Category Archives: Airtronic Heating and Cooling

Staying Warm In The Winter and Cool In the Summer

Energy efficiency and cutting energy bills is one of the most prevalent conversations amongst homeowners in Michigan throughout the year. In the summer everyone is concerned with ways to make their air conditioners perform better and run less in winter they are worried about their furnaces.  There are so many different ways to make your home efficient.  Below you will find a list of just a few ideas we have heard from our clients.

 

1)      Control the temperature on your thermostat at all times of the day.  When you aren’t at home and while you are sleeping the heat and air don’t need to be maxed out.  A good sleeping temperature for any home is right around 68 degrees.

 

2)      Insulate pipes throughout the house.  This is true for the pipes that are under the sink, in the basement and pipes throughout the homes crawl space. Any pipe can be insulated with inexpensive foam coverings.  This will help the heat loss in the winter and the sweat accumulation in the summer.

 

3)      Air filters should be changed more frequently, keeping the dust down and the air flow filtering more efficiently.  The better the airflow through the system the less it will cost you to run the system.  Air filters are a lot less expensive than high energy bills.

 

4)      Another tip is to install a damper in your fireplace. This keeps the air inside from filtering to the outside and vice versa.

 

5)      One client insists on using candle light in the evening and dimmer switches to keep from wasting electricity.  This is especially true in the winter when it is dark at five o clock.  Of course you need to be extra careful with open flames at all times.

 

6)      Make sure the seals on all windows, doors and door walls are correctly installed and that air is not leaking.  Also in the winter you may choose to cover windows in plastic to keep the chilly air out.

 

7)      Keep a pair of slippers at the door.  Your feet allow a lot of heat to escape out of your body leaving you chilly.  This will cause you to want to turn the heat up to get warm.  Why not keep warm in the first place.  Even a cheap pair of slippers will keep your feet warm.

 

8)      Furnace tune ups and Air Conditioner maintenance yearly keep your appliances running at their peak. This also saves in furnace repair costs as well as repairs needed on central air conditioning units.  Home heating contractors will make sure your appliances staying running at the top of their game throughout the changing seasons.

 

I know many people have great ways to save on heating and cooling bills and tips to keep Michigan homes running efficiently. Log in and leave a comment with your best energy efficient tips.

Surviving Michigan Winters While Staying Warm

This has been such a mild start to our Michigan winter.  Our furnaces have not been pressed to the limit yet but as Michigan winters promise they will.  So with this in mind it is a good time to share tips on conserving energy this winter and to let you know that Airtronic Heating and Cooling professional home heating contractor offer many services from furnace repair to general furnace tune ups and maintenance.

Tips On Conserving Energy This Michigan Winter

  • Start the winter out right and ensure that your heating system is in good working condition.
  • Turn the thermostat down to a temperature between sixty four and sixty eight degrees. This does help to decrease your energy by three percent per degree you turn your thermostat down.
  • Believe it or not on those sunny days, few and far between here in Michigan, you are advised to open the shades and let the sun shine in.  Then at night to keep the heat in make sure to close the blinds and shades.
  • Check window and door seals to make sure that cold air is not seeping in.  Chaulk any areas that feel drafty and if the gap is on the larger side search out products that offer long term sealing solutions at your local home improvement store.
  •  For any door that is not used on a regular basis use a draft blocker.  This could be something simple like a towel rolled up and placed in front of the door or a purchased item made especially for this purpose.
  • Make sure to have a thermostat that can be programmed and run it on a program that runs the heat warmer during the hours you are home and turns the heat down when away and at night while sleeping.
  • Reversing your ceiling fans can also be of benefit in that they help push the warm air into the middle of the room instead of allowing it to rise up.  Thus in turn keeps the warm air where it is needed in the room.

The team at Airtronic can help you save even more money on your heating and cooling needs by installing a new energy efficient heating and cooling system designed specifically for your home.  They also offer a number of services to maintain and repair issues with your homes furnace.

Keeping Your Home Warm With These Money Saving Tips

Burr…  It is officially cold outside in Mid-Michigan. If you have not already prepared your home for the chill it is time to do so.  It is time to save yourself some money on energy bills with some low cost tips that will have your family staying warm and not breaking the bank.

