Upgrading to a smart thermostat is a big improvement

The new thermostat has made a huge improvement to everything from comfort to aesthetics

When I began looking into replacing my thermostat, I wasn’t prepared for the number of options. There has been a huge progression in thermostat technology. Today’s smart thermostats simplify temperature control, trim utility costs and make it easier to take better care of the heating and cooling system. They are also a lot more expensive than the plastic dial I originally had in my home. Realizing I was going to be spending several hundred dollars on a thermostat, I wanted to get maximum rewards from the investment. I did quite a bit of research into the most well-known manufacturers and models. There are thermostats with learning capability. For the first week after installation, the device keeps track of every adjustment, learns preferences and schedules and builds a customized program. There are also models with geofencing. The thermostat tracks the location of family members’ smartphones and automatically adjusts to conserve energy in an empty home and welcome occupants back to ideal comfort. Most of the models on the market provide conveniences such as weather forecast, energy tracking and reminders for maintenance. They are all able to be accessed by way of an app on the smartphone. I no longer need to remember to raise or lower the thermostat setting before my family leaves the house in the morning. We don’t return to an overheated or chilly house. If our schedule changes during the day, I can make adjustments from virtually anywhere I happen to be. The new thermostat has made a huge improvement to everything from comfort to aesthetics. I love the look of the touchscreen display and how easy it is to navigate. I’m especially happy about the money I’m saving on heating and cooling costs.

furnace/heater installation

Radiant heated floors

When my husband and I built our house, there was no debate about how we’d manage heating.

With short summers and freezing cold winters that last approximately eight straight months, the heating system is the priority.

We weren’t concerned with central cooling. We liked the unique benefits of radiant heated floors. The system requires a boiler installed in the basement that heats water and sends it through a series of pipes concealed beneath the floor. The equipment takes up no space in the home and doesn’t detract from aesthetics. There are no vents and no need to arrange furniture to accommodate the system. The operation is entirely silent and requires only annual maintenance on the boiler. Because it involves a closed loop system, there’s no way for contaminants to get spread into the breathing air. Radiant heated floors are often recommended for people with allergies, asthma and respiratory difficulties. The heat from the pipes spreads evenly across the floor from corner to corner, eliminating cold spots and causing no drafts. The floors warm up all of the objects on the floor, further radiating heat. The heat rises very slowly and avoids stratification. The temperature at the ceiling is never more than three degrees from the thermostat setting. We’ve found that the heated floors are wonderfully energy efficient and keep monthly utility costs low. Plus, we have the added rewards of zone control. With a thermostat in each room, we’re able to tailor temperature to occupancy, preferences and the specific needs of the space.


Heating and air conditioning products

Delighted to discover high velocity heating and cooling

I was delighted to learn about the existence of high-velocity heating and cooling systems.

  • Not so long ago, a house without ductwork was very limited in temperature control options.

My husband and I were unwilling to take on the huge project of installing a duct system. We didn’t want to tear down walls and ceilings, deal with a gigantic mess or sacrifice the space. The expense would have been significant. Plus our home is older and retains some original features and historic charm. We were reluctant to give that up for the sake of centralized heating and cooling. For several years, we struggled with window air conditioners, box fans and electric space heaters. They looked ugly and couldn’t keep up with comfort. The house was always hot and sticky throughout the summer and unpleasantly chilly all winter long. Discovering high-velocity heating and cooling was such a relief. This type of system is designed especially for retrofitting into homes that aren’t equipped with ductwork. It features mini-ducts that aren’t only two-inches in diameter and flexible enough to route through the walls and ceilings without causing damage or disruption. They bend around plumbing pipes and electrical outlets and carry the heated or cooled air at a very high rate of speed. The actual heating/cooling component is compact enough to install into a closet. Operation raises or lowers room temperature quickly. The smaller, insulated ducts combined with short run times keep costs low. We are so happy to finally have a comfortable home. Every room is perfectly warm in the winter and wonderfully cool in the summer.
heating maintenance

Adding a humidifier improves comfort

The humidifier introduces moisture back into the air and maintains proper humidity levels.The home feels warmer and more comfortable.

