Archives for Home

Solutions for Temperature Disputes

Some people like it hot and some people like it cool. When it comes to temperature, not everyone is comfortable at the same temperature. There are many factors that go into comfort. With this in mind, different people are comfortable at different temperatures. This can lead to arguments in both the home and the workplace. If you are familiar with this issue and are looking for solutions, B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania is here to help. Check out these great ideas below. 

Home Zoning 

If everyone in your household or workplace doesn’t reside in the same room, a home zoning system could be your best solution. A home zoning system divides your home or building into sections using dampers in the air ducts. This allows each zone to be controlled individually. If one person prefers warmth, they can send heat to their room. On the other hand, if someone wants it cool, they can shut the dampers to their room. Talk to a B&L Ott professional technician to learn more. 

Space Heaters

If just one or two people want more heat, one option you may want to consider is a space heater. They can warm a small area fairly efficiently. Just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure safety for your family or coworkers. 

Blankets and Sweaters

If you need a cheap solution for warmth, blankets or sweaters are the simplest solutions. They will help you insulate your body heat when the room is too cold for your liking. Most blankets and sweaters are also soft to add to your comfort. 

Fans

Fans are useful if you need to keep cool for a low cost. There are many different options. You can get a simple one or one with varying speeds that rotate. While fans don’t change the temperature of the room you are in, they can keep the air moving so you feel cooler. 

Improve Your HVAC Efficiency

Sometimes arguments over temperature occur simply because it costs extra to run your HVAC system. If this is your situation, try to look for ways you can make your system run more efficiently. Be sure to keep up with changing the filter on your system and contact B&L Ott biannually for preventative maintenance. Programmable thermostats can also be helpful as you can turn the temperature back when you aren’t home to save energy. 

There are many different ways to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. Talk to the professionals at B&L Ott in Berks County for more solutions. You can do so through our website here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. You can also call B&L Ott at 610-816-6026. 

Consider Other Home Elements

There are many other elements you may want to take into consideration when determining what temperature to set your thermostat to. For instance, if you have a husky for a pet, you should likely go with the cooler temperature so your pet can be comfortable too. On the other hand, if you have a baby in your home, you may want to keep your Berks County home on the warmer side. Be sure to take details like these into consideration when making your final temperature decision. 

Compromise 

If all else fails, try to compromise. For instance, if one person wants the temperature at 65 degrees and the other wants it at 75, then set the temperature to 70. Then you can use a blanket or fan as needed to keep you a bit warmer or cooler. 

Use Official Recommendations 

If you prefer not to make a compromise, you can go with the official recommendations. The Department of Energy recommends 68 degrees in winter and 78 degrees in the summer. 

No one likes arguing over the temperature. By using these simple solutions you can help keep your family or coworker warm so they can be happy and productive. If you need more help, contact B&L Ott at https://otthvac.com/contact-us/ or 610-816-6026. We will help you find the best solutions for your home.

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HVAC Tips To Get A Better Night’s Sleep

If you want to be happy, healthy, and productive, ensuring you get a good night’s rest is one of the best steps you can take. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and there’s a good reason. Sleep provides us with the chance to process the lessons of the day, to relax our muscles, and to recharge. Unfortunately, the lack of comfort can affect how well we sleep.

The more comfortable your bedroom is, the better the rest you can get. When it comes to comfort, your HVAC system plays a big role. Therefore, it is important to know your options so you can get the best sleep possible. To help you do so, B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania is here to help you learn your options and provide tips for maximizing your comfort.

Temperature

If your bedroom is not a comfortable temperature, you may end up tossing and turning all night. Whether you are shivering or kicking the blankets out, trying to cope with the temperature can leave you sleepless. Then the next day you can’t’ focus and barely feel like moving. If this situation sounds familiar, check out the helpful systems B&L Ott can help you install below.

Programmable Thermostat

Heat rises. This means that if your bedroom is on the second floor, it is likely hotter than the rest of your Berks County home. Some people get around this issue by turning their thermostat down before bed. If you use this method and want to make doing so more convenient, consider having B&L Ott install a programmable thermostat.