The first issue is with the thermostat.  Make sure that you have replaced older thermostats with newer programmable ones.  When your home is unoccupied you can save yourself a good sum in heating and energy bills by lowering the setting ten degrees and increase your home heating.  A programmable thermostat will do this automatically for you.  The same is true at night as well.  Program the thermostat to decrease the heat by five to ten degrees while you are sleeping.  Add an extra blanket to your beds and you won’t even notice the difference.

Another quick and easy step in saving money on energy bills is to lower the thermostat by one or two degrees.  This can lower your bills up to three percent per degree you lower the heat in your home.  Make sure to purchase some slippers on those feet, not allowing your body to get cold in the first place will allow you to set the heat a degree or two lower without noticing a huge difference.

By keeping the garage door shut in the winter you can also help to keep your hot air within the home.  Something this simple can save you a few dollars over the entire winter season.  With energy prices so high every penny saved helps.

Some families prefer to add plastic film to the windows in the home to seal in the warmth and keep out the cold.  This will depend on the age of your windows.  If you have fairly new, energy star windows installed this might not even be an issue.  It might cost you more on plastic for the windows than it saves you in energy costs.

One thing you can do that keeps heat in is to close curtains, blinds and shades.  This helps to insulate the home and keep the heat inside.  Keeping them closed when you are away or sleeping can significantly decrease your heating bills.

These are simple or free tips that can help lower your energy bills.  As always remember to call in a professional HVAC heating and cooling specialist to due furnace maintenance and tune ups at least once a year.

Preparing Your Furnace For Winter

Tis’ the season to make sure your furnace and home heating systems are working efficiently.  Home heating contractors work towards maintain your systems to avoid costly emergency repairs that often occur during the most in opportune times.  The last thing homeowners needs is their furnace to be down during a cold snap or winter storm.

Home heating contractors do early furnace maintenance and tune-ups on home heating systems anytime throughout the year however are more common in the fall months leading into winter.  A furnace tune-up is much like something that would be done to any piece of equipment such as a car or computer. A tune-up makes sure all systems are functioning within top efficiency, updates are done and mechanics are checked for wear, rust, dust and dirt buildup.  The furnace is then cleaned, filters changed and programmed for the season.

The process of yearly furnace maintenance is much cheaper than the cost of an average furnace repair and could eliminate the need for future furnace repairs.  Maintenance is the key to keeping most mechanical systems within the home in check and your heating and cooling system works no differently.  Call to have your system evaluated and tuned up today by a licensed HVAC contractor.

Is Furnace Repair and Hiring Home Heating Contractors Better Than Home Heating Replacement?

Whenever homeowners have problems with their furnace, they often look at replacement services, rather than calling a home heating contractor to come out and take a look. If homeowners knew how inexpensive it is to pay forFurnace Repair, they would probably not want to pay for an entirely new heater. Fortunately, you are reading this article and you will now know how it is inexpensive and profitable to pay for Home Heating Contractors to come out and repair your furnace, rather than purchasing a brand-new furnace.

Brand-new furnaces cost thousands of dollars
A brand-new furnace is going to cost you thousands of dollars or maybe even tens of thousands of dollars. This is not something that you want to fork out money for right away. Furnaces don’t often increase the resale value of homes, because a furnace is expected in the home. You can advertise when selling the house that there is a brand-new furnace inside, but don’t expect this to increase the resale value by very much. Unless you find a specific buyer that is enthusiastic about the presence of this heater, it will not raise the resell value by much more than a couple thousand dollars, which is basically what you paid for it. So what do you do if you want to increase the resell value while still getting an affordable furnace for your home? Instead of buying a brand-new furnace that is going to cost you thousands of dollars, you pay for furnace repair services. These are repair services provided by home heating contractors that can do a professional job for you.

Home heating contractors are inexpensive and paid by the hour
Home heating contractors often charge their clients by the hour, so you don’t have to pay a huge price to have your furnace repaired. If the job is relatively easy and it only takes them an hour or two, they will be done in no time. What does this mean for you as the homeowner? It means that you are going to have a working furnace that is functional and not expensive to have repaired and it will be done within a short period of time. You can call home heating contractors right away and find out about the furnace repair services that they offer. This is a great way to get an estimate on the costs so that you know what exactly it is going to cost you in the long run. This is important when you’re comparing the prices of a brand-new furnace to furnace repair services.

