Posts Tagged ‘furnace maintenance’

Better late than later! It’s time again to think about a furnace tune-up!

October 22, 2013

You should get your furnace (or boiler) checked at least once a year (more if you burn oil) to make sure that it is operating safely and efficiently.

snowflakes

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as they say.  Preventive maintenance can help ensure that your furnace runs when it needs to.  You would be surprised how many service calls we get in the northeast on the first cold days of the year.  There is a spike in calls when we experience a deep cold snap too. This of course is not the time you want your furnace to go down!

By the end of September in the northern US, many contractors start getting backed up with service calls as you may have discovered if you tried to schedule one in the last few months.  As you head south, that shifts from October to even December (OK, Palm Springs doesn’t get backed up in heating season, which is why I for one, hope to visit!).

Get that furnace tuned-up BEFORE heating season kicks in and if it has in your neck of the woods, before it really gets cold!

Thanks,

Jason

 

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ASnowflakesWilsonBentley.jpg

Spring Cleaning

April 8, 2011

 For most of us the signs of spring have arrived. The days are longer, and we throw open windows until the late day coolness sets in reminding us it’s not quite over. Being closed up for so long, our homes collect a bit of dust, and April showers add to the mess spurring some of us into a cleaning frenzy. The heat gets turned down and forgotten until next year.

Often in haste we scramble to schedule a service call before we fire up the heating system again in the fall—or after it breaks down. Maybe we count our blessings this spring that this was one more year for the old clunker in the basement. It must be ok since it survived one more season, right? Or for some this is just a rest before we switch to cooling our homes, the few months where we can catch up on the bills and leave the system off for a bit.

Why not take spring cleaning a bit deeper this year. Even if your furnace is off for months until the weather cools down again it won’t hurt to have it looked at now. For sure it’s a good time of year to have a heating system cleaned and serviced, and if there is something that needs to be fixed what better time to do it than when the system is shut down for the summer. Not every heating and cooling technician is the same though. Some have a deeper understanding of not only the heating system, but how it really is a part of a larger system we call the home.

Sometimes even when the boiler or furnace chugs along happy as can be, we might have a room that doesn’t ever feel quite right, one that seems to be much colder than the thermostat says, or is drafty from somewhere you can never put your finger on. Maybe it’s the one that gets real hot come summertime. A good technician might still clean and service a system that runs fine, but more heat or cooling to those troublesome spots isn’t always the answer. A bad one sees how close a screw looks to a nail everywhere because all they have is a hammer. How do you find a technician that understands? You don’t need one that has all the answers, but one that knows who to ask.

A heating technician should be good at heating systems. And having a deeper understanding of how your house operates—and a BPI certification—is preferred. It’s a home run when they spot trouble and can lead you to the right person to help fix it. At GreenHomes America our technicians keep an eye out for trouble. If all you need is a tune up that’s what you get. If you weren’t comfortable this winter or the season has taken its toll on your home, they might suggest a more in-depth “service and tune-up” on the house itself with one of our energy Advisors. Spring cleaning is not just a feather duster and a mop anymore. Do right by yourself and your immediate environment; consider a spring tune up from someone who isn’t afraid to go and get a screwdriver.

photo credit http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:LC-de

Protect yourself and your family from CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning

December 5, 2009

A story in today’s Burlington Free Press again points to the importance of making sure you protect yourself against carbon monoxide poisoning.

As we’ve discussed here before, check out the National Safety Council’s general recommendations.   As mentioned, all homeowners should get at least an annual check-up on their heating and hot-water system to make sure they are operating properly.  And anytime you make changes to your home, from building an addition, to adding air-conditioning, to changing your windows, you should have an expert make sure that all equipment is operating and venting properly. As a secondary measure, all homes should have a CO alarm.

Please, be safe.

Thanks,
Mike

Gas leaks and Carbon Monoxide Problems in CA

July 23, 2009

This is a bit disconcerting, folks.  In 14 of the last 18 homes we’ve visited on home assessments in California, we’ve found either significant gas leaks, carbon monoxide or combustion issues or all of the above.   In New York, it’s more like 20-25% of the time.  Either way, this is serious stuff.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion of fuels like gas, oil, and wood—and it can kill you.  At lower doses, CO can worsen heart conditions, and cause fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness.  

Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating and venting correctly.  And install a CO alarm.  We are required to install a UL listed alarm, and I have several in my own home.  As an additional level of protection, I also have a CO Experts monitor which provides readings at a much lower level.

NOTE:  ANYONE WHOSE CO ALARM IS GOING OFF SHOULD IMMEDIATELY GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, CALL 911, and seek help from a professional to locate and fix the source of the problem.

Don’t wait for an alarm to go off, though.  Check out the National Safety Council’s general recommendations.   As mentioned, all homeowners should get at least an annual check-up on their heating and hot-water system to make sure they are operating properly.  And anytime you make changes to your home, from building an addition, to adding air-conditioning, to changing your windows, you should have an expert make sure that all equipment is operating and venting properly.

Regarding the gas leaks, the big risk there is fire or explosion.  While you’re getting your appliances serviced, ask to have your gas lines checked, too.

Safety is more important than energy-efficiency–and that’s why we begin and end every project with safety testing.

Be safe!
Mike


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