With a programmable thermostat, all you have to do is set a schedule once and your system will continue to follow your instructions until you decide to change it again. You can tell your thermostat to automatically make your home cooler before you go to bed and have it warm up again right before you wake up. You can wake up comfortable and rested without having to fiddle with your thermostat.

Home Zoning

If you want to make controlling the temperature of your home even more convenient and save money at the same time, you will also want to consider asking B&L Ott to install a home zoning system. If you have a large home, you are likely paying to cool rooms that you may not even use that often. With a home zoning system, you can send the cool air directly where you want it to go.

A home zoning system uses dampers in your air ducts to divide your home into sections. You can section off your home almost any way you want. You can section it off by floors, by rooms, or by areas. This means if you want to cool off your second-floor bedroom without making the first floor colder and wasting energy, then you can do so. One of B&L Ott’s technicians can even help you determine the best way to section off your Berks County home.

Humidity

Humidity can also affect how comfortable you feel. For instance, if the air is too humid, your skin will likely feel sticky and gross. On the other hand, when the humidity levels in your home are low, your skin will feel dry and itchy. Lack of humidity can also leave your family more susceptible to colds and the flu. The ideal humidity levels for your home is between 40-45%. If you feel that your home’s humidity levels are too low or too high, talk to B&L Ott about installing a humidifier or a dehumidifier.

Air Flow

Finally, the easier you can breathe, the better sleep you will get. Having good air flow can help you sleep better. To improve the air flow open your windows if it is nice out. If it is too hot or cold, use some fans to move the air around. Fans can also create white noise which many people find can help them fall asleep faster.

Contact B&L Ott for Help

If you have any questions or need more help making your home comfortable, contact the professionals at B&L Ott. You can do so on our website here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. You can also call B&L Ott at 610-816-6026. By utilizing these simple tips, you can sleep better, feel more energetic, and be more productive.

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HVAC Tips to Consider When Remodeling Your Berks County Home

When you remodel your home, there are countless aspects to think about. You need to plan the layout of the rooms, figure out how much material you need, figure out who will build everything and more. One very important facet to pay attention to is your HVAC system.

Your HVAC system can and should affect the remodel and the remodel can and likely will affect your HVAC system. Before you begin building, you want to make sure everything is in order so that you have little chance of running into issues. To help you plan, B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania has compiled this list of tips to help you through the process.

Protect Your System From Dust

The first aspect you will want to consider is protecting your HVAC system from dust and other debris. If this dirt gets inside your system, it can cause wear-and-tear, clogs, or other problems. Turn your system off before you start your remodel. You will also want to close your registers and air vents. After that, try to avoid working near your system and use tarps to contain the dust in your construction area. You will also want to clean your workspace at the end of the day.

Cooling the Extra Space

If you are adding on a large room or multiple rooms, you should consider installing either a larger system or a mini-split system to cool the extra space. If your system is fairly new or if you need a lot of duct modifications, consider contacting B&L Ott to install a mini-split system. On the other hand, if your system is nearing the end of its life, completely replacing your system would likely be a better option.

If you need more help deciding if you should replace your system, check out this B&L Ott blog here: https://otthvac.com/replace-hvac-system/. You can also contact B&L Ott to schedule a consultation. One of our technicians can help you analyze the situation and recommend the best solutions.

Air Duct Modification

If you don’t go with a mini-split system, you will likely need to modify your air ducts to ensure that your new space can be cool and comfortable. This is definitely something you will want to contemplate before remodeling as the need for more air ducts can greatly affect how you layout your new space. Contact a professional HVAC contractor like B&L Ott to help you figure out if and how your air ducts can be modified to fit your new space.

Cleaning

With any HVAC system, the goal is to maximize efficiency. This way you can save energy and money. To maximize your efficiency, you will want to make sure your system is as clean as possible. Change your filter often during the remodel. The excess dust and debris can quickly clog your system.