Furnace repair companies are available everywhere!
What are the benefits to hiring a furnace repair company and their home heating contractors? They are available all around the world! There are furnace repair companies everywhere that you go. Regardless of where you live, there is bound to be one in your local neighborhood. You can check online, check Craigslist, check Angie’s List and lots of other websites to find a local heating company that can provide you with affordable furnace repair.

Choosing Comfort Features For Your Electric or Gas Furnace

In recent articles we discussed the pros and cons of choosing between gas and electric furnaces.  Of course there is not one clear winner with this issue for everyone.  Some like the monthly efficiency gas heat brings while others prefer to do away with the yearly maintenance and carbon monoxide risk with gas heating.  Whichever way you and your family lean on the issue once you have chosen which type of heating system you prefer there are more options to decide upon.  This article will focus on the details surrounding the furnace and are the same when talking about gas and electric heating for the home.

When considering the amount of money you are willing to spend on home heating you need to be realistic with some of the extras you are looking for and consider if they are realistic.  You are not necessarily going to get the top of the line quality with a mid-level budget when you are looking for high quality, lots of controls and a whisper quiet machine.

When looking at the quality of a furnace you are actually purchasing the number of years it will last and how it will perform during those years.  When picking a brand of furnace, look for a company that has a history of building reliable, quality appliances.  Spending a bit more on the system upfront may mean less cost down the road. Consider asking for free estimates from several installation companies and while they are in your home evaluating your current needs question them about certain brands and what they suggest and why.

The next feature to give thought to is the efficiency of the home heating system.  A higher rated furnace will cost more initially but could save you money in the long run of owning the furnace. We can break furnace efficiency into two basic categories mid range and high range.  A mid range efficient furnace will offer the homeowner an efficiency rate of about eighty percent over a high range efficiency furnaces which offers as high as a ninety six percent rating.

Comfort features add to the cost of a furnace and are the items that are not necessities but offer something extra that makes the system desirable over another.  One special feature is the option of a two speeds.  This allows the furnace to function on low and is substantially quieter.

This is nice because it runs longer and has fewer start and stop cycles and allows for a more consistent temperature in the home. With two speeds the temperature swing is about two degrees where as a single speed the temperature variance is around four degrees. This also allows for better air circulation and keeps the warm air from settling at the ceiling.

Variable capacity is another option that provides comfort and efficiency.  The motor regulates the home heating needs and automatically adjusts the air speed and volume output.  This system is the most efficient heating and cooling option for your home.  A fan is also installed in this furnace option and is run throughout the summer to increase central air efficiency as well.

The noise level of the furnace is something that needs to be considered in depth especially in ranch homes where the homes heating and cooling systems are in ear shot of main living and sleeping quarters. There is not a standard rating for furnace noise so you will need to do extra research to determine this.

Purchasing a new furnace comes with an abundant amount of decisions.  The extras can add up quickly but it is important that homeowners realize a little more outlay out front can save money in maintenance bills and monthly heating costs.

Choosing Between A Gas and Electric Furnace

There are some home improvement choices that are difficult however purchasing a new furnace should not be.  This article will give you information on purchasing a new, energy efficient furnace for your home. This list will help serve as a guide of what you might want to look for when you are researching a new furnace for your home.

The first decision to make is what type of furnace you will be purchasing. Will you be looking towards a gas or electric furnace?  This decision is often made easier when replacing an old unit as the duct work has been set for the one that is already in the house.  Your budget will need to increase if you are looking to convert from electric to gas or from gas to electric.  This is a personal decision as both methods provide energy efficient options and create the end goal; which is heat for your home.

Let us first take a look deeper into gas furnace systems.  When looking at a gas furnace it is important to point out that this option is more affordable than choosing to go with an electric furnace as a source of heat.  Of course this implies that a gas source is readily available and accessible.  It is important to point out that the downside to gas furnaces is the fumes related to burning fuel.  In a system that is well maintained the fumes generated are sent into an exchanger and then pushed through an exhaust fan out of the house.

When you have a gas furnace it is important to work in the cost of yearly maintenance.  With a gas system it is important to have the gas furnace system tuned up and checked out by a qualified furnace professional once a year before the season begins. They will check out the gas furnace system for holes, leaks or cracks.  A crack within a gas furnace system could lead to carbon monoxide seeping into your home which could prove to be deadly.

