help them breathe better while sleeping. This can help prevent overnight bloody noses, cracked skin and chapped lips. Portable humidifiers can also be utilized in a living room where the family may spend most of their time relaxing. These portable units can even be moved to room fairly easily.

Depending on the size and portability needed, the downfall of these humidifiers is that they only hold a gallon or two of water at a time and must be watched carefully so they do not run out of water and burn up the motor. The filters on these portable humidifiers must also be viewed and modified regularly because they can easily attract mold from the constant standing water they help filter.

Cool Mist vs. Warm Mist

Humidifiers operate by turning water into vapor, and they can be run on either hot water or cold water. To choose which is best for you, here are some facts. Warm mist humidifiers actually boil the water into a steam that is then released into the room. Warm mist is easier to breathe than cool, although the boiling water could be a safety hazard due to the hot water and heating element. They also require more frequent cleaning than cool mist humidifiers. Cool mist humidifiers are a little more noisy than warm mist, however some models have a “silent” feature that is great for use overnight in bedrooms.

Using a humidifier in your home during winter months is a great idea. Doing your research and checking your budget will help you find the humidifier that is right for you and your family.

8 Awesome Gas Hacks to Save Your Money

The prices of gas keep fluctuating quite often. They are also generally higher than most utility bills we have to settle regularly. These constant fluctuations, combined with the higher prices, do put some strains on our budgets. They also force us to dig deeper into our pockets so that we can keep driving our cars.…

The prices of gas keep fluctuating quite often. They are also generally higher than most utility bills we have to settle regularly. These constant fluctuations, combined with the higher prices, do put some strains on our budgets. They also force us to dig deeper into our pockets so that we can keep driving our cars.

Given the overall significance of cars in our lives, we just have to find a way out of these higher costs. To navigate this situation better, you must equip yourself with some hacks. We have assembled some of the top eight awesome hacks you can make if you ever hope to spend as little as possible on gas.

1. Time your purchase appropriately

Be wise. Gas prices fluctuate from time to time. You should, therefore, time your purchase to coincide with those moments when they go for the least possible amounts. Generally speaking, gas is cheaper in the mornings and weekdays. This is because the demand for gas at such times is generally lower. You should, therefore, make every effort to purchase your supply of gas at such times.

On the contradiction, the prices surge on weekends, in festive seasons, and on holidays. This is because the demand for gas is at its peak during these times. You should, therefore, avoid these times as much as possible.

2. Minimize your usage of the car's internal features and systems

The typical modern car is loaded with tons of features. Among these are built-in radio, screens, music players, speakers, GPRS, Wi-Fi, and indeed, more besides. These features all compete for the meager engine power to operate.

As part of your effort to save money on gas, you may wish to scale down on your usage of these extra features. Switch them as long as possible and only on when you absolutely have to use them.

As a long-term measure, you may also consider substituting those features with other devices. For instance, you may wish to use your phone to play music while driving rather than the car's built-in audio system. This will see to it that you save some engine power and of course spend less less on gas in the process.

3. Drive slowly all the time

Consider reducing your driving speed. Studies upon studies have reduced, almost without exception, that you consume less gas when you drive slower. The logic is simple, the engine burns less fuel at lower speeds than at higher speeds.

Moreover, you also give your engine ample time to completely burn the fuel when you drive slowly as opposed to when you drive at higher speeds. This boosts your engine's fuel efficiency. It also brings along the accompanying benefit of reducing the costs of gas in the long run.

Bonus Tip: You are strongly urged to drive at speeds below 50 mph. This is quite comfortable and fuel-saving.

4. Turn off the engine when idling

While driving in crowded and congested cities and towns, you will, from time-to-time have to stop, either at a zebra crossing, or when the traffic light is red or you are in a jam. Most motorists leave their engines running at such times. The engine still consumes some amount of fuel at such times. The accumulation of gas used may be devastating, especially if the trend goes on unabated repeatedly for quite some time.

This is why you are strongly urged to turn off your engines whenever you are idle. Doing so curbs the wastage of gas and with it, come great savings on your part.

5. Inflate your tires

Have you ever attempted to ride bicycles on flat tires? That is exactly what happens when you drive on low tire pressure or flat tires. You require plenty of effort and engine power to generate the needed torque. Such extra effort translates to higher fuel consumption which also means spending more money on the whole.