The weather in the northeast presents some challenges. While we experience four unique seasons, the conditions are typically chilly, windy and wet. Our summer-like weather doesn’t last more than two months. The winters are by far the longest season, with snow on the ground for more than six months. The temperature is frequently below freezing and regularly dips into the negative digits. Because cold air doesn’t hold as much moisture as warm air, we are susceptible to problems with insufficient humidity. When the indoor air becomes overly dry, there can be damage to home furnishings. Hardwood floors, doors, moldings, antiques and musical instruments are at risk of cracking. Along with static shock, frizzy hair and chapped lips, there are health concerns. Sneezing, coughing, sore throat, itchy eyes, congestion, headaches and insomnia can be blamed on low humidity. The air dries out nasal passages, making people at greater risk of respiratory infection. Worsened symptoms of allergies, asthma, psoriasis and eczema are caused by dry air. Since dry air tends to feel cooler than more humid air, it often leads to higher thermostat settings and a bigger workload for the furnace. Installing a whole-home humidifier solved all of these issues. The humidifier introduces moisture back into the air and maintains proper humidity levels.The home feels warmer and more comfortable. I was able to lower the temperature setting on the thermostat. I’ve seen a significant difference in my utility bills. I’m hoping the furnace will last longer and be more reliable. My whole family is sleeping better at night, enjoying more energy during the day and suffering fewer health complaints.

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Importance of duct sealing

The average American home loses up to 30% of heated and cooled air because of flaws in the ductwork.

The duct system is a network of pipes that are largely concealed behind walls and ceilings and inside crawl spaces, garages, basements and attics.

Due to poor design and wear and tear, separations can develop at the seams. Small holes can form. Conditioned air travels through the duct system multiple times per day. The air that is heated by the furnace or cooled by the air conditioner is distributed to the rooms of the home by way of the supply ductwork. The stale air is circulated back to the furnace and air conditioner through return ducts. Any imperfection results in air loss. Holes in supply ducts mean that the maximum amount of heated or cooled air fails to reach the intended destination. That means the furnace and air conditioner are required to run longer to meet the demands of the thermostat setting.The added wear and tear negatively impacts the reliability and longevity of the equipment. Leaky ducts lead to inferior comfort, greater energy consumption and higher running costs. Imperfections in the return ducts often draw in unconditioned air and pollutants. This can cause concerns with indoor air quality as well as health and safety risks. Contaminants get introduced into breathing air. If the ducts are located near combustion-based appliances, there is the worry over carbon monoxide getting pulled into the air. The solution is regular, professional ductwork testing, and if necessary, duct sealing. The process is non-invasive but worthwhile.

heated floors

Heat pump is a helpful innovation

I think one of the most ingenious modern innovations is the electric heat pump. The main benefit of the system is that it proves both heating and cooling capability. Instead of requiring a separate air conditioner and heater, a single unit handles year round temperature control. This combination frees up space and simplifies maintenance requirements. Plus, heat pumps are especially environmentally friendly. They eliminate the burning of fossil fuels required for most types of heating systems. Because there is no combustion process, no greenhouse gasses or fumes are produced. There is no worry over carbon monoxide or hot surfaces. In heating mode, the system takes advantage of ambient heat found in the outdoor air. The heat pump absorbs this heat, compresses it to a higher temperature and delivers it inside. The process is especially clean and safe and doesn’t aggravate issues with insufficient humidity. It’s also far more energy efficient than heating with a furnace or boiler. In cooling mode, the heat pump literally reverses the flow of refrigerant. Functioning very much like a conventional air conditioner, the operation pulls heat from the indoors and transfers it outdoors. Today’s heat pumps include intuitive technology that allows adjustment of output anywhere from forty to one hundred percent capacity. By running at lower speeds for longer cycles, the heat pump uses less energy, makes less noise and costs very little to run. There is also more opportunity to filter out contaminants. The only drawback to an electric heat pump is that it struggles to keep up with demand if the outdoor temperature drops below freezing.


