With Halloween around the corner, here in Philadelphia, we are getting ready for that brisk fall air. And before we know it, winter will be here. Even though you may be getting the last few days use of your barbecue grill, winter is inevitable and so are those high heating costs. So how can you stay warm and still keep your heating bills reasonable? Try these 6 hints!
We’ve all heard about Spring cleaning but Fall cleaning can be equally important when it comes to heating efficiency. Make sure that all vents and returns around your home are free of obstructions and dust. Move any furniture that may be inhibiting airflow. Change your air filters to make sure air has easy access and circulation and is not clogged with dirt.
Turn Down the Thermostat
This may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, however, our first instinct when cold weather hits is to make our inside temperature warmer…and warmer. For a lot of us it is psychological. But even if it is a direct response to your need for warmth, consider this: the Department of Energy says that you can save approximately 10 percent of your energy costs each year by adjusting your thermostat down by 10 to 15 degrees for approximately 8 hours a day. While you are asleep is the perfect time to do this or while everyone is gone during the day at school or work. You won’t compromise your comfort and you will be able to reap some cost savings in the bargain.
How About a Smarter Approach?
Speaking of thermostats, many Philadelphia HVAC contractors are suggesting having a smart thermostat installed to adjust temperatures conveniently from any smartphone. Although programmable thermostats are also convenient, smart thermostats allow you to adjust your temperature from anywhere at any time with a convenient app. This way, you aren’t locked into a schedule that you have preprogrammed.
Don’t Forget the Fan
No, your fan is not just for summer. If you have ceiling fans, you can adjust the blades to turn the opposite direction. This will allow warm air that tends to rise to the ceiling to circulate around the room where it is needed in the colder weather.
Take advantage of the sun’s natural heat on sunny days. Open up curtains and blinds on those windows facing the sun and take advantage of those natural heating rays. Always remember to close curtains and blinds afterward, however, as they provide added insulation from the cold.
Get a Tune Up
Your HVAC system should be tuned up periodically to make sure it is working at its optimum. During a tune-up, your Philadelphia HVAC repair technician will do a full inspection and cleaning of your system to ensure that it is working cleanly and efficiently for the upcoming season. Call Affordable Fixes today to ask how a thorough HVAC tune-up can help keep your system running smoothly while saving you money this winter.
You may not realize it but when it comes to your heating and cooling systems, the most important component is your simple air filter. The filter cleans incoming air before it is temperature controlled and distributed throughout the house. Because your filter is the first line of defense in protecting your Philadelphia HVAC system, filters should be changed once a month.
Two Important Functions
Your air filter has two important functions. One is to protect your system from dust or other particles that can cause wear and reduce efficiency. The second purpose is to keep any dust, allergens, pollutants, or even pet dander from being distributed inside your home. In this way, it not only helps your system condition the temperature of the air but also protects your interior air quality. There are filters that are designed to do one better than the other.
Air Filter Classifications
Air filters are classified by their type and their minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating. The MERV rating specifically deals with the filter’s ability to remove particles and pollutants from the air. The higher the rating, the better it performs in keeping air quality at its best.
Disposable filters are the most inexpensive filters. They utilize fine fiberglass or polyester mesh to remove particles that are coming in from the air. These will typically have the lowest MERV rating of between 1 and 4 and are specifically designed to protect your system.
Although these types offer about the same MERV rating as disposable filters, there is a cost savings associated with these because they can be cleaned and reused. Like the disposable filters, these filters are designed to primarily protect your system.
Pleated filters use fiberglass, polyester or some other synthetic folded into pleats. This serves to increase the surface area of the filter in order to remove more particulates. The MERV rating on these is between 5 and 13. These provide a bit more air quality filtering capability than typical disposable filters.
Electrostatic filters utilize an electric charge in order to attract airborne particles as they pass through. With this added feature, they have a higher MERV rating at about 15. But electrostatic filters are not compatible with all HVAC systems.
HEPA filters are the most effective for air quality. With a MERV rating of between 17 and 20, these filters have been shown to remove over 99 percent of air contaminants. But these are typically too restrictive for normal home HVAC use. They are much more expensive and require a far greater amount of air pressure in order to force air through.
Which is the Best One for You?
For the typical homeowner, an air filter with a MERV rating of 8 to 10 should be sufficient for a home system. Although more high-efficiency filters remove larger quantities of airborne particles, the typical household HVAC system is not compatible and may be taxed when using these. The best way to determine which filter is best for your system is to check your owner’s manual or consult with a Philadelphia HVAC repair technician.
Here at Affordable Fixes LLC, we think preventative maintenance contracts are the smartest thing homeowners can do to make sure their HVAC system is inspected and cleaned regularly. But there are some things to look for when signing that service contract on the dotted line.
Your System Requires Maintenance
HVAC systems require routine maintenance. When this routine maintenance is performed, it can ensure that the system is operating properly at all times and can save money that would be spent on HVAC repairs in Philadelphia after the fact. A clean and inspected system requires much fewer repair calls and operates more efficiently saving money on utility bills. So, what should you know before signing a repair contract?
Know What You Are Paying For
Like anything else, you want to know exactly what you’re getting for your money. When you’re purchasing a service contract for an important household system, you want to understand exactly what your Philadelphia, PA HVAC system is being covered for. Service contracts can sometimes be tricky to interpret. Here are some things you should watch out for.
If you’re being handed a one-page contract with a lot of legalese in 6-point font, this should be a red flag. So, should a too-good-to-be-true price.
What You DO Want
Your service contract should be spelled out concisely and the terms and conditions specified in simple language.
- What equipment is covered? Each item should be specified, especially if the service contract is covering more than one system.
- There should be a list of all tasks that will be performed.
- Your contract should set out how often your maintenance will be done.
- Do you get a written report after each inspection?
- What parts and labor are included? What items, specifically, are not included?
- If repairs are made outside the contract agreement, how will you be charged?
- If repairs are necessary, how will that work? Will they do the repair while they are there, or will another service call be necessary?
- Will you get a written estimate to approve?
- Will they remind you that your maintenance is due, or do you have to remember to schedule an appointment?
- Does your contract automatically renew upon expiration?
- What payment options do you have?
Call the Professionals
At Affordable Fixes LLC, we offer three levels of service contracts for you to choose from, each specifically designed for your needs. With each level, Philadelphia HVAC repair technicians conduct a full 14-point check to make sure your system is working at peak performance. We do this twice a year, once in the winter and once in the summer. With each package, we set out the terms and conditions and you will know exactly what to expect each time we come to do an inspection.
For over 30 years, Affordable Fixes LLC has been the Philadelphia HVAC contractors to trust. Let us service your system and add you to our family of satisfied customers.