Preparing for Change

As the leaves begin to change and holiday decor begins to flood our stores, we can feel the change in seasons lurking right around the corner.  With this change in seasons comes a change in the weather as well, so instead of cuddling up next to the golden retriever, here are a few simple steps to take when preparing your home for these colder months.  One of the first steps to take is to remove any window AC units and stow them away in a safe place until spring and summer come back around.  It’s nothing personal; it’s just that much easier to keep the house warm without those bulky units in the window letting all the cold air in.  If you’re currently living in an apartment or other small area, some HVAC companies will remove and store the units for you until it’s time to bring them back out for the warm weather.  Next, it’s always a good idea to have your heater inspected before the cold kicks in.  This is not only important for safety reasons, but also so you don’t find yourself with a broken heater at 3 in the morning when it’s below freezing outside.  Luckily, most HVAC contractors will do this inspection for a relatively low cost.  The next thing to do is to seal any leaks, opening, or gaps around windows or doors with caulk.  This will keep the warm air from your heating system inside the house, while keeping the cold air outside where it belongs.  One of the last, and occasionally missed, steps to take is to have your dryer vents checked by your HVAC contractor to make sure they are properly vented.  Once these steps are taken, you are ready to fire up the heating system and stay warm as the colder months approach.

A Heated Debate

When you can’t get your mind off the heat outside this summer, think of how you are going to keep heat inside your home this winter. When it comes to heating, you have three different options, gas, electric or oil. Each option posses its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Whether you are buying a new home or looking to switch the type of heat you rely on for financial or environmental reasons, Hava Tech comes prepared to guide and assist you until you are completely satisfied with your choice. Below you will find specific advantages and disadvantages to each one of your heating options. These facts should help you decide on an option that best fits your lifestyle.

Natural Gas

  • More environmentally friendly compared to oil.
  • Most popular choice for heating homes in the United States.
  • Has an abundant supply where the gas travels through underground pipelines.
  • Very combustible and highly explosive; Gas leaks cause tremendous problems and can cause severe sickness or death when inhaled.
  • Non renewable energy that will eventually run out.

Oil

  • Heats your home quicker than any other method.
  • Keep your own supply of heating fuel on your property. You will have heat no what.
  • Operates with the utmost efficiency and can greatly save energy costs.
  • Much safer than natural gas.
  • Once the tank goes empty, your house will have no heat until a new one arrives.
  • Cannot be renewed and produces carbon dioxide which has been linked to ozone depletion.

Electric

  • Is very quiet and is very safe to deal with and use.
  • Offers complete control allowing you to set exact temperatures at exact times in certain rooms.
  • Very easy to install and take up minimal space.
  • Renewable and relatively endless source of energy.
  • Very expensive when compared to oil and gas heating.
  • Can’t operate without electricity so when a power outage occurs, you will lose heat.

Now that you have a better feel for the advantages and disadvantages of various heating options, visit havatechinc.com or stop by our Fairfax office to learn more about installing and maintaining a brand new heating system that fits your needs.

How important is it to change our HVAC air filters?

I always advise my clients at HAVA Tech and Featherstone to either clean or change their air filters once a month. Air filter changes are critical during the hottest periods of the summer season and cold winter months – both seasons find HVAC units being utilized heavily.

Just like your clothes dryer’s lint filter, a dirty HVAC filter causes the unit to work harder in order to keep you cool or warm. Get a paper towel and fold it, try breathing through it, how hard is that?

Now you have a better understanding of why it is important to change the filter. When it comes to caring for the environment, dirty filters waste excessive energy as a result of working much harder. Nevertheless, changing the air filter, which does not cost much, could save you from spending thousands for repairing, or possibly replacing, exhausted HVAC units.

When should you replace an HVAC unit?

It is the sixth HVAC unit service call you are paying for, but still something tells you that it might be easier, but more costly, to simply replace the entire unit. The up-sell method provides businesses with the mechanism for suggesting that their clients purchase more products and services under the premise that the customer will be better off. As businesspeople ourselves, we don’t deny that the “up-sell” can be used ethically, but at the same time, as long-term members of our local community we aim to bring the best value to our customers.

A service call for an AC unit, is just that, a call for service that involves a repair or part replacement. Last year one of my customers at HAVA Tech, who continues to be a friend, had an HVAC unit that wasn’t heating/cooling while still having a running fan. For an entire year of service calls, other contractors blamed his unit’s age and encouraged him to replace the entire unit. To make a long story short, it all came down to requiring the replacement of a small, but critical part that was fixed in less than 15 minutes.

Be aware when selecting your HVAC contractors. Changing the entire unit is not always the best solution.