HVAC brands

Installing a central air conditioner

I live in an area that doesn’t require a central air conditioner.

The sunny days don’t last long.

Sometimes, the entire summer is chilly and wet. However, most years we get a couple of months of high heat and excessive humidity. Opening the windows doesn’t help much, simply bringing in pollen, bugs, exhaust fumes and noise pollution. There isn’t enough of a breeze to cool the house down. Window air conditioners and box fans are somewhat beneficial. I wasn’t happy with losing the view from the windows or sacrificing curb appeal. Plus, having one or two rooms perfectly cool while the rest of the house is hot and sticky is a problem. I’d like my family to gather together in the evenings for meals, games or movies. I don’t want everyone retreating to their individual rooms for the sake of cooling off. I finally began looking into options for central cooling. I discovered that with the ductwork already in place for the furnace, the investment was reasonable. I learned that modern air conditioners feature adaptable-speed compressors that allow the equipment to automatically adjust output to the exact needs of the home. These advanced systems are excellent at maintaining consistent indoor temperature, filtering out contaminants and handling excess humidity. There are top-of-the-line air conditioners that provide a 26 SEER, which keeps running costs low. The cost of installing a whole-home cooling system was definitely worth the many benefits. It is such a relief to be able to simply adjust the thermostat and have every room feel comfortable. I wish I would have made the upgrade much sooner.

heating dealer

Furnace problems are the result of lack of maintenance

Last winter, I began having some concerns with the operation of my furnace.

I first noticed that the house felt a bit chilly on especially cold days and nights.

I turned up the thermostat by several degrees and still wasn’t satisfied with the level of comfort. Although the furnace seemed to be running just about non-stop, it wasn’t supplying enough hot air to create a consistent and ideal temperature. Shortly after that, the operational noise was suddenly a bit louder and there was a significant amount of dust circulating in the air. When my whole family started sneezing, coughing and complaining of headaches, I knew it was time to take action. I scheduled repairs from a local HVAC contractor. The technician performed a thorough diagnostic testing and inspection of the furnace and determined that the issues were all the result of debris buildup within the inner workings. He asked when I’d last had the furnace service. I was a little embarrassed to admit that I’d never invested in professional maintenance. Other than replacing the air filter every month, I’d totally ignored the upkeep of the heating system. Fortunately, a thorough cleaning and adjustment of all components restored proper functionality. I have now enrolled in a maintenance plan that includes a tune-up for the furnace in the fall and for the air conditioner in the spring. The plan doesn’t cost all that much and is effective at protecting the reliability, efficiency and longevity of the systems. The technician troubleshoots for wear and tear and replaces any worn or broken parts. He tightens electrical connections, lubricates moving parts, tests the ductwork, checks the ductwork and makes sure everything is working as it should.



cooling expert

Adding a ductless heat pump

My house is two stories, nearly 2,500 square feet and was built in the late eighteen hundreds.

There have been a lot of renovations made over the years.

We’ve torn down walls, added windows and significantly changed the configuration of the living space. The furnace and air conditioner are not only quite outdated, but the ductwork design has not been updated. There aren’t enough supply and return vents in certain rooms. My kitchen was either overly chilly during the winter or overheated and sticky in the summer. I used to sometimes run a portable space heater or a box fan trying to improve comfort. I wasn’t happy with these pieces of equipment taking up space and detracting from decor. Plus, they didn’t help all that much. I needed a better option that could be implemented without a big remodeling project. Just recently, I invested in a ductless heat pump. The system consists of an outdoor compressor and an indoor air handler connected by way of a conduit. The installation requires nothing more than a three-inch hole in an exterior wall, mounting capabilities and access to electricity. The air handler is lightweight, streamlined and unobtrusive. It sits high up on the wall and gets adjusted by way of a cordless remote. I’m able to adjust temperature, fan speed and decide the direction of airflow. The system provides both heating and cooling, handling year round comfort. It runs quietly and is super energy efficient. The ductless heat pump features inverter technology that allows it to alter speed according to demands of the space. It maintains a very even indoor temperature and effectively combats humidity.

air conditioning filter

Bees in the ductwork

Last spring, when I tackled my annual house cleaning, I kept noticing a strange buzzing sound.