You may also want to consider B&L Ott’s duct cleaning service. The dust that builds up within your ducts can block the air flow and make your system work harder to cool your Berks County home. Duct cleaning is not something you should try to do on your own as it is difficult to see and reach the dust. B&L Ott uses the Air Scrubber Plus® which is the latest in duct-cleaning technology. It cleans up to 99.9% of the harmful contaminants in your home and had been awarded the Space Foundation’s Certified Space Technology seal of approval. Getting your ducts cleaned by B&L Ott can also help your family breathe easier.

Contact B&L Ott for Help

Still unsure about certain aspects of your remodel? Contact the professionals at B&L Ott for help. We will help you go over your plans and help you determine what type of heating and cooling solutions you need. You can contact B&L Ott through our website here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. You can also call B&L Ott at 610-816-6026.

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Keeping Your Berks County Home Well-Maintained, Organized, and Looking Great

Everyone wants their home to look the best that it can be. This way, if friends and family visit, they will be comfortable and impressed. Unfortunately, life can get so busy that it can be difficult to keep your house in great shape. You need to set aside time for organizing and cleaning. Otherwise, your to-do list will continue to grow and you eventually may get embarrassed whenever company shows up.

B&L Ott is here to help with some tips and information about what home improvement areas to pay attention to. With just a bit more attention, you can get your Berks County home looking fantastic!

Yard

It can be difficult to find time to tend to your yard when Pennsylvania weather is so unpredictable. Be sure to check the weekly forecast regularly. Figure out which day looks the nicest and schedule yard work that day. If you are still short on time, get your family to help or hire someone to help you.

If getting your entire yard together seems overwhelming, remember to take it one small step at a time. Do a little bit day by day rather than scheduling an entire day of yard work.

Kitchen

Does your kitchen have an organizational system? Do all your pots, pans, and utensils have a home? If not, your kitchen probably gets cluttered easily and you may get frustrated. Having an organized kitchen will save you time and stress.

If your kitchen needs work, set aside a weekend to get it organized. You will thank yourself later. Buy some drawer organizers, spice caddies, and other organizational supplies to help you. Once everything is organized you will find it much easier to work your way around the kitchen. Don’t forget to take time every week or two to get rid of expired food, as well. It only takes about 5-10 minutes if you keep up with it.

Living Area

Your living room likely doesn’t need as much attention as your kitchen, but it is still important to pay attention to. Blankets and pillows should be washed every 2-4 weeks, your carpet should be vacuumed 1-2 times per week, and you should dust 1-4 times per month. These tasks don’t take much time. It is just a matter of remembering to do so. Set a reminder on your phone or delegate it as a job to someone in your household.

Bathroom

Bathrooms can get pretty messy quickly. Between makeup, brushing teeth, taking showers and more, there can be dirt everywhere. If you have guests, you don’t want them to be disgusted by your bathroom. Therefore, it is important to keep it clean.

Like the kitchen, your bathroom should have an organizational system and be cleaned every week or two. It helps if you clean up your messes right after you make them. This way, the pile of clutter doesn’t keep growing. By taking just a few minutes to clean up after yourself, you can keep your bathroom looking orderly on a daily basis.

Bedroom

In most cases, your guests won’t go into your bedroom, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get frustrated by a messy bedroom. One of the biggest issues in the bedroom is the laundry. At the end of the day, you are tired and many times just want to collapse onto your bed. Messiness or cleanliness is a habit. If you allow yourself to be lazy, even just a few times, you will reinforce that habit. On the other hand, if you push yourself to clean up after yourself, you will reinforce good habits. Be sure to pick up your clothing, make your bed, and clean up other little messes on a daily basis.

HVAC System

Finally, don’t forget to take care of your appliances and tools, especially your HVAC. You want you, your family, and your guests to be comfortable in your home. Your HVAC system will help you accomplish this. You have to take proper care of it though. To make sure it is ready to work properly and efficiently, contact B&L Ott. Our professionals will thoroughly inspect, clean, and adjust your system with B&L Ott’s Routine Maintenance Program. By doing so you can help make sure that your system will run when you need it most.

