Semmes, Alabama residents are lucky to enjoy more favorable weather at the beginning of fall, with much cooler temperatures starting in November. It is important to prepare your home for the season ahead with simple maintenance tasks. This helps to ensure your home and systems are in good condition to face whatever winter may bring.
Stocking Up on Filters
Furnace filters will need to be changed regularly or as soon as they become dirty. Dirty filters restrict airflow and reduce system efficiency. Maintain your filters so that your system can operate at peak efficiency.
Changing Your Ceiling Fan Rotation
Most people associate fans with cooling and not heating. While ceiling fans do create a wind chill effect when they are rotating in the right direction, they can also warm your home if you simply reverse their rotation. As cool weather sets in, turn your fan to the reverse or clockwise setting.
Using the fan along with your heater will allow you to leave the thermostat at lower temperatures. Moving clockwise, the fan pushes warm air down from the top of the room, and helps to keep the warmer air circulating to keep you more comfortable. Using the proper fan setting will keep your home comfortable with minimal heating, particularly in that transition period before it becomes really cold. Using your fan instead of or along with the furnace will help you to conserve more energy and save money.
Cleaning the Gutters
Clogged gutters prevent proper drainage and may lead to leaks. Don’t wait until melting snow is seeping into your home, or damaging the foundation of your home. Clean out your gutters in the fall when the weather is still comfortable. If it has been a while since you performed this task, you may find a lot of dirt and debris waiting for you. Taking care of this DIY weekend job now will prevent more expensive problems later.
Sealing Your Home
Air leaks will let warm air slip right through the cracks this winter. These leaks can also allow cold air to enter your home. Seal them up now to avoid further energy waste, and so that you will be ready for winter. Install weather-stripping around your windows, and use caulk to seal any cracks in windows and doors as well.
Your ducts can let a great deal of air escape too. It is estimated that as much as 20 percent of the air moving through your ductwork is lost to leaks. Seal and insulate your ductwork to keep warm air in where it belongs. Not only will this keep temperatures comfortable, but you will save money, too. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this investment will save you $120 or more every year on your energy bill.
Make Sure Your Gas Furnace Is Ready
If you have a gas furnace, it is smart to contact your gas company for a fill-up before the cold season really sets in. This will ensure you are not left without fuel when you need it most. It is a good idea to fill-up now while the cost is lower. The price tends to increase closer and during the season when the demand is greater. Your HVAC technician will help you to determine whether or not you need to fill up.
Scheduling Your Annual HVAC Maintenance
You should have an HVAC professional service your heating system once a year. The ideal time for this is in the fall before you turn it on for the first time. Schedule your appointment early and you can beat the seasonal rush, and ensure your system is in good condition to keep you comfortable all season.
During this maintenance visit, your HVAC professional will check the filter, look for leaks, tighten loose parts, and thoroughly clean the furnace. He will also look for any signs of leaks or other likely problems. These regular tune-ups can save you from costly repairs later on and give you a chance to address issues early in the season before you find yourself in a freezing home.
If you are ready to schedule your HVAC maintenance visit this season, contact Air Specialty at 251-545-3337. With the proper care and attention, your home will be clean, sealed, and perfectly prepared to keep you comfortable in any weather.
Is it time to upgrade your home’s heating or cooling system? With all of the new high tech options on the market, which type of unit is going to work best for your home. Here, we break down the basic pros for heat pumps and furnaces so you can decide what works for your family.
Consider the Climate
The climate comes into play when making the choice between a heat pump, furnace or a hybrid. First, climate may affect whether or not you have access to gas lines. In milder climates, like much of the Mobile region where temperatures don’t dip below freezing with too much frequency, gas lines and gas furnaces are far less common. Without access to a gas line, you simply can’t use a gas furnace in your home.
Heat pumps, on the other hand, are an efficient option. Heat pumps function like an air conditioner but have a reversing valve that allows them to heat the home, as well as cool it. They work best in areas with moderate winters and warm, humid summers. Because it uses minimal fuel and relies on outdoor temperatures to help heat and cool the home, these systems are quite efficient.
Do You Need Dual Function?
Another consideration to make when choosing between a heat pump, furnace or a hybrid is the dual-function nature of the unit you choose. Are you replacing both the heating and cooling aspects? A heat pump does may be the answer. If only heating is your concern, and your home’s central air conditioner is still operating efficiently, a furnace may be the best option. Talk to a trusted HVAC professional to get advice specific to your home’s current needs.
Comparing All the Options
To fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the heat pump vs. furnace debate, compare the two.
When you invest in either system, you’ll benefit from a system that will integrate well with an indoor air quality system or a whole-house dehumidifier. Zoning systems and smart thermostats also work well, no matter which you choose. Both heat pumps and central heating and cooling systems will do a good job of dehumidifying your home.
So what are the differences? First, the cost is different. An HVAC system that will perform the same dual-purpose as a heat pump will cost more to install and purchase than a heat pump. Efficiency is also varied. In mild climates, heat pumps are far more efficient than furnaces.
How Hybrid Systems Fit the Picture
If you the weather in your area occasionally dips below freezing, a heat pump isn’t going to be efficient during these cold spells. In very low temperatures, you’ll need a backup heating source. Unfortunately, the electric-resistance heating that comes with most heat pumps isn’t efficient and will lead to higher heating bills during particularly cold periods.
This is where a hybrid heating system can be beneficial. This system combines a heat pump with a gas furnace to deliver efficiency all year long. These units work by automatically switching to the furnace when it’s the more efficient option, but using the heat pump whenever possible.
For professional help deciding between a heat pump, furnace or a hybrid system, contact Air Specialty. We’re happy to help you determine which heating source is best for your Mobile, Saraland or Lucedale home.