HVAC – Why are Tune Ups So Important

Our home heating system is just one of those things we tend to just not think about. We set the thermostat to our preferred temperature and that’s that, out of sight, out of mind. Preventative maintenance is an easy thing to forget about. Who wants to spend money on that anyway? Until of course we wake up to a freezing house or are forced to take a cold shower. Then it becomes an emergency and we can think of little else until it is taken care of. Why Preventative Maintenance is so important It keeps your family comfortable and safe A heating tune up ensures that your system is running smoothly, efficiently and most importantly…safely. What your technician does depends largely on the type of system you have and the type of fuel it uses. In our area there are three common types of systems – furnaces (forced air), boilers (radiators) and heat pumps. Your technician is trained to service them all to run optimally and to help avoid unexpected breakdowns. Any heating unit that burns fuel is particularly important to have inspected. Furnaces with a crack heat exchanger have the potential to release carbon monoxide into the air. Furnaces or boilers with clogged flue pipes or chimneys pose the same risk. You may be surprised how common it is for birds or other critters to build nests and cause problems. No matter how well maintained your system is, it is always best to have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home. It saves money Believe it or not, preventative maintenance, or tune ups as we call them, saves...

SEERS, EERS and Tons, Oh My!

Shopping for a new air conditioner or heat pump can seem like a daunting task with all the technical lingo and acronyms. Many variables go into choosing a new air conditioner or heat pump. Three of the most important terms to understand are SEER, EERS and Tons. So let’s start with some basic definitions. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio which indicates the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. Many older systems have SEER ratings of 6 or less. The minimum SEER allowed today is 13. In general terms, the higher the SEER the higher the efficiency. EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio. The EER is the ratio of the cooling capacity (in British thermal units [Btu] per hour) to the power input (in watts). The higher the EER rating, the more efficient the air conditioner. So what exactly is the difference between SEER and EER? EER is a measurement of the efficiency of a cooling system when the outdoor temperature is at specific levels. SEER is used to measure the efficiency of a cooling system over an entire season. Almost all residential units are measured in SEER. EER can be measured directly, whereas, SEER is determined only by predictions, because of unpredictable weather conditions. SEER is always tested at the manufacturer’s establishment, and therefore, it is better to focus more on SEER. At the end of the day, both SEER and EER can be very useful for comparing different air conditioning units to one another, but are not the end of the road to increasing efficiency and decreasing energy costs. More importantly...
What’s in your water?

What’s in your water?

Water. It is vital to sustaining life yet is something that most of us take for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. As long as our water doesn’t smell or taste funny we tend not to give it a second thought. Yet do you truly know what’s in your water. Whether you have municipal water or have well water, its important to know that your water is as pure as possible. Hidden dangers in your water can not only carry health risks but over time can cause extensive and costly damage to your plumbing system and the equipment and appliances that use it.   In our area hard water is a particularly common problem. Hard water contains dissolved calcium, magnesium and, in many cases, iron. Most homes have hard water, whether it is supplied by a private well or a municipality. In many cases, homeowners don’t realize they have hard water or the constant and expensive harm it causes.   Many mistake the telltale signs of hard water and blame the problems on inadequate cleaners and detergents and poor performing appliances. Or they resign themselves to the fact that these problems are simply a way of life. Dry skin and hair, bathtub ring, spots on glass and silverware, dull, dingy clothing, disappointing performance and a shortened life expectancy of water-using appliances are all problems frequently caused by hard water. Most don’t realize how much time, money and energy is spent fighting the hard water battle.   Scale is another common problem that can lead to costly repairs. As water travels through the earth, it picks...

When to Replace your System

Many factors can determine when its time to replace your heating or cooling system. Below are a few of the indicators that you want to consider a replacement option. The Age of Your System The EPA suggests replacing your air conditioner or heat pump if it is more than 12 years old and replacing a furnace or boiler if it is more than 15 years old. New units have much higher efficiency levels to help lower your utility bills and are more reliable than older systems. High Utility Bills Systems more than 10 years old use a lot more fuel than newer models.Review the SEER (efficiency) rating of your existing equipment and compare it to newer models. The higher the SEER the higher the savings you can expect, Also, with the ever escalating price of oil, now is a great time converting your home to either natural gas or propane, High Repair Bills Frequent or expensive repairs costing hundreds of dollars may mean your service costs can soon exceed the cost of a new system The Comfort of Your Home If the rooms in your home are too hot or too cold, your current system may be too large or too small, or the system may have been poorly installed. We can provide an heat load calculation to ensure that the size of your system matches the needs of your home. Humidity, Mold or Dust A dehumidification system can help remove moisture that can damage both your home and your health. Adding a germicidal light can help eliminate contaminants at the source, keeping them from recirculating throughout your home....

Programmable Thermostats

One of the simplest and quickest ways to reduce your energy costs is by installing a programmable thermostat. These thermostats automatically adjust your home’s temperature settings, allowing you to save energy while you are away or sleeping. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates you can save 10-15% on your energy bill just by setting back your thermostat during those times. That could translate into a savings of $150.00 per year – delivering savings without sacrificing your comfort. Your comfort is assured because you can set the thermostat to automatically lower the heat at night and raise it before you get up in the morning, so it will be just the right temperature when you wake up. This is one example; you can have different settings for weekends and weekdays, during the day and at night. The thermostat will adjust both the heat and the air conditioning. The cost for having BHCP install one of these thermostats could be recouped in the first year. We install Honeywell thermostats which carry a five year warranty. Call BHCP at 610-693-1120 or 717-202-3776 for more...