To schedule routine maintenance or schedule another B&L Ott service, you can visit our website and contact us here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. Alternatively, you can call B&L Ott at 610-816-6026. With a little work and help from B&L Ott, your Berks Country home will be a comfortable place for you and any guests who may come your way.

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Ways to Make Your Berks County Home More Energy Efficient

Your Berks County home is likely filled with dozens of machines, devices, and appliances. Paying for the energy to power all of these devices can get expensive. If you are looking for ways to help you and your family cut back on your energy usage, B&L Ott near Reading, Pennsylvania is here to help. Below you will find a variety of ways to make your home more efficient and conserve energy.

HVAC Tips

Your HVAC system is one of the biggest users of energy in your Berks County home. This is a good place to focus when trying to lower your energy bills. B&L Ott offers a variety of solutions that can help you conserve energy.

Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats or Smart Thermostats make setting the temperature and air conditions in your home easier than ever. After B&L Ott installs your system, all you have to do is program a routine once. Then your system will continue to follow the routine that you set on a daily or weekly basis. You will barely have to touch your thermostat again. If you program your thermostat to turn back your air conditioner or heater during the day while you are not home, you can also save a significant amount on your energy bills.

Home Zoning

Home zoning is yet another system that makes controlling the conditions in your home easier than ever. Your family likely has their favorite spots in your home. You also likely have areas that you don’t use often. Yet, you still allow your HVAC system to warm or cool these areas. This wastes energy. A home zoning system splits your Berks County home into different sections that can be warmed or cooled individually. Contact B&L Ott to learn more or to have a home zoning system installed.

Air Flow

Like unused rooms, poor air flow can also waste energy. When airflow is poor, your HVAC system has to work harder to warm or cool your Berks County home. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the quality of air flow in your home. This includes cleanliness of your system, furniture layout, and how much care you have given your system.

When it comes to the cleanliness of your HVAC system, there are many parts to take care of. Be sure to clean your filter regularly, dust off the vents, and have B&L Ott clean your air ducts about every ten years. For furniture layout, make sure your couches, shelves, and other furniture are not blocking your vents and return air ducts. Finally, contact B&L Ott for preventative maintenance so you can make sure your system is running at maximum efficiency.

Insulate Your Home

Much of your homes warm or cool air is lost through your doors, windows, attic, and basement. One of the best ways to keep conditioned air from escaping is to insulate your home. If your home is due for new doors or windows, invest in thick ones that can help keep warm or cool air in. Thick curtains or mini blinds also help.

There are various forms of insulation you can buy for your attic or basement. The best way to choose which one is right for your home is to do plenty of research or talk to a professional. If you don’t have the time or money to spend on insulation you can also buy air blockers for doors leading to your attic and basement. They may not work as well as insulation, but they can still help keep conditioned air from escaping your home.

Home Automation

Similar to installing a programmable thermostat to control your HVAC system, there are many other automated devices that can help your home run more smoothly. For instance, there are lighting fixtures with sensors that turn off automatically when you leave the room and turn on when you enter the room. There are also automated security systems, entertainment systems, surveillance cameras and more. Not only are these systems convenient, but they can help you reduce your energy usage as well.

Buy Energy Efficient Appliances

There are many energy-efficient appliances on the market to help you save energy and lower your utility bills. If you would like to know more about energy efficient HVAC system options, talk to the professionals at B&L Ott. Some other appliances that offer energy efficient models include washers, dryers, water heaters, dishwashers, lights, and more. These models are typically more expensive than regular models, but they save you more in the long run.

Reduce the Amount Of Energy You Use

There are many systems, machines, and appliances you can buy to help you save energy. However, one of the best and cheapest ways to save energy is to change your habits. By making a few changes you may be surprised at how much you save. Some changes you can make include:

  • Turning the lights off when you leave the room.
  • Taking shorter and colder showers.
  • Using blankets or a sweater instead of turning up the heat.
  • Air drying your clothes and dishes.
  • Unplug devices and appliances when you’re not using them.
  • Turn off the water when you are not using it.