An electric furnace is the next option in home heating that the majority of homeowners choose.  Electric furnaces have a higher operating expense than gas furnaces however are generally safer as they do not use a flame and do not generate carbon monoxide.  Having an electric furnace rather than gas often proves to be a cleaner, safer way to heat your home.

The first and foremost decision for new construction or homeowners needing to replace their homes heating is to determine between gas and electric.  Many homes are equipped with systems currently but can be converted if desired.  It is important that owners weigh the pros and cons of both systems; the money spent on yearly maintenance for a gas furnace might be equal to the higher monthly bill of an electric furnace.  These are all cost verse savings estimates that need to be looked at when favoring one system over the other.

Once this has been determined there are a number of other items that come into play and will be more dependent on the budget you have to outfit your home with a new furnace.  Options within the quality of the furnace, the furnaces efficiency, different control features and the noise the furnace produces. We will take a look more in-depth in another article in regards to the details of these features.

Furnace Tune Ups and Yearly Maintenance Save Families Money

With regular furnace tune ups your heating and cooling bills can decrease substantially.  I am sure you have felt the pinch most of us are feeling with the rise of home heating bills.  The national average per year families spent to heat their homes was upwards of one thousand dollars.  It is obvious that anything that can be done to decrease this number and minimize your heating costs should be.  One thing to consider is giving your furnace a professional tune up to ensure that it is working efficiently.

Your homes heating system is made up of essentially different components one is the heating sensor or thermostat.  This piece measures the temperature inside of the home environment and determines when the temperature needs to be increased.

When the room’s temperature decreases the thermostat tells the heater it is time for the blower to turn on.  The ignition in the heater creates heat which is distributed while the furnaces blower moves the air throughout the duct work and distributes it into the house. The cool air in the room is cycled into the return ducts that are placed throughout the house and is warmed.  This warm air out, cool air in sequence continues until the temperature in the room is the temperature requested and then sends an indication that the furnace can shut down.

Something to remember is that HVAC furnaces are mechanical systems.  This means that they need to be maintained in order to continue to work at optimal performance.   It is so important that a tune-up is done by a professional HVAC technician to maintain your heating system.

When a furnace expert is out to complete a tune up on your heating system the first thing they will do is take a look at your furnace.  Professional furnace repair technicians will look for soot and residue around the furnace.  They will follow this by inspecting the furnaces thermostat by increasing the temperature.  This will allow the furnace to ignite and allow the technician to check out the flames within the burner.  The technician will check to ensure the flame is steady and burning blue.  If the flame is orange, yellow and/or flickering this can be an early indicator that the furnace combustion is not adequate.

The next step the technician will undertake is to turn the thermostat down to let the furnace cool down.  They will turn of the circuit breaker to the furnace and continue to examine the interior components.  Once the system has cooled the technician will remove the sides of the furnace and suck out the accumulated dust and debris from the system.  They will then use a clean, damp cloth to continue to clean the system.  A rag can be used to clean the blades of the fans and blowers. While the sides are off this is when oil can be added to the shaft to keep things moving as they should be.

If your furnace has a belt the technician will check to ensure there are no breaks or splits in the belt.  They will also ensure the tension on the belt is correct.  If there are any cracks within the belt or if the tension has become loose the belt will be replaced. Once all of this has been completed the furnace is ready to be put back together and the circuit breaker can be turned back on.

The last thing that the technician will do is put a fresh filter in and remind you that it is good practice to change your furnaces filters once a month during the heating season.  It all seems so simple however should be left up to the professionals.  A HVAC contractor is licensed and trained to work inside the complex heating system.  In the long run it save you money have the professional do the job right the first time instead of coming out to fix your mishap.  You won’t be sorry and you will make up the expense in the money you save on your monthly heating bills.

 

Maintenance For In Between Professional Furnace Tune ups

My favorite memory of my dad and my son revolve around furnace maintenance.  Isn’t that an odd favorite memory?  It’s true though.  My dad was fixing his furnace, as he seemed to do at least one a season, and my son went over and started to tinker with him and hand him tools. Then it happened, frustration.  Thankfully my dad was able to control it when he saw those two eyes peering up at him.

