How Can HVAC Duct Sealing Save You Money?

If you have been dealing with high energy bills, you may want to consider duct sealing. It’s a simple adjustment to make for the specialist who cleans your air ducts, or really just any AC service provider, and it can save you a lot of money in the long run, among other considerable benefits.


How Duct Sealing Can Increase Your Safety


With so many appliances in our homes that produce combustible gases, there is an ongoing risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and other threats that many of us live with. One single leak is enough to cause back drafting which describes the situation in which gases are pushed into your home instead of outside. When ducts are sealed, they are made to lead gases outside and away from anyone who could be endangered by them, including you, your family, and your pets.


How Duct Sealing Makes Your Home More Efficient


When ducts have leaks, the rest of the unit will require more energy to continue to function as needed. As a result, your bills will increase and your systems will be working overtime. Duct sealing has been documented to increase efficiency by a maximum of twenty percent, while also decreasing the risk of your home contracting mildew or mold.


How Sealing Ducts Will Improve Air Quality


When a duct is leaking, it allows for pollen, pesticides, car exhaust, and other harmful particles to freely enter your home, and as a result, your lungs as you breathe. By sealing air ducts, you will keep these harmful particles out of your home, where they belong. However, it is equally important to keep the ducting clean with regular maintenance. You might want to call in the experts to look at the various aspects of the ducts, if there is any infiltration of odors and smells inside the house.


How Sealing Ducts Increases Your Home’s Comfort


Leaking ducts will cause cool spots and hot spots all over your home, since optimal air circulation is impossible, when the system isn’t working as it should. Sealed ducts will allow for an even distribution of air and keep your home at an even temperature of your choosing.


How Duct Sealing Can Help Protect the Environment


Since sealed ducts are more energy efficient, they will require less fuel to work at optimal capacity. As a result, your home will cause less pollution, and thus decrease your influence on matters such as acid rain and global warming. Sealing your ducts is another step toward minimizing your carbon footprint. Call in a HVAC professional in Philadelphia PA today to check your air ducts for leaks so you can reap the benefits.

Threat Of Refrigerant Leaks Throughout The Cold Season

All across the country, both businesses and homes depend on heat pumps to stay warm and functional throughout the cold season. Heat pumps function by transferring refrigerant through pipes in order to keep the indoors heated. Refrigerant works by changing its aggregate state between liquid and gas throughout the different stages of the heating system. However, due to these states of matter, refrigerant can also escape if a leak occurs in one of the system’s pipes. And such a leak can be more than just annoying. It can be dangerous. Especially if it occurs during the cold season.


Refrigerant Leaks During The Cold Season


Should a leak occur in a refrigerant line of your heat pump system, especially during the winter, you may be faced with disastrous consequences. Consequences that do not just impact your heating system, but may also pose a significant threat to the inhabitants of the home itself.


A sudden lack of heating, especially during dangerously low temperatures, can cause damage to property, but more importantly, pose a threat to the health and safety of people. Should a situation like this occur, it is vital to have a backup or auxiliary heating system to fall back on. It should be noted that it does not take something as severe as a leak to require the switch to the backup system. Simple inefficiency of your heat pump system is reason enough. The switch from the heat pump system to a backup is easily achieved by selecting the “backup” or “emergency” setting on your thermostat.


However, if a backup heating system is inaccessible or non-existent for you, you will need to get your refrigerant leak patched right away. No procrastinating. No evaluating. Contact a heating repair contractor as soon as possible so your refrigerant can be charged and your heating restored before temperatures become dangerously low in your home. Not only will that lead to uncomfortable temperatures but you can catch a cold and fall sick.


The Dangers Of Refrigerant Leaks Throughout The Cold Season


A sudden lack of refrigerant will cause a steady decline in the efficiency of your heating system, which in turn will cause a drop-in temperature in your home. Additionally, other malfunctions are also at an increased risk of occurring. Among these potential malfunctions are a frozen over heat pump and an overheated compressor which can permanently damage your system. Fixing such damage may require not just repairs, but full replacement. That is when you need to contact a HVAC service in Philadelphia PA so that they can offer you the best deal and subscription to maintenance services.

Can a Smart Thermostat Really Save You Money This Winter?

Heating and cooling your home accounts for approximately half of your energy costs. This means that the more efficiently you do this, the lower your energy costs will be. Enter the new generation of temperature control devices: the smart thermostat. But besides its gadget-worthiness, is a smart thermostat really worth it?