There are many benefits of becoming more energy efficient. By using some of the tips and ideas on this list, you are sure to save all while helping your Berks County home run more efficiently.

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5 Ways to Stay Comfortable and Save This Fall and Winter Season

Everyone wants to be comfortable. When you are comfortable, you can relax and recharge after a hard day at work. You can feel safe and at peace. There are a variety of benefits to being comfortable. To help you keep your home and family comfortable, B&L Ott has compiled this list of ways to stay comfortable. Many of these tips can also help you keep your HVAC system running efficiently so you can reduce your utility bills as well.

Find Low-Energy Ways to Keep Yourself Warm

Firstly, you should focus on making yourself warm. If you are warm, you will not need to turn up the heat in your home as much. When your thermostat is set lower, your heating system will not have to work as hard and will use less energy. Here are a variety of ways you can make yourself warmer without an HVAC system.

Build a Fire

If you have a fireplace, building a fire and sitting by it is a great way to stay warm. You can read a book or listen to music while you listen to the relaxing snapping and crackling of the wood.

Wear Warm Clothing

Many people in Berks County know its always good to wear layers during the fall and winter months. Plenty of layers help you stay warm, and you can always take a layer off if you’re too hot. If you are nice and warm from layers of clothing, you won’t need to turn your heater up as high.

Cuddle With Blankets

Sometimes if you wear too many layers, it can be difficult to move. If you don’t want that, you can simply use a blanket or two instead. You can even cuddle with a friend, family member, or pet and share the warmth.

Eat or Drink Something Warm

Hot chocolate is a favorite when it comes to cold weather traditions. It tastes sweet and helps keep you warm. However, there are plenty of other warm foods and drinks you can consume if you prefer something else. For instance, coffee, apple cider, soup, oatmeal, or fresh baked goods right out of the oven. Baking is yet another way to add heat to your home so you can turn your thermostat back a bit.

Take a Hot Bath

If your muscles are tense, few things are better than a hot bath (or a hot tub if you have one) to relax your muscles. You can light some candles and play some of your favorite music while you soak and forget your troubles.

Let the Sun Shine In During the Day

Take advantage of the natural heat the sun produces. Open up your curtains and let the sunshine into your home during the day. It will help warm your home a few degrees and give your heater a break. Just don’t forget to close them once the sun goes down.

Make Sure Your Home is Insulated

It’s also important to make sure your home is properly insulated. Doing so will help keep the heat in and the cold out. Some main spaces to focus on are your attic, basement, doors, and windows.

It can be difficult to insulate your attic or basement but can be a worthwhile project to help you lower your utility bills. For your windows, you can buy thick curtains that help block the warm air from escaping and the cold air from entering. For doors, you can purchase a draft stopper to put at the bottom of your door.

Turn On or Buy a Humidifier

When the air is dry, sweat evaporates off of your skin quickly and makes you feel cooler. When there is moisture in the air, it takes longer for the sweat to evaporate off of your skin. This keeps you feeling a bit warmer. Therefore, adding humidity to the air can keep you and your family warm. Turn on your humidifier, or buy one if you don’t have one. Talk to a B&L Ott professional to learn more or to get help choosing the right humidifier for your Berks County home.

Have B&L Ott Install a Home Zoning System

One of the best ways to save while increasing comfort is to have B&L Ott install a home zoning system for you. A home zoning system divides your home into separate sections using dampers in your air ducts. This allows you to direct the warm air directly where you want it to go. This helps save energy and lower utility bills by just focusing on certain areas rather than warming your entire house equally.

If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment to have B&L Ott install a home zoning system, you can do so here: https://otthvac.com/contact-us/. You can also call B&L Ott at 610-816-6026.

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Tips To Get the Most Out Of Selling Your Berks County Home

When you decide to sell your home and move, there are a lot of things to think about. One of those things is how to attract potential buyers to buy your current home. There are a variety of aspects potential buyers will look at when touring your home and plenty of ways you can improve your home to make it more attractive. Below you will find just a few.