To prevent this problem, you are advised to inflate your tires at full pressure at all times. Fully-pressured tires give you a smoother ride, require less torque to rotate, are easier to engage, and absolutely demand less money on your part.

Bonus Tip: The recommended pressure for your car's tires is 30-35 pounds per square inch.

6. Use only the recommended oil

Each car has a corresponding manufacturer's recommended oil. This is the oil which, in the wisdom of the manufacturer, works best for your car's engine. You should, therefore, strive as much as possible, to use only this oil at all times. In case it is not available in your area, or you do not have the means to acquire it, settle for the closest variation.

Other than that, there are some factors you have to consider while on the lookout for the right oil for your car. The right one has to contain the API Performance symbol, and must be clearly labeled 'Energy Conserving.'

7. Tune your engine from time-to-time

With time, the pistons of the engine misalign and become greatly ineffective. If, and when this happens, the fuel consumption surges and increases the cost of gas. To solve this problem, you may wish to tune your engine from time-to-time.

This basically entails adjusting and modifying the internal combustion chamber or its control unit. Doing this boosts fuel efficiency, increases its power output, extends its lifespan, and overall performance. It saves you a lot of fuel costs over the course of time. The US Department of Energy postulates that tuning your engine regularly saves you a whopping 4% on fuel costs.

8. Reduce the loads or cargo

Too much cargo on board exerts a lot of pressure on the tires and engine. They require significantly plenty of effort and rotational force to transport from one point to another. This extra force translates into higher fuel consumption which also means more money on your part.

To bring down your gas costs you might want to reduce the load or cargo on board. Reducing excess cargo achieves the exact opposite. You save gas by burning less less fuel to generate the rotational force necessary to transport them from one point to another. This, in turn, requires less money on your part in the form of fuel expenses.

There you have it! You have the luxury to choose from a variety of hacks above to save money on gas. Given that gas costs institute a significant portion of the household expenses, it is in your best interest to implement these hacks as soon as possible. Why do not you consider doing so right away?

6 Things to Do Before You Turn On Your Air Conditioner

Summers are synonymous with air conditioner unit . No one can ever think of spending the summer season without an air conditioning system. But, as they say, every good thing comes at a price; you might need to lose your pocket before you could enjoy the cools in the scorching sun. But, you need not…

Summers are synonymous with air conditioner unit . No one can ever think of spending the summer season without an air conditioning system. But, as they say, every good thing comes at a price; you might need to lose your pocket before you could enjoy the cools in the scorching sun.

But, you need not worry as we have got you some easy things that you must do before you turn on your air conditioner system. Follow them and enjoy a chilled and relaxed summer without having to drill a hole in your wallet.

Here we go,

Clean the condenser unit

Many people use the condenser covers during the fall and when the summer arrives, they just remove the cover and start using the air conditioners. But, the ideal way is to thoroughly clean the condenser unit before using the AC.

Cleaning a condenser unit is an easy thing. You just need water and a gentle soap. You can also spray the water using the hose.

After cleaning the condenser unit checks for any crack or leaks. In the presence of any problem with the unit, call the AC repair service at once.

Clean the area around the condenser unit

You not just need to clean the condenser unit but also the area where the unit is placed. Before the summer arrives, clean the yard. Clean at least 18 inches around the condenser unit.

Clean the air filters

Clean the air filters to ensure the circulation of cool air inside your home. A problem with air filter can give you sweats. So, before you turn on the air conditioner unit, you must clean them. There is no rocket science involved here. You can easily do it with a gentle soap and water.

In many cases, you would need to replace the filters. If the filters are damaged, get them replaced before the arrival of the hot summer season.

Check the indoor unit

After you are done with checking, cleaning, and replacing (if required) the outdoor unit, it is time for you to check the indoor unit.

Many times, the issues with indoor units keep the home from cooling down. Issues like cracks in the indoor unit can lead to poor cooling.

So, before you turn on your air conditioner, you must thoroughly inspect the indoor unit and get the problems fixed, if any.

Air conditioning system tune-up

If you tend to ignore your air conditioner for the rest of the year, problems are bound to crop up during summer. So, before you would start using the AC, call the service for tune-ups. This way, you would be able to save a lot of money that would otherwise go into repair.

AC replacement

Get an expert opinion on whether it is time for you to get a new air conditioner unit.

If you follow these simple tips, your air conditioner system will surely work efficiently for the annual summer season.