What They Do

A smart thermostat will allow you to change the thermostat settings in your home from an app on your smartphone, computer, or other voice-controlled device. This is a major convenience, especially if your schedule changes frequently and you would like to adjust temperature settings in your home when no one is there. If you’re feeling super lazy, you can even turn on the heat without leaving the sofa.

Another benefit of having a smart thermostat is that not only can you view your usage, but depending on your system, it may even eventually learn your habits and adjust your temperatures accordingly.

But Will it Save You Money?

Ask a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician and the answer you will get is YES. Smart thermostats can save from $131 to $145 a year, according to the Nest Thermostat. In fact, the Nest is so smart, it will encourage a homeowner to make smart choices with handy leaf badges and monthly reports.

Other Nifty Features

Most smart thermostats have features that help make your life easier. Some useful features include HVAC maintenance reminders and dirty filter detection capabilities. The ability to monitor usage can make you more aware of your family’s energy consumption and make you think twice about your family’s energy usage.

Some Important Considerations

When considering the pros and cons of a smart thermostat, there are a few things you need to weigh. Sometimes, a home with air conditioning and a furnace can require a more sophisticated thermostat and professional setup. If you are only planning on living where you are for a short period of time, the investment of a smart thermostat may not be worth it. As is the case with all thermostats, you will want to consider the placement of the unit since it will register the air temperature in that area and not necessarily in other parts of the home. So, placing it near a warm fire burning device or near the kitchen oven can affect its overall performance.

What is the Biggest Downside?

For most people, a smart thermostat has one important downside and that is the cost. While a regular manual thermostat will cost anywhere between $20 and $60, a smart thermostat can cost anywhere between $200 and $300. Some homeowners think that the cost savings would immediately justify the purchase whereas others may not. It is up to the individual.

Call an Expert

If you have questions about smart thermostat technology or are considering having a smart thermostat installed, call our Philadelphia HVAC experts at Affordable Fixes LLC.

Why You Should Consider a Central Humidifier this Winter

You are glad for the cooler air after a long, hot, humid summer. With the cold temperatures comes dryer air. So why would you consider bringing more humidity into your home in the winter?

Next to the reading on the thermometer, humidity is the next biggest factor in the comfort level of your home. Philadelphia HVAC contractors suggest that central humidifiers are a perfect way of controlling important humidity levels inside your home. These can help increase comfort levels but also have other important benefits.

Although ultra humid days can sap your energy in the summer, what you are going for is a balanced environment. During the winter, the cold freezes moisture out of the air and lowers the humidity of a living space substantially. Your furnace further contributes to lowering the humidity level inside your home. Having a central humidifier installed by a Philadelphia HVAC contractor has many benefits for homeowners during the winter months.

Comfort

A central humidifier can increase the moisture level inside the home for a more balanced comfort level. Although high humidity in the summer makes the air feel much hotter than it is, the opposite is true for cold, dry air. Dryer air makes the air feel colder and has the effect of soaking moisture from the body. Having the benefit of higher moisture levels inside your home makes your home more comfortable as well as alleviating cold weather conditions such as chapped and dry lips and skin, dry eyes, and chronic nosebleeds.

Reduced Deterioration of Wood Items or Furnishings

Dry air can deteriorate wood interior finishes, furnishings, or any possessions you may own such as musical instruments. Having a central humidifier can help protect these items from splitting and warping.

Energy Savings

Having a more humid environment has the effect of making you feel warmer. Consequently, you may not feel compelled to turn the thermostat up as often. Your humidified air will help save you money on your electric bills. According to the EPA, a central humidifier has the ability of saving you up to 4 percent on your energy bills. And controlling humidity may help your home qualify for the National Association of Home Builders’ Green-Built Certification Program.

A Healthier Environment

Dry air can not only cause skin irritations and dry up sinuses, but it also can make it easier to pass viruses and germs between people. Respiratory illnesses, colds, and flus spread more quickly in drier environments.

Central humidifiers are installed directly into your current heating and cooling system and work by bringing water vapor through the duct system with your heated air. There are even systems that are designed for homes that have radiant or baseboard heating. You can adjust your humidity levels the same way you control your thermostat in order to get a balanced amount of humidity in your home.

A central humidifier is a simple addition to most HVAC systems. Call the Philadelphia HVAC contractors at Affordable Fixes LLC to discuss the benefits of having a central humidifier installed in your home.

What to Do When Your Furnace Trips a Breaker

It’s already November and we are anticipating the upcoming holidays. Cooler air is moving in and you turn your furnace on for the first time. Oops! Your breaker trips. What does that mean and what can you do about it?