Highlight the Best Features

Ask yourself why you like living in your current home. Maybe you have a beautiful kitchen, a bit yard, or a nice HVAC system that was installed by B&L Ott. In most cases, potential buyers will like the same things about your house as you do. Therefore, you should highlight the best features of your home somehow.

You can mention your favorite features during your tour, or you can stage your home. Staging your home refers to decorating your home and arranging it in a way that highlights the best features of your home.  You may also want to avoid bringing attention to parts of your Berks County home that still need some work or aren’t as appealing. It’s not a good idea to lie about any of your home’s features, though.

Improve Your Curb Appeal

First impressions are the most important. What people see first, will affect their views of the rest of the house. This is why it is important to boost your curb appeal. If your home looks like it needs many repairs, and there are a lot of weeds growing in the yard, you are less likely to attract buyers.

Some simple ways to boost your curb appeal include, gardening, touching up your mailbox, buying a new doormat, and improving your outdoor lighting. You don’t have to spend a ton of money fixing up the house you are about to move out of, but by cleaning your yard up a bit, you can make a better impression.

Clean

Cleaning the inside can also help make a good impression. Clean up toys, stray papers, pet hair, dust and any other unnecessary belongings you have laying around. Cleaning up clutter will also help open up your space and make it look larger. If you don’t have space to put everything, try utilizing a self-storage facility until you move out.

Touch Up The Paint

Once you take all of your furniture out, your walls will be what’s left. Therefore, you will want to make sure your walls look good as well. Give them a fresh coat of paint if they need it, or redo the wallpaper. If your walls are bright or unique colors, go for a more neutral color. Neutral walls look good with more furniture and potential buyers won’t have to think about repainting the walls to make it look okay with their style.

Update the Lighting

If you are willing to spend some extra cash, you can also think about updating your lighting. Lights with a dimming feature or automated lights can be a great selling point to tell potential buyers. As mentioned before, you can also update your outdoor lighting. Uplighting is a great way to make your home look more upscale.

Update Your HVAC System

If you have an old HVAC system, this can be something that may drive interested buyers away. If you want to have a new HVAC system installed, you can call on B&L Ott in Berks County for help. We can help you find the best system to fit the home. We can also provide other services such as air duct cleaning, home automation installation or programmable thermostat installation. To schedule an appointment, you can contact us through our website or by calling 610-816-6026.

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Keep your HVAC system alive this summer

Summer is fast approaching, and in order to beat the heat outside you want to keep your home nice and cool inside. But is your HVAC system ready for summer? The tips below will help keep your HVAC system alive and running through the summer heat and can even save you money.

  1. Make sure your HVAC system is regularly inspected and maintained. Doing this helps you treat normal wear and tear issues before they become major issues. You may also want to consider an energy audit as part of or in addition to regular maintenance.
  2. Check your insulation. Proper insulation will help keep a home cool when you run the air conditioning and warm when you run the heat. Even if your home is insulated, it may be time for an upgrade.
  3. Get a programmable thermostat…and program it. Setting your thermostat for optimal daytime and nighttime temperatures is a great way to save money on your HVAC bills and to give your system some much needed rest and relaxation when it doesn’t need to be working hard.
  4. Replace old air conditioning units with energy efficient units. Energy efficient units can save you money, and you may be eligible for tax breaks. It’s also better to be proactive about replacing old units than it is to be surprised when your unit breaks.
  5. Check your fuses and circuit breakers. You may have a brand new HVAC system, but it won’t do you any good if your home’s electrical system is in need of care and you are constantly blowing fuses.
  6. Don’t block your air conditioning unit. If your unit is inside the house, don’t block the flow of air or use it as a shelf. Blocking the flow of air means you won’t feel the air, and if that happens you will likely crank up the AC and make the unit work harder than it needs to work. If your unit is outside, don’t let grass, trees, or shrubs block it; this can cause the filters to clog and impair the unit’s ability to drain properly.
  7. Check your unit’s filters often. If the filters are clogged or dirty, clean or replace them as soon as possible. Filters are in place to help you maintain good indoor air quality, so you don’t want to let the impurities filtered out of your air sit around in your machine and get re-filtered through the house. Clean filters also help your unit run easier.
  8. Make sure your AC units are draining properly. Removing any debris that is built up around the drainage area, keeping grass around the unit trimmed and not planting vegetation close to the unit are ways to keep the drain area open and unclogged.
  9. Turn off lights and heat-producing appliances when possible. If you reduce the amount of heat being produced inside of your home, you won’t need to run the air conditioner so much.
  10. Use fans rather than your air conditioner. Fans, especially a ceiling fan, will circulate cool air and use much less electricity.