  • I also found a couple of bees flying around inside.

I didn’t think too much about it until the weather warmed up. When I lowered the thermostat and started up the air conditioner a swarm of bees poured out of the supply vents. The bees were very angry. I wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. I started by calling the HVAC contractor who handles the seasonal maintenance of my heating and cooling system. They had just serviced the air conditioner about a month before but obviously didn’t catch the hive concealed inside the ductwork. I was told that I needed to hire a professional bee removal company. Certain types of bees are endangered and protected and can’t be exterminated. Hiring a bee company cost me quite a bit of money and I ended up with some damage to the ductwork. I then called the HVAC company back in order to get ductwork repairs and cleaning. The bees left behind quite a bit of debris that would definitely have restricted airflow and negatively impacted air quality. Scheduling all of these various appointments not only disrupted my daily life but also meant that my family was without air conditioning. Every day, the outside temperature was a few degrees hotter, and the humidity kept climbing. We opened windows and ran box fans but struggled without cooling. I was not happy with how much those bees cost me, but I was very relieved when the air conditioner and ductwork were once again operational.

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Air purifier makes a difference

It’s extremely important to me that I keep a clean and healthy home.

  • I live in an area where the weather extremes rarely allow opening a window.

For most of the year, we keep the house sealed tight and run either the furnace or the air conditioner. The outdoor temperature swings from the high eighties to the negative twenties. It’s very possible for all sorts of contaminants to get trapped inside and continually circulated. This puts my family at risk. There are sources of allergens in every room. Cooking, pesticides, personal hygiene products and the family dog all contribute to problems with indoor air quality. There can potentially be bacteria, mold, spores, dust, dander and VOCs floating in our breathing air. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most people spend ninety percent of their time indoors. I know that dusting, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces with antibacterial products isn’t enough. I need to be proactive. I make sure to replace air filters in the furnace and air conditioner every month. I have enrolled in a maintenance program with a local HVAC contractor that includes two service calls per year. A licensed technician handles the upkeep of the furnace in the fall and takes care of the necessary cleaning, adjustment and testing of the air conditioner in the spring. This not only promotes system reliability and efficiency but ensures cleaner air flowing from the vents. I’ve also invested in an air purifier. The air quality add-on is installed into the ductwork. It captures contaminants much smaller than a grain of salt as the air passes through. It also uses positive and negative ions to kill pathogens and cause particles to climb together and be more easily filtered out. The air purifier improves the health of the air quality throughout the whole house.


heating provider

Choosing a heat pump instead of an air conditioner

When my husband and I purchased our home, the property was already equipped with a furnace and ductwork. In our local area, heating is definitely a priority. We need to turn up the thermostat and rely on heating from early October until the end of April. We experience temperatures down to negative twenty degrees, brutal wind chill and record-breaking snow accumulation. While the summers tend to be short, we can expect high heat and humidity. For a couple of years, we struggled with window air conditioners in the bedrooms and box fans in the rest of the house. We weren’t happy with the level of comfort or aesthetics of the portable equipment. We decided to invest into centralized cooling. Initially, we planned to purchase a conventional air conditioner to pair with the furnace. However, once I started researching the different makes, models and features, I came across electric heat pumps. I learned that this type of system operates identically to a central air conditioner in cooling mode. The unit pulls heat out of the home and transfers it outside by way of refrigerant. The benefit of a heat pump is that it can reverse the flow of refrigerant to provide heating. While a heat pump costs more to purchase and install than an air conditioner, it offers lower monthly bills. Plus, the heat pump can supplement the furnace. When the outside temperature cools off, we can use the heat pump to keep our home warm and minimize our expenses. The heat pump effectively handles comfort until conditions drop below freezing. At that point, the furnace automatically starts up and fulfills demand.

Commercial air conditioning