Unfortunately, when your HVAC system is tripping breakers, it may be more than just a minor inconvenience. The circuit breakers in your home are built with a safety precaution system. Circuit breakers are designed to trip when they detect a fault in the system. These have the potential to create hazards and cause fires as well as damage equipment. If your furnace is tripping a breaker, there may be a serious safety risk that needs to be addressed.

Reset the breaker. If this works and you have no further issues, the problem may have been something like a temporary power surge or spike in the grid. Keep an eye on it. But if your furnace continues to trip the breaker, the source needs to be located and repaired.

The most common problems with a furnace that continues to trip the breaker are:

  • An overloaded furnace
  • An overloaded shared circuit
  • A short circuit or ground fault inside the furnace
  • A problem with the circuit breaker itself

An Overloaded Furnace

An overloaded furnace can be caused by numerous things. These can be

  • Dirty air filters
  • Blocked air vents
  • Restricted ductwork
  • Malfunctioning parts inside the furnace

Some of these things can be fixed by the homeowner but some require the skill of a Philadelphia furnace repair professional.

An Overloaded Shared Circuit

Electricity hogs such as your HVAC system should be on their own circuits. But many older homes were not constructed this way and your furnace may share a circuit with other appliances, lights or outlets. This can overload these circuits. Have a Philadelphia HVAC contractor either move the other shared items off that circuit or move the furnace to its own circuit.

A Short Circuit or Ground Fault Inside the Furnace

Short circuits can happen when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral one. A ground fault can occur when a hot wire touches a ground wire or another grounded part in the furnace. Both of these create a surge of electric current that the furnace is pulling. This type of issue should be left to a Philadelphia HVAC repair professional.

Circuit Breaker Issues

Sometimes the problem isn’t with the furnace but with the breaker or panel itself. This requires the expertise of an electrician.

Breakers that continue to trip create a fire risk and potential damage to your electrical system. When you are experiencing tripped breakers when you turn on your furnace, you want an experienced professional.

The repair experts at Affordable Fixes LLC are here to help. For over 30 years, we have been the Philadelphia HVAC professionals more residents have trusted for their plumbing and HVAC needs. Call us today when your furnace needs the skill of a professional.

Winter Is Coming! 5 Ways to Get Your Furnace Ready

Winter. It comes around far too soon for most of us. But being prepared for those cold months is simple if we take time to do some pre-season maintenance before the weather turns frigid. Philadelphia HVAC repair professionals agree that now is the perfect time to make sure that your furnace is ready so you won’t be caught mid-winter at the worst possible moment with a furnace repair. Taking a few maintenance precautions ensures that your furnace will keep you warm and toasty when you need it most. Here are 5 quick and easy steps to make sure your furnace is ready for that cold winter weather.

Turn the Heat On

Do a preliminary check to make sure your furnace is working properly. Switch your thermostat to the heat setting and set a temperature higher than that of the room. Listen to make sure that the heat clicks on. If you don’t hear the heater engage, you may need fresh batteries in your thermostat. If the heat still doesn’t turn on, call your Philadelphia furnace repair specialist to check your heating system.

Change Your Air Filters

You will want to make this a ritual every few months whenever your HVAC system is running. Cleaning or replacing your air filters is one of the simplest but most fundamental things you can do for your heating and cooling system. If your system includes a humidifier, it is also a good time to change your humidifier filter and set the humidistat.

Cover Your Air Conditioning Condenser

Cover your outside condenser with a loose cover and secure it with bungee cords. You can also purchase a special cover for your condenser. Either way, you want to protect the unit from debris and leaves falling in over the winter. Just make sure you are not trapping moisture inside the covering. This can freeze and cause damage to the condenser.

Check Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors

You should make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is functioning and is able to protect you from any carbon monoxide leaks. This is also a good time to inspect your chimney for any areas of concern as this is one place where carbon monoxide buildup can take place.

Get Your System Checked

Call a Philadelphia HVAC repair professional for a pre-season check-up Getting your heating system checked by a professional takes care of some important maintenance that all HVAC systems should have every year. Your technician will

  • Clean the external area and check for debris buildup.
  • Inspect for leaks.
  • Change any filters
  • Clean the burners — furnace burners can become coated with soot and debris and these can reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of the unit.
  • Clear any vent lines

Having a professional annual maintenance done is an important way to ensure that your heating system will be working properly and efficiently when the cold weather arrives. Call our Philadelphia PA furnace repair professionals to ensure that you won’t suffer an inconvenient breakdown during those cold winter months.