Have you ever felt such frustration when your furnace decides to stop working in the middle of the winter on an incredibly bitter day?  This article can help you avoid frustration by teaching you some basic maintenance techniques that can help stage off aggravation and help to minimize problems that are unexpected.  Although it is best to schedule a professional furnace tune up once a year with a technician the following do it yourself tips help ward off the expensive furnace melt down that is inevitable otherwise.

The first tip whenever doing work on your own furnace without professional assistance is to make sure the power is completely shut off to the furnace.  This ensures the motor does not start while you are tinkering on the furnace.  There are things such as changing the filter that can be done without turning off the furnace however most other maintenance requires caution.  On top of turning off the power it is smart to turn off the fuel supply as well be it gas or oil that your furnace runs off of.  Before you do these steps however make sure you know how to relight the pilot light.  If you don’t know how to do this and you do turn off the power supply you will find yourself calling in the professionals so you won’t have saved yourself any money.

One quick do it yourself tip that will instantly save you money and save energy is by replacing an old model thermostat with a new programmable digital thermostat.  With this type of model thermostat you will be able to program it so that the temperature automatically adjusts the temperature of your home to keep you comfortable when you are there and save money when you are not.

At the very minimum homeowners should change their furnaces air filters in any forced air furnace monthly.  Purchasing a high quality thermostat should allow you a feature to remind you when should change the filter.  It will not matter on the quality of furnace filter chosen to use as long as you remember to regularly change it.  The filter you chose should be based upon the sensitivity to air-borne particles of the members in your family.  If you have pets consider a higher quality filter to help keep down the dander and hair in the air.  You should vacuum the blower and accessible areas of the furnace as well.  Dust will accumulate on the blades of the blower. With regular vacuuming this should be alleviated.

With a regularly schedule furnace tune ups from professionals and these regular maintenance tips you should help yourself avoid many common issues that can arise from maintenance not being kept up on.  It is the same as with a car, professionals do the big stuff but we as the car’s owners keep up on oil changes, washer solvent and tire rotations.  It is a combination of the things professional and homeowners bring to the table that will keep your furnace running smooth.

Reasonable Home Improvements To Add Value

Improving our home is always top of mind.  To us home improvements don’t mean we have to completely overhaul a room or the entire house.  We don’t even always take on major tasks like replacing tile, carpet or painting often we take on simpler more inexpensive fixes.  Even simple things like adding some fresh flowers, plants or art can completely liven and change a space.  Read on for simple pick me ups for your home.

Let’s start in the living room.  Our room has a ton of windows and doors letting in major amounts of natural light but often appears to be a bit dark.  There are several fixes to our problem.  Some more major than others.  We considered adding skylights which is a bit costly but helps save on electricity bills in the long run for we would not have to have lamps lightening the space.

Another option that is reasonable is to lighten the color paint we have on the wall.  We tend to stick with beige which is neutral but a color such as yellow can add warmth and bring coziness to a space. Another option we have considered is replacing the dark wood furniture in the space with lighter colored furniture or coating it with white paint.  Lots of options are available to add light to a space.

Next we move on to the kitchen.  So much happens in this area of anyone’s home. It is a central hub for families and friends to gather.  Improving on a space such as this is to add function, coziness without deleting spaciousness and functionality.  Adding built ins can really improve a kitchen space.  One example is the microwave.   Having this item stacked above the stove instead of on a counter adds a tremendous amount of space.

Another great tip for the kitchen is to add an overhang from the counter tops for a mini-meal space.  Bar stools are convenient ways to add seating without taking up space in a situation like this.  I also like adding in a fresh herb assortment to add a fresh feel.  Instead of using a counter add mason jars on shelves or hooks with the herbs growing from them.  This can really improve the feel of a kitchen.

Home improvements aren’t always necessarily items that we can immediately see.  Adding insulation to improve the heating and cooling performance of your homes air conditioning system and home heating system are great examples of this.  Adding energy efficient appliances as well as heating and cooling units save you money over the long haul which is a huge improvement to your home and can increase the home’s value tremendously in the eyes of future buyers.

Home improvements come in all shapes, sizes and budgets. How you improve your home and why is up to you.  Some people are updating and upgrading for resale value only.  Others want to make their homes cozy havens to relax and enjoy.  Whatever the reason for your next home improvement, big or small, remember the end result will make it all worth the effort put into it.