What are your tips and tricks for keeping your HVAC units alive this summer?

air conditioner repair

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Buying a home? Ask these HVAC questions.

Spring is practically here, and chances are if you’re planning to buy a new home this year you will soon start looking; however when you’re looking for your dream home, don’t forget to dream with your eyes opened. Purchasing a home is one of the biggest financial investments you will make in your lifetime, and there are many things you can do before you purchase a home to make sure your financial investment doesn’t suddenly become bigger than you anticipated; one of the most important things you can do is to get adequate information about your potential home’s HVAC system.

Top 5 questions you should always ask about a home’s HVAC system

  1. How old is the system? – While proper upkeep can extend the life of HVAC systems and units, most have a lifespan of 10-15 years and can cost thousands of dollars to replace.
  2. What type of system/units does the house have? – Does the home have central air and forced heat? Are there separate air conditioning and heating units? Each system/unit may require different upkeep and come with different expenses.
  3. May I see documentation from the last time this was serviced?You want to know when the system or units were last serviced as well as how regular service has been (for example, did the seller get the unit serviced just before putting the home on the market? Or has the seller engaged in regular upkeep and maintenance of the units?). You also want to know if the technician noticed any problems or potential problems, and whether or not these problems have been resolved.
  4. What are your average monthly heating/cooling costs?Utility costs are an important monthly expense to consider. In addition to telling you whether or not you can afford these costs, the monthly heating and cooling bill may be a clue to other home issues (i.e. insulation, system issues, etc.).
  5. Is there a warranty that transfers when ownership transfers? – You want to know if there is a warranty on your system, but also the stipulations of the warranty. Will the warranty transfer to a new owner? What does the warranty cover? If you are told there is a warranty, be sure to ask for documentation.

Other HVAC and HVAC-related issues to consider

  • Does the system work? – This may seem like a very simple question, but we often assume it works without trying it out. Don’t be afraid to turn on the unit and walk around the house so you can feel the difference in temperature and air or heat flow. Also, take note of any odd noises or smells you experience once the unit is turned on.
  • Does the unit look like it’s in good shape? – While this won’t tell the whole story about how the unit is functioning, you should be on the lookout for signs of water marks, rust, or decay.
  • Is the system/unit energy efficient? – Is the system/unit helping you maximize your heating and cooling capabilities while minimizing your costs and its environmental impact? Energy efficient HVAC systems may results in tax rebates or credits you can claim.
  • How big are the heating and cooling units? – You don’t want something that’s too big or too small for your home because neither situation will be financially beneficial to you.
  • How well insulated is the home? – While insulation isn’t part of your HVAC system, it potentially impacts your HVAC use. If there are areas of exposed drywall, look for insulation. Ask about whether or not certain rooms are cold despite having the heat on or are hot despite having the air on.
  • Are the windows and doors properly sealed? – Check to make sure no air can leak in around windows and doors. This may also lead you to question how old the windows are in the house. Older windows with older seals may let in more air than newer windows.

Don’t forget that your realtor and a home inspector are your best friends during the home-buying process. If you have questions about the HVAC system, aren’t sure of the answers to questions, or want something checked out for you, tell them and they will help you out.

Do you have any other HVAC tips for homebuyers to consider? If so, comment below!

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