Time to Check That Furnace Before You Are Left Out in the Cold

Sad but true, summer is over. The kids are back in school (a good thing) but that warm weather is on its way out (a not so good thing). Summer seems to get shorter each year. Before you know it, we will be bundling up and heading out for football games, roasting a turkey, getting ready for the holidays…and running that furnace.

Now may be a great time to brush up on furnace trivia courtesy of your local Philadelphia HVAC professional. No, furnace trivia is not the newest board game but things to be watchful for to suggest that your furnace is about to break down. We tend to forget about our dear furnaces throughout the summer but it’s best to brush up early.

Your heating system will often offer warning signs before a complete and total breakdown, fortunately for us. There are some common symptoms that we can watch for in order to head off inconvenient breakdowns in the middle of cold weather season.

Banging Noise

Your first indication of a furnace issue can show itself when you first turn the system on. If you hear a loud banging when your furnace starts, it could indicate a few things. One may be that the burner may be malfunctioning. Because gas builds up until the burner, ignites it, which can result in a loud bang. Think of it as a small explosion. Do you want a small explosion happening in your home? We didn’t think so.

Metal air ducts can also expand and contract as cold or warm air passes through them. This can also result in booming noises. The extenuating culprit may be obstructions at the vents, air filter, or simply ducts that aren’t adequate for your system.

More Noises

Are you hearing a high-pitched whining noise? This could be indicative of a blower belt problem or shaft bearing needed lubrication. A metallic scraping noise? A malfunctioning blower wheel or broken motor mount. Either sound should mean a quick call to your Philadelphia furnace repair technician.

Cold Air When There Should be Warm Air

There may be several reasons that your furnace is generating cold air. The easiest thing to consider is your thermostat. Your thermostat should be set to “auto”, not “on”. This will ensure that only heated air is being generated when necessary instead of continuous, and possibly cold air being generated instead. Another issue may be with a clogged air filter. Your air filter may be restricting airflow and can potentially overheat your system. The system will stop heating air as a precaution.

Get a Head Start

If you are smart, you will get a head start on checking on your heating system, so you will be warm this winter while others are calling their Philadelphia HVAC repair companies for repairs. Call Affordable Fixes LLC to get a head start on your heating system before cold weather moves in.

How to Keep Your Indoor Air Clean and Pollutant-Free

If you’re like most homeowners, unless you have a family member who suffers from respiratory issues, you probably give little thought to your indoor air quality. Many of us feel strongly about the environment but give very little thought to the indoor environment we live in daily.

Indoor Pollution

According to the people at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is a growing body of evidence that air inside our home and buildings are more polluted than the outdoor air. This is quite concerning for most of us, especially since we spend nearly 90 percent of our time indoors.

Bring Nature Inside

One way you can clean your indoor air is by bringing houseplants in. As they rely on carbon dioxide to live and expel oxygen, it is a perfect indoor filtering option.

Open Windows

During good weather, keep windows open as much as possible. Newer homes, in particular, get very little outdoor air circulation and tend to re-circulate air over and over. Keeping floors clean will also lessen particles that may end up being circulated in your indoor space.

Change Your Air Filter

By changing your air filters regularly, you reduce the particles that get caught and often clog your system. A clogged filter can actually do more harm than good by re-circulating allergens and particles back into your home.

The typical HVAC system will circulate over 1,000 cubic feet of air each minute through its filter. Philadelphia HVAC repair professionals suggest you change your filter every 2 to 6 months depending on the number of occupants and whether you have pets.

Cut Down on Mold and Mildew

Humidity trapped inside your home can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and mildew. The EPA suggests that indoor humidity levels should be between 30 and 60 percent. By utilizing dehumidifiers and exhaust fans, you can manage the humidity levels inside your home to a healthy level and cut down on the possibility of mold taking up residence there.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

We hear each year about families who have succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, often because of badly maintained or fitted heaters or clogged fireplaces. Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, your best line of defense is an installed carbon monoxide detector inside your home.

Keep Your Air Well Ventilated

Because we tend to re-circulate stale air during certain times of the year, it’s important to balance this with clean, fresh air. Many homeowners are choosing to install heat recovery ventilators in their homes.

These use a dedicated duct in order to remove stale air while circulating the same volume of fresh air indoors. There is a heat exchange core inside the controller that keeps incoming fresh air consistent with the temperature of the indoor air.

Ask your local Philadelphia HVAC contractor how a heat recovery ventilator can help your indoor air quality. The HVAC professionals at Affordable Fixes LLC would be happy to answer any indoor air quality questions you may have. Call us today.

Is A Zoned HVAC System Right For Your Family?

Summer is in full swing here and you are relying on your air conditioner to keep you cool on a daily basis. But you may be noticing that your air conditioning struggles to keep certain areas of your home cool. Particularly if you have a large or several story home, you may find that temperature regulation is spotty and uneven. Even if temperature regulation is not a problem, heating and cooling areas of your home that aren’t used often or only used at certain times of the day is a waste of hard earned money.

If you are considering a new system in the near future, Philadelphia HVAC contractors are suggesting that you may want to think about a zoned cooling system for your home.

Are You Sacrificing Your Comfort?

With a zoned HVAC system, you won’t have to sacrifice comfort for savings. Not only is a tired old system not working efficiently but replacing it with a zoned one will allow you to only heat and cool those areas you need.

Your Current System is a One-Size-Fits-All Approach

If you consider your current system, you can make a simple analogy. Would you turn on all the lights in your home with one switch, regardless of whether you were using that area or not? Of course not. It’s simply not an efficient way of lighting your home. Yet, this is exactly what you are doing with your heating and cooling.

Closing Vents is Not an Answer

Most homeowners don’t realize that simply closing vents will not provide the effect of regulating specific room temperatures. In fact, closing or blocking vents can even make your system work harder. Your system relies on that balanced airflow to work properly. Cutting off proper airflow to certain areas of the home by closing vents may cause your system to work inefficiently. So, you are left heating and cooling all areas of your home regardless of whether you are using that area.

Customized Temperature Control

If you also consider that members of your household are not all comfortable at the same temperature, it just makes sense to be able to maintain different temperatures for specific zones in order for your family to be comfortable.

How Does It Work?

A zoned system uses strategically places dampers within the ductwork of your heating and cooling system. Thermostats are set to control each zone to its own particular temperature. A zoned system will not need to work as hard to cool or heat the entire home and will be able to keep each area to its own specified temperature.

If you would like more information about zoned systems, call the Philadelphia HVAC contractors at Affordable Fixes LLC. We will explain how a zoned system may work beautifully for custom temperature regulation in your home and save you money on energy bills.

Is a Smart Thermostat a Smart Choice For You?

Smart technology is all the rage. And smart thermostats are one of the ways that smart technology has made its way into our homes. Could your family benefit from a smart thermostat? Let’s take a look.

What is a Smart Thermostat?

A thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature in your home. Many homes already have programmable thermostats that allow you to set your thermostat to allow that temperature to adjust for given times of the day or days of the week. Smart thermostats are now one of the leading smart home applications today and Philadelphia AC repair technicians are installing more of them than ever before. So, what can a smart thermostat offer that your basic programmable thermostat can’t?

What is the Difference?

Basically, a smart thermostat connects to your WiFi and can be controlled by your smartphone app. But not only can you control your home’s thermostat anywhere and at any time, but some smart thermostats learn your patterns and behaviors. It can also let you see your home’s energy consumption and can even adjust things like the humidity in your home. Some models even have Alexa service built into the unit. Having your thermostat order groceries takes the “smart” even one step further.

Real Time Information

Most smart thermostats enable you to see how long it will take to make the temperature change you’ve requested and allows you to understand how effective your system really is. It will also discourage those family members who may always adjust the thermostat excessively whenever they are feeling particularly hot or cold. The ease of controlling your temperature remotely is very convenient when on vacation and need to adjust the temperature for your return.

For the average consumer, smart thermostats can offer:

  • Energy savings
  • Peace of mind
  • Convenience

Energy Savings

Having a smart thermostat can save energy. Recent tests show that smart thermostats can realize a savings of about $50 annually or more.

Peace of Mind

With your ability to monitor the energy usage in your home, you will have an idea of what is going on at all times. This can be a great tool for parents and frequent travelers.

Convenience

The ability to control your home’s temperature at any time from your smartphone enables you to come home to comfort no matter when that is.

Installation

Some thermostats are designed for the DIY enthusiast including all the necessary tools and access to installation videos, but research indicates that those who try to install a smart thermostat themselves usually end up calling a Philadelphia HVAC contractor.

If you are interested in having a smart thermostat installed, call the experts at Affordable Fixes LLC to ensure that it is done right. Old or new technology, we are the choice of most Philadelphia homeowners when it come to their HVAC.